by J. Wayne Fears: Before we get started on survival hunting tactics, there’s something you need to know. In all of North America, if you get lost in the woods—by whatever happenstance—it’s nearly a certainty you will be rescued within 72 hours of authorities being notified. In the Lower 48, cut that to 24 hours or less.
When you become lost while hunting, fishing or hiking, the first thing to do is sit down and think. Prioritize your needs. The Rule of Threes is helpful.
THE SURVIVAL RULE OF THREES
You will survive:
• About 3 seconds if you lose your head and panic.
• About 3 minutes without oxygen to your brain.
• About 3 hours without shelter, fire, or proper dry clothes.
• About 3 days without water.
• At least 3 weeks without food.
|Smith's 10-N-1 Pocket Survival Multi-Tool|
Every “survival” situation is unique to itself, but seldom, if ever, these days, does finding a source of nutrition to survive jump to the top of the priority list. Even if it did, you need to be smart about it. Feeding yourself in a survival situation must be about gaining more energy and calories from eating the food than you expended acquiring and preparing it. If not, you’re actually hurting yourself more than you’re helping.
So, if you find yourself lost with your rifle, shotgun, or bow it MAY be worth hunting once your other priorities such as shelter, fire making and signaling are satisfied. There’s a lot of comfort and reassurance in settling in for a long night with some form of protein roasting on a stick over the fire in front of your shelter.
Watch video below for more survival tips on how to manage your fear when lost.
Finding Food & Water in a Survial Situation
|Often the easiest food sources to find that requires the least amount of energy to gather are edible wild plants, nuts and bird eggs.|
Without an efficient hunting tool you know how to use well, there are many other ways to feed yourself that are more resource efficient than trying to kill rabbits, birds, and deer! First, look to any body of water. If you can come up with a hook and line, a makeshift seine net made from your shirt, or even a whittled spear you’re probably best off starting your quest for protein in the water. Elsewhere on Bass Pro Shops 1Source, you’ll find information on survival fishing. That should be your first choice if it’s an option.
From there, next look for what you can forage or scavenge. If it’s nesting season, look for eggs of nesting birds or turtles. Many insects, worms, and grubs are edible. However, some are dangerous, so you should have some training on which ones to avoid. Stay away from spiders all together. If you’re around water crayfish, crabs, mussels, clams, etc. are mostly all edible, but should all be cooked. Frogs, tadpoles, and salamanders are great sources of easily caught protein, but avoid toads. Snakes, lizards and turtles provide good, even tasty, survival protein.
Be ever vigilant for opportunities to acquire nutrition. A frozen winterkill moose or deer can be hacked up with a hatchet to provide chunks of edible meat. Just be sure whatever killed the critter isn’t guarding it from nearby.
Again, think things through. Your search for food cannot be allowed to sap more physical resources than you’ll gain from eating what you gather. Often the easiest food sources to find that requires the least amount of energy to gather are edible wild plants. During the warm seasons edible wild plants or berries may be available. During the cool seasons nuts and roots may be nearby. As with insects, some prior training is necessary.
|Sharpener and Survival Tool|
More difficult to acquire without efficient hunting tools are birds and mammals. The classic “survival story” solution is to snare something. From a lifetime spent in the wilds around the world, I can tell you unless you’re an expert trapper who knows the animals you’re after and the habitat they live in, anything you’ll catch with a snare in a survival situation is far more luck than skill. I’ve been involved in many survival schools where as many as 90 students were sent out with proper snare making materials and given several days to snare food. I can count on one hand the number of times any of them actually caught anything.
Those odds are exactly opposite of what you NEED in a real survival situation.
In Outdoor Survival, You Need to Focus on the High Percentage Options
For example, are you better off creating a spear or gig of some kind and going after frogs … or should you try to spot a ground hog or marmot near its den and sit patiently in wait to bash it with a rock? You must weigh the odds of which is likely going to be more successful versus the energy output required. Making a gig or spear, becoming proficient with it, and wading into the swamp to gig frogs or fish requires more energy than waiting silently downwind of a groundhog’s burrow, but which is more likely to produce nutrition? And, weighed against time and energy spent on efforts to speed up your rescue – which is more important?
One of the simplest hunting tools to make in a survival situation is a slingshot. Braided bungee cords or a piece of inner tube can provide the elastic. All you need besides that is a stout forked stick and the roundest pebbles you can lay your hands on. Problem is, it takes a good bit of practice to hit anything with a slingshot. Again, where is your time better spent – making and learning to use a slingshot or making yourself easier to rescue?
These are modern, real world, ways to think about hunting for survival in situations where you become lost while hunting, fishing, or hiking—or even if you’re in a bush plane that goes down somewhere extremely remote. If you want to learn hunting and trapping for survival should the power grid fail or an enemy disrupt our food supplies that’s a different story … somewhat. Those would likely be long term situations that would require you to find food. If those skills are your goal, start studying them and PRACTICING them now. And even then, you’re likely to have your guns, bows, traps, and fishing gear to rely on. In the end, you must answer the same question: “Is the food I’m acquiring and eating giving me more energy than I used in getting it?