by Anthony Frailey
(Bentonville, AR, USA)
A way to hunt, simple but effective
I know this isn't exactly related to edible food itself, but is a way to attain much needed food if you are stuck in the wilds. It was stated before that hunting food would be time consuming, and wasting energy. I'm gambling that if you as a person alone or stranded in the wilds grab a long stick, and make a spear to hunt/fish with, this is so. The problem is that you have limited range, and must actively seek prey in some manner( this is based off the assumption that no gun, or bow of any sort is available.)
My suggestion, is to construct and use a sling.
Slings are one of the oldest tools used for hunting and protection. They are very simple to make (a few feet of string and something such as leather, or cloth is all you need.) Details on how to make one can be found all over the internet.
I've used string, rope, leather (from the tongue of an old shoe), leather from a cast off "broken" sling shot, cloth... you name it. I imagine that even vine could be used if it was supple and strong enough.
In most wilderness places, small game is abundant, but it's fast, and often flies away... much to fast to run down. Traps are not opportunist, meaning they just sit there until the right conditions (or skill of the trapper) trigger a hit or miss. A sling however is light and portable. Rocks, stones, clay balls hardened , even lead sinkers (though I don't recommend using lead anything.), can be found almost anywhere and every where.
A good rule of thumb is to try to find roundish smooth stones, golf ball size or bigger. Smaller is fine, especially if the "pocket" of your sling is small... it just means it takes more practice to get accurate. With just a bit of practice ( most average people can master their sling accuracy, and use in an hour.), you just became a surviving opportunist.
The technique varies by individual... what you feel most comfortable with. Overhand, underhand, side-sweep... the action is often compared to "throwing a ball" on release. Mostly, you just turn your body 30-90 degrees away from your target, whip the loaded sling around (more than three revolutions you are wasting energy ), let the tag end of your sling go, while turning toward your target. (Always keep your eye on the target, not the sling. I find it helps to point my index finger at the target after the "release"... it seems to help the accuracy, I just don't know why it does. )
Too often survivors in the wild happen upon birds on branches close, but just enough out of reach to take effectively. Squirrels, and rabbits also can be spotted close by. Rats and snakes , and even turtles make great food sources if you can nab em. The sling, effectively gives the survivor an effective advantage to procure some much needed sustenance.
Throwing a rock, just isn't the same. If you are a person with a major league arm, you might toss a rock in the upper 80-90 mph range, but all the velocity of the projectile is lost after just 10-20 feet. Accuracy is also lost pending the throw. The sling can generate tremendous power, giving a effective range up to 250 yards. ( so I am told, I try to stay in the "if I can see it clearly, it's a target in range". Anything over 30-50 yards I'm not going to try.) Those long range shots might be better suited to ward of predators, or sport/practice at those distances. Up close, the sling delivers a blinding speed attack, with little effort at all.
And talk about impact! I do not know the scientific measurements of how many pounds per square inch a sling can generate... but I do know it crushes bone easily. (My first attempt at using one in practice amazed me when I hit the target I was using. Old milk jugs filled with water, at about 100 feet away. The jugs filled up with water, have more resistance than any game you'd be hunting, and let me tell you the sling doesn't just hit and bounce off, it often bust the jugs to ruins in one blow, and has even penetrated right through them. Just imagine what it could do to a skull or rib cage.)
It's a cheap weapon, easily carried, light, and portable. I got a tip from watching Survivorman, the famous survivalist always carries a good multi-tool with him always. I now carry one too, and I always carry a pre-made sling with me in my pocket. Those are two tools I won't go out of the house with-out. I also keep one in my travel pack and hiking pack as well. Not only do I use it for light game hunting, I also use it for recreation. A good past time of mine is slinging stones at the local river. A few of my friends have also taken up the hobby.
Also, as I said before, it can be used in protection situations as well. I've killed persistent snakes, warded off coyotes, and dropped a wild boar running at me before. I know this was a bit long winded, but in addition to setting traps and snares, give this simple but highly effective tool a try. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.