Monday, July 28, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Doug Huffman prepared for anything

DSC_5219e

SIERRA SURVIVAL SCHOOL instructor Doug Huffman stands in his root cellar on his property in Placerville. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

By
From page A1 | July 03, 2013 |

There may be no zombie apocalypse in our future, but no matter what comes our way, Placerville resident Doug Huffman, 54, is ready for it.

More than ready for it.

The owner of a business called Sierra School for Survival, the Placerville resident models what he preaches by living a self-sufficient lifestyle and teaching others how they can as well. Part of the prepper movement, he is one of those who believes there will be a societal collapse in the not too distant future.

Huffman was even featured in the National Geographic series on Doomsday Preppers. Huffman claims the episode he is in was the most popular because, “literally I was the only sane one on the show.”

Huffman operates his survival training business from a 300-acre ranch in Placerville. He owns part of the ranch property and is caretaker of the family trust fund on the other 260 acres. He said at one time the ranch was the site of the largest producing gold mine in the county.

But the property’s real value may be as refuge of sorts from what Huffman says is coming. And to prepare for it, he is making it as self-sustaining as many homesteads were hundreds of years ago. “For me, it’s the perfect lifestyle,” he said. “I love it. Is there going to be an economic collapse? Absolutely. There will be a reset of the dollar within the next two years along with food shortages.”

To that end, Huffman grows his own food with a wide variety of meat sources to choose from, including rabbits, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks and geese. In addition, the 16-acre lake on the property is stocked with bass, catfish and crappie. “They are all organic,” he said, adding that he also makes his own MRE’s (ready to eat meals). “I don’t eat processed food because of this lifestyle. The worst thing for people is processed food and sugar.”

Eliminating waste and repurposing everything seems designed into the ranch. Rabbits are grown for their meat with leftovers ground up with the bones and fed to his two dogs, both of whom appear to have a job. The Anatolian Pyrenees guards the livestock and the Queensland Heeler seems to be Huffman’s personable but no-nonsense bodyguard. Below the rabbit hutches are bins to collect their droppings. Those plus worm castings make up the compost he uses to grow vegetables.

Down the path from the hutch is his 52-by-26 foot Quonset hut-style greenhouse. Currently he is growing 16 different vegetables plus an assortment of herbs for eating and medicinal use. He’s also in the process of setting up an aquaponics system that will combine fish farming with vegetable growing. “I don’t buy meat or vegetables anymore,” he said.

And no survival compound would be complete without a food storage building that originally was an old root cellar. He said it holds a two-year supply of food and others items needed in an emergency. “Preppers often stock up on food but fail to consider hygiene,” he said. “The No. 1 killer in the world is lack of clean water and sanitation. Preppers have lots of guns and ammo but spend nothing on sanitation. You need a lot of soap, shampoo, and water purifiers. And the water purifier needs to be one that is one micron absolute.”

Huffman said he doesn’t worry about water because he has three wells plus a lake on the property. And he said he’s generating energy using solar, wind, hydro and earth magnetic generators. With the goal of being 100 percent off the grid by next year, he’s now adding to his energy store by building a small hydro plant near the lake that will generate electricity off a six-foot waterfall. He said when operational, it will generate enough electricity to run six banks of batteries that will run any 110 outlet.

“We lost power three times this year,” he said, “but we just hit the generator and it was on again. Most people can’t get their car out of their garages without power.”

The professional soldier

Huffman seems to be at this place in his life after a career that took some unexpected directions. He said he started out as an indoor volleyball player from the eighth grade through college and then played pro for 10 years.

At 28 he became a technical consultant on the U.S. national volleyball team and traveled around the world studying how other countries trained their athletes. He also cross-trained with teams from other countries.

In 1991 he retired and became what he called a “professional soldier” or “defense contractor.” He said the government frequently recruits triathletes for positions with elite forces.

“Warriors are built. They tear you down and build you so you can accomplish whatever the job is,” he said. “The limits I push myself through are much different and are way past what other people do, like hiking 20 miles a day with an 80-pound pack or going three days without food or water.”

Later he worked as a construction contractor and then went back to being an overseas contractor. During his career he said he’s been a consultant to the Navy Seals, the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, FBI, CIA, and Sheriff’s Department. “I did tactical and combat tracking and the termination of people,” he claims.

He said he only teaches now and it’s been six years since he’s been one of those kind of contractors. Now he teaches hand-to-hand combat and works with military and law enforcement units on tactical and combat tracking. These are important right now, he said, because of all the drug growers and people on the run who have committed crimes.

Training in self-reliance

Huffman said very little of his business is local. Instead he travels extensively to other states to conduct training and does the rest online, teaching what he does to others. “Everything I do on the ranch, I film. I teach online to a worldwide audience.”

His Website sierrasurvival.com features hundreds of short videos for his members, instructing them on everything from tactical/combat tracking and yoga to ditch medicine and food storage and preparation. “Nothing we’ve done has ever been produced elsewhere. It would take 20 different schools to do what I do.”

On a local basis, he holds monthly survival club meetings with several dozen families who come and study with him for four hours. Huffman said the people in the classes are, on average, living on 5 acres with their families. Both parents are working professionals and want a self-reliant lifestyle. “That’s what I see nationally,” he said.

Huffman also offers camps and a Jr. Ranger program to teach youngsters a variety of life skills to survive both in the wilderness and in urban settings.

Returning to one’s roots

Huffman said what he is doing is appealing to many people. “This is now the romantic lifestyle. People are returning to their roots.”

Saying he’s not anti-government, the prepper says he just doesn’t want to be dependent on the government to supply his needs. He said for three days after a major disaster, people will cooperate. But after that, all hell will break out as people fight for food, water and whatever else they need. “You have to make decisions beforehand of what you will do.”

As examples he cited what happened after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. “If the government can’t handle a small geographic area event like Katrina and Sandy, they can’t handle a national one,” he said. “They interviewed the EMS workers who showed up to help after the Katrina Hurricane and 95 percent said they wouldn’t show up if it happened in their region. They would save themselves and their families first.

“I don’t think I want my security and that of my family at risk. That’s why I lead this lifestyle.”

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Comments

comments

.

News

Sand Fire burns more than 4,000 acres

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fatal accident in Camino

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
County’s chief lawyer: No Brown Act violation

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

General Plan workshop today

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

 
Two growth control initiatives get green light

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report released

By Ross Branch | From Page: A3

 
35 people displaced in Tahoe hotel fire

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A3 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Bee-ing silly

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
The balancing act: Toxic waste spreads

By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Letters

Want more water?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Refugee crisis

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Letter to Speaker of the House

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
GDPUD misinformation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

At the crossroads

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Camp experience is ‘priceless’

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Speedway races cancelled

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

El Dorado doubles up on Pro Players

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Under the Scoreboard: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Schedule: July 28 – Aug. 2, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Roundup: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
Local spiker shines

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

.

Prospecting

A beautiful day at Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm

By Cathy Barsotti | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Foothill gourmet: Things get corny

By Donna Brown | From Page: B2

Bipolar Insights: From point A to point B

By Marcia Rose | From Page: B2

 
Cool time at Cowboys and Cornbread

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As we were: Recreation district grows

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B4

Cantare names new director

By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B10

 
After 5 Club to meet

By Senior Day | From Page: B10

.

Essentials

Divorces

By Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

 
DUI Log: June 25-July 9

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 14-16

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Horoscope, Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Monday, July 28, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8