It’s one thing to hunt when the weather is good, you have plenty of ammo and a cooler full of food and beer, but it’s a whole other situation to hunt when circumstances have turned against you. Trying to hunt while you’re lost in the woods and without familiar hunting tools such as your tree stand, your rifle and your compact binoculars can be a harrowing experience. That’s why every survivalist and prepper is going to want to make sure that they have the skills they need to hunt when they’re in an unfamiliar location and without their most effective hunting tools.

It’s one thing to talk about how you’re a master hunter and it’s another thing to prove it, and nobody knows that better than us. We understand there’s quite a hunting curve for people who have never hunted with anything but their firearms, so we decided to write this guide clarifying the subject for all of our readers. This guide is going to give anyone reading it the tips they need to hunt their food when they’re in the direst of circumstances.

Step One: Learn About Local Flora & Fauna

To successfully hunt game in the wild and do it reliably, the hunter is going to have to understand the wilderness locations they’re likely to find themselves in and the game that can be found in those locations. The hunter should learn everything they can about local flora and fauna as they can. Mating habits of animals, what plants are likely to attract what animals, and so on are all things that the hunter needs to know beforehand. A person who is preparing to sustenance hunt in the Australian outback is going to need to know different things than someone who expects to hunt in a Canadian forest.

Although we have no problem with survivalists obtaining broad survival skills, when it comes to hunting, the more specific the hunter can be about the area, the easier it will be for them to find food to eat. Even survival expert Les Stroud spent a considerable amount of time learning about local flora and fauna before he wandered out into the woods for episodes of Survivorman. You should do the same. And once this knowledge has been obtained, it should be practiced until you feel like you have mastered it.

Step Two: Learn How To Make A Survival Spear

Not everyone can head out into the wilderness with their favorite hunting rifle or Kukri—sometimes, a person is going to have to improvise their tools out in the field. And one of the most useful tools that a person can construct in the field is a survival spear. A survival spear is useful for hunting a variety of different prey, including birds, fish, and squirrels.

A survival spear is an easy tool to make, especially if a person has had the foresight to always carry a pocket knife with them and manage to have one available to them. However, even if a person doesn’t have a knife with them, they can always break a stick in such a way or use rocks to fashion a very crude spear. Sure, it might be nothing more than a pointy stick, but even so, it’s still a useful hunting tool.

Of course, making a survival spear is a lot easier when you have a knife available to you. You can either use the knife to sharpen the end of a suitable stick, or you can lash the knife to the end of the stick using paracord or vines. However, we feel that whittling the stick is a better option since it allows you to keep the knife for other purposes and doesn’t expose the knife to being broken or lost in the same way as lashing it to the stick would.

Step Three: Learn Trap Building

Another piece of knowledge that can be quite useful to a hunter is how to make traps. If the hunter has cordage available to them such as paracord, electrical wire, or vines, and if they have enough time, they can construct enough traps to supply them with some food. However, it should be noted that it would take quite a few traps for a person to live off of the animals caught by them. Most likely, the traps would just supplement other forms of hunting.

There are a variety of different traps that a hunter could make to capture prey. There are snare traps, deadfalls, pit traps, and cup traps. And all of them can be constructed rather easily. For example, if a person is stranded in the woods, they can strip the wire out of a pair of headphones and use it to construct a squirrel pole, if need be. Below are some of the more common traps that every hunter should learn how to make:

  • Squirrel Pole
  • Deadfall
  • Paiute Deadfall
  • Treadle Snare
  • Drowning Snare
  • Peg Snare

Step Four: Learn Survival Fishing

Survival fishing is another tool that every hunter should have in their back pocket. Sometimes taking fish out of the river is the only way to get something to eat. Therefore, the hunter should learn how to fish with a fishing spear, how to make their own hooks and lines, and even how to catch fish with their hands if necessary. They should also learn how to make a fish trap, which is easy enough to make if the hunter has access to a few natural resources.

Step Five: Don’t Forget About Unconventional Food Sources

Unconventional food sources are something that every hunter should know about before they need to practice sustenance hunting. A big mistake that many people make when they’re lost in the woods is to concentrate on squirrels or other larger animals for food to hunt while ignoring the proliferation of other prey such as mice, lizards, frogs, birds, and even insects. If a hunter keeps those creatures in mind as potential food sources as well as larger prey, then they can significantly increase their odds of finding something to eat when they need it the most.