Recently Rourke posed a question for his readers regarding inclusion of fishing tackle in the survival ruck. My thoughts follow.
Inclusion of fishing gear in your survival rucks is likely situationally dependent. If your primary/expected travels are all in desert regions, likely not – but living in a land of many lakes and abundant fish I include a minimal kit of fishing equipment. No rods or reels, these are primarily for the sport fisherman, but my ruck has a gill net, heavy test catfish line on the factory spool, a spool of small monofilament line, and an assortment of hooks including treble. For those of you unfamiliar with a gill net (http://fishnetco.com/products/fishing-nets/gill-nets, Amazon, etc.), they are so efficient at fish gathering as to be illegal for sport fishing in many locales. Survival situations trump logical laws aimed at preventing overfishing. The heavy catfish line has many other uses including the making of snares, equipment repair, and even treble hook turkey trotlines (again for survival hunting only). The monofilament fishing line could even be used for suture material whenever later removal is possible.
If you are located in, or plan to possibly traverse regions where fish might be expected, by all means include minimalist fishing gear, especially that efficient and effective gill net. Fowl can be taken using the turkey trotline approach. Small mammals and even deer can be trapped with snares and I include a number of commercially manufactured stainless snares in all of my rucks. These snares are quire strong, can be boiled to remove the man scent, will never rust, and unless they ‘run off,’ will last for generations. There is even a ‘quick kill’ device that can be added to the snare. Whenever I find a cheap tool that will provide food for generations, I buy in bulk. Suggest you do the same. See: http://www.snareshop.com/prodinfo.asp?number=12LIVE .
Of course without proper training followed by actual experience few will ever catch anything but a cold or perhaps the diarrhea. I heartily urge each to take the time and learn fishing and trapping skill sets before experiencing a situation that might just provide the exam first with lesson afterward.
I was fortunate to be raised in a place and at a time with parents who insisted on making one-match fires and if in the summer, a no match fire was made with magnifying glass. When camping, it was expected that at least one meal would be prepared from game caught either by snare or hasty made trap of local materials. These skills mastered as a pre-teen have served me well over the decades and none of us is too old to learn. My daughter the physician and other children learned the same skill sets. I insisted. The wise will have a quality 3+ diopter magnifying glass in their survival rucks as well. This is another multi-use item as it is also useful in finding those irritating too small to easily see splinters, etc.
Like being able to swim, fishing and trapping are life skills that everyone should master. Other than death sounds, snares are otherwise silent and hunt around the clock with no effort other than proper site selection and set up; likewise with trotlines, either in water or on land. In a survival setting, you might consider setting snares around a turkey trotline or bird trap as struggles of the birds and death smells are likely to draw small mammals.
Remember folks; there is a huge difference between survival hunting/fishing and sport. That difference may mean the lives of your family members or even that of yourself. [Rourke: Go back and read those last two sentences again. Very important!]
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