Right now in New York we are in the midst of spring Turkey hunting season and walleye fishing season. I absolutely love this time of year. New life is springing forth and the air seems so fresh. The weather is consistently getting nicer and the warmth of the sun feels so wonderful and energizing. I find myself wishing I could spend every waking moment, this time of year, in the wilderness instead of keeping a regular work schedule.
Anyway the reason I’m bringing up the fact that we are in the midst of hunting and fishing season (in New York) is that this is the perfect time to learn skills for gathering wild game or to teach your young children how to catch wild game. When it comes to survival, knowing how to provide food for yourself and anyone with you could mean the difference between life and death.
Since the weather is nicer and generally warmer at this time of year it is easier on younger children to be out hunting now instead of in late fall (not very warm in New York usually by then). Teaching them how to hunt and fish well they are young will give them the time to fine tune their skills and will give them an appreciation for nature. Teach them to hunt or fish with the bare minimum instead of outfitting them with every gadget known to man. This will make them rely on skill instead of technology. Use homemade lures to catch fish. Try fishing with just a stick, some fishing line, a hook and a worm or homemade lure. This can be fun and challenging all at the same time. Adults should be practicing these skills as well. In a real survival situation you will most likely not have any professional fishing or hunting equipment. Now is the time to learn and practice these skills. Not when your life depends on it.
Test your skills when hunting. If you’re a bow hunter, try hunting with a recurve or long bow instead of a compound bow. If you already bow hunt with a recurve or long bow try making your own bow and hunting with that. For gun hunters, try bow hunting or get rid of the scope and use sights. If you have an area where you are able to, you can learn how to trap. No matter how skilled we are at hunting and fishing or trapping, we can all challenge ourselves more and fine tune our skills. The older I get the more I want to hunt or fish with gear that is as basic as possible. Someday if I get the chance I am going to make my own recurve bow and hunt with it.
The point of all this is to say that you need to practice the skill of catching wild game and this is the perfect time of year to do that. If you have children you can get them involved and have fun learning together. They will never forget the time you spend in the wilderness together and these skills may someday save their life or your own. I know many people that live off and provide for their families with the wild game they catch each year. My family included. We only eat wild fish and venison. We raise our own chickens and vegetables. You can save a lot of money by living off the land instead of relying on the grocery store to provide for your family but you need to gain the necessary skills first.
Enjoy this time of year and if you have children let them enjoy it with you. Make sure you obey all hunting and fishing laws in your area and don’t be reckless. Incorporate fishing with your camping trips. This way you’ll have some great tasting free food and your kids will taste the fruit of their labors. There’s nothing more satisfying than providing your own food well out backpacking and camping. Enjoy each moment and continue to learn and teach along the way.
(The picture is of my brother and the turkey he shot last weekend).