Women in Hunting Series Part 2: Why You Should Hunt and Wild Harvest Your Own Meat

I mentioned in the first post in this series that many people are surprised to find out that I hunt. I actually love to hunt, it is one of my favorite things to do outdoors and something I look forward to every fall. Every summer we count down the days until archery season opens in early September. We typically don’t plan any meetings or events on weekends from September through November since we spend almost every weekend out in the woods hunting.

For us, hunting is a way of life. There is no greater feeling than harvesting wild game, butchering it ourselves and feeding our family this meat throughout the year.
So why should you hunt? Here are my top six reasons why I advocate for others to start hunting and harvesting your own wild game:

why you should hunt and wild harvest your own meat
Elk hair on the side of a fresh elk rub on a tree.
 1. The experience. I put this first because for me this is the number one reason I love hunting so much. Harvesting wild game provides me with a direct connection to the animal and the forest around me. When I’m out hunting in the woods, all my senses are on high alert and I am keenly aware of every little twig snap, animal grunt, and whiff of musky scent. I am so tuned into nature around me that I see things I may have missed before if just out for a hike: a few small elk hairs stuck in the sap oozing from a fresh elk rub on a tree or deer beds still warm with heat where the animals had rested the night before.
2. Organic Meat. Many of us these days are very particular about the food we put in our bodies. We don’t want to eat meat from animals fed GMO grains or injected with antibiotics or growth hormones. Hunting for game animals in the wild is a guarantee that your meat does not have growth hormones injected and raised on GMO grains (unless you hunt in an area with farm fields where GMO grains are raised and the animals feed there) Where we hunt in western Montana the few ranch fields around are primarily wild grasses so this is not an issue for us. The animals we hunt up in the mountains graze on wild, native greens.
3. Free Range Meat. Many of us also do not want to eat meat from an animal raised in a feed lot. We want to eat meat from animals raised “cage free” or “free range” and treated humanely. With wild harvested meat we know the animals are free range. We strongly oppose hunting on game farms for this and many other reasons.
4. Ethically harvested meat. Unlike some hunters, I will only take a shot if I am absolutely sure it is a good, clear shot aimed to kill. I’ve had my bow drawn at an elk 50 yards away but my only clear shot was the stomach. I did not take it. I knew it would wound the elk and be a long, slow death. Some hunters would have taken the shot for a chance to get a shot in even if it was not a quick kill shot. I pride myself in trying to harvest an animal with one killing shot so the animal does not suffer. I’ve heard a few horror stories of hunters wounding animals by taking a less than ideal shot. If I hear stories like this directly from the hunter, they get an earful from me on ethical hunting standards.
5. Cost effective. Buying free range, organic meat at the grocery store can be expensive. If you become an avid hunter, your investment in hunting gear will pay off over time with the amount of money you will save not buying meat at the store or butcher. Where we live in Montana, we don’t have to go far to access public hunting areas so we don’t spend an exorbitant amount of money on fuel driving to hunting areas. Our costs to hunt wild game are our annual license and tags, bullets, arrows with judo tips and broadheads. It can be costly to invest in a good bow and gun but the investment is worth it and will pay for itself if you become an avid hunter and especially if you can find some of your hunting gear used.

6. Self-Sufficiency. There is a growing movement of people striving to become more self-sufficient. More people are raising their own produce by gardening and small scale farming. Everywhere I look there are articles and books about homesteading. Hunting and wild harvesting your meat is taking self-sufficiency to a whole new level. Being able to hunt, harvest and butcher your own game meat to eat throughout the year is an amazing experience. Numerous times throughout the year when we sit down to a venison supper, we enjoy talking about how fulfilling it is to be eating meat one of us harvested. We prefer to butcher our own meat when we can since this is more cost effective. I love how satisfied I feel after finishing the last cut of meat and packing it away in the freezer knowing I used as much of the animal as I could. It feels so gratifying to be self-sufficient. Nothing beats eating a meal of venison we harvested topped with homemade sweet and spicy plum sauce (click here for the recipe), a side of home grown green beans, homemade bread and a fresh tomato salad from the garden!

Do you hunt? Are you interested in learning how to hunt? This post is the second in the Women in Hunting Series. Future posts include tips on how to get started hunting and Hunter Spotlights to share the stories of other women hunters. If you missed the first post in the series, you can find it here.
If you or anyone you know is a woman hunter who would like to guest post or be interviewed for this series please contact me at montanasolarcreations at gmail dot com.

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    • says

      Thanks Kristel, I pinned your butchering post and shared it on my FB page. I think that is so awesome that you figured out how to get free fresh roadkill and were willing to learn how to butcher it- not everyone is up for that one so kudos to you!!!!

  1. says

    We even go out and harvest car kills near our house–if we know they are fresh we can salvage even just a few steaks and then the animal has not been totally wasted by human error. People think that’s gross, but it’s less gross than McDonalds is if you ask me! :) We love having venison, elk, and other game year around — I’m loving your series mama! :) This is great! The elk hair pic is awesome too!

    • says

      That’s awesome Amanda! We don’t get many road kills near our house since the speed limit is really low. I had a friend a few years back who saw a woman hit a deer. He made sure she was ok and then put the deer in his truck and we had a butchering party. We got a ton of meat from it and only had to throw out a small portion that had bone fragments in it. Definitely way better than McDonalds! I’m hoping we can include you in the series if you have a few minutes to spare and share your story with us :)

    • says

      That is really awesome that you butcher your own animals on your ranch! We don’t have enough space to raise animals which is why we hunt for our meat. I love that you hunt rabbits, it may not be a deer or elk but they are wild animals you are harvesting to feed your family and you can’t beat that :)

  2. says

    While I love the whole concept, and agree with everything you have said, I am not sure I could kill anything. However, I admire what you do, I should come visit and maybe it will rub off on me. Just stopped by from the Natural Living link up, new subscriber.

    • says

      Welcome Joyce! When I first became interested in hunting I wasn’t sure if I could kill something either. Before I invested in gear and classes, I went along on some hunting trips with friends as an observer to see how I would react to seeing an animal harvested. I am working on a post with tips on how to get started and figure out if hunting is for you so stay tuned!

  3. says

    My father and brothers would be so proud of me if I did this, but I have to say I’d rather leave it up to the men folk. :) Unfortunately, that is not my hubs. This is a great post. I am pinning and keeping it tucked in the back of my mind. Some day this may be necessary for me!

  4. says

    Thank you for sharing these 6 tips, I live in a city but hope to live out in the country one day and these tips will be handy!

    And thank you so much for linking up with Healthy 2day Wednesdays! Hope you have a blessed week and hope you’ll be linking up this week!

  5. says

    I really loved the point you made about your meat being ethically harvested and not taking a shot just to take a shot. We live in a world now where the general public is so disconnected from their food sources. Hunting your own games is just another way of connecting people back to this fundamental element of our survival so they have an appreciation for and are more conscientious of what they put in their bodies.

  6. says

    I love your emphasis on ethical hunting! Those are the values my dad taught me as a child. He believed an accurate hunter was a kind hunter and spent the time and effort needed to be a good shot with his rifle. I wish he’d taken me hunting.

  7. says

    This is great. I would like to get into hunting after my little ones (2 and 1 years old!) are a bit bigger and we have some more flexibility. I would love to hunt turkey.

  8. says

    I have to say I am not a hunter nor was a I raised in a hunting family, but I find it really interesting. I love your reasons for hunting and would love to maybe dabble in it a little if I can learn enough

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