Hunting 101

After a few false starts, I’m finally beginning my journey to becoming a hunter. My goal is to augment my family’s daily living with partial subsistence hunting. I’m aiming to learn the fundamentals of foraging (mushrooms, wild edibles) and hunting for meat (fowl, deer). I’ve been a catch-and-release angler for a while, but I’m going to start keeping a portion of my limit for the freezer too.

First up–I’m taking a deer hunting and dressing class by locavore activist and hunter Jackson Landers over Thanksgiving holiday in Charlottesville, VA. Landers new book, The Beginners Guide to Hunting Deer for Food just hit the shelves, and he’s working on a geese-hunting guide as well. I’ll be down there with one of my fellow Gowanus Noodlers and a few other guys getting the fundamentals down. The two-day class includes instruction in shooting, stalking, and field-dressing a kill, along with lectures, lunch, plenty of jawing. Jackson’s work has been well-documented in the NY Times and other places, for his desire to help urbanites and folk who didn’t grow up hunting but always wished they did, to get in the game.

I’m excited. If you think about it, hunting for deer is the most inexpensive way to put organic, grass-fed venison on the table. And I happen to love venison. Its taken me a while to find the best way for me to get into hunting, so I hope the trip is rewarding. Obviously, I’ll be getting the basics, but nothing replaces being out in the field with an experienced guide putting those skills to the test. And I still have the class and licensing to do here in NY state. Hopefully in 2012 I’ll be able to report back on a successful hunt of some kind.

By the way, documentary filmmaker Helena Swedberg has been filming Jackson’s work. You’ll see in the clip below, Jackson, an insurance-broker by day, is not your typical mountain-man or redneck–he’s just a regular joe who loves  gooseburgers and wine, who has made subsistence hunting a passionate part of his conservationist approach to life.

7 thoughts on “Hunting 101

  1. Greg D.

    Ah, where do I start. First off, I commend you on your pursuit to hunt. I wish you nothing but great days in the field. Be careful, like any hobby or passion, it can easily become obsessive and expensive. Lastly, I understand the guy in the video is going for the true sustenance approach to hunting, but no self respecting waterfowler shoots birds on the water – unless they are a cripple.

    1. Thanks for the comment Greg and well wishes. I know a tiny bit about gamebird ethics and I believe Jackson avoided skybusting the geese. As for the shot, its off-camera, not sure if its on the water, but likely. Its an interesting choice presented—Do you take the bird on the wing (which can lessen the chance of crippling the bird) or do you take them on the water after they’ve landed (when you want a definite kill and believe as an invasive species they should be eradicated)? Because Jackson makes an ethical choice earlier, I’m gonna have to believe he thought he was doing the right thing in the moment.

  2. As a displaced New Yorker (now living in rural Utah) I too grew up having friends who hunted but it was not something MY family was interested in. Coming to Eastern Utah has opened my eyes to the subculture of hunting and I believe there are a lot of transferable skills that can be used / learned to the work world. I’ve made good friends a local here that has hunted just about everything you can here over his lifetime. His passion is contagious and he is energetic with sharing that passion. If you are ever interested seeing the vast Eastern Utah I would suggest you connect with James.

    Good luck with your outdoor education, I have really enjoyed mine!

  3. Best of luck. Like you, I’m a New Yorker who just recently took up hunting. I’ve been upstate almost every weekend this season. My advice is, if you want a dear, find private land. The state parks relatively close to the city get pretty crowded opening morning. We also have a little group for hunters in NYC if you’re interested.


    1. TNJ, I just spent a half-hour on your blog, what a great read. I feel about ten steps behind you (though I have far, far less gun/shooting experience). Was interesting to learn about Appleseed and to read about your first deer. I’m traveling to GA over the Christmas holiday and doing 2 days of hunting with my bro-in-law. Will definitely report back. I’d be interested in your group as well, definitely.

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