Contributors to this thread:
Does it pay for itself ?
Doing the math , Does hunting pay for itself ? Do we break even or better when considering the cost of our endeavor ? I struggle with that aspect as I am very frugal and mindful of the cost -to -recovery of this thing we do. Same for gardening and most things I guess. I try to keep the cost down.
I calculate just how much deer it takes to pay for the equipment and process . Does it ever pay off ? I think I'm a little ahead but not by much.
no not even close.....the meat is a bonus.
Agreed not even close. You have to look at the bigger "quality of life" issue if you want to have a chance at qualifying cost vs return.
Somewhat depends on your conviction about food. I agree that we end up spending way more money than we might need to on gear and arrows and broad heads,range finders, etc etc. however. I do own an organic vegetable farm and I often trade with my fellow farmers for the meat they raise and at $8-$12 a lb. it’s expensive. adding a deer, two turkeys, a couple of handfuls of geese and a pheasant or two supplements our diet considerably.( can’t quite get there on squirrel hunting yet. I would hate to limit my distractions while deer hunting). Hunting is a quality of life when done well. So. If you are actually getting 50 - 60 lbs of lean usable boneless meat from a 170 lb field dressed deer. You could tally that at $500 to $600 worth. That’s considerable. And if you are moons ,and the economy was based on raw meat, your a freakin king. The time put In ratio is a thing to consider. But I remember when we where reading little house last year to my girls it would sometimes take a week of non stop hunting to bring home game.
Agreed , with the time element added it sure would be easier to work and pay.
That aside , I think I have come out on top but just barely. Same bow for a decade plus only a few new strings , same smoke pole . The money spent on stands and clothing was mostly a waste , I think . Most great opportunity has been on the fly set ups.
I would think my ancestors would say to me . " Just have one gun and wait till the winter, you stupid man."
I have a theory on most recreational pursuits... They are investments in ways beyond money. :)
It's like fly tying (another hobby of mine). When I hear people say they tie flies to save money, I know I'm dealing with either: A person very bad at math; a person working hard to rationalize their choices; or a person who just hasnt thought about it much.
Hunting is the same way - at least in modern form. I mean, if you butcher your own, dont use tree stands, maybe hunt with trad etc etc... you can keep the cost down.
That said, lots of research shows how positive for us even 10' sitting or walking quietly in nature is. All sorts of positive changes from blood pressure to emotional status occur... So, while it's rationalizing to say more is better... I'm going with it, and saying that hunting is when I bank a lot of health benefits by having time away from the hustle and bustle of deadlines and heavy thinking that occur during most of my days.
That's priceless. :)
haha not even remotely close for me. I have licenses in 4 states and travel expenses for each of those. That alone exceeds how much I save by not buying beef all year. Throw in some taxidermy, hunting gadgets, etc. and I'm paying for this as a hobby not just as a way to get cheap food.
That about says it Will . It's therapy. And nothing wrong with that .
When we look at how our lives have developed (culturally ) into the need for that, then the olden days don't seem so bad.
Our historic approach to basic necessities must have made man feel quite alive and fulfilled , now it is inverted and our work is something we tolerate and get grounded by our recreation. Some of it was a good trade off and some of it has launched us into uncharted territory. Can you envission our Ancestors comments on a "Work out Gymnasium" ? You do what ? "Go chop some wood you stupid man."
What hangs in my mind is that idea that we like to do it like our ancestors but that isn't really an option. They would have gladly traded up for modern equipment . We go backwards to find our roots but they were going forward to be more efficient .
This is not at all a criticism of what we do , just a reflective critique. I feel a little lost in this world as it is ... I think Ill go skin out yesterdays take.
I think the real question is. How much would a therapist cost on a yearly basis if we couldn't hunt and fish????
Agreed DFA. All "real as can be" questions, comments and thoughts. Maybe we made a wrong turn into this future of ours or we overshot our best interest.
DEER $6000 /p lb FISH $4000/ p lb
Not even close,.. but that factor has little to do with why I hunt,..
Finding a forum of exercise that I enjoy is priceless,.. what is your health worth?
I can't stand riding an eliptical at a gym,.. but I can hike, hunt and scout with a smile,... a year long.
It certainly doesn't pay for itself in my situation. I'm already looking at a new stand and sticks for next year and haven't even put one down yet this year! But man I'd be one crazy sob if I wasn't able to get out in the woods a few days a week.
Just look at it this way... the venison you put on your own plate is priceless.
I hunt for meat, but that's not to say that I'm saving money doing it! The stuff they pass for beef now a days is so greasy compared to venison, and tastes cheap or rushed, like when they pick fruit when it's green so it can survive getting shipped across country or half the globe. Had the neighbors vegetarian kid over the other day, she tore into ground deer tacos like she was starved, poor skinny little thing.
So, some of the best meat on the planet, how do you put a price on that? And what Will said (perhaps more so)!
I don't know exactly how to put a price on that mrw . But we all do in our own way.
Thanks to all who offered their thoughts and to those that may do so hereafter. I often wonder how more normal people think about things. You folks are normal right ?
Not even close. Thats why I always laugh at "I need meat guys".
Go buy it.
def dont hunt to save money i may hunt to save money on medication
Lol drslyr, you and I must have the same accountant,it's a good thing my wife doesn't go on this website, she believes its a couple hundred a year....
I believe i will never catch up with what nature has to offer us its not about how much we spend but what nature gives back to us it gives me deer a turkey to chase fish to catch and a peace of mind to go with it not to mention the moments in time that i will never for get like going fishing with my dad hooking into some big trout and watching them jump out of the water as we would pull them in just like watching on tv and hunting with him in in his last years of life or my sons first hunting trip seeing him get his first deer or just the group of guys i look forward going to pa each year I know one day I will no longer be able to go hunting but the memory's will be everything to me at this point so to me yes its worth every penny i pay no matter if i get a deer or not for I cant put a price tag on memory's can you
The way I’m adding my next deer should cost about $5000.
The way I’m adding my next deer should cost about $5000.
assuming you dont take a 20 foot skydive or flash ur white ass at a pumpkin, hunting is undoubtedly beneficial to your mental and physical health. it gets me to the gym and bow range all year, keeps me and my scouting buddy (see pic) sane most of the time, and is as organic a meal as you can get... these abstract benefits will never be accurately captured in a cost benefit analysis. NEWS FLASH... you don't need top end camo, a $1000 bow, 100's of dollars of arrows and broad heads, 25 trail cams, licenses in 6 states, guided hunts or private leases to kill deer. All of those things may or may not add to your experience, but a little patience, woodsmanship and time invested will no doubt fill the freezer. So really you should be out no more than your license fees and gas money each year. Yes there's some initial investment and upkeep cost, but almost everything else is choice
Some great perspectives so far, no real surprises. I especially like Captain's and I agree with Cougar, it can pay for itself. New equipment and toys can be fun and to each his own, but they rarely make a difference in your success.
This thread motivated me to think about what I spent this year and it will be one of the rare years when hunting actually saves me money when compared to buying grass fed beef or true free range chickens. Purchases in 2017: -NY and Mass licences: $225 est. -Gas for six trips to NY including scouting: $100 Mass hunts are within a few minutes of my home or just a walk out the door. All equipment and clothing used was at least 5 years old. Some items closer to 20 years and a lot of Mil-surplus mixed in there. I'll round up to $400 to account for incidentals. So far: 2x turkeys, 2x deer (Dressed weight - 120 lb buck, 70 lb doe) Assume 40% of field dressed weight in edible meat equals 76 pounds of venison. (see link). Assume $10/lb if buying beef. We buy from a local farm and usually the non prime cuts. So hunting this year provided $760 worth of meat. Expenditures were approx $400. And I did not factor in the turkeys.
For me after the initial start up investment I probably only spend a couple hundred dollars a year on hunting and fishing. I’m more out there for mental and physical wellbeing. Putting food on the table is more a byproduct of that. But if you Include the bribes that I have to pay my wife to get out as much as possible I’d be way behind.
Thank you Tekoa , Cougar , for that other side of the math . Thanks again to all positions.
When I sit to calculate the investment I am hard pressed to come up with more than 4k spent ( from at least the last 10 years : easy number to remember)Some things I wish I didn't bother with so at least 1k of unnecessary crap . Even one medium size deer per year is 5-k,+ in return and let us say it is two on average. (I could easily go to 4 or 5 if needed. Not needed) So about 3k in and 10k out . Would be a fair math if I had been a bit more frugal and hungry. It could easily double that number in meat value.
I get my therapy too. I have hunted 3-5 days a week and 1 or 2 sits per day. I've Passed an average of 10 deer a year , well within my shooting ability. (Except for last year when I moved in November and went in cold to new woods I was also not in good health ) . I'm back on track.
I get that this thing we do has huge value in our lives , I enjoy those returns as well ( too much so at times) . That aside, there is no reason that this process should amount to a deficit as opposed to an asset . If that is a priority in our measuring the worth and investment of this thing we do.
I think It is Great that each person can approach this from his/her own parameters. This "Pursuit of happiness and quality of life" is custom fit and flexible enough to have us all at the party in different ways.
Very American ! Keep going.
Way more cost effective than my other passion... beekeeping.... but both run in the red from a pure financial perspective... but way more intangible benefits that won't show up on the balance sheet. As I get older, I spend less and less... $ spent doesn't not equate to success in the woods...
Urban - that point is really true as I think about it. Younger me bought a new bow every few years, new arrows every year, the latest clothes, new gizmos etc etc...
My bow is from like 08 or 10 or something, Some of my arrows are like 15 years old now... I use the same hunting clothes etc.
I definitely run closer to breaking even now than I did 10 years ago if I really itemize it... but overall I'm still in the red - and happy about it, it's an "expense" that's well worth it!
Hey what else are going to spend our money on? If we don't spend it our wives or kids will find a way to use it
Yep and there it is . The Must spend it Fixation !
How about investing it for the sake of wife (who will out live us) Kids and future security of the clan. How about taking this approach more broadly to achieve an early retirement for yourself or grow your assets for that freedom ? Then you will be hunting with no obligations and debt. We just don't think that way very much any more .
Investing in the future takes faith or belief that it will amount to something and has an advantage. The other is a form of bondage , to the things that we are running to the woods to forget. That's the point.
I'll go one step further but this is not intended as a criticism of anyone : Faith and Economic outlook are bound together in a relationship . The less we have of one the more we delve into the other.
That is in part what drives the machine of "unneeded consumer products" and wasteful spending in our economy (personally and as a country) to make you want want want and not be practical. Degraded faith is a contribution to fixing the problems with the root of all evil . Love of : money /spending / stuff... Its a Spiritual issue.
I’m still in the financial hole about $1200 if I factor lean meat at $12 a pound for my hunting experience in MA. Which, imo is a better experience than hunting in CA. CA will test your marksmanship, MA hunting will test your patience and tenacity.
Anyhow, I AM finding that as the years are progressing I’m getting more aggressive in my pursuit of deer (limited time in pretty hardwoods, more time in thickets and bogs), and less aggressive in spending money for new hunting related gear and attractants and whatnot. I think hunting helps my sanity. Which I guess is saving me money in self medication, so there’s that. I should work the math on that.
For me it's a quality of life investment. I cannot imagine a year without hunting. Some may invest there $ in timeshare and property to get out of this area come winter but I am a swamp Yankee, and gosh darn I love the New England woods and everything I can do outdoors alone or with my family. I am definitely the type affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder) when the daylight starts diminishing and nobody wants to be couped up with me if I cannot get my time outdoors. Lol.
By the way if you are breaking even join the NRA, buy a fed.duck stamp support DU give back or it will be lost forever and you can't put a price tag on that.
There is, in my humble opinion, no $ value in my hunting world. The mental cleansing, the exercise benefit, the things my eyes have seen, that most people won't see is priceless. Cheers
I agree there is all of the great benefits from being in nature and outsmarting this game animal or trying to ,at least. That's partially why I seldom shoot one early season , I'm enjoying the adventure too much.
There is an actual dollar amount to our equipment and related needs . It surprises me that at $ 500-600 dollars worth of meat each time , that more folks arn't getting ahead of the costs. And having the time of their lives too.
I'm Surprised. Then again, I am still a bit of a Cave man .
Pi to answer your response to my statement of who am I going to leave it to anyway
. I have no debt except for a car payment. I have a 13 yr old step son who we have sacrificed greatly for, for the last 7 yrs in his hockey future. Not for the NHL which is a pipe dream for all of 6.7% of hockey players ,but for div 1 prep high schools to be interested in him. This in turn will hopefully lead to a college scholarship for him. We Currently we have 4 highs schools that are contacting us about him already. Being in the academic field my wife feels this will give him a head start over most of the kids he is friends with. Also have a 14 yr old stepdaughter who is a freshman at tabor academy and is going to pursue a career in marine biology preferably at URI. Which has one of the best marine biology courses on the east coast. Our 6 yr old daughter is poised to be a world champion in Irish step dancing by age 10. She has already been part of one national championship team and 2 New England championship teams in the past two years and is competing as a 6 year old in an 8 and under age group. I am not bragging ( well a little ) but just stating these facts for the purpose of how we have tried to teach our kids about all the life lessons they have learned while trying to achieve these goals. All of our kids have been taught at an early age to set goals for themselves and to think about what it will take to achieve those goals.
So to answer you response. Nope not going to leave much to the wife kids in the way of money. But the life lessons that they will gain from knowing hard work will give them the success they desire is priceless and worth more than what I can leave them in the form of a monetary gain once I kick the bucket.
I'd pay more if evolution produced deer with shorter slower legs and bigger back straps
Awesome DFA. You are doing it brilliantly. Every Kid would benefit from parents like you ! Big credits to yu ! I did the step dad thing and its working out well. That boot-print will fade from their asses some day ! I get that you were being funny / real but took the opportunity to toss that issue out there . No offense meant. It was more of a social comment on the changes we have made in the way we go about things in this day and age. I can't keep up , I still have an 8 track player... Ok not any more but not far off either. My wife and grand daughter will be looking for your daughter on stage . Ill call URI and try to have my graffiti removed before hand . And with regard to the hockey player , Ill p/m you over a good contact in the Boston area. I bet a man as you are is leaving a whole lot more to his kids than a pile of cash ... but cash is nice too. Blessings friend - Eric
Glad you made the post PI. You hit on a topic that does hold true of buy,buy, buy !!!! A lot of what I see in today's society revolves around the notion of " look what I have " . Being a painter and my wife a private school teacher. We know we won't be rich so the next best thing we can do is give our kids the opportunities I never had. Her parents sacrificed a lot for their kids to get a good foundation for success in life. We hope to do the same for ours. They better get it!! Lol
research shows family fortunes rarely last past 3 generations... there is undoubtedly a 1% with 50% of the wealth, but who those individuals are churns fairly continuously when examined over time. Food for thought. Leave your kids with morals and memories, and maybe a calm self assurance that comes from knowing they can walk out of the swamp alone in the dark
Unless it's BB's kids then they will get stuck in the mud !!! Only kidding buddy! I surely mean no disrespect to you or your family. Just reliving the hilarious post that's all
The Mud Man . That was a great post.
Good thoughts Cougar and all . Carry on and kick up some dust.
You guys make me think of the cool Steven Covey story. I'm broadly paraphrasing - in other words, this may not be exact... but the point is.
Covey helped his kids do their best with school, but didnt hand down his fortune to them. Somewhat famously, he felt that his gift to them, was experiences and education which set them up to make their own fortune (however one describes that). And he used his wealth to support various foundations and charities he believed in.
Love it! It was pretty damn funny in hindsite. Not at the moment though. I hope that i will continue to have funny experiences to share with you all in the future seaons
Christ i cannot believe this seaon is closing fast! Dang they go by quick!
Good luck everyone get out there!
Ps bow and spear that looks tasty!
So I guess I'll stir the pot. I originally thought of getting into hunting in order to prove to myself that if a day came when no one could go to the supermarket for food because of some event, I could still go outside and get my family food. (Start the doomsday jokes now). I started like most, no clue and buying all the crap from the hunting shows. Stands, wind direction indicators, etc. Then I got cheap and started buying cheap camo at Walmart. Like $5 shirts. My bow was a Black Friday discount at Dick's Sporting Goods. Then I just had to add the QAD drop away rest. I tried to justify all my spending, but I was just dumb. That is my opinion of my own actions, not of anyone else. I have now gotten to the point that I still hunt and bring just what I need. My buddy makes fun of me for my backpack, but it helps keep my back straight, so forget him. I get a bunch of exercise. By the way, see my name? I need the exercise. I work in Boston doing finance. So work is GO GO GO. That is why I love the woods. So I will not be buying a $1000 bow for hunting, maybe for 3D shoots and other archery activities. This sport has opened me to a new sport, archery. I enjoy it and gets me more use of my bow, cost reduced. I have spent alot of money and do not plan to spend more on more gear. Bow I just have to stop paying for deer piss. That is another topic altogether. To me hunting has become a form of exercise, therapy, and a way to spend some time with my kids. I got them into it and they love coming out to the ground blind. Hopefully it isn't destroyed from last night's wind gusts. I do want meat. I do want to harvest a deer. What hunter wouldn't? So between hunting from October thru December and riding my new motorcycle in spring and summer, I just need an activity from January thru April so I'll never go to therapy. I guess I self medicate ;) So my 1 and only harvested deer cost me a grand. Oh well. Therapy at $45 co-pay for each visit over the last 4 years would have cost the same and not even as close to the amount of fun. Then I still didn't get exercise. Keep hunting and try not to buy too much stuff. Have a great therapy session, I mean hunt everyone.
If you have no money go on welfare not hunting you will eat way better and get a free warm place to live
I'd say skip the welfare and get a job.
Fat kid, Jan - Mar is scouting, great exercise and the kids will have fun too. April is Turkey. Next you'll get the Striper bug and your year is filled out nicely, with a little coyote control to save some fawns.
This has been a really great thread. About 10 years ago (before I had kids!) I was under-employed and I knew I would be for a few months, conveniently during hunting season. I decided to see if I could go a whole year eating only wild-harvest meat. No chicken pork or beef. Yes, we still bought bacon.
I lived in Virginia which has both unlimited tags and a seemingly unlimited Number of 80 lb deer. I harvested 11 in one season. I also did a bunch of work for a friend that runs an upland farm (I.e. Putting birds out and cleaning them for his client hunters) and occasionally working his dogs. Every hunt I went home with a cooler full of pheasants and quail that the hunters didn't want.
We did great for a long time. The fishing was not as productive as we hoped, so eventually we caved in and bought fish.
It was absolutely cost effective on that scale. And it helped me cope with under employment. Much better than any therapist!
But I thank the lord every day for gainful employment and I'm glad I don't have to rely on the bow to keep my family fed. Cheers guys.
Maple syrup Jan-March, then fishing kicks in. Syrup can be done year after year for one-time cost of maybe $50. Even ignoring peripheral benefits, it pays for itself pretty quickly. Access to trees is a whole lot easier than access for hunting.
Sir Largeness in Youth , It is not all that weird.
That was in the back of my mind too. What if it crashed ? After I pillaged everything from the scrawny men and took all the good woman back to my hide out , I would be out in the woods trying to get some therapy ... But in a practical way of course.
I wanted to be able to do this for a few reasons but "just in case" was one of them.
Jeb, I tried that but the pine trees taste funny... Seriously ,I'm interested in that . thanks. Bees too .
Bones, thanks for the post . Solid .
That is scouting season,.. If in January/Feb the snow is deep I used to skip it,.. but get out before the last snow is gone,.. I did that last spring,.. fun time of year to see the winter patterns (which are not hunting patterns) but its still fun to see.
I too am a prepper minded sort also,.. and feel the ability to hunt would be great if disaster struck but I have a story to tell you from an old timer hunter,..
Back during the depression of 1929,.. everyone turned to hunting,.. poaching was rampant and accepted to feed your family. There was barely a deer left in the woods,.. I was told the woods were stripped bare even of Rabbits, Porcupines or any thing else for that matter,..
With our current population,.. your best bet is to stock food,.. (Rice white, not brown) and better be able to protect that stored food,.. meaning guns,..
Hunting will last about 6 months if the shit happens,.. till most all wildlife has quickly been consumed.
I bet no one will be wearing orange then BB.
I will pick up Moons , B@S ,1STRET , Skippah , DFA and a few other mega hunters and head to the land of many with a stolen refrigerator truck and many sharp knives. After 6 months the trades will get interesting and we will set out Down East to lobster land and take over a nice island in Maine. Its a plan . Keep that quiet , please. Shhh .
You Western Kids are gonna be skinny and and tired but you'll survive .
lol Pi first they will eat all the pronghorn. Then the Elk. Then the whitetail. Then after all the twinkees and bacon, dogs, cats, squirrels, rats and cans of soup are gone, they will resort to eating the mule deer.
Ha Ha PI, you would get lost in the hills West of 495. Then be found cold and hungry !
There is nothing beyond 495. Everyone knows that.
I got some experience in the Amherst area but not the kind that applies.
Oy vey, I don't even want to know !
No Xi, . all Hetero ... Very ! But I did see some wildlife of the undesirable kind and all sorts of folks from your end of the woods .
This is my fishing platform. So no it does not pay for itself. It's ok though, there is nothing like 16 knots on a 62 year old Mackenzie Bass Boat. I gained custody of this old girl when my best friend, grandfather passed over the bar on December 23rd, 1994. I grew up on this boat and my daughter did too. It's here favorite place on earth. Merry Christmas, Peace, Let's Go