I’ve hunted since the late 1970s and I thought I’d pass along some knowledge I’ve accumulated albeit not in a polished format, but more of a “if you just want the answer to the test format.” It will probably come across a little bit choppy reading, but I want to hit the high points and mention the low hanging fruit. And by the way the SurvivalBlog readership wants TEOTWAWKI usefulness, so that’s the slant of this article.
First off are a couple of things to get out of the way — number one being equipment. Good stuff is a help and it isn’t cheap. It isn’t necessary, but for example a guy with a repeating firearm may shoot several squirrels; a guy with a wool coat and a pair of warm boots can hunt longer in the cold; a guy with a topo map and compass or a smart phone with a map/GPS app that can show hunting opportunities or obstacles is a lot more efficient; and so on.
Another piece of equipment is a dog. They are so useful in hunting that they are almost mandatory in some sports or at certain times of year or in certain environments. Can you do without one? Of course. Just like the guy with the single shot .410 and the cotton tube sox in tennis shoes in the snow……
Another thing to realize is when you are hungry, sport hunting, challenging methods, and moral and ethical compasses written into law by city folks won’t work. For example, I might hunt with a .22 rifle for sport, but a 12 ga shotgun might put more meat on the table. Baiting is extremely helpful especially with younger animals, and we aren’t worried about the horns in TEOTWAWKI.
Another problem is planning on big game versus small game. Apparently, we shot out the deer herd between food and market hunting in the last century. Stock your ammo locker for food largely with .22 and shotgun to compensate for this. Moreover, in many places where it is hot and humid, killing a large animal may be somewhat futile unless you have a way to keep the flies and heat from spoiling it. But you do have one exception to the big game eradication problem and that is the feral hog infesting much of North America lately. He is smart enough and prolific enough that we might be better off than they were in the Depression. Of course, there are a lot more people than there were 100 years ago, and our weapons are much better, so we may do it again.
And let me not forget to mention the other two types of “hunting” – a farm pond can provide a lot of protein with a lot less effort given trot lines and yo-yo reels, as can trapping. Both methods work without you being present every minute. These methods may also work if you are in an area where game is scarce and nocturnal. There is no skill that will produce game that doesn’t live where you hunt. Don’t be in denial. Do rabbits or chickens or something. Just because you saw deer tracks one time, or have like 3 squirrels in the only 3 trees in the neighborhood doesn’t make hunting viable.
So small game first: you name it – bird, squirrel, rabbit, duck, quail, etc….get a dog. Yes we all hunt a lot of these animals without dogs, but for a collapse this is the most productive way. You have to consistently locate the game under any terrain/weather conditions, and then retrieve the animal so that healthy red-blooded American males like me (read fat guys) don’t miss any meals. Are you really going to find all the birds in the un-mowed field? Are you going to swim out to retrieve the duck?
The second animal is the turkey. I don’t hunt turkeys. But I see the sport method is to call to them in the evening, put them to bed, and be on location in the morning with call in hand. So let me tell you what I see from hunting deer and feral hogs over corn – a lot of turkeys. If I was survival hunting turkeys, I’d hunt them like deer and hogs.
The third animal is the whitetail deer. (I’m sorry I’m no muley/antelope/elk/moose/bear expert. Looks like a lot of glassing and long range firearms are a plus.) Lots of methods but many are not that useful for survival. The classic method is tracking and it isn’t very useful. Following a deer for miles to have to bring him home without a truck or ATV isn’t my idea of efficient. Next is still hunting (which is actually walking and looking). It is the most useful although low productivity because it is hard, especially with swirling winds in rolling terrain. But you have to bug out? You are walking and looking right? You have to patrol your property/perimeter? Same deal. Looking for lost livestock or mending fence? Hunting small game? You get the picture. The first rule of still hunting is like self defense – have a gun. Really. Obviously the hunter does, kind of. Make sure you can kill a deer or pig while you are doing farm work or hunting small game. Carry a few loads of buckshot or slugs or a heavy pistol with you because taking time away from farm work is a terrible inefficiency when the big one was just standing there looking at you yesterday while you were walking to church or kicking brush piles for rabbits.
The QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) style of what I call deer farming or deer ranching is harder to picture in a collapse except as it relates to your gardening efforts. In other words, it is hard to picture doing food plots by hand with expensive seed and fertilizer and lime, but you will be doing that in your garden and the deer will want it. (What’s this TEOTWAWKI stuff? Those bum humans quit pouring corn out of a bag and planting expensive food plots for some reason!) Having quality optics with thick reticles, red dots, or night vision equipment might be useful and time efficient when game laws become a historical joke. Moreover, your food plots, if known or seen by others, would be a magnet for poachers in a collapse and would have to be tended 24/7.
The last animal I want to spend a few minutes on the the feral hog because it can stand the hunting pressure better than most due to its intelligence and prolific breeding. Trapping can work and it is recommended, but the animals get smart to traps very quickly and can even learn to defeat one-way doors and jump out of 5’ tall cages by jumping on top of each other!! Build huge traps of cattle panels with guillotine gates at least 8’ wide or you’ll probably catch a group and teach the rest to stay away. Better yet pay someone to build a corral type trap or use machinery to drive the T-posts. (Otherwise, you’ll end up with carpal tunnel like me, if your use a slap hammer.)
Hunting is a day and night affair, and you’ll want to be ready to shoot while doing other activities because you’ll run into pigs anytime. Both deer and hogs can be baited with a surprising variety of items with corn being the most common. But you can be thrifty by leaving a little corn on the cob and throwing it out when the bagged stuff is no longer available. In the old days people threw everything to the domestic pigs for a reason. They aren’t picky. The technological advancement that may not be available in a collapse is the cellular game camera. This allows you to do anything including sleep with an alarm to tell you the pigs are on the bait. I can’t overstate the importance of this. The old pigs are so smart that they start to understand that free corn isn’t free. So they make a big circle around it, and it doesn’t matter if you are in a tree downwind, they still smell you. The game camera allows you to stay away until they are actually on the corn and then approach undetected. Before this was invented I used a scent proof box blind. Make these as tight as you can including self-sealing foam for any cracks, and block all windows except for a shooting port and you can do credible work on moonlit nights or with night vision until your batteries run out. The good thing is after a few night shootings you will see more in the day than you used to because to them, the night isn’t safe either.
(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)