Killing Animals to Survive
By Steven Gillman
The snake kept moving even
after the head was cut off, the insides taken out, and the skin
removed. I had strung it up from a branch to clean it. When it
finally stopped moving, I put it in a plastic bread bag and stuffed
it in my knapsack. Later I would split the pound of meat into two
pieces. One was for a stew, and the other for roasting over the
I was fourteen years old, and I wanted to know
everything about wilderness survival. I am more interested in
backpacking now than in wilderness survival trips, but the survival
lessons have stayed with me, and they make me feel more at home in
the wilderness. It is safer to be out there if you know how to
survive. Knowing things like which berries you can eat also means
you can go lighter when backpacking.
However, there is something I have noticed when
talking to backpackers who have an interest in wilderness survival.
Very often they are interested in how to make a bow and arrows, or
traps for animals, or spears and bolas. These things are interesting
to me too, but it is a mistake to think that these are the skills
most likely to save the life of a lost hiker.
Wilderness Survival - Killing Animals
First of all, survival for a lost backpacker is
rarely a matter of food. Shelter, water, avoiding injury and getting
found all take precedence over food. When it is time to look for
food, though, animals are the surest source of calories and protein,
and the surest way to obtain this food is to look for the easiest
animals to kill and the easiest ways to do this.
This does not include fancy weapons that take
hours to fashion. You are not trying to live out there, remember,
but only to stay alive long enough to be found. What, then, are some
of the easiest animals to hunt and the easiest ways to kill them?
They include the following:
These prickly, slow moving animals are one of the
best survival foods out there. If you can walk and hold a stick, you
can hunt a porcupine. They were traditionally left alone by mountain
men, in order to leave a ready supply of easy food in the woods for
anyone who was lost and hungry.
They don't die quickly, so you'll have to club
them hard and repeatedly. To clean a porcupine, roll it over with a
stick and cut it open from below. Be careful of the quills. You
should be able to skin it from the underside without getting stuck.
Then you can cook it over a fire (they taste good, by the way).
If you can see fish in shallow water, they are
probably easier to spear with a sharpened stick than to catch with a
hook and bait. Another way to get them is to wait with your hand
poised over a spot they swim by, and quickly pin them to the bottom
with your hand as they come into range. I have caught 30 small fish
in an hour or two in this way.
Other Easy Animals
Snakes can be caught by hand, or with the help of
a stick (preferable in the case of venomous ones). Crayfish can be
found under rocks and logs in lakes and streams, and boil up just
like miniature lobsters. Quail and other birds that nest on the
ground can sometimes be killed with a well-aimed rock, and usually
circle back to give you another chance. Bird eggs don't run away to
Clams, insects, grubs from rotten logs, turtles -
these are some of the other foods that can be caught by hand. This
isn't about proving your "skills" or being the mighty hunter. Look
for the easy ways. When it comes to food, wilderness survival is
simply about efficiently gathering calories.
Copyright Steve Gillman. To get the ebook "Ultralight Backpacking
Secrets (And Wilderness Survival Tips)" for FREE, as well as photos,
gear recommendations, and a new wilderness survival section, visit:
The Ultralight Backpacking Site: http://www.The-Ultralight-Site.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steven_Gillman
Like this article? You may also enjoy:
Ultralight Backpacking by Steve Gillman,
Breakfast Recipes by