Preda­tor’s Pack

How to As­sem­ble Tools to Fish, Trap, and Hunt in a Sur­vival Sit­u­a­tion

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Kevin Estela

How to As­sem­ble Tools to Fish, Trap, and Hunt in a Sur­vival Sit­u­a­tion

Sport fish­ing and hunt­ing isn’t the same as sur­vival fish­ing and hunt­ing. “Sport” im­plies there is an el­e­ment of chance and fair play. To a survivor, the con­cept of rules and reg­u­la­tions should seem ridicu­lous. Af­ter all, why would a survivor or some­one in an emer­gency con­sider the con­fines of sport fish­ing and hunt­ing if they’re starv­ing? In a real dis­as­ter, there is no such thing as a bag limit, min­i­mum length, or poach­ing.

As ma­jes­tic as they are, in the ab­sence of wildlife pro­tec­tion, even the bald ea­gle might be on the din­ner ta­ble if you’re hun­gry enough. We’ve been field tested and we know the frus­tra­tion of watch­ing sup­per run, swim, or fly away. We’ve also learned that with the right tools and a few no-non­sense ways of fish­ing and trap­ping, it’s easy to make sure your din­ner plate isn’t empty at the end of the day.

The dif­fer­en­tia­tor be­tween frus­trated and fed is pre­par­ing like a preda­tor and cast­ing aside so­cially ac­cept­able meth­ods of food pro­cure­ment. We’re not go­ing to apol­o­gize for telling you how to kill prey and feed your­self with the gear and meth­ods that fol­low. It’s been said Chuck Nor­ris doesn’t hunt or fish be­cause there’s a chance for fail­ure in those sports — he just kills sh*t. Fol­low our lead and you too can be like Chuck.


Sport fish­ing rules and reg­u­la­tion books may de­fine fish­ing as a sin­gle baited hook at­tached to a pole held by an an­gler. This is meant to pro­tect a species from over­fish­ing. A lone survivor should not be lim­ited. Some ba­sic equip­ment pro­vides an ad­van­tage over a sin­gle hook, line, and sinker setup.

Gill Net: Any­one who has seen the His­tory Chan­nel show Alone knows the con­cept of a gill net. De­signed to cap­ture fish by the gills, these nets work won­ders if they’re con­structed to match the fish in your area. A gill net can be used in a sta­tion­ary lo­ca­tion, or it can be an­chored on one side and walked through the wa­ter in an arc by hold­ing the other side. A gill net can be set dis­cretely un­der­wa­ter as well, if trav­el­ing un­no­ticed is a con­cern. It can also be fash­ioned into a scoop net or a net sup­ported by a frame, and raised in and out of the wa­ter by a cen­tral point.

Frog Spear: Made from steel and used for night­time frog hunt­ing, a good 3- to 5-prong frog spear will out­per­form any wooden spear crafted in the bush. Frog spears can be used on rep­tiles, am­phib­ians, and small fish. They work ex­cep­tion­ally well when paired with a flash­light to tem­po­rar­ily blind your prey. In­ex­pen­sive Ea­gle Claw brand gigs are widely avail­able and cus­tom spears made from higher-qual­ity steel en­sure you have the right point for your spear.

Hawai­ian Sling: A Hawai­ian sling is a long thin-shafted spear with an elas­tic band at­tached to one end and a pointed barbed end on the other. The elas­tic band is looped around the hand, stretched, and the spear is held hold­ing the en­ergy back un­til the hand is re­laxed and the spear is launched for­ward. These are highly ef­fec­tive as they don’t re­quire eas­ily tele­graphed body mo­tions to thrust. The

Mako 3-in-1 Take Down Pole Spear is an ex­cel­lent choice if space al­lows. Oth­er­wise, the survivor can pack sur­gi­cal tub­ing, spear head, and lash­ing twine to make his own.

Hack­ing: This method of fish­ing in­volves us­ing the back of a ma­chete in a chop­ping mo­tion against a fish spine in or­der to break it, mak­ing easy re­trieval of your fish. The back of the blade is used to avoid ac­ci­den­tally cut­ting your leg. While blood works great as chum, us­ing your own blood isn’t ad­vised. At­tract fish with a lan­tern, LED head­lamp, or a torch made from folded birch bark.

Long Line: Imag­ine a length of para­cord with pieces of fish­ing line hang­ing off of it at dif­fer­ent in­ter­vals and depths. These lines are just short enough to avoid tan­gling with one an­other, and since they’re at­tached to a sin­gle long line, mul­ti­ple fish can be caught with a sin­gle re­trieve. The long line works well — so well that it’s on the radar of

the hu­mane so­ci­ety. That’s good for you if you need to in­dis­crim­i­nately catch to put on your plate.

Au­to­matic Fish­er­man Reels: Op­er­ated by a spring, these light­weight fish­ing reels au­to­mat­i­cally re­trieve your fish af­ter they swim away and trig­ger the mech­a­nism. These reels do your work while you tend to other sur­vival needs. They can work above wa­ter or un­der­wa­ter in ice­dover con­di­tions. The con­stant spring ten­sion “plays” the fish and your prey will be tired when it’s time to re­trieve the unit from the wa­ter.

Col­lapsi­ble Fish­ing Rod: Some­times, you still need a good fish­ing rod to reach out to the fish bit­ing just out­side your reach. Three-piece (or more) fish­ing rods break down to less than 24 inches and are eas­ily pack­able on the out­side of a small ruck. From the in­ex­pen­sive and durable Ugly Stick brand to higher-priced St. Croix Rods, there’s an op­tion for every­one. If space al­lows, it can’t hurt to pack a small, ul­tra-light fish­ing rod and reel with some ba­sic tackle. This com­bi­na­tion this au­thor used while in Alaska to feed him­self for two weeks in the bush.


A survivor should con­sider trap­ping be­fore he con­sid­ers hunt­ing. It’s eas­ier to fash­ion traps than it is to make pro­jec­tiles. A prop­erly con­structed trap can be just as ef­fec­tive as (or even more ef­fec­tive than) a hunter seek­ing out prey while burn­ing calo­ries and launch­ing a pro­jec­tile with ques­tion­able ac­cu­racy at a tar­get, which may be sit­u­ated in an awk­ward po­si­tion.

Rat Traps: In­ex­pen­sive, light­weight, and crazy ef­fec­tive against small ro­dents — do you need more rea­son to pack these? Oh that’s right, if you have spe­cial skills, they work well to close cir­cuits and make other traps for big­ger threats. They can be baited with camp scraps or wild edi­bles gath­ered on the move.

Braided Pic­ture Wire: The same wire you used to hang that paint­ing of dogs play­ing cards is the kind you can use for cre­at­ing snares. Braided wire is much tougher to break than solid cop­per or stain­less wire of equal strength. The braid also grabs onto an­i­mal hair as your prey fights for its life. De­pend­ing where you are, the braided wire can also serve as fish­ing leader for fish with sharp teeth that would oth­er­wise cut through your line.

Com­mer­cial Rab­bit Snares: If space al­lows, carry real snares. They are of­ten equipped with lock­ing cams that pre­vent the snare from loos­en­ing af­ter the an­i­mal re­al­izes it’s caught. These snares also have hard­ware de­signed to swivel to pre­vent the wire from kink­ing and break­ing. If space al­lows, you can’t beat a half dozen or more real snares. Just learn where and how to place them.

Flash­light: A high-in­ten­sity flash­light can help you con­fuse an­i­mals like … well, a deer in head­lights. There’s a rea­son why hunt­ing some game with a flash­light is of­ten il­le­gal — it’s sim­ply ef­fec­tive. A good flash­light can help the survivor catch an­i­mals by hid­ing be­hind the wall of light. Paired with a spear, club, firearm, or other hunt­ing tool, a flash­light is a game-changer.

Build a Bet­ter Mouse­trap: Lit­ter is found in the most re­mote places around the globe and some of the best traps

are re­pur­posed garbage. An easy but highly ef­fec­tive mouse­trap re­quires a bucket, a piece of wire, and a bot­tle. The wire is in­serted through the bot­tle and poked through the bot­tom. The wire is ex­tended over the top of the bucket and you’re left with a roller like those found on Amer­i­can Ninja War­rior. The bot­tle is baited with seeds, nuts, or scraps of left­over food. When the mouse stands on the bot­tle, it rolls off into the bucket. If you fill the bucket with wa­ter, the mouse drowns. These traps have been used in farm­houses and barns for years and for good rea­son.


We’ve all known that one guy in our camp who takes the near­est piece of wood and sharp­ens it to a point for

“bear pro­tec­tion.” An equally com­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion may be given about how he’ll use that spear to get din­ner. Aside from scratch­ing his ass, that “spear” won’t work nearly as well as some of the hunt­ing im­ple­ments that’ll put meat in the pot with a lit­tle prac­tice. As pre­vi­ously men­tioned, hunt­ing does re­quire en­ergy and it burns calo­ries, but this doesn’t mean you should leave the hunt­ing tools at home. Some­times, shots present them­selves, and you’ll kick your­self if you could have taken it with any of the fol­low­ing.

Sling­shot: Un­less you grew up in a shel­tered house­hold with over­bear­ing par­ents, you prob­a­bly had a sling­shot as a kid. At some point, you prob­a­bly no­ticed how well it worked on soda cans, or man­aged to scare off the neigh­bor­hood cat or the birds that cat was chas­ing. Since your child­hood, sling­shots have come a long way and are now equipped with more pow­er­ful bands cut from Ther­a­band Gold. As long as you prac­tice, you can be­come ex­tremely pro­fi­cient with one, and it’s pos­si­ble to kill squir­rels, rab­bits, snakes, ducks, and other small game. Keep a spare set of bands in an air­tight bag and use mar­bles, steel or lead shot, or small peb­bles as ammo.

Bow and Ar­row: While the sling­shot works well and op­er­ates qui­etly enough for dis­creet hunt­ing and undis­turbed fol­low-up shots, the bow and ar­row is the right tool for larger game and greater im­pact. The survivor can se­lect field points, broad­heads, or blud­geon points, de­pend­ing on what an­i­mal is hunted. A good take­down bow that needs lit­tle main­te­nance along with a few ar­rows is eas­ily packed op­po­site of the take­down fish­ing rod to bal­ance out your pack.

. 22 Pis­tol: If you’re legally able to pack a qual­ity . 22 pis­tol, do it. In our ex­pe­ri­ence, the . 22 pis­tol is the king of com­pact sur­vival firearms. Not quite ri­fle ac­cu­rate, but ac­cu­rate enough, the . 22 is ca­pa­ble (with the right shot place­ment, of course) of putting food in your belly. A 4-inch bar­rel cuts ve­loc­ity down, but not to a point it be­comes im­po­tent. Of course, if you can carry a longer bar­rel, do it. The in­creased sight ra­dius will help you if you aren’t run­ning a mi­cro red-dot.


There’s no such thing as fair in the an­i­mal king­dom. Lions don’t dis­crim­i­nate and will eat any easy meal they can sink their claws into. Wolves gang up and seek out the weaker an­i­mals, and sharks will hunt out the source of blood in the wa­ter even if it comes from one of their own. When a survivor takes on a preda­tor mind­set, he or she must be will­ing to ac­cept the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­flict of killing im­ma­ture or un­der­sized game, de­stroy­ing a nest for eggs, or maim­ing a cute and fuzzy an­i­mal and hear­ing it sound off in pain.

One must be will­ing to break sport hunt­ing and fish­ing rules and regs if they want real re­sults. From our ex­pe­ri­ence, hunger is a great rem­edy for the guilt as­so­ci­ated with cheat­ing, and hunger can mo­ti­vate the av­er­age per­son to un­lock their pri­mal self. Pri­mal man ex­isted long be­fore sport­ing fair play. Next time you ven­ture out, be pre­pared with your preda­tor pack when you need to fill your belly at any cost.

DIS­CLAIMER: This ar­ti­cle is meant to be a brief over­view and not a de­tailed guide on im­pro­vised fish­ing, hunt­ing, and trap­ping in sur­vival sit­u­a­tion. Check lo­cal reg­u­la­tions be­fore at­tempt­ing to use any tools or tech­niques dis­cussed in this story.

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