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Hunting/Fishing/Trapping Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and related conversations.

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  #1  
Old 07-27-2015, 10:30 PM
joejeep92 Male joejeep92 is offline
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Default The Economics of Hunting

So I just had an interesting conversation with a relative. Long story short he believes that for the cost of hunting deer with all equipment and time included you could just go buy the meat at the store. Made me think a little bit because we only eat venison as far as red meat goes. If you look in hunting magazines and buy all the products they advertise I can't see you coming even close to breaking even but me and my minimalist style of hunting (rifle, ammo, warm clothing, sitting in a brush pile beside one of our fields for a couple days) I think I come fairly close. It isn't all about the money, I really enjoy hunting but it is one way to justify why I do it.
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Old 07-27-2015, 11:07 PM
hunter88 hunter88 is offline
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Years ago I never wanted to figure out the cost, but today I feel it's a savings.

Each year I buy a landowner permit and what we call a river permit. Totally I can take 4 deer with those permits, and my total cost is $26. While some of the meat goes for summer sausage and jerky most goes to hamburger. We buy full briskets at Wal Mart, which I noticed the other day were $2.96 a pound. We then mix brisket and deer meat 50/50, so our hamburger would come out at $1.50 a pound for very lean hamburger.

I don't get into buying all the stuff they sell for hunting. Haven't even bought any ammo for years. My son in law used to run a trash route and actually found 2 boxes of .270 ammo in the trash.

Of course I don't want to get into the cost of coffee, donuts, and other snacks I have to have during hunting season.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:54 AM
Terri Terri is offline
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Costs are what you make of them.

For example,I do not hunt I fish. Mostly I catch bluegill. Now if I stayed out fishing long enough to catch a LOT of bluegill I could make a profit, but the idea of cleaning that many bluegill does not appeal to me. Instead I burn the gas to go to the lake 7 miles each way, and I stop fishing when I have a meal's worth. What is that, $2.50 worth of gas burned for 5 ounces of edible product?

But if I stayed and caught 50 of the things, I would likely make a profit. I would still pay $2.50 for gas, but I would have many meals worth instead of just one.

As for the cost of gear, I am ALSO a minimalist. I fish with an old ultra light pole, a $12 child's reel, and a hook. $1 worth of liver lasts me a year.

Of course, for my own amusement, I also have some nice things like a Mora knife to cut bait with, but that has nothing to do with fishing! I just admire a well designed tool and it gives me pleasure to use it!

Anyway back to the deer: my BIL gets ONE deer a year, which is what the law there allows, and if it is a small deer then he just breaks even. But people in some areas are allowed to take 3 deer, more or less, and those 2 extra deer should be almost pure profit, assuming they cut the deer up themselves.

BIL pays to have the deer butchered, so that is another expense besides the cost of the license.

Last edited by Terri; 07-28-2015 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 07-28-2015, 10:27 AM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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it depends on how tech heavy you get. if your rigged up with scent lures, decoys, scent camo to hide your smell, heavy camo, scopes, etc, tree stands, blinds, etc you could spend thousands. ammo is expensive and fancy guns, with target practice....

on the other hand if your cheap, or frugal, or woodswise, you can get by with a small set. when i hunt deer i do it with an old single shot 20 guage (practice aim with a pellet gun, and pick off crows and squirrels with that), loaded with rifled slugs, and use ambush tactics, staying upwind, and uphill of known feeding areas (food plots, mowed down regularly and planted with clover and such). just wearing plain clothes and keeping extra ammo in a cloth bag slung over my shoulder. using iron sights i can usually get a chest shot without the deer knowing i was present. usually i call a friend up on the rez who is much better at butchering them, so i just haul the deer to where he picks it up, and he keeps a portion of the meat for his work butchering.

I know an Amish guy who asked me to drive him 100 miles to the city to shop at gander mountain, he bought a $500 tree stand. i told him on the way thee that i felt he was wasting money. he asked what i would do instead. this amish guy owns a sawmill and is the same guy i get slab wood from. he has a lot of almost dimensional slab that would work as 2x4s and 1x10 boards. i told him i would use some of the slab wood, select a few pieces to make a 20 foot ladder, find an ugly tree with some strong branches and set up a platform, then put a cover over it with scraps of roofing metal, all in all it may cost $5 to build. then sythe down the area in front and plant something for the deer (food plot) or position it near where the deer regularly walk to get through the swamp to get to his corn (regular trails). he told me he felt that was not going to work because the wood will rot and he would need to replace it every 5 years. i told him he could paint it every year to protect it or just replace it. if he has to build a new one every 5 years, then thats still only going to cost $20 for 20 years of service of a tree stand, vs the $500 he was going to spend on a fancy one that he would have to replace if any part breaks.

to set up my own hunting blinds i went to the ridge on my main lot, just behind the gardens where the rubble drops steeply about 10 feet then opens into flat clay soils (that frequently pond up). after i cut the trees down in the area i burned the slash and threw down clover seed (to act as a green manuer) the deer love eating the tips of the stump sprouts and the clover and i use a friends brushhog to mow down the sprouts regularly (was planning to turn the area to gardens eventually and use the dead stumps as underground compost). along the top of the slope i piled a 4 foot high wall of rotten logs (too big to burn quickly in slash fires, and too rotten to use for firewood). they will eventually rot down and the nutrints wash out to the soil below, and in the meantime they searve the way landscapers use haybales to control water runoff. they were quickly covered in wild grapes (good for jelly making) and the leaves help with keeping the rotten wood damp and further rotting. for the next 6 to 10 years i figure this mound of logs running along the ridge will remain as a 4 foot high wall. i can sit on one side in a folding chair, with a great view of the back of my lot, my neighbors food plot across the fence (now that the trees are gone) and my other neighbos corn field. and anything back there is in range. the prevailing wind will also send my scent away from the shooting area. took very little money, just alot of planning and work. sitting back there i can pick off turkey and deer easily, an ugly old shotgun could be picked up for $100, and if your wise you can pick up end of season clearence on shells getting slugs and turkey shot for $5 a box (1/2 price at wally world, rifle and pistol ammo is hard to find but shotgun shells and pellets are still cheap and in low demand normal price $10 or more per box), upland game bird ammo can go as cheap as $4 a box (25 shots), and if you know how you can turn them into 25 rounds of wax slugs.

and if your REALLY cheap (and crazy enough to fire it), you can go pick up spent shells, reload them and make wax slugs, and make a single shot shotgun from plumbing parts and a 2x6 for about $30.
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Old 07-28-2015, 10:40 AM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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havent fished in years, but i got an old pole, plus 2 that i made from springy elm saplings (14 guage metal wire wrapped in electrical tape for eye rings, wire and tape to mount reels from a yardsale free box, found the reels and was "inspired" to make a fishing pole that worked but cost nothing but whatever i could find around the farm). got 3 minow traps i made from scraps of hardware cloth, gallon water jugs, and zip ties. the most asic stuff is incredibly cheap, $1 for a box of 50 hooks, no one buys the basics any more but stores still carry them. I also made hooks to see how well i could (again i was "inspired" one day to tinker with making fish hooks to see if i could) but its easier to just pay $1 for a box of 50. fish aren't going to choose plastic lures based on whatits made of, they go for lures that look like food when they are hungry or it looks easy to gain some extra fat. an injured minnow or a drowning worm, or a fat grub is an easy and nutrient rich meal in the eyes of a fish, they will grab it and you will catch it.

or if i am being really cheap i would use the minnow traps to catch some small ones for sardines type fish (or if i want a burger instead i'll go take a couple buckets of minnows to sell at popular spots when the season for something opens, then use the money to go out to a burger place).

6 feet of line, an overhanging branch, a cheap hook and an injured minnow also makes a functional trap (but the game warden won't be happy with you)
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Old 07-28-2015, 10:42 PM
Kachad Male Kachad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Setanta View Post
havent fished in years, but i got an old pole, plus 2 that i made from springy elm saplings (14 guage metal wire wrapped in electrical tape for eye rings, wire and tape to mount reels from a yardsale free box, found the reels and was "inspired" to make a fishing pole that worked but cost nothing but whatever i could find around the farm). got 3 minow traps i made from scraps of hardware cloth, gallon water jugs, and zip ties. the most asic stuff is incredibly cheap, $1 for a box of 50 hooks, no one buys the basics any more but stores still carry them. I also made hooks to see how well i could (again i was "inspired" one day to tinker with making fish hooks to see if i could) but its easier to just pay $1 for a box of 50. fish aren't going to choose plastic lures based on whatits made of, they go for lures that look like food when they are hungry or it looks easy to gain some extra fat. an injured minnow or a drowning worm, or a fat grub is an easy and nutrient rich meal in the eyes of a fish, they will grab it and you will catch it.

or if i am being really cheap i would use the minnow traps to catch some small ones for sardines type fish (or if i want a burger instead i'll go take a couple buckets of minnows to sell at popular spots when the season for something opens, then use the money to go out to a burger place).

6 feet of line, an overhanging branch, a cheap hook and an injured minnow also makes a functional trap (but the game warden won't be happy with you)
Dude, I love your thinking. On our river, I mostly troll raps from a canoe powered by a trolling motor - but I have to get over that. You lose one rap and it's a fair amount of money. But what you say above, is really the way to go.

On the Economics of Hunting - the way that I've hunted has evolved over the years, most of those years the final cost per lb would not be viable, if it was all about that.

Drive 4.5 hours somewhere, invest in all the basic equipment, bag a deer, bring it in to be processed. That was how it started.

Now it's drive 4.5 hours to hunt and work on developing the homestead, the investment has been made in the equipment already, and I would be up in the area to work the land anyways. Economics are starting to look viable now.

In the future it will be living on the land, hunting it and surrounding areas, and all gear has been used for many years. Then it is extremely viable.
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:31 AM
MtnManJim Male MtnManJim is offline
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I had a buddy where I worked who loved to golf. It seemed to me he spent almost every Saturday out on one of the local golf courses, and even traveled down to Southern Utah, Las Vegas and Arizona just to go golfing in the wintertime.
But me, I went golfing once - didnít care for it. I didnít get much of a thrill out of knocking a little white ball around just to chase after it. I like to fish though, and Iíve hunted my whole life Ė deer, elk, antelope, ducks, geese, pheasants, grouse, and various varmints.
When my golfing buddy got a little older, he bought himself a golf cart. I was just giving him a hard time, just joking with him when I told him I couldnít understand his reasoning in plopping down a few thousand bucks for a golf cart. I told him that the exercise, the walking was the only good thing about golf and a golf cart eliminates even that.
Thatís when he blew up. He asked me if I go fishing for the exercise. He asked me if I hunt for the exercise. Then he told me he didnít golf for the exercise either.
I had to admit my buddy had a point. I just hadnít thought about golf as anything other than exercise, and a rather unpleasant exercise at that, because it wasnít something that I enjoyed.
So anyway, after that long-winded story, I say this Ė I donít hunt for the exercise. And heck no Ė I donít hunt to save money. Iím the extreme opposite. My first three Social Security checks went to pay for my custom built .308 Norma Magnum big game rifle. Iíd wanted a custom built .308 Norma Magnum since I was 16 years old. My girlfriendís dad back then had one. When that girlfriend broke up with me, it broke my heart because I knew Iíd never get to hold and fondle that rifle again. And yes, my wife of 44 years now and counting knows why I wanted a custom .308 Norma Magnum. Sheís happy that I remember more about the guns of my past than past girlfriends. But maybe thatís because there are a lot more guns in my past than girls. Come to think of it, Iíll bet guns cost less than girlfriends anyway.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:56 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is offline
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It is true that people don't always understand why we do something, be it hunting, or fishing, or golfing. Had a gal ask me once why I deer hunt. I told her some of it was just being out in the woods. She wondered why I couldn't just go out in the woods and see them or take pictures of them instead of shooting them. I told her for the same reason she couldn't go out shopping all day without bringing something home.

In my case the economics of hunting is fine, but the economics of fishing is another matter. I'm not a big fish eater, so 99% of what I catch goes back in the lake. I just spent $2400 for a boat which will not add one thing to the dinner table. But then very few hobbies are economically sound. That's why they're hobbies I guess.
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:23 PM
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Jjr Male Jjr is offline
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Virtually all hobbies, and activities in general have a price tag attached, but it is hard to place a price tag on enjoyment. Hunting, fishing, golf, sewing (equal time for the ladies) all have their associated costs from the minimalist to the individual who has the latest & greatest equipment.

Regardless of our passion, or poison, if viewed purely economically, much of that enjoyment would disappear. Not only does the sport (or activity) provide enjoyment, but also the equipment as Mountain Man Jim so adeptly described in his life long desire for a custom .308 Norma Magnum rifle.

Our recreational activities are much more than just the equipment and the activity, but the dreaming, planning, pursuit itself and even sometimes the wait plays a part too! It's all a little part of what makes the work week a little more tolerable, and life in general more enjoyable itself. So forget about the price tag and just enjoy the hunting, fishing, golf game, sewing or whatever it is that tickles your fancy.
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Old 07-29-2015, 02:18 PM
Nickathome Nickathome is offline
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If you are concerned about the costs involved with hunting then my friend you shouldn't be out there. Any activity costs money, and hunting like any other pass time can be as expensive or cheap as you make it. I for one do not buy into those gimmicks that come and go like the wind. Some guys I guess have to have everything but I'm not one of those people. I use old guns, the same old cammies I've owned for years, and I scrounge lead at the muzzle load range to make new ammo from. Yes I'm cheap.
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Old 07-29-2015, 03:23 PM
joejeep92 Male joejeep92 is offline
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I'm not worried about it nickathome, I just thought it was interesting to consider that section of things. After all hunting didn't use to be a hobby...
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:24 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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hunting might not cost any money at all, but it will take a lot of time, and a lot of skill. if you have the time to learn the most rudimentary skills in making stone tools, then spend hours or days crafting a longbow or crossbow from 100% materials you can find in the woods, then spend a lot of time to hunt with it it won't cost any money, but it will take an incredibly long amount of time and probably won't be worth the effort.



usually i laugh at those suburbanites who don't like hunting and think people should leave the deer alone except for taking pictures. as a forester i have met many others with a strong dislike of deer (the only good deer is a dead deer), at the Ranger school the deer are called "mountain maggots" because they tend to eat everything and cause a lot of ecologic damage when their numbers are not kept in check. historically there were a lot more things hunting them, with few remaining predators and good food sources they can explode into huge herds that will eat every seedling and sapling. too many deer will prevent forest regeneration as they comb the woods eating everything (and many will still have malnutrition). when a doe is pregnant she will have 2 fawns, but if she has any shortage of food she will abort/miscarry the buck and only carry to term more does. long term this means fewer bucks, next generations will be higher and higher percentages of does. WE humans wiped out the things that kept them in check, if WE don't take responcibility and keep their poulations in check via hunting then it will result in ecologic damage (no forest regeneration/unhealthy forests) followed by catastrophic herd collapses when food finally runs out. there is more variables to consider and i'm only talking the tip of an iceberg. the suburbanites are so disconnected from nature and how ecology works that when someone thinks people should stop hunting and leave the deer alone i can only laugh at them. its a hunters responcibility to manage herds, and the money made from lisences usually supports the managment of state parks and such (NY anyway, most of the funding for maintaining forest trails and roads and game managment comes from the money selling lisences)
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:22 PM
Terri Terri is offline
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I remember we were talking to a local when we were on vacation. The man said that for some reason every deer in his area had twins, and it was odd that they were so fertile, and that they caused horrendous damage to the crops.

I replied that deer everywhere mostly had twins, but that in my area the coyotes got half of the fawns. This shocked him, and he asked how that worked? Well, in the spring you saw deer with twins but by midsummer every doe would have one fawn, or none.

He called some people over to hear this. Apparently, in their area they shot all the coyotes they could.

Having coyotes is a mixed blessing: chickens have to be locked up, and my son's cat has disappeared. That was the nicest cat we ever had, too: we looked everywhere just in case he had been hit by a car. Coyotes have their place, though.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:28 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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I think it was a coyote that got bob cat (had a woodland pattern and the classic M for meow on his forehead, looked like a bob cat so i named him bob, then i told people to stay off my land because i had a bob cat ready to pounce on tresspassers). never found him either, though he may have been seduced by the neighbors barn full of females since he wasn't fixed.

my other cat got hit by a car on the way back from same said barn. i knew about coyote issues so i tried not to get attached to a cat, this cat was a kitten that was hanging out near my camper the first year on lot a. the mother and the other 2 i knew about were taken by a coyote and this one would just hide near my camper meowing and looking for them for 2 days, i threw it food scraps when i saw it then bought kitten food to put out (only when i saw him). he stuck around but never came near me, winter set in and i moved into my little cabin, he sort of moved in when he ran in the door to stay warm, took 2 weeks before he got close enough to me to pet him (mostly i ignored that he was there). after he realized i wasn't going to try to eat him he started trying to get my attention, but i tried to remain unattached, i think this, combined with the loss of the others gave him kitty abandonment issues and he followed me around everywhere (he ducked off to the barn only when i was at work), ended up getting very attached because of him following me everywhere. he never learned to use the litter box, but saw me walk out into the yard every night, and learned to meow at the door to go out (house trained like a dog) instead. when i found him on the roadside getting home from work i broke down crying, so much for trying not to get attached.

had another one this winter i called kimba, but he was pure ferral and tried to claw my eyes out daily when he wasn't under the dresser, he spent most of his time hiding under a dresser, gave him to an Amish farm 5 miles away (not a drop off, they came and got it for a barn cat and took away in a carrier).

wow this was about coyote then i started reminicing about cats, coyote took 2 fawns this year behind my place, 3 turkeys between fall and spring, 7 cats (not mine, i just bury the remains of the local ferrals), a beagle went missing too.
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