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Not sure if this should go in the frugal living section, but I'm wondering if anyone has looked at the cost of say, raising a feeder cow vs. taking a deer to feed your family.

This year I'm hunting for the first time, which is how I started thinking about it. We had planned to have cows at some juncture; now I wonder if we should be growing a deer food plot instead. There are only two of us, so one buck, even a spikehorn, is more than enough. If we both tagged out, even better.

I've Googled but most comparisons look at the nutrition of beef vs venison, not the cost effectiveness.

Thoughts?
 

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If I go our rifle hunting for deer, all I am out is the cost of a single round of ammo... even cheaper if I use a black powder rifle.. I don't buy fancy hunting clothes, or expensive deer stands or high dollar shooting sticks that Cabella's or Bass Pro leads you to believe you need... I've been smoking while hunting and had big bucks walk almost up to me...

Here in WV I don't have to buy a license or tags. Being a land owner I can hunt my own land and take the maximum allowed. That would be 3 bucks and three does for the year. If my wife hunted too, that would give us the possibility of 12 dear for the season...

We have deer everywhere here.. all over my yard too..

No need to tell you what it would cost me for a cow or bull...

I also don't take my meat to a processor. I butcher all my own.
 

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Well, it depends a lot of you ar going to do your own processing. If you can walk out your front door, and without burning fuel, bag game on your own land. Tag prices? Equipment needs?

Last year I shot a 900 lb moose a bit over half a mile north of my house. Tag was 55 bucks. One shot. Equipment was negligible, have owned it for a long time. I do not waste money on frills and gimmicks from Cabelas. A rifle and the wind in my face fills my tag every time. I walked up to it, no burned fuel.

It was cheap, relative to raising a beef. A deer, of course, is pretty little, relative to a moose or a beef, so the cost per pound needs adjusting accordingly.

Unless you grow your own feed, a raising a beef is going to be far more costly per pound of meat. It sounds like all you need is a deer for a family of two, and you seem satisfied that a deer is enough meat for you. A beef therefore, would be wasteful if this is the case, as it will be ten times the meat as a deer most of the time.

Last evening there was about 2000 lbs of moose (cow and twin calves), browsing behind my barn. But alas, I do not have a tag this year; We are in a draw zone. But the mulies and white-tails are in full rut mode, and are everywhere, so I hope to get a deer for sausage at least.

Good luck! Hunting is as cheap as your tags, and as you make it to be.
 

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I hunt, took 3 deer last year; 171# buck, 110# doe, 130# doe.
The three deer combined won't equal a half beef.
That said, we would like to have cattle ourselves, but investment and space constraints have kept us from it, whereas hunting is much cheaper, and I don't own the land I hunt on.

Figure a recently weaned calf right now, about 400#, will cost about $1100. Then feeding it and possibly any vet bills for another year or so will add up in cost.
My deer cost me $65 for an antlered and two antlerless tags, and about 80 cents each for the 12ga slugs

I can purchase additional antlerless tags for $24 each. In Indiana, your bag limits for antlerless deer goes by county, I can take 8 in my county. If I were to hit my limit, I can hunt any other county until I hit that counties limit.

On the otherhand, baring illness and/or death of your cattle, you know you have meat available there, and really, hunting is still a lot of luck.
 

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I agree with simi-steading hunting deer is almost free, we hunt on our own land, don't even put in a deer plot . We have salt lick out for the dogs :) if the deer come in close to lick on it, oh well :D
Learn how to butcher yourself. Even your initial outlay for rifle, butchering equipment, meat grinder etc. is cheaper then a cow.
Good hunting
 

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Right, there's the huge variety of ways that people hunt. Some people drive three states away, lease the land, lease a cabin, pack all the food and beer for the trip, update their camping gear and camo every couple of years, try out the latest in scent protection, and then pay for processing. I bet if you wanted to have a great time, you could spend $75 a pound on venison. Assuming you didn't come home empty handed.

Or you can just go shoot a deer in your yard like simi and cut it up yourself. (That still requires a $20 license in Michigan, but sounds like he's able to for free.) Then you're spending time but no money.

I expect most folks fall somewhere in the middle of that range.
 

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sure it very much depends how you go hunting

if you buy a used 150 dollar gun buy a orange vest to go over your warm cloths you already have and hunt close to home and not burn to much gas you could easily bag some game and keep the cost down

or you could buy a 4 wheeler , a winch , 500 dollars in cloths , a stand , a truck to pull it all , stay in a hotel hundreds of miles from home , I think you get the idea


same goes for raising meat , but raising takes land or rental of land and in most states around me you can find some way to hunt deer on public land you work harder at it but it costs less


but you are really overlooking a gold mine of nearly free meat that people hit with cars every day

if your county has a list get on it , if no such thing exists , talk to some deputies and the dispatcher tell them you can be there not long after they call to move it out , many road kill have little damaged meat it is fairly easy to tell when looking at them , if they are spattered all ove rthe road no bother but if they took the hit in the head and the body is still in good shape they are generally fine , sometimes you do get to gutting and find a mess but it is all about time and temperature , if you can be there fast to get it fresh hit you can salvage a lot.

then the overlooked meats , **** and possum , if you learn how to prepare them they can be very edible , I find **** is a bit like turkey leg in texture I have only ever tried the younger ones. not to say that you couldn't do a pulled meat bbq sandwich with older tougher ones

cutting your own meat is a hige cost savings , no point in picking up a free deer to pay 75 dollars to get it cut , you can do it at home with minimal tools , knifes , hack saw , cutting boards , rope and a tree or beam to tie it over , a 7 dollar gambrell is a help , I also like to use a come-a-long to raise mine up , an old shower curtain helps keep the mess down on the garage floor when i do them at my aunts , at my house it si the tree in the back yard , I skin quarter and place in a cooler , I then put the cooler in the bath tub our bathroom is right next to the kitchen I use the shower head wand to hose them off the cooler has a drain , then I move one quarter at a time to the table in the kitchen and de-bone , I once asked my wife if I could put a hook in the kitchen ceiling to attach the come-a-long to and just bring the deer in on a tarp and skin and quarter in the kitchen and was told NO!

another meat that is nearly free is squirrel , collect up walnuts when they fall put them in a bucket with a lid then with a small live trap place a wall nut in the trap check daily if you always have squirrel bounding around you will have one in the trap in a day or 2 you can use a cheap pellet gun that would not be enough to shoot one form a tree but works fine form 6 inches away or you can give them a bath
 

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For us the land is family owned so no lease or driving long distances to get there. The rifle is borrowed too (though I'm hoping to change that next year, it fits me very poorly). No fancy clothes, just my winter coat, snow boots and work pants.

Tag is $27, limit is 1 buck per person. There's a lottery for moose. We're not in a zone for doe, unfortunately.

You can't purposefully bait, but shooting over naturally occurring food sources, or those left over from agricultural activities (apple trees, corn field, pasture, etc.) is fine. Many, many, many people have salt licks during the off season however, then remove them for hunting season. Game wardens also don't have a super strong presence. "Poacher's Paradise" is the nickname of the unincorporated town next door...

I've never had the smaller game like ****, squirrel, etc. It's not a big thing up here. We do have plenty of squirrel that my Plott Hound would be happy for me to bring down. There's also snowshoe hare, grouse, and turkeys EVERYWHERE. Huge turkeys! I'm going to try for one during the spring season perhaps.

I need to learn to butcher. I've cut up deer before (actually road kill deer) but not for human consumption. And I have no idea if there's a road kill list around here. I'd hesitate to even got on one though, as cell service is so bad, I don't think I'd get there in time!

Are there videos or books on butchering?
 

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no baiting in southern Wisconsin either but you can plant things

here in Wisconsin a deer license is 24 dollars this year that gets you a buck and a doe in the farm land zones and a buck only in north forest zone.

additional tags were available at 12 dollars each for farm land zone

I do travel to deer camp it is my aunts house on land that has been in the family since the 1860s it is like a family reunion with deer hunting.

In Wisconsin group deer hunting is allowed during gun deer season , my grandpa hasn't taken a shot in 10 years or more his shoulders are so bad he can't even pump his 12 ga any more without taking it down to his waist so he carries dads pistol it's light easy and he probably isn't going to shoot any way, but he might surprise us one eyed uncle bob shot one 3 years ago when he was 80 he hadn't taken a shot in years either but when he had a good one, one was all it took. so I often shoot his deer if he is near to tag it (can't call them on the phone to get a deer tagged) but if you can yell and they can come over and tag it your good ,we will tag out grandpas tag first because then he can go back to the house and watch foot ball he gets cold easier he will be 80 the week after deer season closes so this could be his year.
 

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For us the land is family owned so no lease or driving long distances to get there. The rifle is borrowed too (though I'm hoping to change that next year, it fits me very poorly). No fancy clothes, just my winter coat, snow boots and work pants.

Tag is $27, limit is 1 buck per person. There's a lottery for moose. We're not in a zone for doe, unfortunately.

You can't purposefully bait, but shooting over naturally occurring food sources, or those left over from agricultural activities (apple trees, corn field, pasture, etc.) is fine. Many, many, many people have salt licks during the off season however, then remove them for hunting season. Game wardens also don't have a super strong presence. "Poacher's Paradise" is the nickname of the unincorporated town next door...

I've never had the smaller game like ****, squirrel, etc. It's not a big thing up here. We do have plenty of squirrel that my Plott Hound would be happy for me to bring down. There's also snowshoe hare, grouse, and turkeys EVERYWHERE. Huge turkeys! I'm going to try for one during the spring season perhaps.

I need to learn to butcher. I've cut up deer before (actually road kill deer) but not for human consumption. And I have no idea if there's a road kill list around here. I'd hesitate to even got on one though, as cell service is so bad, I don't think I'd get there in time!

Are there videos or books on butchering?
absolutely in 2000 they changed the way we are to butcher in Wisconsin and a video was made I got it from the library , watched it and 2 years later was impressing my older cousins that had been cutting their own for several years

there are several boos also

now with youtube they are free I will watch a few and see if I see a good one and post it
 

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Raising cattle is expensive.

Teaching your children to hunt is priceless ;)



I was actually thinking about this the other day too, Rime. This buck from last year cost us $8.50 for the youth tag (doe tag is only $3.50) and then the cost for the bullet and a bit of gas getting to our hunting site.

Granted, if you're just starting out it's going to cost a bit more to get the equipment you need for hunting and processing. Now there's definitely not near as much meat there as there is on a cow, but it's good eating and I sure can't buy meat that cheap anywhere! A regular tag is $17 for an any deer tag ($7 for antlerless), we are limited to one doe in our county this year.

We do all the processing work ourselves.
 

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We have way too many deer for the amount of browse they have. I wouldn't call it hunting but we take two during the season as they are crossing our pasture for an hour or so in the morning at sunrise and going the other direction an hour or so before sundown. Landowners don't need a license in TN to hunt their own land and we only take enough to thin out the herd.
 

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In Alaska the cost of hunting includes travel expenses as well. Also hunting is less of a "sure thing" here. Moose aren't like deer- most everyone in AK hunts and subsequently more pressure than the places I read about where deer are at "pest levels". The game density in AK per sq mile is very low with some areas of suitable habitat virtually sterile of big game. I'm not sure if humanity is to blame or if it has always been this way.

The cost of travel to a more remote area including time off from my day job means a ten day hunt costs me about $2200. And that means I get somewhere between 1/4 to one whole moose.

Farming, while not a sure thing, usually means I have meat: hogs or cattle. If you have an idea what a hog or a steer retails for here, you'll see the upside potential for profit in farming where there really isn't one in hunting.

My take on it is that there's a reason farming sits higher on the evolutionary development scale than "hunter/gatherer".

I remember the old timers talking about how scarce game got during the Great Depression- I believe one old-timer said game got so scarce you never saw a **** track without five dog tracks and two sets of brogan tracks right behind it! It's kind of like that in Alaska: everyone thinks he's a real leather stocking and so does his wife.

I miss back home too, with white tails thick in the peanut patch and thick as buzzards on roadkill within walking distance from the truck. But that just isn't the way it is here.

Even small scale farming is cheaper, more reliable for getting food on the table, and more sustainable. Two sow and boar and keep you good red meat for years.
 

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I ended up leasing a property next to mine to hunt on for archery season/crop damage permits. My normal hunting area is 2 hours away and I only go for first week of buck season so I wanted a closer place to hunt and when it became available my wife leased it for me for my anniversary present (She is awesome btw). I am sure we do not cover the costs of the lease for the meat we take off it but I like to hunt for sure.
 

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For me would be cheaper to grow the beef. No deer on my place. Deer leases expensive, lots of money and upkeep on them too. But that is Texas.
 
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this is the best video I have found so far he shows each step several times

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMx0JMOv5WI[/ame]

I use the method where I cut the back strap then continue with the shoulder al the way down the neck

I have 2-3 cutters that I feed quarters to so I am more about breaking them down and getting quarters on the table so I can start skinning the next one

when I am at home I am all about getting the quarters off and in the house cause it is cold and usually dark when I am skinning and quartering outside and I am out there with a head lamp on

once i have the tenderloin out I do the back strap and shoulder , then saw cut the pelvic bone so that the rib cage drops free with very little meat on it but gets sent to the table for clean up before it gets tossed out the door into the back of the truck
this leaves the rear quarters hanging from my gamebrel the also go to the table to have the roast and ham cut from them

we grind all but the back straps and tenderloins so we are not as worried about how we cut them but they break down like in the video

the bones and carcase in the truck gets hauled to a hole the town ship digs with an end loader for everyone to dispose of the carcass

the only cuts I make are at joints and primarily through cartilage and can almost be made with a knife on most deer , the saw is just handy

it definitely all starts with field dressing , get it all out , split the pelvis and clean it out

then hang them to cool in Maine that shouldn't be to hard make sure to hang them high enough that dogs can't get to your hams , ask me how I know this can be a problem , sad part it was my dog
 

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it is very much a regional thing which direction it swings and I can very much admit that we have so many deer because they are eating farmed crops , same with **** they are very fat this year all their bellies full of high dollar corn "stolen" from across the river

farmers here just refer to them as corn thieves and no quarter is given
 

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I'd say the big difference between the two is the assurity you'll be eating. Raise a cow, you'll be eating. Get in the tag lottery and then go on the hunt, no guarantee you'll be eating.
 
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