Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I have been getting a lot of emails and questions about hunting, and I realized pretty quick I wasn't the only new hunter out there. I thought I'd take a minute and answer a few for you.

The Gun: The gun I use is a bolt-action .308 with a scope. It was my father's deer rifle, and might be the most common deer rifle used by big game hunters. Besides a little cleaning and a new sling (the old leather sling was ripping apart) it's the same gun he spent so much time in the forest with. It's an honor to use it.

The Tags: I have a doe tag, a buck tag, and a bear tag. I could take one of each, but honestly I am hoping to not even see a bear.

The Reason: I have been asked, not judgmentally, why hunt when you raise meat? This is a good question. I hunt because it is a part of my family tradition, my nation's tradition, and because it is an important job for us humans to regulate deer populations since we destroyed their natural predators. I also don't raise deer and venison is a favorite meat of mine, so amazing when cooked well. I also really enjoy it, hunting. I love stalking, waiting, hoping, and the chance of a hundred good meals in a warm house right farm my own backyard. It's why I farm, too.

I feel lucky to live in a time and country where as a woman I can stalk deer, practice my knitting, ride a horse, run for office, or cook my family and friends dinner. I plan on doing all of them (save running for office) this winter!

Advice: People have asked for beginner advice, how to get started. Many people reading this blog are interested in hunting but didn't grow up with it as part of their family history. My advice is pretty basic, find a mentor. Ask a hunting friend or relative if you could join them on a hunt. In New York I am encouraged to bring non hunting friends out with me as long as they stick to the binoculars and snacks and don't shoot or drive any wildlife. It's magic when someone to takes you under their wing. If that's not an option the best thing you can do is become your own mentor. Take a Hunters Safety course this summer (most states require proof of passing one to get your deer tags) and it will teach you so very much. My class included the book Beyond Fair Chase, on the ethics of hunting and it was amazing. And for total beginners just thinking about taking a HS course, pick up a copy of Jackson Landers Hunting Deer For Food. It is the PERFECT book for new hunters, expecting you to know nothing and covers everything from rifles to recipes. You can literally buy this book, a rifle, and take a hunter's safety course and be ready to bag a buck. Jackson is with you every step of the way.

P.S. I was asked about Monday. He is still here, and probably going to be next years breeding ram. Atlas comes back in December around Christmas to rejoin his old flock and breed them, and when he leaves to go back to the Adirondacks, Monday will join his flock.


Blogger Maine homesteader said...

Not a hunter, but happy you mentioned knitting. I have 2 jacob sheep that were born last March and hope to use their fleece next spring in a knitting project.

November 21, 2012 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Don't forget that many hunters assist the family budget by bringing in enough meat to fill the freezer. And in these economic times that can be a crucial addition to a large garden, canning and preserving.

November 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Don't forget that many hunters assist the family budget by bringing in enough meat to fill the freezer. And in these economic times that can be a crucial addition to a large garden, canning and preserving.

November 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

I'm not a hunter, yet , but I did take a Firearm and a Hunter's Education course. That's required here before you can apply for a license. I've been in the pool for a moose license for the last 2 years but haven't been lucky enough to get one as of yet. I know that even if I got a license, I would not be able to properly process a 800 lb + animal on my own. I do have family and friends that would help me though, especially since they then would get a share of the meat :)

November 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad hunted for game birds like pheasants and also for deer. I don't remember him ever getting a deer, but I do remember that he enjoyed hunting with his friends.
Lots of my husband's friends hunt, mostly for elk. The meat from an elk is wonderful.
I myself am not a hunter. I am a very good shot with a rifle and a pistol :-)

November 21, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Josh and Haley said...

I LOVE that you said this. There are so many positive reasons for hunting - as long as regulations are followed. The skill of hunting, both with a gun or bow, is one that is so valuable. We have already started teaching our three year old basic gun safety and handling (with his toy gun). We rely on deer meat as our primary source of protein - not only as a taste preference but for financial reasons as well. The skill of hunting is just as important homesteading skills. I hope that our children will take to these skills and be as self sufficient as they can be!

November 21, 2012 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger shrlckhlms said...

I wish you *would* run for public office. You have my vote.

November 21, 2012 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Sage said...

Thank you, Jenna! You are lucky that hunting is a family tradition. I would love to hunt, but lack a mentor (nobody in my family hunts). Several years ago, though, my father and I learned to fly fish together. We have since enjoyed countless hours bonding together in nature, stalking our piscine prey. There's nothing better than that! Good luck. I hope you get a deer soon.

November 21, 2012 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger J.D. Collins said...

Aw, I'm glad Monday's still with you and can't wait to see his offspring.

November 22, 2012 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger J.D. Collins said...

I'd love to hunt. I'm qualified, but I'm terrified of those weekend warriors taking aim as well.

At least with fishing all I have to worry about is the drunken falling into the lake.

Maybe next year.

November 22, 2012 at 11:12 AM  

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