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hunting to lighten pack load by eating meat?
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Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
Style on 09/18/2012 15:29:21 MDT Print View

Couple more thoughts...

Spot-and-stalk hunting means you "move differently" than when you're just hiking along. You move a lot slower, you stop and listen a lot more.

You'd want to take a very lightweight .22 with "short" hollowpoint rounds. Take only the ammo you need (eg, you don't need a whole brick of 50.) Depending on how long you're out, you may want a small cleaning kit, at least for the barrel. You'll want something that "breaks down" so its easier to carry - something like the Ruger 10/22 or the Marlin Papoose. Another option is a small .22 pistol or airgun (.177 or .22) that you can pump up. Smaller, lighter, lighter ammo, quieter. You'll have to get closer, so make your call wisely. Skip scopes; too much maintenance and you shoudn't be taking long shots anyways, especially with the .22-shorts. Iron sights work fine and they won't get knocked around at all.

Using a whistle or predator call will cause many animals to "freeze."

Be sure you have license, season regs and you know your zone boundaries.

Some places allow you to shoot fish, but watch your angle because, like a rock, you can "skip" a bullet. Better to just take a few feet of line, a couple small hooks and just use grasshoppers and worms. (Did this with the girls recently, they had a more fun with the improv gear than with their real poles. Bonus points for the fun of an hour out catching grasshoppers, too.)

Take notes and a small laminated card of edible bugs. You can spit-roast or flat-rock-roast them next to the fire.

You can eat snakes. They're pretty tasty and have quite a bit of meat. Make sure you know how to field-dress them, especially the poisonous ones where you want to cut the head off and bury it (the head) because it'll stay 'active' and move for hours after it's dead.

Practice beforehand. If you cannot get out there with real arms, go out and get close enough you think you could hit it with a thrown rock. Don't actually do it, but get close enough you can. Squirrels are easier than rabbits. Much easier. You have to hunch over and go really really slow, patiently, to get close enough to a rabbit. :)

As mentioned previously, don't shoot anything big. You want small things you can skin with a swiss-army knife and stick on a spit (or pan-fry if you're carrying a pan. Take a little oil, too, because wild-game is much less fatty than farm-raised. Not all game has enough natural fat.)

Take a pair of thin gloves, like a doctor uses. Watch for latex allergies. They'll keep your hands clean and help with fleas/mites/ticks/pathogens in the animal. Skinning and cooking will be required. Make sure your gloves are textured, and you knife is sharp ... preferably with a finger-guard-tang. Fluids can make knife handles slippery. Not required but they're stupid-lightweight so why not. Besides, multi-use for carrying water, cutting them up for making pressure dressings, and putting on your head to look like a chicken.

On your next hike, split your food. For every "animal you bag" by getting close enough, you're allowed to take one thing out of the "goodie bag." Challenge your friends, too, because then you get bragging rights (and memories) as well. Learn from watching them. Watch the animals and how they act/react.


David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Style on 09/18/2012 17:47:49 MDT Print View

Mike: Good points. Expanding on:

>"Squirrels are easier than rabbits. Much easier."

Up here, I've heard ptarmagin referred to as "stupid chicken" and it's true. Practice your aim with a rock and you could really feed yourself. A "wrist rocket" slingshot and you'd be golden. Or read Clan of the Cave Bear about how expert Ayla got with a traditional sling. A friend saw a local in Asia whack an eagle from over a hundred yards, but that takes thousands of hours of practice.

Multi-purposing a bit, I've played with a aluminum tent pole as a blowgun for a small dart (wooden dowel from Home Depot with the tiniest bit of fletching on the back end). My strong sense was that, per hour of practice, it could be more effective that rock throwing.

Only after 9-11 did Alaska remove the REQUIREMENT that small planes fly with a firearm aboard. Fishing gear always made more sense to me, especially up here. Or snares for the yield per weight.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
An example on 09/20/2012 21:34:27 MDT Print View

As an example of this check out the show "Out of the Wild: Alaska" on The party in that show had to hunt/gather food and had a pretty rough time of it (although a real pro could probably have done much better). They had their best luck hunting small game with a .22/.410 shotgun combo. Hunting small game wasn't as much of an "All or nothing" affair as bigger game.

Christopher Gutwein
(syntax) - MLife
Do more research on the rifles on 09/23/2012 19:28:52 MDT Print View

Those sub 1 to 2lb rifles you mention are not very accurate and require setup, takendown, must be held when walking etc...

If you want to hunt, take a good .22LR pistol with you that you can wear on your side, which allows for the opportunistic shot should it present itself. The pistol weighs 2lbs and is much more portable, and just as accurate (or more so) as any of the takedown survival style .22 rifles.

I prefer a Ruger MKII Government Target (no longer in production). You'll want a longer barrel for hunting purposes. That said, unless you enjoy hunting just take food. Easier, and cheaper (unless you already have the license.)

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
foraging while hiking, in Boise Idaho on 09/25/2012 19:47:33 MDT Print View

I saw an interesting presentation by some guys who foraged over a 5 or 6 day hike, and how it went. First they spent some time with a guy who is expert on edible plants and berries, and learned how to use some berries in cooking. Then the undertook their hike in late August, when a lot of berries would be ripe. They too no food except what they could forage on the way.

They also carried flour, like 5 pounds each, and mixed up batter to cook a "pan bread" and mixed in currents, gooseberries, and whatever berries they could find. In other words, they lived on pan bread and snacked on berries all day.

When their route got to a river they fished a lot, and ate fish big time. They really didn't have that far to go, and some of them finished the trip, but they were hungry as hell. They concluded you could forage, or you could hike, but its hard to forage and hike.

Now if they were really emulating the Indians, they would gather a lot of berries, dry them and make pemmican and have dried berries and dried jerky, and they could do pretty well.

Kyle Hunnicutt
(keh10) - F
Recent trip to Colorado on 09/25/2012 19:57:19 MDT Print View

I recently got back from an elk hunting trip with my dad in the Mt. Zirkel wilderness area. I wasn't doing any elk hunting, but did bring a sling shot and fishing pole that both broke down to pack. Mostly I would just day hike around to small lakes next to our main camp and do some fishing. I went on two separate overnight hikes along the Continental Divide Trail and made a loop back to our camp. I ended up not using the sling shot at all, but could have on several occasions. Basically, I wouldn't rely on hunting or fishing as a primary food source to save weight. I would only do it for the "adventure" of living off the land.

Fishing was great and it's really nice having fresh trout to eat for lunch and dinner. A few thoughts: The case to protect my pole was bulky and all my fishing gear weighed over a pound. I knew that there would be fish where I was fishing. I wouldn't rely on fishing unless you had fished where you are going before and even then always keep enough food to get you through just in case.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re. Foraging while hiking in Boise Idaho on 09/25/2012 20:07:16 MDT Print View

Interesting point. The Indians and frontiersmen did some of their hunting/travelling with no game laws and very plentiful game. But its also worth remembering that they preserved and carried food as well.

Brandon B
(oracle5) - F
RE: Done It on 10/17/2012 18:16:41 MDT Print View

I am a hunter(fishermen too) not just a hiker but as far as hunting while hiking its not something I really do. My rule is though if a warm fuzzy critter(say a squirrel, inside proper hunting seasons only of course but in my state squirrel season is in all but 2 months now) runs in front of me and I can whack it with my trekking pole its going to be dinner. I don't actively hunt anything though and wouldn't want to rely on my method for keeping me fed.

I do carry a collaspeable fishing pole(weights 4.8oz w/spare line and hooks) and fish a lot but you really can't really on that either. I fool heartedly tried that once and didn't catch a thing and therefore was hungry.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Rifle and caliber on 10/21/2012 12:57:46 MDT Print View

I'd try for a take-down "survival" rifle in .22 magnum. That cartridge has about 75% more power (and effective distance) than a .22 long rifle cartridge. I know, I have both.

Plus, the newer .22 magnum cartridges are available in copper JACKETED bullets which have better terminal ballistics (killing power). And that's what you want, a quick, clean, one shot kill. .22 long rifle bullets are merely copper dipped or guilded.

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
overkill... on 10/22/2012 13:46:18 MDT Print View

You don't need copper jackets for this. Wasted cost/weight ... you're not going to be doing super-long range shots and you're not going to end up melting lead from .22s. The copper jackets also inhibit hollow-point expansion.

"Shorts" are better than longs because they're smaller, lighter and FAR (far) quieter.

Blowguns are illegal many places (such as here in California) and an aluminum pole converted to a blowgun carries the added "hidden weapon" attachment if they feel like it.

Indians did carry much of their food with them, even though they were experts at living off the land. We have the added 'hardship' of limited hunting seasons, dispersed game, more skittish game in many areas (due to human encroachment), noise levels while hunting (non-hunters can get pretty irritable if they hear a 30-30 go off and make your life quite annoying), etc.

In addition, we don't (usually) live in the area we hunt/trek, so we lack the indigenous knowledge of the land, animal migrations patterns, etc, and we don't have 'the elders' to help school us as we wander around.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
I beg to differ... on 10/24/2012 20:14:11 MDT Print View

Mike, unless you are an expert on terminal ballistics and can show me the figures I seriously doubt your contentions. You MAY want to run them by the guys on the forums at RIMFIRE and listen to their expert opinions - or not.

I can say from experience that the difference in killing power between a hollow point .22 long rifle and a hollow point jacketed .22 Winchester magnum cartridge is fairly large. BUT the weight difference is small. My statement is backed by over 50 years of hunting small game.

Using .22 shorts for survival is laughable and not sportsmanlike considering their low terminal ballistics.

When a rabbit appears at 75 yards you DO want the ballistics of a .22 magnum for a good chance at killing it.

'Nuf sed.

Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
Blowguns! on 12/05/2012 15:37:11 MST Print View

I once carried a blowgun with me on a five day hike. It had a stopper for the end of the barrel so it could double as a hiking stick - granted it's five feet long.

The blowgun I carried:

I personally don't try and hike with a blowgun anymore, but maybe someone else might want to. There are immense MYOG opportunities for both darts and blowguns, but here are a few things to consider if you're interested:

Several Cons:
- It probably isn't legal in most places (this is why I've only carried it once)
- It scares people when they see it on the trail
- You are limited to an effective range of about twenty yards
- It's like miniature bowhunting - shot placement is everything (you must practice)

Several Pros:
- It's light
- Squirrels are tasty
- It's multipurpose
- It's a unique challenge, which can be rewarding

I'm not an expert by any means. These guys are:

It seems to me that if the original goal is to save weight, then carrying a three-pound rifle doesn't make any sense.

I've found that snares are likely the best lightweight way to hunt - if at all.


*edited for a typo

Edited by remjroth on 12/05/2012 15:40:04 MST.

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
Re: I beg to differ... on 12/05/2012 17:52:44 MST Print View

You can hunt just fine with a pellet rifle, and you can hunt just fine with a .22 short or LR.

If you cannot get closer than 75 yards to a rabbit, and you need to take that shot, fine, use the higher powered round with a scope and whatever.

You're talking 75 yards ... I'm talking 20-30 yards. At 20-30 yards a .22 jacketed magnum will work, sure. But then so will a .22 short ... or a pellet rifle...or a slingshot. Been there, done that.

Sorry, I bowhunt so I think like a bowhunter and that means close range. Maybe you're right and a survival situation would require that longer range and punch (and the decreased hit-chance inherent in long-range shooting) but that's not where I happen to be coming from.

A non-jacketed head will expand and fragment better at 20 yards than a jacketed round will. Jacketed rounds tend to "keep" too much of their KE and go through targets which is sub-optimal as you want that KE transmitted into the target.


Hunt your own hunt.


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Pistol Hunting. on 12/05/2012 18:09:19 MST Print View

Does anyone have experience hunting with a pistol? I am thinking about getting a .22 revolver as a woods gun. I have never hunted with a pistol. It would sure be light.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Pistol Hunting on 12/05/2012 18:26:11 MST Print View

I haven't hunted with a pistol but pistols in general are tricky to shoot accurately. Course you can do some things hunting you would not do in a "combat" type situation. I've seen some pistol hunters using crossed sticks as a rest to steady their shot.

Remington Roth

Locale: Atlantic Coast
Re: Pistol Hunting. on 12/05/2012 19:57:42 MST Print View

I've hunted deer with a .44 magnum before. There were special circumstances which made a pistol the best option to hunt with at that time (I wouldn't normally chose one.) To prepare, I practiced shooting at fifty yards - granted the .44 had a long-relief scope (a scope meant for pistols so that when one holds the pistol away from his body he can see through it.)

Are pistols trickier? Yes, but good shooting techniques for rifles carry over into the world of pistols (i.e. breathing, trigger squeeze, timing...)

I imagine shooting a .22 pistol at a squirrel (without a scope - which really only magnifies the target anyways and adds weight) would be manageable within a reasonable distance. It depends on one's skill and practice with shooting. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable shooting at a squirrel with a .22 pistol from farther than thirty yards. I would want to shoot within twenty yards if possible. Then again, I'm not the greatest shot you'll ever come across.

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Hunter Education Classes on 12/05/2012 20:49:32 MST Print View

Most states have laws pertaining to the hunting of small game, and the law varies from state to state. So you need to read and understand your state's laws and license requirements. Looking through the California Fish and Game website, it appears there are specific seasons for both cottontail and branch chicken. It looks like you will need a hunting license, which in turn requires completion of a hunter safety course.

Anybody can take a hunter safety course and everybody probably should take one. There are no prerequisites nor is any intent to even hunt necessary. It's mostly about developing good gun safety habits.

So- if you are even remotely interested in hunting, take a hunter education course.

Here's the link to class schedule from the CFG site:

Go forth, kill stuff, eat it, have fun.


Edited by DavidAdair on 12/05/2012 21:01:07 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Hunter Education Classes on 12/05/2012 23:59:52 MST Print View

David, I took a hunter safety course a long time ago. But thank you for the links/info.

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Re: Hunter Education Classes on 12/06/2012 00:50:01 MST Print View

No slight intended. Personally, I've been kind of jonesing for a Ruger 10/45 lite semi-auto for some reason. At 22 oz it's not ultra light but not much out there is.

oops, the model is 22/45 not 10/45.

Edited by DavidAdair on 12/06/2012 07:53:12 MST.

Mike Oxford
(moxford) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley, CA
Be careful in California ... on 12/06/2012 12:44:24 MST Print View

When it all boils down to that 10 seconds of "aim and pull the trigger" hunting with a pistol is no different than a shooting range.

The difference is in the time leading up to that 10 seconds, finding, stalking, getting into position.

If you can hit a target at a range at 20 yards, you can do it in the field (buck fever et al notwithstanding. :)

California has very strict carry laws, so you'll have to be wary of that. In National Forests you can open-carry, but on County/State property the rules change. And you cannot hunt on almost any County/State property, even in-season, except for BLM land.

National Forests are different, as mentioned, and private property you're good to go (within CA game laws and seasons.)