Question regarding hunting and living off the land


September 17, 2013, 12:40 PM
For folks like Caribou and others living off the land, what are the rules in hunting? Can you only kill deer/caribou in season and with a license like the rest of us mortals? Les Stroud always states "In a survival situation, all animals are fair game". Does that fly living off the grid as well, or do you guys living off the land have to tread into town yearly to license up in order to stuff a freezer "during the season"? Of course, selling pelts is different - I'm talking about day to day living, aka, survival.

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Comrade Mike
September 17, 2013, 01:17 PM
Laws apply to everyone equally.

If you're in a survival situation, having a game warden find you and bust you would likely save your life.

September 17, 2013, 01:26 PM
Many areas that have sustenance hunters are also heavily populated by Native Americans and there are different rules that they follow.
In some places that interface causes a lot of problems but in the low population of the far north I doubt if it matters much.

September 17, 2013, 06:44 PM
Move to rural Texas and buy a hog trap. You'll never need to buy pork. :D I've got three laying hens, got eggs running out my ears. I'm going to buy an incubator soon to hatch my own fried chicken. :D My wife spends too much on laying pellets and stuff, these dried worms she feeds 'em for treats. Really, they are her pets. We have two roosters, too. Had four, but I butchered two of 'em. I hunt small game in the off season and we have lots of deer.

There are few rules on hogs. Were it not for that, meat would be hard to stay ahead of. However, we still go to the grocery store for veggies, coffee, sugar, flower, etc, etc, etc. We do supplement, especially meat, but I still have a food budget. Soon as I find a way to make a garden that's deer and rabbit proof, I might start being a little more self sufficient. I'm thinkin' green house at this point.

I have enough land that I could raise a few goats and I COULD have a milk cow, but I don't wanna be stuck here with chores every day. I like my two day hunting and fishing trips. :D The chickens can go a night or two on their own.

September 17, 2013, 10:21 PM
We moved to rural Idaho to become more self safishant with what we have prosessed out of our garden we only need small items from the grocery store.
We have already harvested a Elk and we still have two deer tags in our pocket

September 18, 2013, 03:43 AM
You can hunt, kill and eat any animal at any time to save your life, you must turn over, or at least report what you did to the FnG , and youll never be charged. You gotta do what you gotta do, and as Hugh "Lord Grizzly" Glass said "Meat is meat, when your hungry enough."

With the internet and "dish" we can have internet anywhere on the planet. We bulk order basics, flour suger, coffee, tea, otameal, rainsins and such. Sometimes we get apples, oranges, onions, potatos and spices, and weve come to selling arts n crafts from the computer as well. banking and most other such things can be done now, from home, but before we just went without........ never did the TV thing, just music on a radio, and it wasnt till the late 90's we even had electricity and the 2000's when water and sewr came along, then the mud this town is built on "permafrost' had gravel dumped on it, and we no longer walk in muck during summer....but 8 $ a gallon for gas will make a fella wize about hunting and getting the most out of every drop.

As to differing hunting laws/limits/qualifycations, its only divided in the fight known as "Fed vs. State still.....
The State and the Feds have slightly differing rules , on their lands and what animals they manage. The Feds do all migratory birds and Marine Mammles, and set bag limits on their lands.
The State says everyone can Subsistence Hunt on any state lamnds at any place, for any resident, the feds say you mus live in the locality that you are subsistence hunting. Sunsistence hunts are conducted for Moose for meat, so they can control the over all populations by haveing the cow population be allowed for meat hunting, and let sport hunters have more opportunity at Bulls. Most meat hunters want a fat cow, as the meat quality ois excellent in summer. Young Bulls about 2 years old are fine eating too.
Our seasons are long, in my game unit (23) Caribou are open year round and subsistence hunters can hunt Moose from August 1st to January 1st, Cows without a calf or any Bull. Most all hunt young bulls if they cant find a Cow without a calf or cant shoot the cow, because she Might have a calf.

One thing is that obtaining subsistence meat hunting tags "registarations hunts" requires a person to obtain the license in mid summer, or apply early in May to get them, when a sport hunting tag can be had in any city, for other areas at any time. In my unit, any Alaskan can get 1 Moose per year, but thats their state wide limit , too, so their hunting would be over , all over. The Feds say you gotta live inthe area, and register.

Native Alaskans have to follow the same laws and buy the same licenses and follow the same guidelines everyone else does. There is only one exception, and that is the hunting of Migratory Marine Mammles. Not all Native Alaskans can , because the majority do not qualify
ONLY Native Alaskans who reside on the coast and have customary and tradional use of marine mammles may hunt them, such as Walrus and Seals , Whales and such. Theres no Whaleing captains living in a big city, the feds control those hunts and their quotas and qualifycations and their enforcement.
When they were stopping Commercial Whaling in the 1960-70's Native Alaskans spoke up as Subsistence hunters and eaters of the meats and users of the skins for other than commercial use.
same as fishing too, when theres lots, every one fishes, commercial, subsistence, ......when numbers are low, the commercial is stopped and only personal use fishing contenues, and when numbers are really low, noone fishes, and its the same with Marine Mammle hunts. Native Alaskanas, Canadians, Norway, Fearo Islands and Norway still hunt for food "Subsistence Hunting" while world wide commercial hunting has almost stopped and whales are on the comeback.

I and everyone else buys a 62$ hunting/fishing/trapping license, or a low income license for 5$ if you get food stamps and such. There is no "Subsistence license"

In my unit ,we are allowed 5 Caribou a day on State lands, with Fed lands, its 15 per day.
Our Migratory bird season is open all 4 months the Geese, Ducks and such are up here, but with bag limits. Fishing is controlled by whoever controlls the waters, fed or State, but Commercial and subsistence Fishing both require Fishing licenses.

i live in a village, I just go to the local FnG rep and he sells me what I need, and there I go :D Our game unit, 23, is also our Northwest Arctic Borough, less than 10,000 folks in an area larger than Indiana. 350,000 caribouin our WACH herd, and plenty of Moose around, Wolves and other Fur.

Check this out;



September 18, 2013, 12:31 PM
Well, Bou, thanks for all the info! There' s some interesting reading... No helicopters? Beavers seem to be a huge nuisance yet you still need to follow several guidelines to control them? Here in Texas, you get ridiculed for NOT shooting a hog on sight!

I always figured you guys had issues aquiring licenses and such, but it appears that's all been well thought out and made easier than for me.

I'm still holding my breath for your show to return... You keep mentioning it's "in the can" and there's 6 episodes to be put out, but not in my neighborhood. There's just something about the way of life in "Life below" and "Mountain Men" that get my respect. You folks have it rough by my standards, yet, make it look easy.

September 18, 2013, 03:55 PM
The networks havethe next 6 episodes commining in Oct, rather than this month, way beyond me.... :D But we are filming season 2 right now.

Beaver, unlike Hogs, are not an invasive species, and with an unlimited catch and no closed season, we can do as we please as long as we salvage the meats or furs. Local use dictates that we still persue tham at the proper times, 'cause their use is still the same, and the furs gotta be prime.

Beaver is pretty good eating, the furs are valuable materials for those who sew mittens, hats and socks for the Arctic, so they are still a furbearer that we persue in Winter and for the red pelts, in the spring. Good fur and meats in their seasons :D

Folks here see look at the upside too many Beaver, with nature itself 'control' numbers, and plenty of Beaver now will leads to plenty of Otters soon, and they too are valuable.

September 18, 2013, 05:10 PM
Last year, I killed 5 whitetails in Maryland with my crossbow. All taken and tagged legally. This may not be seen as living off the land by some but we sure ate a lot of tasty venison instead of beef.


September 18, 2013, 05:57 PM
Liveing offthe land isnt only Hunting and Trapping, its also heating from it and building materials, as well as greens, shoots, berries and other features that will give you a edible/selllable commodity to get the things you can make into $4 to get things you cant make or obtain otherwize.
Its a life closer to "the source" so to say...and certain knowlage and skills , as well as mind set and health all play a factor. Anyone can learn, but only the healthy can do it.

Even up here a great many work regular jobs, but supplemnt heavily by gathering and burning wood and Hunting on their off times. many Hunters supplement their income with spot/seasonal jobs to get $$ , so theres alotta 1/2 and 1/2 going on, but as well, theres alotta folks yet that make a good loiving doing what were up to.

There has always been a 'monatary system' in plce, as long ago shells, wampum, beads and unobtainable skins and other luxuries, like cooking pots and drugs/alcohol were tarded all around the world. Folks here had Asian cast bronze and kettles, ax's , Adz' , tobacco and knifes when first contact was made, from just across the Bering straigts and from the east in trade with inteior Indians that had HudsonBay Fur company trade. There is nothing wrong with useing the internet to order groceries with mony made selling a hat made from a Beaver.....

We also "product improve" with skins, as my wife and daughters all sew, so we can make the most with less; if you can craft something from the raw, youll make more $$.
if , say, a guy needed 1,000$ and there were lots of Fox, like now, and prices are low, like now, it would take 50 raw Red Fox skins sold to a furrier to make such, when that ammount could be made in 5 Red Fox hats for a warm head in winter. Most all folks who live out their lives by liveing off the land are married, whether they Huint, Fish, Log, Farm or what not, a solid partnership that is mutaully support can save you in hard times.

September 18, 2013, 06:46 PM
Truly living "off the land" via hunting and gathering would be hard to do in any sort of densely populated area. Most everyone I know that lives rural and is even close to self sufficient has livestock and plants fields or at least a garden and all that really does is supplement.

My best friend owns something over 300 acres and is always giving me corn for my feeders and trap. He has about 100 head of goats, about 25 head of cattle. BUT, that's more for the tax write offs. He owns about 4 million dollars worth of real estate, rent houses and apartments, and runs an independent insurance agency. That's his living.

I suppose you COULD live off the land in a traditional sense if you lived out in New Mexico where there's lots of BLM and other public lands. Lots of edibles out there, but I'd probably get a little tired of nopalitos. :D I can say, I never BOUGHT a fish I ever cooked until I was about 50 years old. I've always had a boat and lived near the bays. Now, I'm inland 80 miles, so I'll have to travel a bit to fish.

September 18, 2013, 06:51 PM
Oh, yeah, and I ain't gettin' rid of my AC in the house! I grew up without AC, by golly, I've earned the right to enjoy it! LOL! AC ain't so important north of the arctic circle, but by danged a Texan gets REAL used to it this time of year.

September 19, 2013, 10:29 AM
OK, Mickey G (MCgunner :D ), where abouts are you? I'm an hour south of Houston (Van Vleck/Bay City live/work) and know firsthand what you're talking about a/c wise. This is part of my curiosity of folks living off the land - it would never work for me! I'm a country boy in a small town with no public woods to speak of and that free lifestyle just seems great, provided folks are comfortable with it. TV makes it look like you can just set roots next to any tree you want, kill and eat whatever is within reach, with no consequences. I know better, but folks like Caribou spell it out well with included documentation to boot!

September 19, 2013, 12:58 PM
I think "living off the land" is REALLY about the person, not the place.

I lived in Alaska for 25 years, now i live in the lower 48. I could live off the land in either place, in fact it would be MUCH easier to do so here, than it ever was in Alaska...

It's cheaper to live here, and food is easier to get and cheaper here too... There's cheep houseing in the lower 48, and all kinds of small game, deer and food, just for the forageing, right here and many other places. AND, i can have a garden of any size here, growing all kinds of things that i cound never grow in Ak.......and i do.

You either have it in you, or you don't! Changeing the scenery won't do very much for you long term!


September 20, 2013, 11:14 PM
I was raised living off the land, some would have called us homeless but it was how my hillbilly/hippy parents chose to live... eventually Child Services got involved and we had to quit being semi-nomadic, we settled in a house and I have lived like that ever since...

now, I own a pretty good size farm, we are working towards a "modern homesteading" existence, I've grown too accustomed to hot showers and refrigeration of my food to go without them by choice now, BUT in the heart of your original question... If you're living like we are where your farm/garden is not only your food but also your income, we get depredation permits from the state wildlife officers (game wardens). They come out pretty regular, and honestly only care about issuing us permits now if I'm inviting someone else onto the property to help with our deer problems. If it is just me out there with a rifle, the wildlife officers have all come out here at the same time and told me to have at it (pretty much, telling me to quit bothering them about the permits).

Laws will differ by state, but here in North Carolina it's pretty easy to do and the law is very clear... It states that "any animal caught in the act of destroying property may be killed", now the grey area begins after that, it is supposed to be burned, buried, or the wildife officer called to dispose of it at his/her discretion. The permits are mainly so you can legally eat them... The big difference here is I'm not exactly "subsitence hunting" but I am proteting my livelihood from pests. It just turns out that by doing one, I happen to be doing the other... Now we only buy meat when we want something special that we don't normally get to eat.

What I'm getting at is if you wanted to "live off the land", your best bet would be to start a homestead. That way, your farming can provide you with money and food, plus you will never have a shortage of critters that need to be dealt with. They are then turned into food as well.

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