Best Animals to Hunt and Trap: Surviving to the Finish

Man carving grilled

If you’re trying to safely get yourself and your family through a natural disaster then learning about the best animals to hunt and trap in your neck of the woods can provide you with a reliable food source until help arrives. The ability to track, trap, and prepare food straight from the earth to your dinner plate is what it’s going to take to survive, in some circumstances. You can forage for edible forest plants, hunt small mammals, and learn how to make your own fishing pole complete with a fishhook to catch a local trout, perch and other types of marine life.

Some of the best animals to hunt when you’re struggling to survive during a natural disaster include:

  • Rabbits
  • Bunnies
  • Squirrels
  • Crawfish
  • Perch
  • Trout
  • Frogs

Learning how to live off the land and use its resources to create traps and snares, rotisseries, and campfires will ensure the survival of you and your family. But before disaster strikes, I recommend practicing making traps, hunting, and cleaning your kill, so you’ll feel more prepared when disaster strikes.

Living Off the Land

When disaster strikes, the odds are you’re not going to have enough time to go run to the garage and grab your favorite fishing pole. In which case, fastening your own fishing pole is actually pretty simple. The basic fishing pole design has been used for hundreds of years and is still quite effective to this day. When making a fishing pole, you’ll want to choose a thin flexible, yet strong stick that’s at least one inch in diameter and about 10 to 12 inches long.

sunset fishing

You can use a strong 12-inch line and tie it to the tapered end of the stick, which you can sharpen to a point using a knife. Use an arbor knot to secure the line at several places along the length of the pole to prevent the line from slipping off the pole. At the very tip of the fishing pole, the line should be wrapped several times and secured in place with an additional knot.

Basic Fishhook

You can make your own fish hook and attach it to the very end of the fishing line. To make a hook, you’ll use a knife to carve a thin, small stick into a flat 2-inch piece of wood that turns upward at the base. This part of the hook is referred to as the shank. For the final touches, you’ll affix a large thorn to the base of the hook. The thorn should be placed against the bottom of the hook’s shank. Once you catch a fish and it swallows the bait you’ve placed on the hook, the thorn will do its job piercing the throat and allowing you to haul in your catch.

Create a Dam

If making your own fishing pole and hook sounds too complicated you could also create a dam. If you find yourself near a stream, one of the best ways to ensure you catch enough fish to feed the entire family is by building a dam. When you build a dam, a fish will swim downstream and will become trapped, unable to go any further. Once you’ve trapped some fish you can use a spear, your hands, or a net to grab them. To make a dam,  you will leave spaces in its wall that will allow enough water to flow through but not enough space to allow the fish to escape.

Making a Trap

If you want to enjoy some fresh-caught crawfish you can easily make your own traps. Basically, traps designed to catch crawfish, crabs, and fish are the same. It will consist of a large outer opening that will continue to narrow until the opening is only large enough for a fish or crawfish to swim through and enter a small chamber. Once the crawfish is in this chamber they will be unable to find their way out.  Creating one of these traps is pretty simple.

All you need is a couple of 2-liter bottles  and the best survival hatchet to cut them with. I recommend using the Off Grid Tools survival hatchet. To start, you’ll cut one bottle right above the halfway mark. With the second bottle, you’ll cut it two inches higher. After you have removed the cap from the shorter bottle’s top you can easily fit it into the larger one. Next, you’ll make a variety of holes in the larger top which will allow water to flow through. Next, the trap should be placed out of the current with both ends weighed down with rocks.

Cleaning Fish

Fisherman clean

Fish can be prepared and cleaned in a variety of ways, including cut into steaks or fillets. The way you prepare the fish will all depend on the type of fish you caught. For small fish such as perch or trout, you can clean them in just a few steps. First, you’ll remove the scales using the edge of a hatchet or knife. The knife tip should be inserted into the anus of the fish as you slice upward to the base of its head and remove it. Rinse the fish out to get rid of any remaining innards. You can leave the head or on or off. Some people prefer to keep the head on for added flavor.


During a natural disaster you also probably won’t be able to carry your favorite pots and pans with you.  Bringing along a tube of aluminum foil will come in handy and can allow you to quickly cook up freshly caught squirrels, snakes, rats, and fish by folding the aluminum into a packet. To do, you’ll take a sheet of foil, place the meat in the center and fold the short sides of the foil together twice. Next, you’ll fold the remaining sides in order to seal the packet. Because foil does an excellent job of conducting heat, it will evenly distribute heat and the juices, locking in the moisture.

Make a Rotisserie

If you don’t have any foil in your pack, then you can also make your own rotisserie and cook your kill over a campfire. To do, all you need is a couple of sticks that have branches on each end that form a Y shape. The Y shape should be sharpened to points. Next, pound them into the ground vertically on each side of the fire. You’ll also need to use a green branch that also has a Y shape.

Ensure that the green branch is long enough that it will be able to reach the span of both the other sticks. Before you skewer your kill and place it on the rotisserie, you’ll need to strip off the bark cleanly and sharpen the other end of the stick. Next, take your meat and skewer it using the sharp end, while using the Y-shaped handle to slowly turn the meat over the fire.

Traps and Snares

While today, you may turn your nose up at the thought of eating a squirrel, rabbit, or rat, when you’re living off the land and starving, any type of protein source will look very appealing. In fact, since rabbits are so plentiful and very easy to trap, they’re probably the best choice for the beginner. Creating your own network of traps and knowing how to set them will be critical to your survival. It will be a matter of paying close attention to the trails, time of day, and the common areas these particular animals frequent. When setting traps you’ll also need to be careful considering these animals are food sources for large predators. Learning a few hog hunting tips for beginners might also come in handy if you’ve decided to go after a bigger reward.

The Easiest Trap to Make

Creating a deadfall trap is pretty basic and very beginner-friendly. This type of trap will be placed on an obvious pathway or trail where small mammals, such as rabbits and squirrels tend to travel in search of food and water. This type of trap is basically just a big rock that’s held up by sticks that will get knocked down when an animal goes for the bait, causing the rock to fall and crush them.

Make sure you use bait such as fish, berries, and other local vegetation. It will also be helpful to create a map that clearly lists the location for each of your traps are so you can check them several times a day and prevent larger predators from claiming your kill.

Snare Supplies

Making a snare is also easy. Essentially, it’s a loop that’s attached to a tree branch. For this type of trap, all you really need is some twine, parachute cord, or even an appliance cord. You can use your hatchet to kill a trapped animal once they’ve been caught. Ensure that the blade is sharp so it will not cause much damage to the meat.

Final Thoughts

The best animals to hunt include rabbits, bunnies, frogs, trout, perch, crawfish, rats, squirrels, and other small mammals that you may come across in your neck of the woods. Learning how to trap, clean, and cook them when you’re living off the land will be crucial to your survival and that of your family. The tips I’ve included here are pretty basic and very beginner-friendly so you should have no problems successfully using them when disaster strikes.

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