Preparing the Hunt: Using Gun Resources to Survive

Before supermarkets and butchers, before our modern resources, man hunted to survive. Native Americans relied on the deer and buffalo for food, clothing, jewelry, tools and more. Early pioneers did the same. Most people living in cities and urban areas find themselves going to the store for what they need, mostly unaware of where their goods come from. But people who have lived in the country and survived off its resources understand the necessity of hunting when it comes to survival and using guns to obtain their food.

Types of Food

Nature provides a bountiful resource for humans to survive if need be. Wild game available for hunting include deer and elk, moose, turkeys, rabbits, pheasants, quail, duck, wild hogs, wild goats and even some unlikely choices like armadillos in Texas. In the North, hunters and native tribes hunt and eat caribou, bear and the musk ox. In the deep woods, hunters will kill and eat squirrel and even rattlesnakes. 

Using Gun Resources

Even the most knowledgeable hunter started out by being taught how to treat and use guns. Without an understanding of guns, how they work, how to use and protect them and yourself, and when not to shoot them, a person who goes out hunting without this experience is an accident waiting to happen. Most hunters were either trained by someone in the use of weapons or they took the standard courses in gun handling and safety.

Tracking and Hunting

Hunting involves tracking and to track an animal successfully, you need to know something about the animal, its habitats and foraging patterns. You need to know where to look for the animal, what its track looks like and how to follow it. There are different means for tracking animals: sign tracking, landscape tracking, and finding indicator animals, as well as understanding the eating and sleeping habits of the tracked animal. Deer rub their antlers up against trees when they want to get the velvet off them and other animals mark their territory by clawing or chewing trees and other foliage.

Look for hairs and feathers caught on branches, broken branches and watering areas. There’s an art and a science to tracking, and that includes learning the scat of each animal – what it looks like, determining how recent the tracking sign is, how deep an impression by an animal’s passing is and what it means and establishing the line of travel so you know where to go.

Field Dressing and Cleaning

After making the kill, it’s important to immediately field dress the animal. You’ll need rope, a good knife, some plastic bags for the organs, rubber or latex gloves and a cloth to clean out the body cavity. When blooding and cleaning an animal, you always work with the knife pointing away from you and start at the bottom of the animal and cut up the middle. It’s important to remove the intestines and bladder from the animal without piercing them to avoid meat contamination. You need to also find the area where the bullet entered the animal and remove that, as several people forget to remove the bullets and the meat becomes contaminated with lead.

Besides gutting and removing the organs, you need to remove the head and the skin from the animal. If you proceed cautiously, you can learn how to use all the parts of the animal for things you might need.

Using the Whole Animal

Hunters will often do their best to use every part of the hunted animal. For instance, deer antlers can be fashioned into handles for tools. An animal’s skin, when treated and cared for properly after removal can be processed into leather, used to make shoes, clothes, wallets, belts and more. The fur of animals can also be used to create clothing such as hats, or jackets. Early pioneers would use the fat from an animal combined with lye and ash to make soap. Certain kinds of fats are also used for burning in lanterns and making tallow. Stomachs, when cleaned and treated, are a vessel for carrying water from the local stream. Sinew becomes thread used to sew together leather for clothes, and hoofs can be boiled down and made into glue. Using every part of the animal ensures that nothing goes to waste.

Hunting Used as Income

Several states allow people to earn revenue from hunting. Some hunters track and kill predators when called in by wildlife services or local ranchers and farmers. In Utah, there is a specific hunter who pursues coyotes and other predators on behalf of Wildlife Services, the branch of the U.S. government that removes problem predators. Most states with wild lands also operate their own damage control services and hire hunters to help in this regard. If a state has a hunting license program, you can also use your license, in most instances to hunt for a living.

Most states have a wildlife management program and those with wilderness areas such as Utah, often hire hunters to take care of predators in the region. Texas started a pilot program in 1994 that has now expanded to the entire state. Landowners can open up their land to public hunting and earn revenue from public land leases used for hunting.

For instance in Florida, the Burmese python, a species not native to the swamps and bayous, has invaded the Florida everglades and is breeding in the wild. People,who purchased these snakes as pets, let them go wild after they got to big to manage and they are now considered an invasive species. Hunters and trappers are being called on to help control this problem.

The hunting industry is huge – several people make their living from it, hunting predators, selling deer or elk meat and more. Some states prohibit the sale of wild game meats, so you will have to check with your local state requirements before selling your hunted bounty for a living. Make sure you’re not hunting something on the endangered species list in your state, as this will result in fines, penalties and maybe even jail time. Making a living from hunting will require hunting licenses, insurance and business and sales licenses. This necessitates an investment of up to $2,000 or more, depending upon insurance costs. At one Texas ranch, wild game meat is sold on average from $9 to $31 a pound. An average income from hunting and trapping ranges from $17,785 to $65,031 per year. While some women do hunt, most of the people who make a living from hunting are men.

Money can be made by hunting in a variety of ways, besides selling meat; money can be made from establishing a private game reserve, being a hunting guide, and teaching gun safety. In 2003 alone, game bird farm and hunting preserves generated nearly $1.6 billion dollars in revenue.

Obtaining a Hunting License

States that sell hunting licenses use the revenue generated to manage wildlife and natural resources. Most hunting licenses are good for a year and must be repurchased each year. Alabama also offers lease and fee hunting, which allows the landowner to make an income from hunting. Those who receive hunting licenses must also demonstrate gun safety certification or proof of courses acceptable to the state in which the license is purchased. To obtain a hunting license, navigate to your state’s fish and game department, wildlife services or resources or some other associated name. In New York for example, you obtain your hunting permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation. For many people hunting is a way of life, but it is important to be sure to be sure to follow all of the proper state safety regulations before engaging in this unique sport.

Which of the following is NOT one of the "Three Ws" that should be included in every hunting plan?

What firearm you are hunting with.
Who you are with.
When you are returning.
Where you are going.


What technique can be described as "slow, patient movement of the hunter into shooting position after game has been located"?

Stand Hunting
Still Hunting


Which species is there federal hunting laws for?

Wood Duck
Ring-knecked pheasant
Snowshoe hare
White-tailed Deer


Which field carry provides the most firearm control?



Which choice is NOT recommended when approaching downed wildlife?

Approach quietly from behind.
Poke animal gently with a stick.
Touch the eye gently, if there's no reaction, animal is usually dead.
Shoot it again before approaching to make sure it is dead.


What is the technique known as "driving"?

One hunter sitting in a blind waiting for game to come along.
One hunter moving slowly and patiently into shooting position after game has been located.
One or more pushers walk through an area trying to move game ahead of them into areas wehre blockers are waiting.
One hunter driving a vehicle and a second hunter in the back set shooting through the open window.


Scouting an area you want to hunt should include:

Walk around the area on opening day with your firearm or bow.
Walk around the area looking for animal movements and signs.
Look at maps and aerial photos of the area.
Answers B and C.


Which of the following is NOT a reason why you should develop a hunting plan for every hunt?

So friends and family know how to contact you in case of emergency.
So you can use your hunting plan to start a fire if you get lost.
So fellow hunters know where you are located.
So friends and family know where you can be found in case of a hunting accident.


Which of these items should be on every checklist included in your hunting plan?

Hunting license


Which of these does NOT violate a hunting safety rule?

Carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle.
Keeping your finger on the trigger while stalking game.
Two hunters shooting at the same game.
Identifying what lies beyond an identified target.