If there is one sure thing about hunting, is it that you are going to spend money. It is best to acknowledge that from the beginning, to count the cost, and to plan for the expense, and then stick to that budget. On this episode I talk about how to set a realistic yearly hunting budget no matter what your income. This is for new hunters, lifelong hunters, and everyone in between.

When I first started hunting, I had no idea what I was getting into financially. It took me years to begin to even think about the annual costs, let alone start to budget for them. But of course, there is more to the cost of hunting than just that. There are two primary types of expenses when it comes to hunting, the fixed costs needed just to go into the woods and take game every year, and then the discretionary costs of everything else we buy.

Lots of things contribute to the cost of hunting, depending on the game we are after. If you are hunting deer, you will likely use a tree stand or a hunting blind of some sort, those have costs and don’t last forever. Maybe you need to replace them every 3-5 years, maybe every 5-10 years, but you will need new ones at some point. When it comes to waterfowl hunting, waders and decoys are the same way, when it comes to turkey hunting you have calls and vest that wear out.

No matter what you hunt, you will have clothing and other standard gear that will wear out and need replaced eventually. Many of these things you can plan for, accrue for, so you are not caught off guard. And there all the new shiny things that you must have, this is where costs can quickly multiply. So how do you budget for the necessities and the nice to haves in a way that makes sense for your level of hunting devotion and your income?

In this podcast episode I get into the nitty gritty details of how to take all of these things into account and build a smart sustainable annual hunting budget that will enable you to pay for the things needed to hunt, set aside funds for things that need replaced, and put some money away so you can buy upgrades and new fun things from time to time. The biggest trick to all of it is counting the costs, being realistic, and sticking to your budget without steeling from other areas of your life to buy more and more stuff.

It took me a few years to even begin to realize how much money I was pouring into hunting. I did not understand all of the costs or all of the things I chose to add on because I was not paying attention to the expenses, or where the funds came from that I used for hunting equipment. 

If you’ve never had a hunting budget, you may be surprised to learn that you can end up spending a lot less money by setting aside money for hunting. How can this be? Listen to the whole podcast episode to find out!

Let me also say, I am not an accountant or a financial planner. I am just a regular guy who has learned some simple financial principles over the years that anyone can put into practice to help set and keep to a reasonable budget that can cover all of your hunting costs and expenses from the must haves to the nice to haves. All it takes is a little bit of focus and discipline and you can both save money and be relieved to never need to think about where you’ll pull the money for your general hunting expenses again. 

Some people hunt for pragmatic reasons, others are spurred on by much deeper things. On this episode I delve into the heart and mind of a hunter to examine why people hunt. Not only is this encouraging but understanding your personal motivation can help you better align your hunting style and pursuits to get the most possible enjoyment out of the sport.

This episode is also a bit of a celebration of 200 episodes, that is 200 weeks of teaching, encouraging, and helping people get into the woods and enjoy their time there as much as possible. Please leave some feedback on this one!

Show Notes:

A lot of factors go into trying to determine if one type of hunting is “easier” than another. On this episode I compare whitetail deer and turkey hunting to examine the difficulties and advantages of each pursuit to help new hunters better decide where to start and to help more experienced hunters expand into new areas of hunting.

Factors to consider for hunting either deer or turkey:

  • Geography and habitat are core to determine which type of game is more abundant around you.
  • General hunting pressure will train animals to be more or less skittish around humans.
  • Deer tend to adapt to some human pressure while turkeys seem to get more paranoid.
  • Deer hunting requires excellent preparation, selecting not just the right area but even the right tree in advance.
  • Turkey hunting tends to require more diverse skill sets like perfect concealment on the ground, calling, and moving stealthily at critical times.
  • Deer hunting requires a lot of advanced strategy while turkey hunting requires more decisions that are made in the moment.
  • Turkey hunting requires more gear to start out with but the birds are easier to carry out of the woods.
  • A spooked deer is hard to chase, but a turkey that takes flight may be impossible to ever catch sight of again.
  • Deer are larger and thus harder to conceal than turkeys.
  • Larger animals also tend to leave larger more recognizable sign.
  • Listen to the whole episode for more and to see how both pursuits stack up against each other.

Show Notes:

Recoil is one of the most vivid parts of shooting and hunting for many who are beginners. It permeates people’s thinking and memory and is often little understood and not properly managed. On this episode I talk about the effect recoil has on hunting, the science behind it, and what you can do to better manage it and be a more effective hunter.

  • Recoil effects accuracy, fun, shooter confidence, and health. The better you understand it the more effective of a hunter and shooter you can be.
  • Recoil is a measure of action and re-action, felt recoil on the other hand accounts for the real life factors that determine how it effect us.
  • Felt recoil is a function of bullet weight, powder charge, gun weight, shooter mass, and mitigating factors. Adjust any of those and you can change the felt recoil.
  • There is a macho factor that goes along with heavy recoil, nothing has perhaps done more to damage our sport and dissuade children and newcomers alike than this nonsense.
  • People often use more gun than they need for a hunt, which comes with more recoil than they need, which makes them a less effective marksman and a less effective hunter in many cases.
  • Whether you are hunting coyotes, varmints, turkeys, whitetail deer, elk, moose, or anything in between, do the best that you can to pick a firearm and ammunition combo that is the right balance of power and recoil to do the job well and be as manageable as possible.
  • There are three big things you can do to improve your accuracy and effectiveness with higher recoil firearms, they are covered in the episode.
  • Some people just should not shoot certain guns, the physics of their body size and composition hinder their ability to safely and effectively use high recoil firearms.
    • There comes a point where no amount of practice or pride will improve the situation, it’s science.


Show Notes:

Every man is created with a thirst for adventure. Deep on the inside, we come alive when we pursue those things that fan that flame. On this episode I talk about the soul of a hunter and how this passion can quite literally change lives.

Take Aways:

  • We were not created to live routine, predicable, and tame lives.
  • We are not wired to live life just yielding to the suggestions of others.
  • We will not find complete fulfillment in just meeting societies expectations in a neat and orderly way.
  • Most of your life exists in a framework that is ruled by opinions, positions, feelings, and fictions.
  • Something about getting outside connects us to something real, something solid and grounded.
  • Wild deer and turkeys have minds of their own, they do not behave according to people’s opinions, feelings, and political positions.
  • When we spend time in the wilderness we are cutting through the noise and clutter of our culture and society.
  • When we walk into the woods, we are getting alone with the creation, the creator, and with our own heart. Something rarely done anymore, and perhaps one of the reasons so few live truly fulfilled anymore.
  • Listen to this episode to hear what makes the soul of a hunter.


Show Notes:

Every gun needs cleaned, but how do you know when you should clean them? On this episode I give practical, realistic tips for when you should clean your firearms.

Take Aways:

  • Guns are tools that server the hunter. The hunter does not serve the tools.
  • Taking care of your tools and treating your tools better than people are very different things.
  • Guns are not magical or unpredictable, they do not need random unprovoked cleanings from time to time.
  • You should not need to clean a gun every time you use it, unless certain things happen.
  • Listen to the episode to hear the 3 times you should clean your guns.

Show Notes:

People tend to assert their opinions or feelings as the reason why hunting is ok or not ok. But what does the Bible have to say about it? On this episode I answer that question and touch on a number of related subjects.

On this episode I talk about what the Bible has to say about:

  • Eating meat in the beginning, historically, and today
  • Hunting in general
  • Hunting for food
  • Hunting for self defense
  • Hunting to protect property
  • Hunting for sport
  • Hunting ethics
  • Hunting tips and instructions
  • The game commission

Here are some of the scriptures that I mentioned on the episode:

Genesis 1:28
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:15
Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 9:3-6
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.”

Genesis 25:27
So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents.

Leviticus 17:13
“Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust;

Proverbs 12:27
The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting,
But diligence is man’s precious possession.

Deuteronomy 7:22
And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.

Show Notes:

Is there a most important hunting tip that translates to all types and styles of hunting? Yes, absolutely.  On this episode I talk about the single most important lesson I’ve learned about hunting and that is developing mental and positional readiness.

Take Aways:

  • Mental readiness is having decided ahead of time what game you are going to take a shot at, what range you are comfortable shooting to, and the angles and scenarios you will pull the trigger in. 
  • Mental readiness enables you to operate within the critical two second rule.
  • Positional readiness is having your bow or firearm in a ready position with both hands always in their places so that you can bring the weapon to bare with just one pivot point. 
  • Positional readiness also enables you to operate within the two second rule.
  • Material readiness is having the right tools and gear to operate within the two second rule without making too much noise or having too much movement. Such as having a quiet and tight enough coat, etc. 
  • Material readiness also involves keeping you comfortable enough to maintain positional readiness.  Such as having warm enough gloves, etc.
  • The two second rule is a philosophy of hunting where you cannot count on having more than two seconds to make a decision to shoot, shoulder your weapon, and take the shoot. More time is a luxury that you must not depend on.
  • The two second rule is not about practicing fast target acquisition and trigger pulling, it is about maintaining mental and positional readiness.
  • You do not need to do speed drills at the shooting range, you need to be strategic in how you hunt.
  • Sometimes you should move very slowly and maybe take 10 seconds to shoulder your weapon, it is not just about fast movement but deliberate, efficient, and undetected movement

Show Notes:

What you eat and drink matters a lot for hunting, and so does when you eat and drink it. On this episode I talk about what I have learned to be the best eating and drinking habits prior to hunting and even while you are in the woods.

Take Aways:

  • Nothing is more important than knowing how different foods effect your body.
  • If dairy causes you problems, don’t eat it before going hunting.
  • If bacon or sausage will put you in the bathroom before the end of the morning, don’t eat it before hunting!
  • The type of hunting matters a lot. Sitting requires less food and drinking, and the downside of eating and drinking is larger.
  • Moving and hunting requires more of both, and there is much less if any downside to eating and drinking if you are moving a lot.
  • Few things are as disruptive when hunting than getting up to go to the bathroom or unwrapping a few granola bars.
  • Everything about your eating and drinking strategy should be focused on making you a more effective hunter.
  • You want to maximize comfort and stealth in the field. 
  • If you are hunting in a hard walled blind from 200 yards then you can get away with a lot more than someone hunting game within 50 yards of a tree strand.

Show Notes:

All animals are edible, but not all animals are tasty or healthy. On today’s episode I help new hunters navigate what common game animals are best to eat, which ones are questionable, and which to avoid.

Take Aways:

Almost anything can be palatable if cooked right, and somethings that are very unhealthy can be tasty. So the below classifications take both health and taste into consideration, it is not just a list of the things I like and don’t like. 

  • Best To Eat: Dear, Elk, Moose, Turkey, Pheasants, Grouse, Doves, Quail, Ducks, Geese, Sheep/Rams/Goats
  • Worth Considering: Squirrel, Rabbit, Wild Boar
  • What To Avoid: Crows, Foxes, Coyotes, Raccoons, Beavers, Muskrats, Martins, Fishers, Opossum’s, Woodchucks, Bob Cats, Bears, Porcupines and essentially anything that is a predator or a scavenger.

In the end, do your own research about health, and your own taste testing so you can come to your own conclusions. These recommendations are just a guide to help new hunters get started.