Wilderness Survival

10 Essential Hunting Skills

Although food storage is an essential part of your disaster preparation strategy, it is important that you supplement your food by hunting and gardening. Learning to hunt will serve you well in your quest for survival.

There are several methods of hunting and each has their own advantages and drawbacks. Some hunting methods require more skill than others. It is not necessary to master all of the skills, but it is a good idea to be familiar with the options, including tools you can use if you find yourself without a weapon. Here’s a list of 10 essential hunting skills you can practice for survival whether you are an experienced hunter or not.

1 – Firearm Proficiency Guns are commonly used by hunters. Although guns provide the most effective method of hunting, it is imperative that you are trained on how to safely use the weapon and that you practice your skills regularly.

2 – Archery A bow and arrow is also an effective tool for hunting. Learning how to shoot a bow and arrow takes a lot of practice, but it may be worth it. If you do not have a bow and arrow set on hand, you can fashion the bow with hardwood saplings and paracord.

3 – Setting Traps and Snares Snares are excellent tools for hunting. There are many styles of snares that require various degrees of skill to set up. They can be used to hunt a variety of animals. Once they are set up, you simply need to check them regularly to see if they have captured any prey.

4 – Alternate Techniques with Spear and Rocks A spear is one of the most primal weapons. They can be used for stabbing an animal or thrown at the target prey. A spear can be fashioned from a sharpened stick, or you can attach a spearhead made of bone, stone, wood or steel to the stick. Although they’re not the most effective hunting tool, rocks can be useful if you don’t have any other tools available. The effectiveness of this tool will depend on your strength and accuracy. You’ll have to get pretty close to the animal and throw the rock with enough force to stop the animal in its tracks.

5- Tracking Learn the game animals that are common in your area and the basics of their behavior. You might not find a proper track for a particular animal, but you might find where it has left fur or scratched a tree. Find where the herbivores go, because the carnivores will follow.

6- Covering Scents If you don’t have anything like or baking soda, which some people say works, or woodsy scent chips, pay close attention to the wind while you are tracking, and adjust your positioning if necessary. The slightest whiff of human will put some animals like deer on edge.

7- Field Dressing a Kill Nothing really replaces experience in this regard, but if you don’t have experience in breaking down an animal in the field, find a video to watch and get a general idea. You aren’t going to get far if you’re trying to carry around a whole elk or bear along with your day pack. And furthermore, make sure you have a good knife with you at all times.

8- Judging Distance Eyeballing distances, particularly after dark, does not come naturally to most humans. But if you’re trying to shoot and keep your use of ammunition or arrows to a minimum, this skill could be what saves you. There are things you can to do practice this skill, such as placing markers at 20, 30 and 40 yards and shining a light on them (at night) to see how much you can identify in each area. During the daytime, take note of rocks, trees or shrubs in the area that are at 10-yard increments.

9- Read a Topographic Map Learning how to read the contour lines of a map of your area is an important skill if you want or need to be able to bug out into the woods or mountains somewhere. The lines can tell you whether you’ll be hiking uphill, in a valley or across flat land. Combine that with knowledge of where your water systems are in your area, and you’ll have a very good idea of the environment. With this knowledge you’ll have a better chance of staying hidden — or of being found.

10- Navigate with a Map and Compass In the age of GPS, many people no longer know how to navigate with a basic paper map and magnetic north. If you know hot to do this, you’ll never be lost again. Think about it…a paper map won’t break or run out of batteries. A compass is breakable, but it works even with cloud cover.

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Anne Bucher

Anne Bucher

Anne Bucher is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing incredible stories of survival.

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