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Hunting To Survive
I 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.
Hunting 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 families.

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 away.


Rabbits 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 it..


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 food.


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.


Red 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.

Twizel New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand
Twizel New Zealand
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.
Many families have had their lives changed forever by disasters in New Zealand in recent years. Having a survival plan could go a long way to helping your family during and after a disaster in New Zealand. Learn how to prepare your home and family for survival in a disaster in New Zealand.