Primitive Prepper: 5 Things You Must Know to Slingshot Hunt.
Are you prepared with a backup plan in the event that your locale goes black on food sources?
Few food-generating tools are more low profile and adaptive than a slingshot. You can pack a rubber sling into a bug-out bag or even a pocket. You can carve a frame from a tree branch. You can use a marble as ammo when bullets are low. And with regular training, you can teach yourself to bring down small game for food.
History of the Slingshot
First thing’s first: know the history of the slingshot to understand the deadly potential of this weapon.
Slings—not today’s slingshots, mind you, but simple ropes for hurling projectiles—are very, very old. Some archeologists believe they date back to over 12,000 years ago to the Upper Paleolithic period and were used for hunting. The oldest sling excavated dates back to 2,500 BC from the coast of Peru. Egyptians used them, as did Greeks and Romans.
Soldiers from the Balearic Islands near Spain were renowned slingers who fought for Julius Caesar and were said to take the top off a man’s head from over 100 yards away.
For as ancient as slings are, the “slingshot” as we know it today is a product of much more modern make. It was created after Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in 1839 and was first known as a tool of child vandals.
In 1918, the “Zip-Zap”—a slingshot with a cast iron frame—was the first-ever commercially produced model. The slingshot’s popularity soared around the middle of the twentieth century, and since then it’s been used for everything from target practice to small-game hunting.
1. Weapon or Toy?
Though most of us think of a slingshot as a child’s toy, as ancient hunters and warriors show us, slings can be lethal. The right kind of slingshot in the right hands creates serious momentum, on par with a gun like the 44 Magnum. For proof of the concept, check out this this video by JoergSprave.
It’s why “wrist-rocket” style slingshots are illegal in several American states and entire European countries.
Before you go hunting, do your research. Find out which types of slingshots are legal to use in your region and proceed with the utmost caution.
2. A Word of Warning
Slingshots often break. In fact, if you use your band frequently and don’t monitor its condition, breakage is very likely. A snapped band at the pouch end will send your shot scattering away from you. A failure at the fork end, however, can bring the ammunition shooting back toward your face—not a situation anyone wants to be in.
To avoid an accident, be careful about:
- Fork Design – Stay away from slingshots that use loose parts at the fork.
- Band Condition – Check the condition of your band regularly and be ready to change it out. A simple once-over visual inspection and a tug should be enough to get a sense of the condition.
- Wood Slingshots – If you fashion a slingshot from a tree branch, keep a very close eye out for cracks in the fork.
- Zinc Alloy Models – Do not rely on manufactured slingshot frames made from cheap zinc alloy.
3. Get the Right Band
When it comes to sling shot bands, you have two choices: flats or tubes.
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but one thing is certain: tubes are more durable and therefore last longer.
They also offer faster reload (especially for beginners) which can help when you miss that first shot.
This is why we recommend tube bands for bug-out bags and emergency hunting.
4. The Game to Hunt
Slingshots should be used at short distances on small game.
- Rabbit – Hares are evolved to freeze when threatened, making them easier game for slingshot hunting than you might think.
- Pheasant – These are great beginner birds because they make a large target and fly slowly. They’re generally easier to hit than other fowl—perfect for slingshots.
- Pigeon – Eating pigeon may not sound appetizing on its face, but “squab” (pigeon meat) was one of the most common sources of protein in America just a century ago.
- Squirrel – Some people start their children hunting squirrels with a slingshot before they ever pick up a gun. It’s great training in distance, silence, and patience…and great motivation to practice, practice, practice.
- Duck – Ducks are larger prey, so headshots are a must. Better still if you can wound or stun them with a shot and then close the gap with a club.
5. Go for a Head Shot
Accuracy is more important with a slingshot than with a gun. To be a proficient slingshot hunter, you must score headshots on small game. Will Brendza of skilledsurvival.com described the outcomes of a poorly landed shot:
The ammunition you will most likely use causes blunt force trauma rather than piercing injuries, so you must be able to hit your target in the head and you must be able to get close enough to administer lethal force.
If you fire a lead ball at a squirrel or small bird and hit it in the body, you will only cause internal bleeding and the animal’s meat will be ruined.
Which means you just killed a living creature in waste. That’s not cool.
The solution? Other than the items we’ve already discussed, you need to practice, practice, practice.
A few tips on how to practice:
- Distance – 33 feet is the recommended average distance for target practice.
- Starter Target – A great starter target is an empty cardboard box with a thick blanket or sleeping bag inside to capture your ammo.
- Pro Target – For longer-term target practice, Zachary Fowler recommends a “catch box”: a wooden box with a target hanging from the inside and t-shirts mounted at the back to catch ammo.
- Clear Zone of Fire – Ammo can go bouncing in every direction, especially when they’re shot from a distance. NEVER shoot with people in front or to the side of you. Make sure there is a clear zone of fire for many feet around, clear of anything you wouldn’t want to damage.
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