“If things go south, I will rely on hunting to get my meat”, I’ve heard this one so many times that it has almost become a nuisance for me. People think that if they own a powerful rifle they can just go into the woods and bring some big game that will keep them fed. Many of these people don’t even have a clue about the survival hunting essentials and I think it’s better to give them a heads up.
I can’t say that I’m an expert hunter and to be honest, I think that I still have a lot to learn. Although I’ve been part of several experienced hunting parties, I still consider myself a beginner and I prefer to have a humble approach when it comes to this topic. Although humans evolved in large part due to their hunting abilities and the knowledge they passed on regarding how to bag big game animals, today, the modern hunters are putting all their hopes into the available technology.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that having the best gear can be harmful to your hunting skills… I’m just saying that before you invest your hard-earned money in state of the art hunting gear, you should start by mastering the survival hunting essentials.
In a survival scenario where grocery stores are closed, you will be forced to hunt for your own food. If it will come to that, there are a few things you need to master before you go out, hoping to bring down some big game animals.
Survival hunting essentials:
- You need to know exactly where your target prey lives because going into the woods and hoping to get a lucky encounter is just wishful thinking. You should know about your region, about the secluded places where your target animals may feed or rest. What does the animal’s footprint look like? Does it live on hardwood ridges above bodies of water? These are all questions you should have an answer for.
- What does the animal eat? If you know a thing or two about its diet, you will be able to track it easily or set up a camping post. Where does it fit on the food chain? Can it become a danger for you? Does it eat green vegetation? If you know about the feeding habit of your prey, you will increase your chances of hunting or trapping it.
- When does your prey feed? Is the animal used to feed during midday? Dusk? Dawn? Does weather play an important role in the feeding habit of your target animal? Do you have better chances of hunting it after rainy days? Or maybe after a cold front has passed through.
- How does the animal evade its enemies? Is it a shy creature that gets startled easily? Do you need to pay attention to your surroundings and keep a low profile? Does the wind play an important role when the animal picks a bedding area? Where does it find safety during non-feeding times?
- When it comes to survival hunting essentials, being able to identify an animal by its feces plays an important role. If you know what the feces look like, you will be able to track down your target animal. For example, deer drop pellets, while bears and foxes deposit coils. Examining the feces of an animal can also tell you a thing or two about their feeding habits. When hunting deer, the presence of acorn husks may indicate that the deer have been feeding under oak trees.
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- Knowing about the animal’s senses is another survival hunting skill you should learn. How sharp is their eyesight? How about their hearing? Will the animal be able to smell you from a mile away? If you hunt wild turkeys that won’t be the case because they have no sense of smell, but if you go after a bear, the game changed drastically. A deer won’t see you if you stand motionless and if you are camouflaged well enough, and it becomes a contest of your patience against his until you get the right angle for your shot.
- Do you know the breeding habits of your target animal? Is it monthly? Yearly? Some animals tend to be careless during their breeding season while others will be extra cautious of their environment. Deer, for example are easier to hunt during the fall breeding season. On the other hand, bears will increase their movements during mating season and they tend to be aggressive.
- Getting the right weapon and knowing everything about it. If you want to go bow hunting, you need to know how close you have to be to put a killshot on a big game animal. What types of arrows to use and what steps to take if you miss (based on the type of animal you are hunting). How about if you hunt with a shotgun? What type of shell should you be using? A birdshot is for birds only and not for big game animals, unless you want to scare them away or make them angry. A high-powered rifle is perfect for a headshot, but a bow and arrow is certainly not
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- Tracking the animal when it’s wounded or blood trailing is an art for some, while for others is just a false hope of a successful shot. No matter how much you read about blood trailing, experience is still king and you should participate in as many blood-trailing occasions as possible. The blood spatters indicates where the animal is wounded, where it is headed and how to proceed when approaching it. Here are a few tips regarding blood trails:
- Bright red blood with air bubbles – this indicates a fatal lung hit
- Dark red blood – this usually indicates a liver hit
- Small spots of bright red blood –this indicates a minor hit and since it is a non-lethal hit, the animal must be approached with care
- When it comes to survival hunting essential being able to eviscerate your prey animal is a must. You should learn how to do it and you should learn which parts are edible. Chances are you will not always be able to transport the entire carcass with you. You need to learn how to eviscerate it and how to store the meat without spoilage. Once your target animal is dead, you should cool the meat as soon as possible to avoid spoilage. This means that you need to remove the skin first.
Living off the land may look easy in movies and TV shows and even though we humans are at the top of the food chain, hunting is not without hazards. The survival hunting essential listed in this article should be the basic start for anyone who plans to secure enough food by hunting.
Stay safe out there!
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