Hunting and Trapping
by Winyan Staz
Unless you're a vegetarian you are going to want to know a few simple snares, traps and a few tips too. We Native Americans have a name for vegetarians.. we call them "bad hunters." ... All kidding aside (I was a vegetarian for about 9 years once but have returned to eating meat as my body did not do so well without it.) Now I just bless my food and eat. Any ways.. that said.. there are a few tips for hunters & trappers.
You can make snares out of cordage, shoelaces, light weight wire(best) or things like string, yarn, ropes, etc. but, unless you take the time to know your quarry you won't catch much. Watch for well used paths, fresh scat and know the times they move along those paths.
One or two snares won't keep you in food. You will need at least a dozen or two. The more snares..the more likely you will eat.
If you know your quarry you can use natural food such as berries, mushrooms, etc. for bait for your deadfall traps. Google "paiute trap" or "deadfall traps" and learn a couple of ways. Practice!
It is also extremely important to keep your scent down to a minimum when setting snares. Standing in the smoke from a wet burning campfire will help, rubbing your hands & feet with cedar needles or wild mint or other strong smelling plants (like skunk cabbage) will also help.
Check your snares every day! Otherwise another critter will come along and snatch your supper or the creature will suffer needlessly.
Don't throw away those bones! You can split them for the marrow inside to either eat, put into soups or use as bait. Use the bones for needles, arrowheads, or other useful tools such as scrappers and knives. Use every part in thankfulness to the spirit of that animal for helping you to survive.
One day the atoms of our bodies will also return to the Wheel of life to be taken up by some plant or critter to help them survive and grow as well. God feeds God. And even if you choose not to believe in The Creator, it is still the best practice.
Use the brains of the animal you trapped to cure the hide after it is stretched out, pegged down, dried and scrapped. Rub the brains into the skin and by wrapping the hide around a tree branch you can move it back and forth by alternately pulling on both ends to make it soft and supple.
Dry the meat
Dry any left over meats over your campfire smoke. Later you can pound some of it mixed with dried berries and fat to make pemmican..a good trail and travel food to have. SAVE all fat you don't eat. It can be used so many ways. To keep your lips from drying and cracking, to rub on an arrow shaft so it will slide easily or for light at night..so many ways to use fat and so necessary and a bit difficult to get in the wild.
Animals are a lot like humans in that they too will choose the easiest way to move or travel. You will always find an animal trail a few yards into the woods past highways. They tend to follow the highways looking for good crossing places, especially to get to water on the other side. The bigger the animal trail is..the better chance that it will lead to water.
Learn as many of the animal tracks as you can. It will help you to know if you are tracking a rabbit or a skunk, etc or what type of predator is around. When moving through the woods, always remember to stop once in a while and look back behind you. Animals will wait until you pass to move...and you also want to know if you are the hunter or the hunted. ;) Watch for animal trails & sign around their favorite type of food or the waterholes.
Always remember. Prey travels along the paths. Predators travel beside the path.
Learn to survive in the wilderness.