Many times when talking about the homestead we get so caught up in talking about gardening or our farm animals, that we forget about another way that we feed ourselves. Hunting and fishing provide a wonderful way to provide extra meals for our family. Every year my sons and I harvest deer and a fair amount of fish. We are as passionate about hunting and fishing as we are about homesteading. I don’t think a weekend goes by that we don’t hunt or fish. Time spent with your family in any pursuit is always rewarding, but hunting and fishing provide moments that are unforgettable. My son and I will tell stories about the deer we harvested or the fish we caught, but never about how many tomatoes we picked. An adult deer will provide 50 lbs or more of high quality protein for your family. When you fillet a fish you can expect the meat to weigh half as much as the fish’s live weight. As the seasons go on, you can add a meaningful amount of food to your families stash. In typical season we harvest over 100 lbs of venison, this accounts for one dinner a week. It also provides jerky for my son to take to school. This makes him extremely popular.
When you add home grown vegetables to the mix you have a true homestead meal. We never waste any meat here because we know the sacrifice that was made for it to be on our table. If you have a small homestead, meat harvested in the woods or on the water is a great way to make yourself more self sufficient. A few years ago, we took at trip to go salmon fishing and each caught a salmon. When we were done we had over 40 lbs of king salmon fillets. If you had to buy those fillets in the store it would cost over $600, and we had a wonderful family adventure, and that is something you can’t put a price tag on. After all homesteading is about family and working together.
My son and I also ice fish, If you have never done it you are really missing something. Fish caught through the ice are firm and delicious, and who doesn’t love perch? During the ice fishing season we harvest enough fish to have fish every Friday during Lent.
In the spring, we fish for trout. Trout in the spring taste better because they are eating minnows and not flies. If you have ever had an opening day trout, you know what I mean.
So often on the homestead we are so busy, we barely have time to think. Hunting and fishing allow us to take a break from the work, and still be productive. Hunting and fishing put us closer to our goal of being totally self sufficient. So if your are looking to take your homestead to the next level, and you don’t have room for a pig or a cow, get in the woods or on the water, you will be happy you did.