Letter Re: Hunting for Self Sufficiency

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James,

I’ve been a follower of your blog for many years and find it both a good resource and a great way to keep your ear to the ground among all the survival/prepper sites that trend to sensationalism and speculation. Patriots was my first real fiction and began a great love of survival fiction. Thirty or forty books later and daily searching for solid tips on the prepper blogs, I believe the time has been well spent.

My wife and I live alone, and due to a degenerative neurological affliction neither one of us can work and I am her 24/7 caretaker. We were blessed with a good nest egg, so I struggled to make wise decisions on what hard assets and survival items to purchase and what training to take on. At this point, we could probably subsist for a year on our food stores, with both medical and dental supplies, as well as utilizing assets. The expectations were realistic, and we adhered to the one is none adage, and days if not weeks of research are done before purchases were made. My personal justification for a substantial purchase was to require that the purchase would be a contribution to our monthly self-sufficiency as well as future emergencies too. Fast forward about three years now; we are needing to reduce our spending as our investment days are done. One of the skills I chose to work on was hunting. Starting at 60 years old wasn’t optimum, but I’ve developed some skill and success at wild boar hunting. Recipes, smoking skills, and a large freezer were acquired.

My experience is in both tree stand and limited spot and stalk. In one afternoon, I can produce a large amount of meat for the freezer, and the time in the wild is a great aid to peace of mind as well. Here in Florida, there are private hunting businesses that charge as low as about $145 per meat hog and about $295 for over two hundred pound trophy hogs. The boar produces about 45-50% of its on-the-hoof weight in edible meat, and I rely on a local butcher to process the meat at $1 per pound. The outfitters are located at some distance from my residence, so gas is a factor at about $60-65 per round trip. Add to that the cost of hiring a caretaker to watch my wife during my absence and a tip for the guide, and it adds up. Though the skills acquired were valuable for more than just hunting and the freezer was filled multiple times over the last year and a half, I have to cut that margin at this point in our retirement and with the remaining nest egg status.

The outfitters tend to price the hunts at the break-even point for most hunters after paying for all expenses. Sales on fryer parts and ground beef probably beats any attempt at hunting for cost saving on wild boar vs. sale meats. While boar is considered an invasive species and in season year round, there are no limits on harvest or sex of game. In spite of that, all Florida public lands only allow boar hunting for a few weeks of the year in special WMAs and are in direct competition with deer hunters the rest of the year or muzzle loaders and bows the remainder. It almost seems like the goal is to make sure the citizen has no viable option to provide for a family table than through their severe restrictions and complicated windows to hunt. Sportsman hunters are free to spend great sums of money, but the subsistence hunter or retiree is without sound economical recourse. A husband of a friend told me he just paid $2100 for a hunt club membership. Even at that increased availability, I doubt he could ever recoup the membership cost with meat even if he hunted each and every weekend.

Wild boars reproduce exponentially every year, causing millions in damage to both commercial and farming lands. I’m new to hunting. What am I missing? Can it be done? – DK

HJL’s Comment: With such a limited hunting season, I suspect that it would be difficult to be self sufficient harvesting animals from the wild. However, the SurvivalBlog readership may have ideas on this. Let’s hear what they have to say.

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