know not everyone likes guns but teaching your kids
gun safety and practicing target shooting is an
invaluable skill during a time when food may be
scarce. A .22 rifle is a popular choice. Air rifles
can be very powerful and are often a bit quieter
than a .22, and make a great choice for small game
too. Either way, you’ll want a rifle with
a good scope, and you can use a silencer on a .22
to reduce the noise level.
for survival is worth some serious thought. Some are proficient
with a bow and arrows or maybe a slingshot, but for most
a rifle is going to be an essential item. However, you need
to think about what it is you are going to hunt. Now I am
not talking to experienced hunters here but to people who
may need to find a food source to feed themselves and their
Going into the bush and shooting a deer or a pig may sound
like the way to go, but even if you managed to find one
would you know what to do with it. I have never yet shot
a deer that I could throw over my shoulder and carry home,
although it can be done. Would you know how to gut it and
skin it and cut out the meat. And then unless you can freeze
or preserve it somehow its only going to be good for a day
or two in the summer. In the winter depending on where you
are you may be able keep it for longer.
The most likely food source is small game and by that, I
mean probably rabbits and hares. Possums too probably but
I confess to have never eaten one and don’t plan to
try in the near future (and I don’t care how good
your recipe is). Game birds also qualify here.
So that brings us to a choice of rifle. Ideally a choice
would be good. A 22 rifle for small game, a larger calibre
for larger animals, and a shotgun for birds and rabbits.
If however you can only choose one then I would go for a
22 rifle. With this you can shoot small game and birds without
losing too much meat, and I have even brought down a deer,
pigs, and goats with a 22.
My choice is a Ruger 77/22, a bolt action rifle which takes
all Ruger 22 magazines. An inexpensive alternative wound
be a Russian TOZ 22 which is also bolt action. A very tough
yet extremely accurate rifle. The magazines can be hard
to source so don’t buy one without a magazine. However
most 22 rifles are pretty good so don’t get too hung
up on this. Make sure you get a good scope and I prefer
to shoot with a silencer fitted.
There is nothing wrong with semi-automatics and I also have
a Ruger 22 semi that is very accurate and the most popular
22 ever made. However in a survival situation there are
a few things to consider against semi-automatics. For a
start you tend to use more ammunition as if you miss with
your first shot you are inclined to fire off a couple more.
And in a survival situation you may not be able to replace
ammo. The semi has more moving parts so could tend to be
a little less reliable than a bolt action rifle. Also as
I shoot mainly with a silencer I use sub-sonic ammunition
which is less powerful and sometimes does not fully operate
the semi action causing jamming. These are minor points
though but worth considering.
A shotgun is another gun worth considering. However I have
found anything I can shoot with a shotgun I can shoot with
a 22 except for birds in flight. The short barrel shotguns
look cool but are pretty useless unless you are close enough
to club an animal to death with it. The longer barreled
ones are much more accurate and will bring down an animal
within relative distance. I think anything over 50 metres
with a shotgun is not really on, but in my younger day I
have taken out hares and rabbits with a 22 up to 200 metres
are plentiful in most parts of New Zealand. They
can be hunted at anytime of the year and make
great eating. The best time to hunt rabbits is
in the late afternoon or evening, but they can
often be found anytime of the day or night. Hunting
them at night with a spotlight is another good
option. When hunting rabbits, a .22 rifle isthe
best choice. However they can also be taken with
a bow but you need to be fairly proficient with
Goats are widely spread throughout the county
and live in a range of different environments.
They can often be spotted on sunny slopes in bush
clearings, tussock hillsides, farmland on the
edge of bush and rocky areas. Goat are most often
found in a mob, and are easily spotted and stalked
due to their smell and their bleating. Bow hunters
especially like hunting goats as they can get
within range to safely and humainly make the kill.
They can be shot wit a .22 rifle but a .22 magnum
or 223 is preferable. Young goats and small nanny's
can be great eating. They also make great dog
In New Zealand feral pigs are found in the North
and South Islands. Mainly active in daylight although
where subjected to hunting pressure may become
more nocturnal or restrict their activity to early
morning and late afternoon. Feral pigs are omnivorous,
eating a wide variety of food including grasses,
roots, seeds and other plant material as well
as carrion, earthworms and insects. Boars especially
have thick skin with gristly shoulder shields
up to 90 mm thick. Rifle calibres should have
maximum hitting power with .270 and above recommended.
deer are the most widespread deer species in New
Zealand with wild populations established throughout
most of the forested and tussock country from
the Kaimai Range in the north to Stewart Island
in the south. Areas
that have few or no red deer are Northland, much
of Taranaki, Coromandel and Banks Peninsula. Red
deer are medium sized animals of about 180 kg
in weight. While calibres as small as .222 have
been successfully used on red deer the recommended
calibre is a minimum of .243. Feeding activity
tends to be greatest in early morning and late
afternoon. Plan your hunt to be at likely areas
early morning and late afternoon. Hunt into the
wind as quietly as possible and take advantage
of available cover. In windy weather, deer will
seek sheltered areas and will keep to shelter
in heavy rain, whilst during light drizzle overcast
weather feeding can occur all hours of the day.
1 - Cut the a ring around each leg of the rabbit,
just above the leg joint. Only cut enough to get
past the hide. Do not cut deeply into the skin of
the rabbit; it is unnecessary and inefficient.
2 - On each leg, make a single slice going up from
the ring cut to the backside of the animal. This
will make the skinning easier in the end.
3 - Start pulling away some of the hide, working
from the ring cut at the foot joint down to the
backside or genitalia of the rabbit. The hide should
come off relatively easily.
4 - Cut your way through the bone of the tail, making
sure not to sever or puncture the bladder. The tailbone
juts out and is relatively easy to locate.
5 - With both hands, start pulling the hide from
the body. The hide will slip off very easily at
this point. It should be like peeling a banana.
6 - Work your fingers into the sleeve of the hide
where the arms are, removing the arms from the hide.
This may be a little tricky at first, so don't be
disappointed if it takes a little extra elbow grease.
7 - Work the hide down from the upper torso to the
head. Pull the hide down until it rests at the base
of the skull.
8 - Sever the head from the spine. With it, the
skin should entirely detach from the remaining meat.
9 - With your hands, break the bones at the arm
and leg joints. Then, at the joints, sever the skin
from the bone using your knife.
10 - Dress and clean the animal, saving the hide
as needed. Make sure the animal is clean before
you eat it. If possible, check its liver to gauge
the safety of the meat. Save the hide for tanning
or other uses.