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Hunting vs. Weight
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Samuel Kau
(Skau) - M

Locale: Southern California
Hunting vs. Weight on 11/27/2010 12:49:41 MST Print View

I know that there has been major disagreements if carrying a gun in the backcountry is right or wrong. But i was wondering if you carry a gun, could you really lighten up your load by not carrying as much food? I would think you would need to carry more fuel (i use an alcohol stove) and I'm not sure if i would trust my hunting abilities so i might just carry some freeze dried food anyways. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with back country hunting because i was thinking about buying the pak-rifle. And i would really appreciate if this didn't turn into a political agenda but just on my original question.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Hunting vs. Weight on 11/27/2010 13:29:03 MST Print View

As for savng yourself weight, I doubt it.
As for success, it totally depends where you're going, how good of a hunter you are, and what's in season. The days of buying a rifle and walking into the woods to live off the land are long over. There are many technicalities you need to know.

Judging by your question, I'd assume you don't hunt. Apologies if I'm wrong.
Do you have a hunting license?
If not, work on that first. I see you're in SoCal: you'll have to take a hunting safety course (about 8-10 hours) and then go buy a license. The course is about $40 through Turners Outdoorsman. Your license will cost you about $50, tags/stamps are extra. You'll need a stamp for upland game/migratory birds. Rabbit requires no extra fees.

If you're talking about SoCal, a Pak Rifle wouldn't be legal to hunt with anywhere in Los Angeles County- no rifle hunting within county limits (shotgun, archery only).

You need to know where you're going:
I.E., Los Padres is decent hunting but requires non-lead ammo, the only exception being for .22s, which then legally limits you to rabbit. Not legal to hunt bird in this area without using non-lead shot. Then you have to know what's legal to shoot and when.

I hunt SoCal, so I'm happy to give you some pointers, but there's a lot to learn about safety, legality, seasons, etc. I'd start with the basics; take the hunting safety class and get a license (in the meantime shoot at a range) before going and buying a rifle to hunt.

brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
light and quiet on 11/27/2010 16:45:48 MST Print View

carry a longbow

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: light and quiet on 11/27/2010 19:28:34 MST Print View

"carry a longbow"


The learning curve is probably way steeper than hunting with firearms, but it'll probably make you a better hunter, and faster (if you don't give up in frustration first). I'm currently shooting a recurve...I have no interest in compound/high-tech bows.

I'm shifting into archery hunting as we speak...just about confident in my aim enough to start. In SoCal, especially Los Angeles County, archery allows you to hunt many areas that are otherwise shotgun only and archery season typically opens earlier than firearms (a big bonus if going for deer in popular zones).

As SoCal isn't the most hunting-friendly culture, I've also noticed that bows are far less likely to freak people out when seen carried.

Another personal bonus over firearms: I have a fairly deep lot; I've set up a stack of bales and can safely practice at up to 30 meters in my backyard.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Hunting on 11/29/2010 00:43:49 MST Print View

The thing with hunting to save weight is that it's not very predictable. You may be able to do it, but it requires a certain amount of risk and uncertainty.

To actually save weight by hunting, you'd likely need to be doing a longer trip so that you can pack some food and hunt some food. Since the lightest rifle (pak-rifle) with bullets weighs about the same as a days food supply, you'd really need to leave behind about 2-3 days worth of food to come out ahead. This could work over a longer trip (ie. 7-10 days) where you hope to shoot food and if you don't then you can dig into your food supply. Hopefully you can shoot the intended amount of food, and if you don't you'll go hungry but if you're smart you won't put yourself at real risk. As you get to know the area better you'll develop a better idea of how much game you can reasonably count on.

None of this would really work on short 1-2 day trips since you'd need to be very successful with the hunting just to break even.

Perhaps a better way to think of hunting is that in exchange for some uncertainty, you potentially get some really tasty meals. If you can break even with the weight and get some delicious wild grouse roasted over a fire, then you've probably had a more enjoyable trip. Doing it just to save weight probably isn't worth it except for fairly long trips where you're not in a hurry to make the kill and where you want/need to hike for longer unsupported distances than you normal can.

Another way to think of hunting is a luxury that will add weight. You could carry a normal supply of food, plus hunting equipment with the understanding that you are adding some weight to your pack in exchange for a possible luxurious meal. This approach is without risk/uncertainty, but most of us probably wouldn't carry a fairly heavy rifle just to shoot a meal we don't really need.

Edited by dandydan on 11/29/2010 00:46:28 MST.

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
Unlikely on 11/29/2010 09:12:41 MST Print View

You are unlikely to realize a weight savings FOR A TRADITIONAL BACKPACKING EXPERIENCE.
a) opportunity; you cannot rely on game and still hike.
b) time; hunting takes time. So does preparing and cooking game. Your hikes will be short, short, short.
c) portion; game needs to be small enough to be eaten in a day, ie squirrel, rabbit, bird/fowl. Anything larger would be a waste.

On the other hand if you think of this the other way around, as a hunting trip with UL overnighting, you can have a great experience. You will be the lightest hunter out there and very likely the only one without a solid roof and walls at night.

I once went out turkey hunting for 2 days with a UL rig and shotgun. Did not bag my bird but it was a great trip. Suggest you find a hunting-friendly parcel that is very large, with plenty of room to roam.


Josh Leavitt
(Joshleavitt) - F

Locale: Ruta Locura
hunting on 12/02/2010 20:24:31 MST Print View


Having done this most of my life to some extent, I would say yes it can be done. It truly depends on how serious you are about it, and maybe why you would want to do it.

I'll start by saying that in many parts of the world a fishing pole is far more practical than a rifle, but that of course depends on where you are at. I've eaten a fair number of salmon taken with a pistol, and alot of trout taken by hand. I've also taken grouse with nothing but rocks and sticks, and that was when I was packing the Pak-Rifle (Now called Pack-Rifle by some a$$ hole that failed the 2nd grade)

Beyond fishing poles, learn the local flora and what times of the year it can be harvested. This applies even when you have meat. Wild peas and onions are awesome with grouse, seasons dont always work out though. And mushrooms with fish is pretty amazing also. Ditch the alcohol (I use it also) and cook with a fire, additional weight savings, but not always cool everywhere you go. Think outside the box when thinking about what to harvest, opportunity does not always present itself the way one might want it to. Robins are as good as doves and pigeons, squirrel is a delicacy in some parts of the world, as are snakes.

And as a firearms designer, I highly reccomend you buy a bow, it will change your life.

Samuel Kau
(Skau) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: hunting on 12/02/2010 20:28:09 MST Print View


Thanks for the input and insight into hunting and fishing. I was thinking about getting a bow also. Do you have any suggestions for a beginner at a reasonable price? (the cheaper the better). thanks again for all the thoughts.


brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
looking for a tradtional bow? on 12/03/2010 09:46:33 MST Print View

Try classifieds. Look for an old Bear recurve, or a Bear Montana longbow. Both are good starter bows. Then try my buddies company for some beautifully functional artwork. (take-downs are perfect for backpacking)


My advice: Almost everyone starts with too much poundage. I would look for a 45-55 lb bow to start out with and go from there.Getting to your anchor point from a compromising position is a lot different than squaring up to a target with proper foot position....

Edited by cadyak on 12/03/2010 13:02:45 MST.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Bow on 12/04/2010 09:09:45 MST Print View

This is a long video but you might consider something like this, I'm going to try it next season.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Hunting vs. Weight on 12/04/2010 12:19:14 MST Print View

saving weight backpacking carrying a rifle- very unlikely, ditto for a bow, ditto for a shotgun, ditto for a pistol

before one thinks they are going to set off into the backcountry and live off the land, they might want to consult their game laws- season constraints, bag limits, district boundaries, protected species, etc- penalties for the most part have been greatly enhanced over the years, so what might seem like a minor offense might not be so minor

in an emergency, not a problem (most states have an exemption for an out and out emergency)- although I've yet to (and probably never will) encounter anyone who has actually had to do this

now flip this whole thing around, can you have a great wilderness hunt utilizing lightweight backpacking concepts- absolutely, you'll get away from the crowd and with a little diligence, might find some dandy honey holes :)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Hunting vs. Weight on 12/04/2010 12:56:39 MST Print View

Exactly Mike.

There's seasons, limits, licenses, regulations...not to mention knowing how to dress game (let alone find it)...

I think hunting can be a little more complicated than non-hunters/newcomers may think. I have a few friends, prior to hunting with me, that have held a romantic notion that you just walk around with a gun or bow, shoot, and eat...nothing to it.
And then they're a bit put-off the first time they see an animal killed and dressed, realizing it's much easier to just carry a steak from home.

Josh Leavitt
(Joshleavitt) - F

Locale: Ruta Locura
Weight on 12/04/2010 21:31:25 MST Print View

The weight benefits will be nill on short trips, but rewarding none the less. You dont really do this sort of thing, purely for weight savings. And there is not an all inclusive answer as to why you would do this.

I might add that a firearm can be lighter than the lightest bows. And that bows are hard to master. They are a pain to carry. Arrows are expensive. Your success rate will suffer severely. etc.

Now that we have you talked into a bow, you can miss the disapointment of knowing what its like to use a gun ;-)

As was mentioned earlier look for an older long bow or recurve in a lighter weight. My small game setup is a 1973 #35 Browning Wasp that weighs 20oz. Not only is it easier to learn with a lighter pull, its all you need for small game under 20yds. Shoot as often as you can, practice, practice, practice. And find out where your local carp reside and buy a fishing rig, its better than practice, its real world, and the perfect thing to do when the trails are still snowed in or muddy in the spring.

Josh Leavitt
(Joshleavitt) - F

Locale: Ruta Locura
Advice on 12/04/2010 21:34:32 MST Print View


Also, go with your gut on this, dont put too much to what you read here.

Paul Vertrees

Locale: Southern Colorado Rockies
Re: Hunting vs. Weight on 12/23/2010 13:28:23 MST Print View

Like some others here, I've been doing this for decades. However, there are some wrinkles you must consider. You sound relatively inexperienced as a backcountry hunter, so first I recommend that you attend the required hunter education course, and then practice, practice, practice with whatever firearm you're considering. I also shoot traditional archery and I can tell you the learning curve is a LOT more difficult than with a .22 rifle. I bowhunt for the enjoyment of it, I use firearms to feed myself. :) A little kidding there, but there's also a bit of truth in it. It has been suggested by others that fishing will be more productive than hunting and I couldn't agree with that more. I've fed myself in the backcountry MUCH more with fishing than with hunting. You can fish a longer portion of the year than hunting too. A Tenkara fly rod and tackle weighs little more than 8 oz. at the most and you can feed yourself pretty well like that if you go to the "right" places. :) I always take backup homemade dehydrated food, but most of the time that means I can stay out LONGER if I keep catching trout. And THAT is a wonderful thing. Best of luck to you. There's few things more rewarding than feeding yourself off the land (or water) in the backcountry.

fish for supper

Edited by Sawtooth on 12/23/2010 13:30:19 MST.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Hunting vs. Weight on 12/27/2010 19:40:55 MST Print View

I don't think I would cook anything I caught on an alcohol fire. I'd cook it over a wood fire. It would taste much better.

I'd love to learn to hunt. I saw a huge flock of band-tail pigeons yesterday. As it is, the last thing I hunted was mushrooms. I've never done that before. It was a somewhat tense dinner (and a tense few hours afterward) the first meal. But now that I know I can identify the mushrooms, I'm going to get me some more!

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
mushrooms on 12/27/2010 20:05:31 MST Print View

mushrooms and wild game go together very well- grouse and morels are one my all time favorites :)

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Slingshot on 01/06/2011 19:24:44 MST Print View

I do this every once in a while myself. I use a slingshot to get small game. I don't see why you would ever need anything more. Slingshots can be extremely light compared to all other alternatives. They do require more practice to master and a higher level of stalking, but that's just part of the fun. Unless you plan to end your backpacking trip when you get a kill so you can salvage all the meat, you will only be going for very small game that would give you a couple of meals worth of meat. Otherwise you can't really preserve the rest of the meat long enough and you'd waste it.

I've had good success getting squirrels and rabbits with my slingshot in the backcountry. I will usually take a bit less food than what I need when I plan on doing this in order to better motivate myself to not give up, otherwise I go hungry. I wouldn't recommend doing this until you become proficient with whatever weapon you choose to hunt with. I practice with my slingshot atleast once a day because it seems like a skill than diminishes quickly without upkeep.

Give slingshots a try before anything else, they are cheap and very fun to shoot. I have a very small slingshot that is more than powerful enough to take out most small game with the proper ammo. I use 7/16" or 1/2 " steel balls, I wouldn't go any smaller as you risk injuring rather than killing the animal with smaller ammo.

Below is a pic of my slingshot next to .50 caliber lead ammo. I don't use lead because it's too heavy but it definitely packs a lot of power. I think my slingshot weighs under 3 oz when I weighed it. so with ammo you're lookin at a hunting setup that weighs around 4 oz and fits in your pocket!



Edited by Red_Fox on 01/06/2011 19:25:27 MST.

brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
slingshot on 01/06/2011 20:51:16 MST Print View


that is an awesome slingshot. What kind is it? That braided tubing looks like it would put a hurtin on some critters.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Slingshot on 01/06/2011 23:34:10 MST Print View

Check out this video, this is the ultimate in ul hunting, and he makes an attachment for fishing, kind of a long intro but keep watching it's pretty cool.If you want to you can jump to the 2:50 mark that's where it really starts

Edited by jumpbackjack on 01/06/2011 23:39:20 MST.