By Simon Cuthbert, Target Tamers
How many times have you heard a fellow prepper say they’ll hunt for their meat when the SHTF?
They have the rifles, loads of ammo, and probably some camo stashed away for when the day eventually comes. But, have they ever actually set foot in the field, let alone killed a live creature?
Unfortunately, taking down big game isn’t as romantic and easy as the reality shows on TV make it out to be. Just as experienced hunters prep for a hunt, so should a prepper that plans on hunting when TEOTWAWKI comes to pass.
Here are 7 hunting tips for a prepper to know before the SHTF.
Prepping For Hunting: It’s A Priority
When the grid is down during a crisis, it may only be a matter of an hour or two before supermarkets are looted and empty of any essentials needed to survive. With good planning on your part, you have your stockpile of food, seedlings, and fresh water to depend on.
But we all know at some point, the hunter-gatherer mentality is going to be a vital state of mind after the SHTF.
If you just walk into the nearest woods or field and expect to roll up on a herd to put dinner on the table, you’re kidding yourself. While preppers tend to have one or two favorite pulpit topics that they’re experienced in, hunting often gets left as a low priority because we all think we can do it.
It’s time to put hunting up there with the rest of the priorities that require practice, training, and knowledge. Without it, your ability to not only survive, but flourish in a post-apocalyptic world is at risk.
1. Know Your Terrain
If you live in an urban area, you’re going to have to set some time aside to make trips out to the country.
Knowing your terrain means knowing where there will be game. You should know where they forage, bed down, and how they behave in different types of weather. You should be familiar with the region.
All these things help to prevent you from getting lost, it increases your odds of success, and it should put you hot on the tail of your prey.
2. Know Your Game
Do you know enough about your prey to identify it without seeing it?
Get familiar with its food source, correctly identifying its footprints, and understanding what clues its scat can provide. You increase your chances of successfully tracking, stalking, and trapping it.
Preppers are good when it comes to thinking about the unexpected. In the hunt, this could include running into a predator.
You may be out for deer, elk, and even rabbits, but what are you going to do when you run into a pack of wolves or a bear that’s also hunting for your prey? Be well-educated on what wildlife and predators you can expect to run into in your region. This can be a life-saver if you know what you can be better prepared for.
3. Dress The Part
There’s a time and place for camo, and camo is recommended hunting gear for a reason – it’s harder to detect in field environment just like a deer’s coat blends in seamlessly with the terrain. But, sometimes it’s not all about camo.
Keeping the wind in your face downrange from your prey may prove to be more effective than the plaid, wool sweater you’ve got on.
The point is, don’t be wearing cologne or perfume, wear sturdy boots and quality socks, dress the part if you can, and wear gear that isn’t noisy, so you don’t scare game a mile away.
In the cooler months, always dress warm. It’s better to peel off layers as you need. You never know if you’ll end up having to camp out in below freezing temperatures.
4. Know Your Shot
Sometimes, a clean shot just doesn’t always happen, and now you have the worrisome task of tracking.
It’s always tempting to run after it immediately after taking the shot but wait and give it a few before you do. The last thing you want is to be injured by a surprise buck in the gut or face when you thought it was down.
You could also spook the wounded animal into sprinting off again before it finally goes down consequently lengthening your hunt.
The blood trail is also a good indication of the type of shot it took. Small spots may mean you only slightly injured it, and now you may have a hyper-alert, aggressive, and wounded animal ready to fight back.
Learn up on what different blood trails indicate about your shot.
5. Got A Kill: What Next?
Now the hard work begins. Do you have any idea of how to skin and quarter your game? Can you do it without tainting the meat?
You might also want to preserve the fur and hide to repurpose into blankets or jackets, and even the bones and marrow can be used for makeshift weapons, tools, flutes, and food.
Every part of an animal can serve a purpose in a world void of the essentials to survive.
You’ll also have to think about how you’re going to haul all that meat back to your retreat, camp, or compound.
Are you alone and on foot? Will you purchase a deer cart? Can your hunting party haul off your bounty in one trip?
6. Have The Right Gear
It’s natural to automatically think of the weapon as the only gear you’ll need. Yes, we touched on clothing, but you must have the right weapon for the job.
Additionally, what about the optics necessary to aid the shot?
Binoculars are vital to glass and spot your game and perhaps any nearby predators before they detect you.
If you have limited space in your hunting pack, you should opt for a small pair of binoculars for its compact and wide field of view benefits.
A laser rangefinder provides the distance that ensures you make an accurate shot. A rifle scope or bow sight will ensure you can get dead-on and take that animal down.
If you’re not hauling a spotting scope in the hunt, it can be beneficial for a spotter or lookout at the retreat as a security surveillance optic – no batteries required.
7. Preparedness Equals Success
Being out in the field exposes you to harsh weather and terrain, but if you know your stuff, you’re less likely to end up stranded while out on the hunt. Understanding how your game will behave for varying conditions will up your odds for success.
Knowledge and the use of it equals success and survival. Just as canning, knowing how to start fires, and stockpiling supplies is essential to preparedness, so is hunting and the skills acquired from it.