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Are hunting and fishing cost effective?

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    Are hunting and fishing cost effective?

    On a comment board today, some people were talking about how to reduce your grocery bill (was the title of the article). I told them recently, somewhat out of necessity, mostly out of choice for health, have become a "flexatarian." The Cliff Notes version of that is. . .mostly eat vegan, but are not purist about it for ethical/religious reasons.

    ANyway, someone countered that you can hunt for deer and have a frugal way of having meat in the freezer. (anything but become a tree hugging liberal vegan, lol!). Um, yes, well, I guess at 3.00/dozen eggs that's SOMETHING to consider.

    Now, considering the cost of ammunition, gun, licences, and travel. Factor in your time maybe at a half rate (I am not always sure it's fair to calculate your full rate for time for these calculations) .. is it really frugal to go deer hunt? Maybe turkey hunt? Or fish or crab for protein?

    Anyone ever informally punch the numbers?

    Should we retire men (traditionally the hunter) as a gender, citing problems in scaling of costs and relegate the Y chromosome to the annals of antiquity?

    #2
    I have the impression that many people pay a butcher to cut and package the deer, so that might need to be figured in. Small game and fish, you could more likely handle on your own.
    "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

    "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

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      #3
      I live in a rural area that is a destination spot for hunters. There's a gas station that is also a hunting supply store that's about three miles from my house. I see first hand what some people spend on hunting supplies.

      Hunting and fishing CAN be a cost effective means of harvesting protein, but the way MOST hunters and anglers go about it, it certainly doesn't save any money. Think of it like a sport/hobby like golf that yields food. People can spend absurd amounts of money pursuing these or other hobbies. Many do spend absurd amounts of money, some approach it more from a "putting food on the table" mindset.

      In my experience a bow hunter is more likely to approach hunting with a frugal mindset than a fire arms hunter is. But, bow hunters can also spend tons on specialized bows and arrows.

      The latest trend seems to be buying your own (or in with a few other guys) 40 or 80 acre chunk of land solely for hunting. At $2,500 to $3,000 an acre, for land that's used a maximum of four months a year, it would take a lot of meat savings to pay that off.

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        #4
        Originally posted by Scanner View Post
        Should we retire men (traditionally the hunter) as a gender, citing problems in scaling of costs and relegate the Y chromosome to the annals of antiquity?
        this. Unless it floats your boat.

        I don't care how much it saves me, I'm not doing it. I did go in on a cow once, in the end I don't think we saved that much, but we were newbies and had no clue.

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          #5
          Well, I have some experience in this area, but it was 40 years ago. We were hunters and trappers. Not for sport, but out of necessity.

          When I was old enough to reach the brake pedal in our beat up old Jeep, I ran the trap line with my dad every morning and every afternoon. I'll skip all the details, but we made enough money to cover the cost of the traps, gas, hip waders, etc... by a wide margin. Did we make enough to cover the many, many hours spent running the trapline, processing the animals and selling them? Dunno. Dad didn't pay me for it.

          We also hunted. We used muzzle loading rifles because that's what Ohio allowed. Maybe a $50 rifle at the time, $175 these days. Made our own ammunition. Didn't wear fancy clothes. Spent a lot of time hunting. Got one deer a season. Butcher processed it for us at a discount. I'd say it was a break even adventure if you don't include the time spent doing it. Dad never paid us to go hunting.

          We also farmed our own food. When I was really young, we didn't buy many groceries. Had a 2 acre garden and we ate out of that in the harvest season. And mom canned and froze everything left over and that's what we ate the rest of the year. Except meat. Well, sometimes except meat. Dad would barter for animals to eat sometimes. Never enough to feed us, but that's what he was taught. Again, the cost of equipment, seeds, tools, etc... was probably about the same as the cost of buying that same food. Dad didn't pay us to farm.

          We also heated our house with wood. I spent every weekend in the fall and winter in the woods with my dad cutting wood, hauling it home and splitting it. And had to get up every morning at oh dark thirty to add wood to the furnace before it went out. Can't remember how many times I forgot to open the air vent before I opened the furnace door and went to school without some of my hair. Was this economical? Natural gas would probably have been cheaper. But we didn't have central air, so that would have been expensive to install. And Dad didn't pay us to cut wood.

          So, if time is considered money, then none of these activities were saving us much. But since our time was free, it really helped out. Wouldn't trade that time spent hunting, trapping, farming or cutting wood with my Dad for anything.

          Tom

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            #6
            Just put an elk in the freezer and can tell you that it would have been about as economical to stuff the freezer with crab legs and lobster.

            I see a few folks around who fill their freezer with venison very economically and it gives them a lot of good meat much cheaper than they could buy beef or pork. These guys are hunting behind their homes on the neighbors property, shoot a couple of deer each season, process and package it themselves. This is still very doable.

            Most of us ignore the finances of it and spend a bunch of $$ on gear, travel, access, etc. and are doing it for recreation not the savings. The meat you put in the freezer is just a bonus on top of all the fun you had. We usually eat an elk and a couple deer every year, and don't often buy beef at the store. I like to process and package it myself so I know what I'm really getting each time I open a package. The wild game is much leaner, equally as good, and better for you.

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              #7
              Again...I cant wrap my head around how you can put a $$ amount on your "time."

              OP...heres an example. Lets say it would take you 30 hours to harvest a deer. Instead you go to the grocery store and buy all of your meat products that only took 1 hour. So now you have 29 hours freed up. What would you be doing that 29 hours to generate money? I think people need to start eliminating a $$ amount on "time." It makes no sense.

              If you process your own meat then its very cost effective. Matter of fact I just ate some back straps from a white tail that was killed a couple days ago. We cut the meat off the spine, sliced it up, done.

              I personally like the fact that im not supporting factory farming as much. Yes I still buy meats from the store where animals have lived in unimaginable conditions. Its just nice to know the deer could do whatever the hell it wanted up until the arrow sliced through its body...then it only had 2 minutes of pain before the lights went out...instead of years of pain living in a cage until slaughtered. Thats more satisfying to me than anything...and I would gladly pay a premium for that if I had to.

              Also...in terms of gear. Not sure if people realize this but if you buy a quality bow or rifle...it can last you a lifetime. You'll only need to replace minor parts from time to time...mostly on the bow. After the "startup" cost...its minimal from there on out.

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                #8
                My family did it and still does. Hunt wild pigs for meat and lots of fishing. But fishing is a hobby more and pigs only when they show up. I guess it's not really cost efficient if you factor in we could raise pigs. But fishing actually isn't bad.
                LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by rennigade View Post

                  Again...I cant wrap my head around how you can put a $$ amount on your "time."

                  .
                  time is money to plenty of us and 30 hrs is 7.5 hrs short of a week of pay for me. I could've worked extra instead of hunting my food and would've ended up with more money. Time is also a commodity, you hopefully get to spend some of it on something you love. I want to spend my 30 hrs on my "thing" and I feel no obligation to go out and procure my own meat instead.

                  Hunting may be your "thing" and how great that you get to enjoy 30 hrs doing what you like and the meat is a bonus. But to not recognize the role time plays in that massive time suck of 30 hrs, is hiding your head in the sand-ish. How you spend your time is your deal, but for many, 30 hrs to get meat is an undesirable time suck that keeps them from the hobbies they love, family time or yes, even work.

                  And as that person who hunted and packed their freezer with meat, finding that they jokingly could've filled it with crabs and lobster when it came to cost, I'm sure there are many hunters who experience the same conundrum. If you aren't saving, then isn't the 30 hrs really going towards your time for hobbies and not being the absolute gold standard of low cost, prime meat that you feel should be procured to feed your family?
                  Last edited by FLA; 10-13-2015, 10:26 AM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    This question depends so much on your proximity to the game / fish you're pursuing and your ability and acceptance of edible game. If you want to go to a subsistence level and you are in an area with abundant opportunities for harvest you probably don't need "30" hours to put meat in the freezer. If you're looking for a trophy on the wall that's a different story.

                    If you're an outdoors type of person you probably have lots of clothing that can double as hunting clothing such as long johns, warm socks and warm outerwear in subdued colors. Cabela's makes everyone believe that only their specialized gear is will get the job done. $200 bucks will get you a very serviceable firearm to harvest deer sized game. It pays for itself over time.

                    In college I applied a lot of the above combined with getting to know local landowners that gave me permission to hunt in a rural area and it absolutely was a better deal than the grocery store even with the relatively minimal cost of licenses and permits.

                    If you live in an urban area where travel and opportunities for prime areas is limited then it's probably cheaper and certainly more convenient to go to the grocery store.

                    I hunt, fish and trap mostly as a hobby nowadays but remember the lessons of years ago and I know it certainly can be worth economically it if you do it right.

                    I now fish from a boat that cost more than my first three vehicles so I'll never catch up there
                    "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by FLA View Post
                      time is money to plenty of us and 30 hrs is 7.5 hrs short of a week of pay for me. I could've worked extra instead of hunting my food and would've ended up with more money.

                      Time is also a commodity, you hopefully get to spend some of it on something you love. I want to spend my 30 hrs on my "thing" and I feel no obligation to go out and procure my own meat instead.
                      Ok...theres a big difference between actually working extra hours and someone paying you $$ than there is spending time doing something you love. Something you love does not make the numbers go up on a paycheck.

                      Its fine to value your time...but to say my time is worth $$ amount unless you're actually generating cash money is silly.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by rennigade View Post
                        Ok...theres a big difference between actually working extra hours and someone paying you $$ than there is spending time doing something you love. Something you love does not make the numbers go up on a paycheck.

                        Its fine to value your time...but to say my time is worth $$ amount unless you're actually generating cash money is silly.
                        you are not getting what I'm saying, to me 30 hrs of hunting would suck so much that I would rather spend that time earning extra cash, enough at least to make up for what you are saving on meat. If you can't understand the math in that, sorry.

                        and you are completely missing the point on hobbies and people choosing to do their thing for that 30 hours, including YOU.

                        this is insipid and I am not going to waste any more of my valuable free time on a "discussion" with you

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                          #13
                          My neighbor typically puts a couple deer in the freezer on the cheap. He hunts land right out his back door where he has permission, hunts a few weekends and evenings, and typically is successful. He uses an old shotgun he has had for many years and probably only shoots two or three shells per year, hunts out of a home made tree stand, nothing fancy for clothing or gear, processes his own, etc.

                          I'd guess his cost to be:
                          (2) tags @ $24 = $48
                          (3) shells @ $1.50 = $4.50
                          Freezer bags and freezer paper $25

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                            #14
                            My neighbor typically puts a couple deer in the freezer on the cheap. He hunts land right out his back door where he has permission, hunts a few weekends and evenings, and typically is successful.

                            He uses an old shotgun he has had for many years and probably only shoots two or three shells per year, hunts out of a home made tree stand, nothing fancy for clothing or gear, processes his own, etc.

                            I'd guess his cost to be:
                            (2) tags @ $24 = $48
                            (3) shells @ $1.50 = $4.50
                            Freezer bags and freezer paper $25

                            Total tab $73.45 for 100 - 120# of processed boneless good meat.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well, I thought the disagreement may hinge around "time" and I do get that sometimes it's unfair to assign your hourly rate to "time lost" doing something.

                              I can't say I would "love" hunting but I would do it perhaps if it was economical. I wouldn't get any joy out of sitting in a stand and snipering protein that walks by. (or fishing/crabbing for that matter).

                              And we COULD extrapolate the whole "time is money" to everything - cooking, cleaning, oil changes, justifying that we all have butlers and maids.

                              That's why I use a "half-rate" time to calculate these things sometimes.

                              Even at half my rate, I am not sure it makes sense to sit around on a tree stand and wait for my protein to come by, when other things need to be done or could be done.

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