Is Getting Your Own Food Cheaper, Part 2

A while back, I wrote a post on the costs I incurred while going halibut fishing in Alaska.  When I wrote the post, I was relatively unsure of the street value of the fish, and was pretty sure that I was getting soaked in the deal.  Even though I used a pretty high price point, it looked like I came close to breaking even in the end, and I have some great memories from the trip to boot.

After I wrote that post, I figure it would be interesting to do this with all of my adventures getting my own food, so here’s the next chapter.

A while a go, my fiancee’s friend mentioned that he wanted to come up to Wyoming and hunt antelope and I offered to take him with my future father in law.  Unfortunately, the dates didnt work out and I was at fincon during the only weekend available, so I was unable to go.  After he got back (he was successful) he invited me to go duck hunting with him.  I’ll be the first to admit that I know nothing about ducks, duck hunting or anything like that.  Along with that, I’ve only even eaten duck once in my life.  Even so, I decided I’d go.

I already had a shotgun, so I didnt need to buy one of those.  What I did need was ammo, license, a state duck stamp and a federal duck stamp.  Most of the stuff I still have left and can be used again within a certain time frame.  I believe the federal duck stamp is good for the season, and the state duck stamp is good for 45 days.  Here was what I paid

  • 2 boxes ammo ~$22.  I can use this again, because I think I shot 3/50 shells.
  • Federal Duck Stamp/State Duck Stamp (State good for 45 days, federal for a year): $20
  • 1 Day waterfowl hunting license , non resident. $11
  • 1 Tank gas ~55
Unfortunately, this was a bit of a slow day out on the pond.  Of course, I’ve never been before so I didnt know, but the guy I went with said that usually he bags out and gets 6 ducks.  Unfortunately, we only shot two.  He was nice enough to let me take home both ducks as I assume his freezer is already full of them.  As I found out when I was processing the animal at home, there’s really not much to a duck.  You basically just want the breasts to eat, and some people save feathers if the make files for fly fishing (I don’t, and the guy I offered them to at work didn’t want them).  I didnt really know what to do with the rest, so I just got rid of them.  I’d like to find something to use what’s left of the animal for, but I dont know anything.  If you’ve got ideas, leave them in the comments 🙂
All in all, I think that I got meat for about 4 meals out of it, but I could have gotten more.  One of the duck breasts was compromised during the trip and had to be discarded.  So this was kind of an expensive trip at a cost of 108, and a cost per meal of $27.  Of course next time I go, It will only cost $11 for a duck license and whatever I use in gas.  This may not have as high of a return as my fishing trip did, but once I go a few more times I’ll have (hopefully) staggeringly lower cost per meal.   This may not best return, but it a good time – not nearly as bad as my dad described it “standing in a freezing ass duck blind at 5am”.
Readers: Do you hunt?  Are you interested in hunting?  If so, why?  Would you like a natural source of meat, a cost effective source, or do you hunt so that you can get back to the land and know where your food came from?
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19 thoughts on “Is Getting Your Own Food Cheaper, Part 2”

  1. Maybe that’s why duck is so expensive. 🙂

    I don’t hunt, but all the people I know who do, do it purely for sport. So I guess it could be considered a recreation expense with the added benefit of food to them. I’d be curious to see what the cost benefit is for larger targets, like elk.

    • Ha – never fear lindy. Once again, I’ve gotten an elk tag and hopefully wont come home empty handed this year. I’ll do another post when I go for elk – probably sometime in december and into january.

    • awesome jason! My dad used to duck hunt but gave it up when I was born. I dont know if he wants to start again – but usually I go trap shooting with him when I can. IT’s always a fun time.

    • that’s a lot of a cow! I’ve always been curious about doing that, but I dont eat that much beef or red (non game) meat in general, so I have a feeling that i’d end up throwing quite a bit away.

  2. I don’t eat meat so I definitely don’t hunt and have no interest in learning about hunting. I am adamantly opposed to hunting for sport but I can accept it if it’s for a food source, like you described. I actually can understand and appreciate wanting to eat from the land rather than contributing to more factory farms and the like.

    • Thats cool jana – I’ve got a post about not eating meat coming up too! I like to try to get all of my own food, which leads me to eat some pretty odd stuff. Though I didnt hunt antelope this year they are a real problem in the state – there’s simply too many of them and they are overgrazing certain parts of the state. I dont mind helping keep the balance and getting some food and fun out of it, either.

  3. Wow… you should see the amount of meat you get from a Moose. I had a friend send me part of his Moose and it filled the freezer… a great way to cut down on meat costs.

    • Hey Doc –
      I think that next year I’m going to start putting in for a moose tag (they are hard to get here in some areas) and hoepfully will someday be able to hunt a moose in wyoming. If not, there’s always alaska.

    • I’ve never been deer hunting jon, but I’ve heard its a lot of fun and you can do it in most places. I’m sure if you expressed interest, one of your friends may be happy to take you. For the record, my first trip out hunting I didnt shoot anything or get a tag, I just went to see how it all worked, and that worked well for me.

  4. I am a hunter, meat eater, grower of beef. Sorry Jana… (not really:)

    I agree duck hunting is the most trouble for the least benefit in regards to take home meals.

    I usually skin, rather than pluck ducks, but wild ducks aren’t my favorite. I prefer quail or dove when it comes to fowl.

    We always give away our meat if we don’t plan to eat it ourselves. Here in the south there are many people who love to get dressed meat.

    We put a deer up in the freezer every year. Been antelope hunting in Montana once-great adventure stalking!

    • I didnt know you raised beef dean – I’d love to get into that sometime in the future. I always save my blog money for something, maybe a couple head of beef to start a small herd should be my next goal (I’m almost to my first, which I’ll share on the site when I reach it).
      Duck hunting was pretty laborious – though getting the breast meat off was easy enough, there just wasnt much meat there (Or not what im used to anyway, hunting larger animals).
      I dont have quite enough to give some away, but I may need to do so in the future so that I have room in the freezer!

  5. I don’t hunt, but CB and I have talked about going to a shooting range and learning how to handle guns safely. But if you know how to shoot, I bet you are already miles ahead of most people if the zombies come to town!

    • WH –
      You should go learn how to shoot – if nothing else, it’s a fun skill to have and a shared experience. Though It doesn’t happen every time, last time I went shooting with H (Trap shooting) She totally wiped the floor with me – it was rather embarrassing.

  6. Our shooting is limited so far to skeet and trap, and target practice at the range. I’ve not hunted previously, although I’ve been thinking about it. The pasture and pond at the hacienda seem to be a way point for whitetails. We had six or seven prancing about last weekend, including a large buck.
    I’ve been told that duck breast is some of the expensive dark meat you can buy. Your post supports that notion. 🙂

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