by Randy King
Last weekend marked the end of most general season deer hunting in Southwest Idaho. I can report a successful season and a freezer full of venison.
I am a “day-trip” hunter: I don't typically set up camp or spend a lot of money. For me, the economics of hunting deer typically works out. I hunt not only because I enjoy the outdoors, but because it also puts meat on my table and saves me money on my grocery bill.
My total cost for deer hunting on a given year averages $200, which includes gas, tag, licence, food, bullets and new toys ect). This year my deer had a total bone-out weight of about 70 pounds, which comes to about $2.86 per pound of venison. Not a bad deal considering the normal cost of farm-raised venison hovers in the $10-12 per pound range.
I figure that I spend about $6 per pound on beef from the store; comparing the beef cost to my deer I end up saving myself about $220. Plus, I get the added benefit of having an organic, free-range, all-natural, grass-fed, lean and low-impact source of protein. I like feeding it to my children. If I tried to buy beef with all those tag lines I would pay well into the $15 per pound range.
In addition to all of that, my deer is from the Boise “food shed.” Having shot my deer within 50 miles of my home, I can easily consider it “locally grown and harvested.”
In December when beef prices start to rise in anticipation of the holidays, I will reach into my freezer and pull out a package of venison New York steaks. I will enjoy a meal that I might have paid $25 for in a restaurant, but I will have paid less than $3 per pound.
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