The Catapult Is The Perfect Tool For The Job
Every prepper knows the importance of having back up plans.
They are essential to ensure you can complete any task needed to enable you to survive, this also applies to equipment as well, so owning a hunting catapult makes this weapon an essential prepping tool.
Being able to procure your own food in a SHTF situation means you would be able to eat and live and survive.
Now we have the law sorted, the main question is, are catapults any good for hunting?
And the answer is, a resounding yes. Most definitely....
Even the most basic hand built catapult will give you the ability to hunt for your food, and on a SHTF situation the humble catapult will also double as a very effective self defence weapon.
Most basic, off the shelf, catapults will send an 8mm steel ball bearing towards a target at over 200 feet per second.
If you start to do some customising by adding heavier duty bands or doubling up with the bands it is possible to achieve nearer 300 feet per second.
With that sort of speed using an 8mm ball bearing you would achieve a quick kill on a rabbit for sure.
That is one of the most essential things - a quick humane kill. Of course, the secret to achieving a quick, humane kill is not necessary in the actual firing of the ball bearing that kills the prey.....
It all start right from the moment you start to stalk your prey - you have to have the correct mindset (think like the the animal you are stalking) and be well within striking distance - too far away and you risk a bad hit that will allow your pry to escape, and, if injured you are now causing that animal completely unnecessary distress - Please Don't Do This.
Learn how to stalk and get close enough for a kill shot every time.
Stalking is a whole separate subject, but is the essence of a good hunter. You must learn the skills and practice getting close to your pry before you even consider taking your first live shot.
Successful silent hunting with a catapult will naturally follow good stalking.
It goes without saying that you must achieve a high level of consistent accuracy before trying it for 'real'. This is not difficult, in fact, I think the catapult is one of the easiest hunting tools to master and has a lot of advantages over conventional hunting weapons.
What makes the catapult such a good choice for hunting.
- Small & Compact
- Minimal moving part
- Requires no batteries of gas
- Replacement bands
- Fires any ammo
- Can be hand made
- Silent loading
- Silent firing
If you consider the fact that a catapult can fire anything from a pea to a stone to a steel ball bearing, and all of them accurately, you have yourself a formidable hunting tool.
The Catapult - Silent, accurate and deadly - what more could you want.!
A good basic catapult for most people is the;
Barnett Black Widow Catapult
It has a solid frame and the power bands are easy to replace – no fiddling about, which is exactly what you want in the middle of the woods.
The wrist support is great and definitely helps to achieve more consistent accuracy.
* Firing the Black Widow Hunting Catapult
For under £25, the Black Widow Catapult kit is great value and is very easy to use with the wrist support that helps you keep everything steady.
Catapults are so basic that you really can't go wrong - this one has a basic steel frame and plastic grip and with a little practice you soon get your eye in and the whole thing becomes quite fun.
The loading, the aiming and even the firing are all simple and quiet operations that are easy to master.
If you can combine good stalking skills as well, then you will be assured of getting something for tea, again, making this an acceptable weapon for hunting.
The catapults overall range and power are the only things that limit them over the conventional air rifle that I would use for hunting rabbit.
I do own a gas fired rifle with suppressor which is reasonably quite and certainly gives a longer distance and more power, but it can be cumbersome sometimes and from a prepping point of view, what happens when it breaks or the gas runs out or the pellets dry up..?
My trusty crossbow would be my next 'go to' hunting weapon, but again, it has temperamental moving parts that can break and the smaller bolts I fire get easily lost and would eventually run out.
Therefore, knowing that you have the backup of a good catapult makes so much prepper logic.!
Hunting Europe's Biggest Pest
Procuring food and SHTF go hand in hand.
So does hunting rabbit, which are now Europe's biggest un-culled pest for landowner and farmers, constitute good food for eating?
Of course they do and there's lot of recipes for rabbit.
As well as good eating, landowners are always looking for skilled fields men to help eradicate these pesky destroyers.
So being able to actually go out and practice your skills should be an easy task for most preppers.
But learn about your prey first. Times of day that are best to hunt them. Do a bit of recon and try to find their warrens and food runs.
All this makes for successful hunting.
Your next move is learning how to 'field dress' the rabbit, skin and butcher, and prepare for cooking over an open fire.
Basic bushcraft and prepping skills that must be learned and practised.
If you intend to hunt using a catapult, then make use of this new bushcraft skill you have.!
Once you've bagged a few rabbits and got them to the table, you will soon realise how tasty a really fresh rabbit actually is.
Not only that, it will save you money to spend on other prepping equipment and supplies.
Below is a high powered 'compound' hunting catapult designed to fire both ball bearings and arrows.
This is high tec hunting catapult also has the option of adding a laser sight...!
Overall, this is one mean bit of kit, obviously in a different league to your basic catapult and designed for greater accuracy and performance, with the addition of the spring assist your looking at speeds of nearly 300 feet per second. .
This catapult brings silent hunting with a catapult into a different realm entirely, the body has been designed with an arrow rest support that comes with the catapult therefore allowing you to also fire conventional arrows.
The lower handle has a 20mm rail that will accept a red dot or torch as well – a very nice touch for a catapult.
I have the Mk1 version, shown below I definitely recommend it.
This latest version high powered 'compound' hunting catapult this is very powerful catapult indeed.
You also have an option of adding a laser sight or torch to the rail mount at the base of the handle.
If you have a good catapult set-up that gives you higher speeds, it will also mean you can be that bit further away from your prey, you can still be accurate and have a powerful kill shot.
If you find a good place to lay up and wait, with a more powerful catapult, you have extra flexibility to go for near or further prey as well.
A nice feature for hunting at dusk is a laser red dot sight - the rail is perfect for this (shown above)
Choice Of Ammo
Of all the things that make silent hunting with a catapult a favourable weapon to use, is the fact that you can never really run out of ammunition.
Ball bearings are you first choice, but what happens if they get used up?
At least your not in the same predicament as you would be if you were using a rifle or bow.
Just about any smallish sized object can be used - stones being the most obvious, but what about marbles or metal nuts... You now have lots of backup ammo choices.
In fact, the only real moving part on a catapult is the rubber band tubing.
The power bands on your catapult will need to be 'eased in' before you go stretching them to full power.
This will mean taking a dozen or so half shots then move up to full stretch.
This will definitely help with the life of the bands, however, expect them to snap at some point. It's inevitable.
The good thing about this is, they are easily replaced and very cheap to buy.
Most catapult use the hollow rubber tubing for the power bands, and these will come in 5,6,7,9 or 11mm diameter and is set by the type of catapult you have.
But its not compulsory to use the hollow bands. You can get flat bands and solid square bands as well if you want to experiment.
The best way to ensure you always have enough spare power band is to buy in lengths and cut to suit you catapult and arm lengths.
If you don't want to be bothered with cutting and binding your own bands there's always the choice of buying ready made power bands with the pouch fitted.
These bands will come in different strength levels and will fit a range of catapults - the Pack Of 3 Pre-Made will fit the Black Widow, Barnett Strike Nine, Cobra, Diablo, Pro Diablo and probably a few more as well.
See all catapult power bands here:
Or you could go the whole hog and try a little bit of experimenting with multi string bands.
This set-up will enable a more powerful set-up to be achieved
These 6 string set-ups are mainly designed for specific catapults like the HeroNeo shown on the left.
If you want to do the whole lot yourself, then changing a band is very easy, the only hard part is adding the pouch.
Sometimes the band can just be weaved through the pouch and other times you will need to bind the end.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by using a strand from some 550 paracord or a small cable tie.
Don't Forget Your Own Safety.
Considering we are supposed to be silently hunting for our tea, with the object being to cleanly kill a rabbit, or other food source. The last thing we want is to injure ourself..!
I hate to go all Health & Safety on you but, I highly advise wearing protective eye wear at the very least.
Some people will also wear a glove on the hand holding the catapult.
When a power band snaps it will always spring back towards your face, guaranteed. It can even whip the ammo back and shoot that in your face. You will not be ready for it and your eyes will be open.
Glasses are made specifically for hunting.
These ones offer everything you can want for successful hunting, especially in low light.
Dusk is a great time to stalk rabbits, and as the light gets lower and the shadows make focussing a bit more harder, these 'low light' glasses enhance your sight of vision.
You want protection that wraps around the side of your eyes as well, and are shatter-proof.
Seriously folks - these are a must have when using a hunting catapult.
Get all the basics in place and your half way there to being a good catapult hunter.
Practice and then practice again to really feel confident before going for the real thing.
And please wear eye protection..!!!!
Steve Hart - UK Preppers Guide