Throw a stick at any bookstore over 2,500 square feet and you’ll hit at least three books on surviving the zombie apocalypse. Weapons guides and DIY, symptoms to look out for, protective clothing, how to shop for your garden variety gas mask, it’s in print and readily available. But there are other factors that can affect human survival, and seasonal shift is often overlooked as one of these. So let’s take the seasons in turn, starting with spring, and help uncover methods of defense that we can use no matter when we’re fighting for the future of our species.
Fortunately the days are getting longer, so there is less opportunity for zombie hordes to accumulate in the dark of night and make mob attacks. There are also no tall crops at this point in the year, unless a region has been growing winter wheat, so it will be harder for zombies to make their way quietly through crop fields (of course this matters not at all in urban areas). Spring also comes with a new generation of wildlife, which can be observed to help identify where bands of zombies may be hiding out. But be warned; depending on the kind of zombification that’s happening, mammals in general may also be zombies, so you may need to pay special attention when litters of new small animals are underfoot, because they may not be very clever defenders against the undead and will become a new source of infection for humans. BONUS FOR MOUNTAIN AREAS: Spring also often means strong river runoff from melting snow, which can be used to wipe out zombies, carrying them away in streams and creeks, where they can be rounded up downstream. Also keep an eye on frozen lakes, because as the season progresses these can be used to take out whole groups of zombies by luring them to thinner areas where they can fall into the icy water and get trapped.
Night is at its shortest point, and warm weather speeds decay of undead flesh. Sure, an animated limb is still infectious to people, but it’s also easier to destroy safely. Warmer weather also means that there are more options for taking shelter, in case a party is moving from one permanent housing solution to another. Rooftops in cities are not a bad temporary place to hole up for the night, unless it’s raining. And hey, rain is preferable to becoming a zombie. Unless it’s zombie-making rain. Those are really awful. But summer offers other possibilities: fast-reproducing creatures like mosquitoes can be used as carriers for vaccines and antidotes, if any are created. And dense forest can provide good protection from zombies–think climbing trees, minimizing one’s scent with odiferous plants, and scattering pollen on the ground to help identify if any of the foot-draggers have come by recently. Also, zombies are terrible swimmers. Know the location of public and backyard pools, and lure bands of undead to pools to the water.
Here’s a great tactic to deploy once deciduous trees have lost their leaves: dig 7-foot deep trenches and overlay the tops with twigs, piling old leaves on top. You can leave markers for people to read (DANGER: ZOMBIE TRENCH comes to mind), and that zombies won’t notice. After all, zombies have terrible reading comprehension. Colder fall days (and certainly winter) also help with the giveaway of frost–since zombies don’t breathe, they won’t emit warmed air, and so they won’t get those frost clouds in front of their faces. If someone has recently turned, this may help give their status away. You know, if the low moaning and thirst for brains doesn’t alert you first.
The downsides of this season, post zombie infestation, are numerous–fewer plants and produce available, long, dark nights, and the risk of hypothermia if one is stranded outdoors for too many hours. But there are some bright points to keep humans one step ahead of the living dead. Zombies leave tell-tale scrape marks as they trudge along snow, for one. They can be rounded up and set on fire using snow drifts or piles as fire breaks to contain the blaze. Some say that zombies move even more slowly in very cold weather, giving those with access to gasoline and vehicles even more of an edge in outrunning them. Any remaining water pressure from a reservoir or other source can be used to create an ice slick to trap or impede zombie movement.
So no matter the season of outbreak, there are advantages for the craftiness of the human mind. Use each to maximize your ability to remove zombies from our midst.