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  • Give the Gift of Gear: For Hunters

    Give the Gift of Gear for Hunters

    Deck the halls and hark the heralds! It's our favorite time of the year over here, and our little preparedness elves have been very busy brainstorming gifts for everyone on your list—the naughty and the nice. And the prepper. And the canner. And the gardener, the gadget-mad, and the outdoor guru. In fact, no matter who you're buying for, you'll find something perfect in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.

    But just to make it even easier (because we're helpful like that), over the next few days we'll be writing about some of our favorite gifts by the unique and distinctive interests of the people you love. And to start, we present…

    Best Holiday Shots for the Hunter in Your Life

    Under $25: Make sure that his or her stocking is full of something other than cold, wet toes. We can't imagine anything more welcome in a frigid duck blind than an armful of hand and body warmers. Lasting up to 18 hours (“Just ten more minutes—I swear I heard a rustle in those reeds!”), these neatly-sized little packs can be slipped into pockets, gloves, boots, and just about anywhere else that might need heating up.

    And speaking of pocket-sized presents, these 400-calorie Millennium Food Bars could keep a hunting party going on even the most elusive trail, and the 9-bar combo pack is on sale for the holidays. So is this High Uinta Gear 13-function utility knife—a must-have for anything from dislodging jammed shells to changing the spark plugs on the four-wheeler.

    Under $50: We can think of lots of great things in this price range for the hunter on your gift list—everything from the SOL Origin survival pack to these Mountain House just-add-hot-water, cook-in-the-bag meal kits. But let's not beat around the bush: the most crucial and most appreciated gift under the tree will be the Black Pine Turbo Toilet. Lightweight, high capacity, and available in (wait for it…) camouflage, this is the item that will have the relieved hunter in your life singing your praises.

    Under $100: Chances are, if you're moving up the price scale, you're dealing with someone particularly special to you. Someone whose well-being you care about. Someone who would make you sad if he came home with his foot impaled on a chopstick-sized splinter. Prevent heartache and ER bills by giving the gift of safety. This Medic’s First Aid Kit comes with 175+ paramedic-grade supplies, including a wilderness medicine book for all those, um, specialized injuries.

    Over $100: Really need to impress? Give the gift that keeps on giving. Let your hunter turn his fantastic kills into tasty jerky year after year with the Excalibur Deluxe 9-Tray Dehydrator. And then, when deer season is over, you can sneak it out and make fruit leather and sun dried tomatoes. Seriously, it’s a win-win.

    Any other great ideas for the hunter in your life? We’d love to hear them! And don’t forget to tune in again soon for our elves’ handy suggestions for the other giftees on your list!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hunting, gear, gift guide

  • Hunting Snares: Types and How to Build One

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    Understanding how to use snares for hunting can help you survive in an emergency

    In severe disasters, often times you end up relying on yourself and your own outdoor survival skills more than you might expect. It’s handy to have your supply of food storage and other gear, but what if a sudden tsunami sweeps it all away? What if an unexpected earthquake buries your supply in rubble or opens a sink hole and swallows it whole? (It’s rare—but it does happen). What if, for some reason, you can’t access your storage anymore? As a prepper, it’s important to prepare in all areas: food, water, gear, and skills.

    Hunting Basics: Traps and Snares

    Not everybody is a hunting expert with a Brush Gun slung over their shoulder, but everyone can, and should, be a snare/trap expert—or at least know the basics.

    When you have only yourself to rely on for food, a basic knowledge of snares and traps may prove to save your life.

    In an emergency, there’s always a chance that you will be out on your own for longer than three days. Think Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms hitting the Philippines in 2013; it killed nearly 6,000 people and displaced another 3.6 million. Or consider the tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma in May of 2013, destroying homes, damaging schools, and killing 24 people.

    Disasters like these happen all too often, making your knowledge of survival skills vital to staying alive.  Learn to build traps and snares out of basic items you can find after a disaster (or items you have stored in your emergency kit), and you’ll be better prepared to face the unexpected.

    Types of Traps and Snares

    A snare is one of the simplest types of traps you can make that allow you to catch animals or birds using a rope, wire, or cord. This post will tell you how to make a few types of snares to use in a survival situation. Typically it’s a good idea to place multiple traps around your area and build a variety of them—certain traps work better in certain locations or with specific species.

    Keep in mind that a lot of animal snares and traps are illegal and dangerous, such as the Pine Pitch Bird Cup trap, so make sure you check with your local authorities to determine whether or not your choice of snare is okay for hunting or if it should only be used in a real emergency situation.

    A Squirrel Noose

    This classic snare uses no bait and little supplies, letting you easily trap your prey right outside his home. All you need is wire. According to the Survivalist, you want 2-foot lengths of wire (22-gauge or 24-gauge wire works well) for each snare, which you’ll want about a dozen of.

    Squirrel Snare--Photo Courtesy of the Survivalist

    First, locate an area where squirrel activity is high. You can usually tell by either finding a squirrel nest in a tree or by signs of their activity on the ground (ex. a pile of pine cone shreds where one has sat and eaten). Once you’ve found your location, search out a log to rest against the tree. It’s preferable if there is already one that you can tell squirrels use to get up to their nests. If there’s not one already set, find your own.

    Using your 2-foot lengths of wire, make a small loop (about the circumference of a pencil) at one end of the wire. Feed the other end of the wire through that small loop making a noose. Pull it through until your snare loop is no bigger than 3 inches in diameter. Tie the other end of the wire around your log. Don’t save your snares, use dozens over the one log, making the nooses cover the tops, sides, and bottoms so your prey can’t escape.

    Learn how to build a Squirrel Noose from the experts at the Survivalist.

    Fixed Snare

    The Fixed Snare allows you to catch an animal and to keep it from running away. You can make a fixed snare out of practically any flexible, durable material (wire, a braided-steel cable, etc.) making it an ideal snare to use in an emergency situation. However, these snares are usually a one-time use trap as the wires tend to bend and weaken after an animal has been caught.

    Fixed Snare--Photo Courtesy of Outdoor Life

    For the fixed snare to work, simply create a small loop at one end of the wire (about the circumference of a pencil). Feed the other end of the wire through that small loop to create a type of noose. Place the ‘noose’ above a burrow or on a small game trail and wait. When an animal scampers by, pull the wire, which will tighten the noose and catch you a meal.

    Learn how to build a Fixed Snare from the experts at Outdoor Life.

    Deer Trail Snare

    Trapping a deer is tastier than other game you may find in a survival situation, and with this snare it’s pretty easy to do. Locate a path where deer travel frequently—look for animal tracks across a trail where shrubbery and bushes overlap into it. These trails are great to help hide your snare.

    For this snare, all you need is paracord, wire, and nature. Create a snare loop (as explained in the Fixed Snare and Squirrel Noose instructions) with your wire large enough for a deer’s head to fit through—roughly 12-24" in diameter and up to 3 feet high. Over the trail, locate two trees. Tie one end of your paracord to one tree and the other end to the second tree; hang your noose wire from it. Use the overhanging brush to disguise the wire hanging in the middle of the trail. When a deer walks through, his head will get caught in the noose and he’ll be trapped. This trap won’t kill the deer, but will hold him until you can get there to finish the job. 

    Greasy String Deadfall

    This bait-driven snare will catch and kill your game. This snare is great to use in survival situations because all you need is a deadfall (a weight, like a rock, that’s heavy enough to kill the animal on impact), a forked branch/stick, a sapling, and twine or paracord. All of these items can be found outdoors except for the twine—which you should put in your emergency kit ahead of time.

    Greasy String Deadfall Snare--Photo Courtesy of Outdoor Life

    With the Greasy String Deadfall, an animal is lured to your string covered in bait (that’s the ‘grease’). Your bait can be anything from other dead animals, berries, etc. You can decide what type of bait to use based on the type of animal you’re trying to catch. As your prey chews on the string, it will snap and the rock (a.k.a deadfall) will land on top of the animal.  

    Learn how to build a Greasy String Deadfall snare from the experts at Outdoor Life. 

    Bottle Fishing Trap

    The Plastic Bottle Fishing Trap is as simple as it gets when it comes to traps. This trap is ideal for catching small fish, which you can either eat or use as bait for another snare. All you need to make this trap is a water bottle and a sharp knife.

    Bottle Trap Snare--Photo Courtesy of Off Grid Survival

    Using your knife cut off the top of the water bottle and insert it back into the bottle, nozzle down. You can place insects or other bait into the bottle to attract the fish. Place the bottle in shallow water where you can hold it steady with surrounding vegetation. Small fish will swim into the bottle for the bait, but be unable to find their way back out.

    Learn how to build the Bottle Fishing Trap from the experts at OffGrid Survival.

    For additional snare ideas and tutorials, check out the sources below:

    Sources:

    http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/2013-top-natural-disasters

    http://offgridsurvival.com/survival-traps-and-snares/

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Snaring/step6/The-Fixed-Snare/

    http://www.outdoorlife.com/photos/gallery/survival/2013/03/how-build-trap-15-best-survival-traps

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_trapping

    http://www.myoan.net/hunting/jargon.html

    http://survival.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/2012/08/survival-skills-how-make-squirrel-pole-snare

    Posted In: Insight, Skills Tagged With: preparedness skills, hunting snare, trap, snare, hunting, emergency preparedness supplies, emergency cooking, food, emergency preparedness, Survival, skills

  • Website Review: Gourmet Hunting & Foraging Recipes from HAGC

    I have a new favorite website. And bizarrely, it has nothing to do with British television or decorating with old maps (my current obsessions). In fact, it seems like it should be better suited to the tough guy I’m married to—and yet, I can’t look away!

    It’s called Hunter.Angler.Gardener.Cook (honest-food.net). It’s written by a guy named Hank Shaw who used to be a political journalist but now writes recipes.

    Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook--Website Review

    Cray recipes.

    Crazy, wonderful recipes using edibles he either shoots, catches, finds, grows, or (occasionally) sources locally. Hank describes himself as an “omnivore who has solved his dilemma.” He’s published two books, contributed to an endless stream of both outdoors and food magazines, and has even appeared on television to demonstrate his culinary skills.

    Hunter-Goose-Bockwurst_HAGC

    The website is primarily a recipe archive, and I have to admit, those food photos are the big draw. But it’s the extras that make this site such a treasure. Categorized by main course (wild game, seafood, etc.), each heading provides how-to’s (do you know how to cut up a squirrel?), hunting tips (did you know seasonal diet will determine bear meat’s flavor?), video tutorials (any idea how to fillet a skate?), as well as extensive links and references, and some pretty fantastic essays.

    Wood Duck and Acorn Dumplings Recipe

    And did I mention the recipes? If you hunt or know a hunter, you’ve probably had a fairly decent deer roast. And the down-to-earth Hank would not turn you away if you offered him a bite. But how about French frog legs, partridge Escabeche, or grilled boar heart with peppers and onions?

    Not to mention squash spaetzle, stinging nettle ravioli, and acorn flour pasta. And he has a whole category dedicated to the “wobbly bits,” as he calls them: heart, liver, and whatever else I usually make my husband throw away before roasting the Thanksgiving bird. Talk about stretching your resources!

    What Hunter.Angler.Gardener.Cook advocates is twofold. First it challenges us to expand our conception of food. Nature’s readily available bounty includes plants and animals that we’re not used to thinking about in terms of meals, but which could absolutely sustain us (and in shameless gourmet style, Shaw demonstrates!).

    And secondly, it encourages us to widen our skill set. In an emergency and without other resources, could you shoot a squirrel or identify an edible mushroom? True preparedness isn’t just about stockpiling resources, it's also about knowing how to access what is available outside your storage cupboard.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: fishing, Website/Blog Review, survival skills, hunting, skills, recipes