Saturday, January 29, 2011

Frugal eating: Elk hunting

very redneck picture, I know, but I wanted proof I was there :)

I went hunting for the first time over Christmas. It used to be that hunting was the cheap way to feed your family. These days, though, there's fees attached to it: your state hunting license and the tag for the animal (and the conservation fee, and whatever else your state decides to charge). And you can't just go to the woods or fields behind your house (unless you happen to own lots of acreage). Now you have to travel and stay overnight and deal with all the associated costs.

This year our hunting area was 8 hours away, so there was the gas to drive there and back. Because it was so far away we camped near our hunting area. My in-laws have a camping trailer, which makes winter camping really nice, especially when it rains all night and then starts snowing and everything is a huge, muddy mess.

There's also the food, guns, ammo for target practice and the actual hunt, winter gear for trekking through the mountains without getting hypothermia, and meat processing.

Ok, so we could process the meat ourselves, but I have to say I'd rather pay someone else to do it. It's time-consuming, tedious, and messy if you don't have the proper equipment, and there's so many other things I'd rather do with my time.

Once you add everything up, I'm not completely sure we save money by hunting for our meat rather than buying it in the grocery store, but this is another case where health benefits (especially given all the health problems we have) trump financial cost. And elk, along with deer and antelope, are the original organic, grass-fed red meat. ie, it's healthy :)

And I have to say that having the ability and the knowledge of how to feed your family is pretty priceless.

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