Today’s hunter, armed with a $1,000 Anschutz 1416 HB bolt action rifle or a BlackOut SS compound bow package, is suitably armed to catch his or her dream prey, whether the target is deer, elk, wild pig, or even bear. Hunting for survival, though, is all about eating and not going to bed hungry rather than bagging a trophy. So, the tools used can be varied and more utilitarian than top-of-the-line weaponry.
To provide protein and be able to eat regularly while in survival mode, a hunter most likely will need to eschew that 10 point buck and turn to smaller and more readily available game, such as squirrels, rabbits, opossum, or even rats, and snakes. Since varmint hunting does not require the high-end rifles and shotguns, every survival pack should have a firearm that will do the job, even if it serves only as a backup to your weapon of choice. This could be something along the lines of a .22 LR or a .410 single shot, which can be acquired for $200 or less.
To literally get more bang for the buck, many experts suggest the Rossi Youth Trifecta. Because it is sized for younger shooters, it can easily be broken down and kept in a pack for fast access. The gun actually is a three-in-one bargain, coming with one stock and three types of barrels to choose from depending on the target. They include a .22 for smaller game, a .243 for medium game, and a 20 gauge that is just right for bird hunting.
Before heading out, rifle at the ready, survivalists in the know advise setting several snare traps. While these can be handy if they are set up correctly and you get very lucky in where you placed them, they do have the additional negative of not being able to kill the animal quickly. If the animal is caught by the leg or tail, the hunter will need to dispatch it once the tripped snare is discovered. Setting up snares also can take practice before it can be accomplished quickly. Speed is needed since many will have to be used for the greatest effectiveness.
Instead of snares, consider using commercial rat traps. These are viable tools because they are powerful enough to kill a rat, which means they also can kill squirrels quickly and relatively humanely, too. They also fit easily into a survival pack to become an essential part of your equipment.
The best part about using rat traps is that they can increase your chances of catching something. Simply bait them with something that carries a strong scent, since this is how varmints seek out their food. This could include peanut butter, apples, bread scented with almond extract, or even sunflower seeds in a pinch. The small prey are easily attracted because they will eat almost anything.
Before using the now-squirrel traps, be sure to secure them to a bush or tree by drilling a small hole in a corner and stringing it with wire or parachute cord. Regular twine can easily rot or be gnawed through. This step will prevent the little guys from running off with an un-snapped trap as they attempt to steal the bait.