A very over looked aspect of creating a self sustainable homestead is hunting. Be it hunting big game for the freezer, birds for the pantry, fish for the fry pan. Often this the last skill people think of when going off the grid. Their focus revolves around the energy source, solar, wind and hydro. They set up their gardens for food production and buy bulk foods for long term. Yet ironically just out their back door or within a couple miles is a basket full of natural resources that can provide for their sustainable food needs often year round!
My husband and I have been hunting all of our married life. I grew up in a very conventional home. My dad did not hunt. He was a cop and grew up in Chicago. I remember in his younger years he looked like a very handsome James Dean, driving his slick Cadillac! No hunting for him! My mom was a stay at home mother who canned and kept a well stocked pantry. Yet I wonder if she even knew about venison or elk or bear meat canning?
When I met my husband the first thing he introduced me to was his taxidermy work, which again was something new. I guess I never thought about people hunting game and having these animals mounted. What I learned after becoming involved in the business was the respect people had for their game, and the usefulness of that natural resource.
Unfortunately distorted views on what hunting is and what it accomplishes has ruined the foundation of its purpose.Many aspects of hunting can be controversial. And indeed there are, with any human pursuits, people who can abuse and exploit the nature of hunting and harvesting game. The backlash of this subject becoming so controversial in today's society is it has trickled thru the homesteading community and sadly has tainted some homesteaders perspectives on utilizing hunting as part of their self reliant skills.
However, we strongly believe that sustainability for a homestead really needs to address hunting of game. One day the grocery stores may not be able to provide the food you need. One day the co op may not be able to deliver those meat chicks for the spring. Self sustainability really should revolve around the philosophy that you want to become less dependent on others, and more independent on what is available around you. Harvesting game is a skill that does take time and effort to refine. This lifestyle is so different then living in the suburbs or the city. It is dependent on skill sets. Dependent on knowledge. dependent on "hands on" living.
The resources that are available are so abundant that once a homesteads gets up and running going to the store for any meat item would almost be a crime. From hunting game birds, to small animals like rabbit, to big game elk, deer bear, to fishing to trapping, all serves a purpose.
The renewable facet of this resource is endless. The money saved alone serves a broader purpose for any homestead. And, the health benefits of meat and fish that has not been adulterated by chemicals and steroids and preservatives is priceless! Getting back to the basics as God intended gives a homestead health, financial security , and a filled pantry!
The negative and very misleading presumptions revolving around hunting are baseless. The price that animal pays which we purchase in the grocery store... supports its stock yard abuse and mistreatment. All of this often goes unnoticed as we fill our faces with McDonald burgers.
Yet harvesting a full mature elk , feeding a family of six non gmo organic meat that was taken respectfully and utilized to its fullest purpose without any abuse or mistreatment conjures controversy? SAD!
Reconsider hunting..harvesting, trapping and fishing. A self reliant homestead in its entirety will involve all of these outdoor skills and bring years of fruitfulness and joy for utilizing your own mind and body to put food on your table