Is hunting/fishing a good way to feed your family?


With all the talk of our upcoming Great Depression (The Sequel), I've been thinking a great deal about sustenance. Since no one knows what, exactly, is going to happen to our economy or our standard of living, I'm expecting the worst (but hoping for the best, of course). As a result, I've been playing a lot of "What If..." with myself. What if I lose my job? What if I can't pay my mortgage and default on my home loan? What if I have to move back in with my parents?

The thought of these possible outcomes gets me thinking about measures that I could take to avoid them. During the summer, Wise Bread and similar sites are always full of tips like "grow your own vegetables", which is great if you have enough space and sunlight to achieve this (my tomato crop fails every year). I do know, however, that it's not that hard to grow enough food to supplement a family's diet. My nana was enamored over all kinds of squash (summer squash, cucumbers, zucchini), which grow like weeds, are insanely hardy, and can be stuffed, frozen, or pickled for later use. Nana's pantry was chock full of pickled tomatoes, cucumber, beans, and summer squash when she died. Having spent her childhood in Soviet Russia and later Nazi Germany, the woman certainly understood the value of having a good supply of food on hand.

For people who have the ability to grow and store large amounts of food, growing/ your own veggies can be an excellent money-saver. But what about meat? Raising animals isn't cheap - vet visits can cost hundreds of dollars for a sick pig or goat (chickens are less costly, for certain, but can be unpredictable in their laying patterns). So how about wild animals?

Even as something of an animal rights proponent, I've never had anything against hunting. In fact, I consider hunting one of the more honest activities one can engage in. It's one thing to get your sterile, packaged meat from the supermarket - it's an entirely different matter to track, kill, and butcher the animal whose flesh you consume. Those of us who never face the living animals that we eat can keep a safe distance from their life, death, suffering, and realness. Hunters don't have that luxury.

As times get tougher, I have began to wonder how many people will turn to hunting and fishing as a means to provide food for their families. I don't think I have the stamina to track and shoot a deer, and the Seattle area really isn't that good for hunting - hipsters don't taste very good, anyway.

I emailed a number of friends and hunting bloggers to ask them about the financial viability of hunting and fishing for sustenance, and received very little response. One of my high school friends, who is an avid (read: INSANE) outdoorsman, confessed to spending nearly $50K during the last two years on hunting and fishing (boat, guns, ammo, licenses, gasoline, high-tech fishing gadgets). Mind you, for this friend, it's more of a hobby than a way of feeding his family.

I'm aware that hunting and fishing is only "worth it" if you actually manage to bring home some food. This is probably why some friends have confided, off the record, that their families have used hunting to get by in lean times, mostly by purchasing licenses and giving them to the one uncle who always managed to bag a deer or a bear, so that they didn't waste days or weeks tromping around in the woods, losing ammo to a really bad shot. Although technically illegal, I can see why a struggling family would take part in this.

I was wondering how many Wise Bread readers partake in hunting and fishing as a means of providing food (and not just as a sport or vacation). Does your family find it economically viable to buy guns, ammo, and licenses every year? Would you consider hunting or paying someone to hunt food for you if this recession continues for very long?

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Guest's picture

I have disccused quit a bit recently with my wife. I also asked my mother/brothers/sister if I were to go hunting would the eat the meat. I myself love venison, and would not mind having it on hand. but I think the hard part would be the hunt. The shooting/gutting of the animal. if i could have someone else do it for me that would be great.

Guest's picture

Hunting and fishing can be an economical way to feed your family, but just how economical depends on where you live, how much skill you have, and what equipment you need. In a large city, fishing is a better option than hunting, as it can be practiced during your free time, requires less skill and is overall more poductive. I would begin by focusing on smaller more prevelant fresh water species, such as sunfish or bull heads. These can be caught with just a handline hook, small weight and a worm (about 5 dollars in intital investment), and have the added benefit of having less toxins due to diet and size. You would then need a liscence (about 20 dollars for a year), and the patience to clean many small fish to get a meal. Larger fish species in both fresh and salt water tend to require more time and skill, are more contaminated (this depends on the body of water in which they live), but if you know how to catch them are less work to clean and on a good day offer more meat. Hunting is more comlicated. Differnt game species require differnt equipment to be succesful, and differnt areas to hunt them. Small game mammals such as squirrel and rabbit are often more plentiful on public land than game birds and big game, and squirrels in particular are easy quarry for a beggener. Game birds are more diffcult to hunt, and hence ought to be opportunistic kills for someone out trying to hunt for food. A used .22 or single shot 12 gauge shotgun can be had for under a hundred dollars, and are both effective for this type of hunting. Apart from the guns, and bullets (.22 bullets are much cheaper but require more accuracy than shotgun slugs, think 2.50 for 50 .22 bullets, and 8 dollars for 25 shotgun shells), there is little equipment needed for small game hunting, and liscences for this kind of hunting are generally in the 20 dollar area in most states. If you live in the city gas is a major expense when hunting. How far you go generally determines how cost effective your hunting will be. If you have to drive 2 hours to shoot 5 squirrels, you may not be saving much money. However if you shoot twenty on the same trip, then you may be getting squirrel as cheap as 1.00 a pound after total expenses. Big game is harder. It requires more skill and is harder on public land. Having said that it can be a cost effective way for a city dweller to get meat, provided they have access to good hunting land where the quarry is plentiful, and every attempt is made to keep costs down. For example, in Minnesota white tail deer are plentiful, but there are a lot of hunters, so having access to private land significantly ups a begginers chances of shootng a deer. Lets say you get permission to hunt deer on 40 acres of land where deer are plentiful and nobody is hunting. Here we will assume you have a gun, butchering knifes, blaze orange clothes etc. So you don't have the initial equiptment investment. This land is 2 hours away, so you will use a full tank of gas getting there and back, thats 40 dollars spent to start. Then you will spnd 12 dollars on cartridges (bullets). You have to buy a licsence, which for a either sex whitetail deer tag in Minnesota is 28 dollars, so there is that expense. Apart from food, random gas station purchases etc, you are minimum spending 70 dollars on the hunt (if go with friends hunting is easier and gas is cheaper). Your first day you shoot an average sized doe, bring it back to the city and butcher it in your garage. You end up with 65 pounds of edible meat (including bone). That would be just over $1.00 a pound, and would take two days of your time in both hunting and butchering. In this scenario, you have saved quite a bit of money hunting. But what if you have to spend 3 weekends to shoot a deer, then the cost is closer to at least 3 dollars a pound, and the venison is not really cheaper than ground beef. Also, the intial cost of clothing, guns, knives bare minimum 400 dollars, provided you have no friends to borrow things from and nothing to start with, making your first few deer seasons at least as expensive as buying beef in the grocery store. So basically if you live in a large city ringed by suburbs, you can fish and hunt to help offset the cost of feeding your family, but you need to have a lot of knowledge and be realisitc about the cost benefit realtionship between how you hunt and fish and how much meat you get.

Guest's picture

To weigh in on your question about hunting and how it works out economically, I would say that "it depends". A neophyte hunter will more than likely not contribute substantially to the family economy in the first several years he/she attempts to bring home wild game. Big game hunting is a skill that one must develop, and as you mention, there is an initial outlay of cash to get into the sport, as well as licenses and fees to consider. If one factors in the cost of driving, and the cost of processing if one is not butchering it himself, hunting quickly becomes a hobby with a negative cash flow the first few years.

Having said that, my spouse hunts and usually manages to harvest a deer, an elk, and an antelope each year. We have started butchering the meat ourselves which saves substantial dollars. Because of his success, we rarely if ever buy meat at the grocery store. In that respect, we probably do net a positive return on his hobby.

Also, he has discovered that he can sell the cape (and horns) of some animals to taxidermy schools, collectors, and others. He recently received $30 for an antelope cape. Not a princely sum, but it helps offset the cost of gas.

What *could* be economically feasible, in my opinion, is hunting rabbit or squirrels. This type of hunting is often more diverse in options, and the game are more plentiful. Also, the learning curve is shorter. While big game hunting is somehow considered to be more aristocratic, small game hunting could provide cheap protein at a lower cost. Can the "ewwwww" factor be overcome? That is a hurdle that most people would struggle with in our "shrink wrapped meat" culture.

Guest's picture

I used to fish, but it never paid off because I suck at it. But, I live in a city. I could see it being worth it if you're in an area with a lot of fish, and you can tolerate eating them. A lot of the plentiful fish are mackerel, carp, and other "garbage fish." Personally, I love mackerel. Carp, not so much. I don't like trout. If you're fishing out of necessity, you have to learn to eat different kinds.

I suspect shooting for fowl and small animals is one way to get meat on the cheap. That and (illegally) gathering killed deer and freezing it.

Guest's picture

I don't hunt, but I would really like to learn. My only purpose would be to get the meat, so the cost would have to be reasonable, otherwise I wouldn't bother. I agree that hunting for the table is a great deal more honest than buying shrink-wrapped pork chops. I do find the idea of killing something simply to put a trophy on the wall rather disgusting though.

Since I grow a lot of my own food, keep hens for eggs, and bake a lot of pretty decent bread, I would also consider bartering for venison or other game. How I wish there were wild boar in my part of the world!

Guest's picture

This has been on my mind as well. I'm such an avid animal lover and advocate that I think I would have a really hard time with the act of looking an animal in the eye and taking its life.

However, I grew up in the suburbs so for me, meat pretty much comes from the grocery store so I've known for a long time that's its something I need to experience. And I do love cooking with wild game.

Here in Oklahoma, most people hunt for food security. For some its a sport, for some its a necessity. I reap the benefits of excess backstrap from time to time, which is nice.

I don't know a lot about hunting--but I have to say, what I've learned recently makes it sound a bit less like a sport. Most of the hunters I know sit in a deerstand, set out corn and wait. To me that sounds less like hunting and more like target practice. As long as the meat is used, I don't see anything inherently wrong with it, but it sounds boring to me and I'm curious if other people hunt differently.

My mind is definitely open to trying it and I recognize the importance of paying my dues for all the meat I eat and work for myself. But in the end I'll probably stick to sharing with my hunter friends and being thankful that I don't HAVE to hunt for my food.

Guest's picture

I guess it's down to hunting as a sport or a means to put meat on the table. Personally I prefer to wait for the food to come to me so a stand and feed out to encourage it to come to me. The whole idea is to expend as little energy as possible to get your food.

From time to time I will stalk my prey, but I have no problem with sitting and waiting for it to come to me :)

Guest's picture

While I'd be happy to raise hens for eggs (I wish I had the space to do so in the city!), the killing part of meat makes me really squeamish which is why I don't eat any of it. I know it's not for everyone, but vegetarian diets can be mighty frugal. I've always turned to my good friends lentils and rice in times of financial hardship.

Guest's picture

Laura... I am a hunter... and respect your approach to this issue. Thank you for your well placed sharing.

Guest's picture
Jay Moyes

I've thought about it too, but for different reasons. It's amazing how much wildlife is in the Los Angeles urban and suburban areas. Rumor has it some of it is transplanted. I've seen chickens and rabbits in urban areas, most likely escapees from home farming.

There's also a quite a few squirrels, doves, and possums spread across residential areas. While it may be illegal, with some traps and a pellet gun I could put food on the table about once a day simply by looking out the window.

As for real game, such as deer or fishing. I wouldn't count on it for exactly the suspicions raised above. Time is money and food is still pretty cheap depending on what you're eating.

Now on the other hand, there are many people who love to fish off the docks in LA, and having dined on fresh shark, I can tell you there's some very good eating out here. If you've got the time, hunting and fishing are a great way to relax while looking to put food on the table.

Guest's picture

I think it depends how much you put into it, like any other activity. I come from an area where lots of people hunt, and my boyfriend's uncles all hunt. So we get a lot of free venison.

If we wanted to go out with them, it would be free/very cheap - just gas money and maybe a round of beers afterward. If it were a regular thing we'd probably buy some ammo too.

But that's because a farmer gets a certain number of on-their-own-land hunting licenses every year, and we could get one just for asking. Also borrow a gun. If you had to pay for those things, I don't see how it would be worth it - you'd do better buying meat under the table from an experienced hunter.

I would imagine that even in Washington State there's a way to sign up for the roadkill list, to come pick up a carcass for just the gas/effort/time it takes.

If you butcher the animal yourself, you'll save a ton of money picking up roadkill. But you have to know what you're doing. Otherwise you need to pay a butcher, too.

I see a lot of people fishing for subsistence, but it's not a good idea in the long term, at least around here - every state in the Midwest has mercury and lead contamination in all their wild fish, and city lakes are terribly contaminated.

Guest's picture
Wesley Simon

I have been pondering this for about the last year. Notice I didn't say "acting" upon it. I grew up in a rural area in Kansas where excellent hunting and fishing were within walking distance. Growing up, I spent a great deal of time with some of my cousins that were avid hunters and fishermen. I became something of a hunter and fisherman myself by the time I was 20 years old. At 41, I am an engineer in a city; hunting and fishing are within an hour's drive.

Running limb lines in the summer time can produce a freezer full of catfish. Hunting deer for food only takes some warm clothes and a rifle; a license would be helpful too. A person only needs the camo, scents, calls, etc. when they are bow hunting and need to draw the deer in close. I wonder if I can dig up skills that are 20 years old good enough to require only a minimal cash investment such that it is "profitable."

I told my wife something that is very clear: If I get laid off, I'm buying a gun. I am certain that I will stop pondering and start acting on these thoughts. I have no problem shooting rabbits, squirrel, quail, pheasant, deer, etc. I also have no problem skinning, gutting, and cooking them.

Also, this winter I'll be figuring out what I need to do to get a garden growing in the spring. I'm on the lookout for a cheap aluminum jon boat for hitting the rivers and lakes.

I took all these things for granted growing up. Now, some 20 years later, I realize that there can be great pleasure in sharing and eating food that I have grown, caught, or shot myself.

Guest's picture

Re: femmeknitzi - People will go 'up north' to Upper Michigan to 'hunt' by doing that, only they throw out apples. They're called 'AppleKnockers' and not considered real hunters.

RE: the actual post

First of all, your essential equipment is warm clothing, if needed, and a weapon and ammo. Everything else is optional, and most other useful stuff is cheap - rope, tarps, etc. There's a lot of nonessential stuff out there though.

If you live around a lot of people, you're going to be mostly stuck with small game. You'd likely be best off trapping to get the most food out of the least work and expense. Or better yet, raise them. There's a reason people farm instead of hunt. If you live somewhere less populated, like aforementioned Upper Michigan, you can probably find a lot of big game. At that point, talent will come into play a bit.

Is it a good way to feed a modern family? Depends on how you go about it, where you live, the laws there, and how many other people around there have the same idea.

Personally, I think everyone should have at least one skill they can barter with. If times were really tough and I needed the meat, I don't have the skill to go get it myself, but I know people who do. I would happily trade a quilt or sweater for some venison. It's also useful in everyday life. I've traded a few hours of harp playing for a gourmet dinner for two in my home by a professional chef. I've traded a custom made frock coat for a few hours of a massage therapist's time. It's universally useful.

Thursday Bram's picture

Hunting for food seems perfectly normal for me in the context of stretching out food supplies: my grandmother told us grandkids all about hunting for rabbits, squirrels, etc. during the Great Depression and WWII (during meat rationing).

Personally, I'd much rather fish than hunt. Overall, it's just easier. And as long as you live fairly near somewhere that you can go fishing, the time commitment is less than going hunting.

Guest's picture

If you are hunting or fishing to provide food for your family, first research the consumption guidelines for your region. Animals higher on the food chain or fish that are part of longer food chains have more toxins concentrated in their flesh. This is the case even for regions without point sources of pollution, since toxins are spread through the air and water easily. Too many toxins can be especially dangerous for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant.

Here's a link to the EPA fish advisory site:

Guest's picture

I'm with Laura on this one -- lentils for me! I don't have the means to hunt, and I wouldn't eat too much fish due to health concerns. I do have skills I could barter -- like sewing and mending.

That being said, my area has a serious problem with Canada geese, and pigeons are a delicacy in some parts of the world... Who knows?

Guest's picture

It is absolutely worth it for us to eat game meat.

My husband hunts every year, and I am taking the class to get my Hunter Safety certificate this winter for next autumn so that I can join him.

By the time he's paid for the license and the butcher's fee, the meat from an antelope comes close to being $1.50/pound. The meat from an deer or an elk is much less per pound because they are much larger animals, and the costs are averaged into a larger number of pounds.

Game meat is organic, and in the case of many animals (deer, antelope, elk, etc.) very low fat. Most wild animals aren't fatty - they haven't been bred to be the way we've bred cows and pigs. If I shop carefully, I certainly can find cheaper meat, but even at its most expensive, I couldn't find meat of the quality of game meat for less than $1.50/pound.

No one I know buys a gun every year to go hunting; guns aren't disposable. If we had to factor in a hunting rifle... it would add a few dollars to the overall cost averaged over many years. They can be had for a hundred dollars or so, and are good practically forever and can usually be resold for a pretty high percentage of what the original cost was.

Ammo is maybe $5.00 for 5, which is often a few years worth. One cartridge to "zero" the rifle in the fall, one to kill the animal. The ammo cost most years is in the $2-3.00 range. Most hunters take great care to to carefully aim and kill with one shot.

Time-wise, one is looking at an hour or so at the public range to "zero", then from between half a day to a whole day to hunt, field dress, gut, and drop to the butcher. If you add in the time to cut up and package on your own, it would be cheaper, but would tack on several hours to the job. Also, the butcher has tools the rest of us don't have, which allows him to get a better yield. If the animal is elk, the area must be scouted ahead of time, and often requires camping overnight. All of this is done on weekend around here, so that adds to the amount of time spent, but doesn't really cost anything monetarily.

Guest's picture

Butchering an animal is no big deal, cut along the muscle groups and you can easily cut it up into manageable chunks. A search on YouTube can also assist in learning the process. I have three knives, a saw and an axe, the result? Meat butchered the way I like it :)

Guest's picture

Hunting does not have to be outrageously expensive. My dad & brothers hunt quite frequently. But, my dad has a friend who owns the land they hunt on, so they get the use of the land for free. I do like venison - its usually leaner than beef, but has about the same taste (some older ones can be tough or gamey, but there are ways to cook where it comes out fine). Really, its a great source of organic meat!! Deer in this area cause quite a few wrecks (some fatal), so hunting to bring down their numbers actually keeps people safe.

Now this might seem even more extreme, but some friends of ours hit a deer & it was killed instantly. They called my dad, who drove out there & was given a tag by the highway patrolman to take the deer home. It was a large one, and practically filled up the freezer. My dad gave the meat to some families that needed it. It was free, just took his time to process it. I think this scenario will become more & more common as times get tougher.

I think poaching will also increase...and illegal hunting. My uncle owns several acres. He shoots deer all the time, but rarely has tags for them (although it might be legal on your own property if they are a nuisance).

As for raising animals, rabbits are very easy to raise, they grow quickly, the meat is good, and the furs can be used. They do multiply quite quickly, lol. My father used to raise them, and the family ate them like chickens (about the same amount of meat). It would definitely be easier to raise rabbits than to hunt wild ones (or live-trap some wild ones, breed, and raise them from there...start out for free!) If I had to have meat, I think I would choose deer & rabbit if I had no other choices.

Guest's picture

The squirrels where I live are uncommonly plump and round this year. It looks like they could roll away instead of scampering.


The neighbors would freak out for sure if you strung a deer up in this neighborhood and butchered it though!

The roadkill scenario will happen more often--but it's not a desirable way to "hunt" as it's not exactly a clean kill and the damage to your car will outweigh the value to you of the animal for food.

It is to be hoped that things will not get so bad that many people will be *forced* to do such things.

Guest's picture
Anonymous Coward

Hunting & fishing can be a great way to put food on the table, but there are just too many factors to say if it will work for everyone. Just like some people don't have the space and sunlight for a garden, some people will not have adequate game resources at hand to make hunting cheaper in the long run.

Take fishing, for example. My family spends a couple weeks a year on vacation on the outer banks of North Carolina. The main purpose is to play on the beach, but I also fish every day. I use the same rod & reel I've had for the last 20 years and a fishing license is not required. Bait is $2 - $5 a day, depending on what you are fishing for.

When we visit in the right season, there are days when the schools of fish are "running". That means I can catch fish as fast as I can throw a hook in the water, and I come home in an hour with a full cooler of fish - yielding 10 - 20 lbs of fish after it's been cleaned.

It's all good eating fish - spot and croaker are small but tasty (kind of like perch), but you can also readily catch mackerel, bluefish, and flounder.

In the wrong season you may catch only a few fish in one week, so you need to take this into account. It takes experience and patience to develop the knowledge of when and where to fish to get the best return for your money, but it is certainly worth learning.

Of course, you need to like fish. My wife hates it and won't eat it, but the rest of my family loves the fish we enjoy all summer.

Guest's picture
martha in mobile

The lady down the hill loves to feed raccoons (I've seen 30 on her porch at dusk). They overbreed and overpopulate the area and then do whatever they can to try to get to my chickens. I set "hav-a-hart" traps, catch the raccoons, and give them to an acquaintance who eats them. So I eat eggs and chicken, my friend eats raccoons, and the lady down the hill, well, I'm not going to confess because I don't want to hurt her feelings.

Philip Brewer's picture

It's easy to confuse the sport hunters with the food hunters.

The sport hunters spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on gear and often make expensive trips to distant places to hunt.

The food hunters spend a few hundred dollars one time for the necessary gear, and usually hunt close to home.

If I were hunting for food, I'd certainly ignore all the "sportsman" rules against baiting the animals in with apples, corn, or salt.  I'll grant that it's not very sportsmanlike--but sport isn't the goal.  Mocking food hunters for baiting their prey is like mocking gardeners for planting seeds.  (Serious sport gardeners only harvest things that grow naturally in their garden.)

Guest's picture

Philip... I love how you just say it like it is...

Guest's picture

Agreed! Hunting for food is totally different to hunting for sport. Fill your larder for minimal expenditure.

Guest's picture
Brad Ford

For the vast majority of people, hunting/fishing for sustenance is not a viable strategy.
1. Most of us live in relatively urban/suburban settings that dramatically limit our ability to hunt/fish near our homes. To get to hunting/fishing spots, you end up spending a lot of money on travel.
2. Very few of us have the skill to get game efficiently.
3. Limited Seasons: even in areas with good opporunties, the hunting season is limited. That means you must store your game year round increasing costs.

BUT - If you enjoy it, it might be a relatively inexpensive "hobby" with the upside of meat.

Guest's picture

I really, really love game meat. My best friend hunts (I believe that between hunting lease costs, licensing, ammo, processing, etc., it's not really worth it from a financial standpoint) and he generally donates meat to my freezer. It's lovely.

There are some instances, though, where I think it's financially more viable. Small game hunting and people who live in rural areas are probably more effective than the rest of us who live in urban areas which aren't viable for hunting. Also, some farms and orchards do not charge a hunting lease because the animals that get on the farm eat the produce being sold.

I know just outside Houston there's a farm which allows free hunting of the wild pigs. As far as I am aware, they charge only a minimal fee for deer hunting too. I'm sure there are places like this all over the country.

Guest's picture

Thankfully, we live in an area where hunting and fishing is not only viable - but needed. Deer populations reach epic levels each fall in various parts of Ohio, leading to desperate calls to either cull the herds now... or watch them die in droves by starvation and illness.

Venison, goose (cooked right, its better than roast beef), wild turkeys, and fish of all stripes add a welcome boost to my family's protein intake. The cost is minimal: permits when needed, some cost to help with the processing (yes, most of us CAN get a buck from field to table... but its worth the cost of having some of the work done elsewhere) is really the biggest outlay. The guns and bows are old - but well maintained. The rods and reels? The product of either years gone by... or a way to while away an evening puttering while making the next "perfect" fly. The ammo? Most of my family's hunters will spend a lazy afternoon making bullets, arrows, and loading shells in their workrooms - not hard if you're patient. And far cheaper than buying it made.

Guest's picture

I live in New Orleans and own a boat and fish all the time. I do this because I love to fish and to eat fish. However, if you add up the amount of money it takes to buy a boat, pay for gas, buy equipment, bait, etc, it really does not pay off. You'd do better economically to buy the most expensive fish at Whole Foods and eat that instead. However, if you are going to fish anyway, then the food value is an added bonus. On a good trip, you can catch enough fish to have 10-15 meals in your freezer.

Guest's picture
cheap yankee

Hunters are often villified by animal lovers for killing Bambi, but people should know hunters are the first people to notice damage done to the environment by business/poor practices and advocate for change. Also, hunting and fishing permit fees are usually earmarked for environmentally-related expenditures.

To reconcile the two sides of the argument, my question is "are you going to eat the animal you just killed?" Also, are you going to spend a bit of time (and ammo money) practicing to take a good shot so Bambi doesn't suffer from your lousy aim? If the answer to these two questions is "yes," than I have no problem with hunting for food. If not, then I have little respect.

There's something to be said for looking the animal you are about to eat in the eye and then butchering it yourself ... makes you more conscious of the animals sacrifice and more motivated to use every scrap and bone (not just the animal you killed, but also the neatly packaged ones in the supermarket). You're more likely to only eat what you need to stay healthy.

As a child, my father fished and hunted deer and fowl. We always helped dress the animals we ate (a nasty job, but not rocket science). In lean times we ate a lot of suspiciously shaped-shaped "chicken stew" that I now know to have been squirrel, opossum, raccoon, birds, snake, rabbit, moose and all sorts of "garbage" species. Blech!!! Raccoon is nasty! Possum and squirrel actually -do- taste kind of like chicken.

They say that in the Great Depression, people in urban areas were so hungry that there wasn't a spec of small game (squirrels, birds, etc) to be found anywhere. If the choice is to hunt or go hungry, than by all means hunt!

Guest's picture

First of all, I came across this post via The Hunters Wife blog. I have to say I am really impressed with the open-mindedness of this group, and it's extremely appreciated. I grew up in rural Kansas, (still live there) and have hunted and fished for as long as I can remember. Most of all, venison was the main source of our family's protein. In fact, I prefer venison to this day over any other kind of meat. My husband and I both hunt. We do it because it's a passion and a means of survival. There's nothing better than spending an evening surrounded by a beautiful landscape and beautiful deer. Plus, our freezers stay full most of the year and it is our primary source of meat. I will say that hunting is not expensive. A gun, a license, and a place to go are all you need to get started. Yes, all the hunting accessories do serve their purpose in specific forms of hunting, or trying to get a specific animal. But when it comes down to it, hunting is cost-effective and feasible for the openminded novice.

Guest's picture

I came from a family that butchered cows but never hunted or fished. When I met my husband, he did both. I have since became interested and have taken up doing both. It has been very cost effective and we have a better "cut" of meat. We hunt for just about everything and process the animal ourselves. It puts our cost down at next to nothing. We reload our own bullets and practice not maiming something to where it is wasted. Even if something isn't killed every hunt, it is relaxing to sit and watch nature. One way that it is very cost effective is that we both have our lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. We aren't out anything for tags anymore.

Also there is such a large number of deer and other wildlife around that they are causing problems. They are causing wrecks and wrecking havoc on crops. Hunting is helping pull the numbers down and help control all these problems.

I came to this sight from The Hunters Wife and have been impressed with the openess that everyone has expressed and am happy that everyone is feeling this way. I don't expect everyone to hunt or like hunting but it makes me feel good when they treat me and my hunting respectful. Thanks so much!

Andrea Karim's picture

Oh, I didn't know it had been linked! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments!

Andrea Karim's picture

Thanks for giving such a detailed break down! That was kind of my dilemma when thinking about the issue: it seemed like you could easily spend more on hunting than meat in a grocery store. Mind you, there are probably great benefits (and perhaps some drawbacks) to eating wild game instead of grocery store-bought meats and fish, but I was certainly having a hard time doing the math myself.

Guest's picture

hunting and fishing both can provide a lot of food and it is a lot cheaper if you dont go crazy and start buying a bunch of stuff u dont need. a lot of people have this idea that you gotta have every bell and whistel that is out there on the market but all you really need is common sense.

Guest's picture

My family this past winter lived on deer meat, and had we not been so lucky as to bag one of our own, get a couple from friends, and yes, even one road kill, I am sad to say I'm not sure what we would have ate instead. My husband was injured at work and has not been able to work in 2 years so our income is next to nothing. We are lucky in the fact that we live out in the country and own our land which means in our state we do not have to buy a hunting license as long as we stay on our land. So for us the price of a deer is a bullet and some freezer paper and tape along with our time. I plan on hitting our pond hot and heavy along with my kids and we are going to have some fish frys to get us through the summer now.

Guest's picture

My father-in-law survived his childhood eating whatever his uncle could shoot in the woods of New Jersey: squirrels, rabbits, wild turkey, even possum (which was awful, but edible he says). He is 90- it how he survived the great depression.

My parents have 32 acres, and feed the deer on their front lawn. Once a year my dad leans out his window and shoots one, the butcher carves it in exchange for the skin, head and antlers. It is their source of meat all winter long. And my mom gives venison chili as holiday gifts. (My dad used to hunt, but can longer, due to a stroke.)

I plan to go off grid in 3 years. Prone to depression, I am not a candidate for a firearm. But I may learn how to use a cross bow, or trap small game in the most humane way possible.

I live on LI, NY and they just started demanding a license to fish in the ocean! Unconstitutional via open water right of way laws, but untested in court so far. It has made criminals out of poor folk I see fishing to survive. None can afford the 100 and something dollar seasonal fishing license!

Guest's picture
Johnny Pittman

If you are skilled enough at hunting you can live off of it. There is a video from the vice channel on youtube of a guy and his wife that live on the tip of alaska and they survive there alone and are the only two people there on land that is the size of south carolina. They trap, use guns, and fish to live. As the man makes the point in this video... hunting and trapping has been the main way of life throughout the majority of human history. We are primarily predators and farming was really not our way of life until the romans. I don't understand society today. We have so many resources and free education, yet we are the dumbest human beings of all generations when it comes to survival. People in louisiana still live off the land and maintain off the grid lifestyles.

Guest's picture

absolutely. my husband is disabled and with the cost of meat at a insane price, there is no money left after bills and misc. items and what the gov gives in food stamps is not enough to buy meat or much of anything really, so we hunt and fish. this is 100% of our meat. we have not had store bought meat in 4 yrs. so yes, you can survive on wild game. remember, people lived off wild meat long before grocery stores. its not expensive to hunt. the biggest expence is the license, you need one weapon, and a knife for skinning. that's it. remember you are in it for food not sport.

Guest's picture

Hunting and fishing shouldn't be viewed as an alternative, but as a way of life. From the time I was old enough to keep up and pay attention, this is what I was taught by my gransfathers. Every part from making the clean kill, to the thanks above for that animals life, to the butchering with no waste ( dog gets bones, fat, and tendons ) to the preparation and thanks to the good Lord above. And it doesn't just pertain to deer. It pertains to all wildlife that's suitable for consuming. Do I believe that it's right for some folk whom lived a subtle, comfortable life to convert to? No, because people such as myself depend on these resources to survive and sustain ourselves and families. I was raised in upstate New York and grew up much down south, and there is nothing I hate more than the city slicker coming north and tromping on our soil and in our woods, uneducated, in search for that trophy for no other reason than to shoot it. I'm sorry if I sound rotten and mean, but this is my fair and honest opinion. As far as cost concern, I only buy ammunition for my 1967 model 336RC Marlin. 1 dollar a bullet is well worth it to me. But it depends on your standards of hunting and fishing and what you really need to get it done.