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Hunting Small Game and Proper Gun Selection

This article was submitted by a guest writer. Do you agree with his thoughts? What do you think?

In survival situations, hunting deer and elk may not be an option. However, small game like squirrels and birds can be a reliable alternative as you search for food. It’s important to know how to hunt, clean, and cook small game—as well as which weapons are best for hunting them.

Lose the Rifle
Most hunters don’t have the marksmanship to hunt small game with a rifle; instead, they opt for a 12 or 20-gauge shotgun with birdshot (small pellets that you’ll have to pick out of your meat). The 20-gauge shotgun is perfect for easy aim on something like a small squirrel that won’t damage your meat like a 12-gauge would.
Modular shotguns like Remingtons are reliable, affordable, and easy to maintain. Small switch-outs like an o-ring around the barrel are as simple as a twist and a pull. The manufacturer’s website will almost always have takedown and maintenance guides, and Amazon sells print copies as well.


Squirrels are possibly the best game in North America to hunt and were popularized by the Robertson family on A&E’s Duck Dynasty. Gray and fox squirrels span coast to coast. The eastern gray squirrel (which can weigh one to five pounds) spans the eastern half of the U.S., is heavily populated in wooded areas, and avoids open, grassy areas. Fox squirrels are more prevalent in open areas and weigh about four to five pounds—that’s one to two more pounds than the average gray squirrel.


Squirrel meat is usually chewy so it’s best in a stew. Mix it with some potatoes, carrots, and peppers and you have one heck of a meal!


Game birds are another animal you can rely on more than deer or elk. Game birds include dove, woodcock, teal, snipe, quail, grouse, ducks, geese, pheasants, swan, and crane. In some areas, you’ll find wild turkeys and other larger animals, but small game is what you can depend on.
For bird game, stick with buckshot. It’s worth the hassle of picking pellets out of the meat because firing a slug at a bird mid-flight takes serious marksmanship. Like squirrels, birds are best in a stew or, if small enough, roasted over a fire.


Keep your shooting sharp by ditching standing targets and shooting trap and skeet. Small game will almost always be on the move and the ability to hit a bullseye won’t do much good in a survival situation. You can practice with slugs if you’d like, but skeet and trap are very difficult to shoot with a solid round.

Do you hunt small game? How do you like to prepare them as a meal? Let us know in the comments!

Happy hunting.

First posted on BePrepared

2 Responses to Hunting Small Game and Proper Gun Selection

  • Some good points but I don't know how much hunting this person actually did growing up. I agree that you can't count on large game for survival. Even if you have many around they are likely to become scarce before too long.
    A shot gun would be nice but many of us can't afford to buy a lot of ammo for them. Don't underestimate a pellet or bb gun for small game and birds. I killed many rabbit and squirrel as a kid with a Crossman 760. I would prefer a higher power bb or pellet gun, but it did the job. I also assume that the buck shot was for the turkey as bird shot would be my choice for birds and even squirrel. I have even seen trukey dropped at 35 yards with 7 1/2 shot out of a 20 gauge. A slug is only for large game as you wouldn't have much to eat if you shot small game with one of those chunks of lead, unless you made sure your shot was well placed. If it comes to survival, remember most birds are edible and so are many insects.

  • Alec don't take me wrong I'm sure I could learn a lot from you and that's why I'm on this site. Thank you for your information. I just happen to know hunting in more ways than I even care to discuss on a website. I grew up spending a lot of time in the woods. Even caught a turkey bare handed one time, but my girl friend now Wife requested that I let it go so I did. Thanks for the work you do in helping people become informed. Although I do get tire of being shown a video selling some program so much of the time, But I understand it's part of your survival plan. Live long and prosper. Just had to say that.


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