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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Survival: Mountain Man Style

While I heavily believe everyone should have wilderness survival skills, I am not relying on these to survive the collapse. They are a last ditch tool kit. The whole idea behind SHTF preparation, in my mind, is to not only survive a collapse, but to do so with a quality of life - not living in a dug out on the side of a mountain,....having cold camps,.....relying traps, snares, fishing and edible plants for sustainment.

However and again, you should at least a modicum of these skills. What would happen if you found yourself running for your life and you had to drop kit to get away? Or you were taken captive by some thugs then escaped with nothing on your back?

In any case, it is possible to survive even pro-longed periods in a wilderness. Remember the newspapers from decades past where Japanese soldiers were found on islands 30 years past the end of World War II? These soldiers, some in their 60's and older, not only survived but they evaded the detection of their presence for several decades.

There is a recent, and on-going, example of someone surviving and evading capture. This time not the jungles of New Guinea but in remote Utah wilderness. It should be clear that his individual is a criminal, it is also clear that his survival skill sets are pretty robust.

It seems like this modern day mountain man in the wilderness areas of Southern Utah, is robbing cabins and eluding authorities. This is an example of someone surviving in the wilds, albeit with assistance from what he can scavenge and steal, that no doubt will fuel some people prepping for SHTF to believe it is a viable plan for them as well. While there is no doubt everyone needs to have wilderness fieldcraft and survival skills, living like this apparent fugitive does in the story below presents little attraction to me. I think the whole prepping for TEOTWAWKI is planning and preparing an existence with a quality of life. Anyay, the authorities have an idea of who this individual is and some actual pictures taken from hidden game cameras that provide a pretty good quality side profile of this "mountain man". Which proves the validity of owning gamera cameras,...I have several and have written about their use to surrepititiously place to record what kind of activity, two or four legged or even vehicle, may be occuring in a specific area.

The summary of the news article on this individual: Troy James Knapp is a wanted man, a survivalist, modern day mountain man and recluse that authorities say is responsible burglaries in the remote southern Utah wilderness. He is armed and considered dangerous and has been on the loose for more than five years. Until recently he has been virtual ghost in the woods, until his image was take on a game camera and authorities have now identified him. See picture from game camera.

He has been tracked across hundreds of square miles of wilderness near Zion National Park in Utah but Knapp has always been able to elude capture. His camps, along with guns and supplies he has stolen from cabins, have been discovered but yet he still is on the loose.

In this undated photo provided by the Iron County Sheriff's Office in January, a man is seen walking past a cabin in the remote southern Utah wildness near Zion National Park. Authorities believe the man in the photo, captured by a motion-triggered surveillance camera sometime in December, is a suspect responsible for more than two dozen cabin burglaries over the past five years.

Now that authorities believe they know who he is, they're honing in on everyone who knows him. According to court records, detectives are tracking telephone calls to his family members in Moscow, Idaho, trying to determine if he is using a cellphone.

Investigators say family members have had little contact with Knapp, an ex-convict they believe is still roaming somewhere across roughly 1,000 square miles of wilderness.

He is believed to have set off on a solitary life some nine years ago after his release from a California prison.

His family, originally from Michigan, has offered little help -- "the ones that will acknowledge having anything to do with him," Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Michael Wingert told The Associated Press. "He's just kind of out there on his own. I don't know if he's fed up with civilization."

A recent court order allows marshals and sheriff's detectives to track calls made to and by a couple in their 60s -- Bruce and Barbara Knapp of Moscow, who are relatives of the 44-year-old fugitive. The Knapps haven't returned repeated telephone calls from the AP. No one answered the door at their home Wednesday.

Detectives in Utah's Iron and Kane counties announced late Tuesday that Troy Knapp was their long-sought suspect in dozens of cabin burglaries, aided by recent surveillance photos captured of him outside one cabin and fingerprints lifted from another that authorities say finally were matched to him in January.

A Kane County arrest warrant charges Knapp with three burglaries and a weapons charge. Knapp has a lengthy criminal record that includes assault with a dangerous weapon, Kane County prosecutor Robert Van Dyke said Wednesday. He did not elaborate.

As a teenager, Knapp was convicted in Michigan of breaking and entering, passing bad checks and unlawful flight from authorities, according to court records in Kalamazoo County.

The Utah arrest warrant says Knapp was charged with theft in 2000 in California. Court records indicate he pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Utah authorities are calling Knapp armed and "possibly dangerous if cornered." He is using remote cabins for sustenance and warmth during winter -- "burning up all their firewood, eating all their food," Iron County Detective Jody Edwards has said.

In summer, the suspect retreats to makeshift camps deep in the forest. "This guy is probably about as true a survivalist as Davy Crockett," Wingert said.

Knapp "dropped off everybody's radar in 2003 and nobody has heard from him since," he added. "He just dropped off the face of the earth."

"That's wonderful that they know him," cabin owner Bruce Stucki said Tuesday. "Now they need to get him in custody." While there have been no violent confrontations, detectives have called him a time bomb. Over the years, he has left some cabins tidy and clean, while others he has practically destroyed, even defecating in a pan on the floor in one home.

Lately, he has been leaving the cabins in disarray and riddled with bullets after defacing religious icons, and a recent note left behind in one cabin warned, "Get off my mountain."

In a Jan. 27 court filing, Kane County authorities said Knapp had left behind even more threatening notes aimed at law enforcement. "Hey Sheriff ... Gonna put you in the ground!" one note said.

From the beginning, the suspect's lore grew, leading to theories that he might have been two separate men on the FBI's most-wanted list or possibly a castaway from the nearby compounds of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the polygamous sect run by jailed leader Warren Jeffs.

They now have a name, but the man remains in the mist. "He's scaring the daylights out of cabin owners. Now everyone's packing guns," said Jud Hendrickson, a 62-year-old mortgage adviser from nearby St. George who keeps a trailer in the area. "We feel like we're being subject to terrorism by this guy."


  1. I can't help but wonder how much better off he would have been if he were committed to not destroying any property and in fact aided people where possible. Don't get me wrong he would still be a criminal and still be trespassing and stealing in those cases where he took food, but he would be more sympathetic. When he is captured I hope some writher gets the opportunity to interview him in depth and write about all his survival experiences (not his criminal experiences).

    There is another guy who is not a criminal who lives in the back country out of Yosemite. Google it he is an interesting character who enjoys something close to the freedom of our ancestors. His story would make a great book too.

  2. Unique Outdoor Survival Skills

    Don't you find it ironic that even with all this scandalously expensive education, people today know so little?

    If they can't even fix their car, how are they supposed to handle a - let's say - long term food shortage?

    You can't possibly hope they'd know how to garden and produce their own food, save seeds for next year, and use leaves plowed under to fertilize the soil.

    Not to mention trapping, catching, skinning and cooking a rabbit...

    These may seem advanced outdoor survival skills now, but back in the days, they were merely called "Living".

    Watch this short video now and discover a set of unique and fantastic survival skills used and perfected by our ancestors.

    Don't wait for the next crisis to hit and live to regret you had the chance to learn these skills but didn't.

    Click here to watch video!

    Thanks again.