Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cost Break-Down: Our Family’s Meat

My husband hunts and fishes for almost every pound of meat our family eats.  I get alot of questions about the cost of hunting as a hobby, which makes me laugh, because you can definitely spend as much as you’d like if you’re going to go all high tech gear etc.Or if you travel to exotic locales.  So while there are a million possible additional costs here, I have taken the time to figure out what our specific hunting season cost us for the meat we gained.

Last years’ Moose:

Gas for return trip to hunting spot : $150

Draw Moose Tag: $55

Shawn’s moose was 900 pounds, conservatively estimated.  We got 400-450 pounds of meat ( again conservative estimate, since we didn’t weigh the total meat pile, but you can expect to get 50%-55% of an animal’s weight in usable meat).  We gut, butcher and wrap ourselves.  We also make our own sausages.  We have all the equipment needed, so our only added processing cost is the wrap we use.  We’ve figured that it costs $0.01 per pound to wrap the meat.

That means, that if every cut and type of meat is valued the same, a pound of moose meat cost us $0.52. This would include roasts, tenderloin, steaks, ground, jerky, stew meat, strip cuts….etc etc.  We get meat cut exactly how we want it, in the size of packages that our family likes.  Around here, it’s grain fed, and it’s hormone free. 

Last Year’s Deer:
Gas for return trip to hunting spot : $150
Tags for 4 does : $40
Ammo for 4 shots : $4

On average, each doe netted us 50 pounds ( averaged out between white tail deer and mule deer).  Again, including wrap, that works out to 200 pounds of meat for $196. That’s $0.98 a pound for that year’s trip.

Another deer example would be this year’s Mule buck: 

Gas: $100
Bullet: $1

Total meat was 110 pounds ( it was a NICE buck!) so that’s  $1.25 a pound ( including wrap).  And that’s about the most expensive number we could get for deer, since he only shot one deer that day, in the farthest he would hunt from home.

The following is what Shawn says would be the average Joe going hunting around his own home:

Doe tags: $20 ( for 2 does)

Ammo: $2
Gas: $40

The average doe nets you 40 pounds of meat ( again, conservative estimate based on average body weights mixed together of the white tail and mule deer does) SO, for 80 pounds of some of the finest meat there is, you have spent $1.56 a pound( including wrap).

I guarantee you are not going to go to the grocery store and buy tenderloin for any of the above prices.  Maaaaaaaybe the ground works out the same as the grocery store, depending on alot of things.

Ok, One more: Last weekend’s fishing trip:
Gas to fishing spot, again one of the furthest places we regularly drive : $40

Bait ( because Shawn insists on the good smelts): $10

Pounds of fish fillets: 15.  That works out to $2.67 per pound for the fish caught on that trip.  If you were to buy Northern Pike Fillets at the fish store here in town, you’d pay $8 a pound.  Seems like a good deal to me.

Now, alot of these numbers are based on averages, but Shawn plans to be a lot more scale crazy this year, and have more specific numbers to go by next year. See, I’m not the only calculator crazy nerd in the house :)

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