My wife and I had just had a baby boy. We were thinking about how we could care for him the best. Where we would raise him. What life we would provide. And what would we feed him?
We had just watched Food Inc. We didn’t want to feed our child meat raised in a CAFO. We wanted to give our son the best we could, beyond organic standards. But money was tight. And we lived in a 3rd story apartment. How could we provide our own meat in that situation?
I started to consider hunting for food, for the first time in my life.
I was not raised around hunting. I had never shot a gun and only eaten venison once in my life. But it seemed the easiest way for me to provide healthy, truly natural meat to my family, without breaking the bank. So I decided to try it out.
Now growing up in Connecticut, from a family of non-hunters, I had no idea what I was doing. I needed to learn how to shoot. I needed to learn how to scout. How to track. Butcher…
Yea. I did a lot of reading that year.
I taught myself how to shoot. I took a Hunter Safety Course. I bought a license. And then I started hunting.
And my entire first hunting season, I spent 4 months scaring, spooking, and missing almost every deer in the woods. I did everything wrong. And the learning curve was steep.
But eventually my hard-earned lessons paid off. And one year after I took my hunter safety course, I killed my first deer. I had a bargain compound bow and arrow set, $30 worth of camo I bought at Wal-Mart on, and was kneeling behind a rock, waiting for the deer to walk by.
A few days later,outside by myself in the rain, with a Field and Stream magazine entitled “How To Butcher a Deer” in my hand, I taught myself to butcher the deer. I made mistakes. I wasted some meat. I also put 50 lbs of the most delicious true organic free range meat a person can get up in my freezer. And I never looked back. Now I no longer buy red meat.
You don’t need a farm. You can live in the city and still become meat independent. Learn to hunt. But don’t do it the way I did. Your learning curve can improve drastically if you find someone who hunts to take you along with them or at least give you some tips on how to get off on the right foot!
Where can you find a hunter who you could get some tips from?
1. Sportsmen shops
Any gun shop or Archery shop is going to be loaded with hunters. So while you are out looking to purchase a bow or gun, strike up a conversation with the guys in the shop. Ask them questions. See what tips they can share. Often guys will be more than happy to help a newbie out.
If there’s a sportsmen club in your area, get in touch. Even if its just a shooting or fishing club, many of the guys there will be hunters. Do some networking.
Have buddies that fish? They hunt… or know someone that does. The two go hand and hand.
4. Public land
Find land that is open to public hunting. Find out when the season opens, and be there on opening day. Not first thing in the morning, that’s when the guys don’t want to be bothered, but be in the parking lot about 8:30-9:00. There will be plenty of guys leaving the woods by then. Ask how their morning was. Then ask for some advise.
The best way to get some help is to get some local hunters to tell you a story. If you can get a hunter to open up and tell you about one of his hunts, chances are you will be able to get him to give you some tips on how to get started yourself.
If you really want to get some help, offer to help a hunter hang some of his tree stands, or help him butcher his next kill. I had a friend a few years back show interest in hunting. He helped me build one of my nice ground blinds on the farm. So in return I took him out with me and let him try out my bow. Now he shoots more deer than I do every year!
Every animal is different. And every area has a different set of challenges. Nothing will help you have a successful hunt more than getting a local hunter take you under his wing and show you the ropes.
And the best way to get that to happen is to get a hunter to tell you some stories. Humans have been networking over campfires telling hunting stories for hundreds of years. It doesn’t get any more personal than that.
So next time you find out someone you know is a hunter, pull up a chair, listen, and clear your calendar.
Want to learn how to hunt this year? We cover everything from scouting to cooking, in the
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