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Hunting Recession Proof

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by 308win, Sep 20, 2010.


Do you hunt to offset your grocery spending?

  1. Yes, it saves me money

    17 vote(s)
  2. Yes, but if I break even I am doing well

    11 vote(s)
  3. No, meat in styrofoam packaging is cheaper

    22 vote(s)
  4. No, I prefer some wild game as a choice

    25 vote(s)
  1. 308win

    308win Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Ohio - The Heart of it All
    From 9/20/2010 USAToday

    Even during recession, hunting remains bulletproof industry

    If you have free access to hunting areas with a lot of game available you might save a little but if you have to pay for hunting privileges you will have a tough time breaking even. In Ohio a hunting license and a deer tag will run you $43.00. If you can walk out your back door and get your deer and you get 80 pounds of meat you have $.54/lb in it before any other costs.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  2. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Elder

    Jun 11, 2005
    Deer hunting is not cheap entertainment. There can be substantial costs. Used to be I spent $3.00 for a couple cartridges, $12 for a license, a few dollars for gas, and that is about it. So other than clothing or boots which I may wear at other times of the year, I spent about $20. It is not the same anymore.

    I always got my deer cut up and packaged by a butcher now. It adds cost. It is part of the reason I don't want any more than one deer per year unless someone wants a deer that has just been field dressed. My experience is that most want you to cut up and package the meat for them. So you probably know what my response is going to be about providing them a deer for food.

    Venison is one of my last choices of meat in steak or roast form. It all gets ground up with pork fat for hamburg. Used to save a few roasts, back straps, and so forth.
  3. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Senior Elder

    Sep 8, 2005
    Depends on the kind of hunting.

    I was at a benefit auction the other day, for Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. A complete guided African stay-and-hunt package, 3 species I think, went for $650. Last year, the same package went for $3800 and AFAIK that was a good deal.

    It pained me not to bid on such a great deal, but it didn't include the flight to Johannesburg, shipping, etc. My wife and I chatted about it, and decided not to bid. The guy who won the bidding at $650 (he was very excited!) is still on the hook for thousands more that we didn't want to spend right now. A new roof before Winter is a higher priority for us, and we're grateful we can afford that.:)

    I'd say that, if you are running a high-dollar guide service, you are DEFINITELY not in a recession-proof business. Most of those guys have other irons in the fire, fortunately.
  4. bang_bang

    bang_bang Participating Member

    Jun 22, 2006
    Elk Creek, Virginia
    Hunting is far from cheap. Using quality ammo, rifles, and equipment can run you big $$$$$.

    My usual deer hunting outfit, with rifle, has took me years to acquire. At any time when I venture out in the woods, I'm carrying thousands of dollars of gear....and I shop at Wal-Mart.

    Not to mention wear and tear on good clothing (waterproof and windproof is my choice of hunting garments) may cause you to buy new within a few years.

    The recession has caused me to stop buying so much stuff, pack lighter, and enjoy the simple things more. I often take a back pack, hatchet, and plastic bags and quarter the deer up in the field. I then give the meat to families who need it far more than I do. After dressing a deer...I don't want to eat one for a good while after. Nasty critters....:barf:

    That being said, some bacon wrapped backstrap baked with A-1 and balsamic vinegar sounds good about now. Too bad I'm broke and hunting permits cost more than 40 pounds of hamburger from the local grocery store.
  5. Zoogster

    Zoogster Senior Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    Most types of hunting in California can add up.
    If you factor how much actual usable meat you get from an animal, it is often substantially less than the total weight of the animal.

    For example resident hunting costs for a California resident (several times more for non-residents.) Here is what you need to take a deer:

    Resident Hunting License

    Resident First-Deer Tag Application

    Then many of the areas with animals are considered a state operated hunting zone which requires these:

    Permits and Passes for State-Operated Hunting Areas

    Type A One-Day Entry Permit

    Type A Two-Day Pass

    Type A Season Pass

    How many days do you need?

    Add tax of course, which is rather high in the state. Now you are easily around $100 or more to take a single deer.
    Add the cost of gas to get to the area, and other potential costs (like the above person that has a butcher process the deer.)
    How many scents and calls ad other doodads are you planning to buy?
    Pretty quickly you are near or above the $200 mark to hunt a single deer.

    On top of that many hunting zones require the person to enter a lottery for the chance to hunt, some people go years without being picked, so even after paying all the fees many people just get a chance to possibly be picked in the state hunting lottery!

    Here is a site I stumbled on in a quick search to show estimates of likely meat form a deer of a given weight:

    So if it costs you nearly $200 to get a deer, let us say you get something similar to the above example and have nearly 60 pounds of meat.
    Much of that meat is far from the best cuts.
    What would it have cost to buy that much beef? Chicken is much cheaper and most pork is too.
    You are paying over $3 a pound for that meat, and you are not even guaranteed to win the hunting lottery and be allowed to hunt in many zones.

    So hunting deer wouldn't really save people much money in California.
    The cost is a few times what is listed above for a non resident.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  6. wankerjake

    wankerjake Participating Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Flagstaff AZ
    Depends on what I'm hunting. I save money on elk hunts, works out to like $.75 a pound and I butcher myself. Usually don't miss work either. Other than elk it's not really cost effective for me. In states where you are issued a gazillion deer tags then it probably is very cost efective to shoot them if you butcher yourself, especially if you shoot them with an old 30-30 your dad gave you which is all you need;)
  7. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Mentor

    Sep 21, 2007
    Californicated Colorado
    I just got back from a good, long backcountry hunt. I spent money on a vehicle park pass, a little bit of fuel, and of course the licenses. I won't count the cost of the foods that I packed out there, nor much of the equipment I used because I use it over and over, year after year, and it never cost me much of anything to begin with. It was a black powder hunt, so I suppose a very small portion of the cost of my Triple Se7en Powder and Great Plains bullets could be added in. The park pass is good for a year, so if I go back for the rifle season, its cost is spread out a good bit. No horses, which would kill all the savings I might be seeing.

    I didn't get a deer or an elk. Had two real good chances, but you know how it goes. Had I killed one or both, I would process the meat myself, as I've been doing for the past several years. The cost of my butcher paper, plastic wrap, tape and marker, really can't be added in entirety either.

    We don't buy meat from the store anymore. I rely on hunting, and both families have livestock that keep many freezers stocked. Therefore, I don't know how much it would cost, if I were to try and buy 200+lbs. of meat, but there's no way in heck that I spend that much on my hunting.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  8. Yarddog

    Yarddog Active Member

    Jan 28, 2010
    FL.--There's a Gator in the bushes & She's callin
    I've harvest alot of deer in my years, Hogs by the truck load. Now I hunt for Relaxation
    rather than harvest animals But if that (Big Buck) comes by he will hit the dirt ; )
  9. inclinebench

    inclinebench Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    Nice place
    I have under $500.00 invested in rifle and scope. I built my stand out of scrap lumber. All the clothes I wear for hunting I also wear for many other of lifes tasks. License and tags to cover all my hunting and fishing desires are about $120 a year. I do not buy new clothes, or guns or anything else every year, just my license and tags. I harvest anywhere from two to five deer a year. I guess you could spend more money on hunting, but all the gear in the world wont make you a better hunter.

    I don't take unpaid time off from work to hunt.

    Hunting most certainly is a huge cost benefit when it comes to feeding my family.
  10. Sky

    Sky Senior Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    No wonder the Sheriff got mad at Robin Hood!!! He didn't have a Royal Deer tag!
  11. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Mentor

    Sep 21, 2007
    Californicated Colorado
    Unless you use it up and toss it out in the trash with the hooves & hide, you can't necessarily count your equipment cost like this. That rifle might take hundreds of deer before it is really "used up".:)
  12. ~z

    ~z Active Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    High plains of Texas
    My wife buys me a nice big porterhouse steak for my birthday each year. My wife likes chicken (my favorite vegetable) so other than that we dont buy meat from the store. Between helping out the farmers with their pig problems and management hunts for does and old spikes we stay in the meat pretty good. We made a bit over 1600lbs of sausage last year.

    Now if I could only find someone with a ferral chicken problem I think I'd be set.
  13. UpTheIrons

    UpTheIrons Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    South-Central Texas
    Here's what my Texas Hill Country deer cost me per year:

    Rifle: My dad's 50 year old Winny '94 (free!)
    Ammo: 1 box per season (~$15)
    Clothes: ~$75, spread out over 5 years so far (~$15)
    License: $25
    Lease cost: $400
    Rent: $200
    Corn/Protein feed/Molasses tubs: ~$200
    I process the meat myself, so there's no cost there beyond a new box of FoodSaver bags every couple of years.

    For that $855 I get a house that I can stay in at any time since it is a year-round lease. I can also go at any time and hunt whatever is in season (squirrel, jackrabbits, doves, etc.). We also go just to get away from the craziness of the city. That also means that, even though the numbers say I'm spending $171/deer (it's a 5 deer county), I'm really spending less, since it is also a sort of "vacation home." I also save some of my vacation for deer season, so there is no unpaid time off.

    While the meat is more expensive than beef, it is also healthier (free-range, organic, etc., etc.,), tastier, and more desirable by everyone in my family. Aside from the occasional Ribeye or T-Bone, I haven't bought meat (except chicken & fish) at the store in 5 years.
  14. CSA 357

    CSA 357 Participating Member

    Apr 16, 2006
    North Alabama
    not here in north alabama, a man could starve living off the land here, but back home in south west ms i could and have.
  15. millertyme

    millertyme Active Member

    May 22, 2009
    I wingshoot, mostly. Hunting mostly dove would hardly keep anyone in my family fed for any length of time, and I'm really the only one who eats the stuff. I would like to shoot deer and all that but I don't know if I'll have the time. Had I the time I already have a nice pair of boots paid for by a company that laid me off before they could take it out of my paycheck, I might need to buy some insulated pants or thermal underwear and then maybe some kind of insulated, waterproof camouflage to wear while hunting. At least with most bird shooting you can do it in jeans and a t-shirt.
  16. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Senior Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    Heart of Dixie
    Last year I spent a little over $400.00 on seed and fertilizer for the fields, (not to mention fuel for the tractor) probably over $100 on camo clothing, about $175.00 for processing, and a little on licence and ammo, also bought my oldest son a new gun but I don't count that, I also want count the many hrs of overtime I turn down at work so I can go hunting, that probably costs me more than everything else combined.

    We took two deer last year, one weighing a little over 100lbs the other a little under. $700+ would buy a LOT of meat from a grocery store. Bad thing is I don't even hunt anymore, I just love enjoying nature and taking my kids. There ain't no price tag on that.

    I could do it cheaper but I don't, so for me it's a loss, a pretty big one.

    I want even try to calculate my losses at duck hunting, I would have to quit. That duck meat would be like 50 bucks an oz, mainly cuz I'm such a bad shoot. :eek:

    If you find that one let me know, I'll move if I have to.:D
  17. wankerjake

    wankerjake Participating Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Flagstaff AZ
    Hawaii!!! Seriously they run rampant all over Maui and Kauai, and maybe the other islands but I haven't been to them. They look delicious, I've been tempted to grab one and cook it up both times I've been there.
  18. jbkebert

    jbkebert Senior Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    I don't save a dime by hunting for meat. I also don't save a dime by raising hogs for 4-H and one for slaughter or by buying a bucket calf for 4-H and one for slaughter. The point is by doing so and the same with chickens the quality of meat is far far better than anything that you buy in a supermarket.
  19. 336A

    336A Participating Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    +1 to the above.
    I don't understand how folks spend so much money every year on hunting. Here is the break down for me.

    Hunting license: sportsmans 67$. This allows me to hunt small game, fish, take 1 buck, 2 doe, 1 black bear, and 4 turkey(2 fall and 2 spring) for the year.
    Marlin 336A bought in 2002 $300
    Bushnell Elite 3200 2-7x32 $180
    Knife bought when I was 15 (back in 1991) $40
    Clothes:$0 as I don't buy specific clothes for hunting. I just wear old jeans and long sleeved shirts.
    Ammo well I have a good supply so I haven't bought any in some time so I don't factor that in. if i did it would be $15 still not expensive.
    Hunting location is behind my house on private property so no cost.
    Processing fee for the deer is $50. If it weren't for my work schedule that would be be no cost either as I would do it myself. Which I'll be doing as soon as I retire from Uncle Sams services.

    So after the purchase of my Marlin and scope I actually spend $117 annually, $67 for the license and $50 for the processing fee thats it. My freezer is stocked with deer, grouse squirrel, turkey, trout and salmon. I could have cheapened the initial cost considerably if I picked my Mossberg 500 combo(bird barrel and rifled slug barrel) that I recieved for my 16th B-Day back in 1992:neener: I've slain a lot of game with that set up over the years for sure.
  20. Zoogster

    Zoogster Senior Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    Wow! You have a fishing and hunting license in one, and the basic license includes that much game without purchasing separate tags?

    In California just the tags for what you listed would cost a couple hundred dollars.
    Basic license ($41.50), deer tags (max 2 per year $27.85 +$34.65), bear tag($40.70), upland game bird stamp for turkey ($8.40). More fees for passes for "State-Operated Hunting Areas" which include a lot of public land.
    Add another type of bird and yet more required stamps (Duck is $33.50.)
    A fishing license must be purchased separately and itself can cost around $70-$80 with various required stamps and required report cards.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010

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