I find it incredible, the number of people seeking wild game and reaching out to myself and other old-timers that I know looking for advice on how to hunt. Very few of these new hunters are entering the sport for the “thrill of the hunt” or to collect trophies for their wall. But rather, they’re seeking a way to place a wedge between themselves and their family’s hunger. Already store shelves are far less stocked than we’ve become accustomed to and the meat prices are soaring. Should the forecasted shortages of meat and eggs continue, people are seeking wild game, to ensure they will always be able to put meat on the table.
It’s not at all only here in Hernando County, but nationwide, Game and fish agencies have reported an increase in either hunting license sales, permit applications or both this spring. Some states have seen as high as a 28% jump in turkey hunting licenses sold during the first week of March. Likewise, firearm manufacturers have reported amazing sales increases, and the FBI has carried out over three million background checks last month alone.
I have a grand time teaching basic woodsmanship, hunt etiquette and demonstrating how I put the skills together to afford folks success on their first hunts. And each of my recent protégé’s have voiced concerns about the high prices they’re encountering at the grocery stores. Now, I’m not only helping people learn to hunt, but how to clean and process their game should they get lucky.
This weekend, for example, I got an infrequent visit from an old friend, Vince Noble, of the Big and Wild TV show that airs on the Carbon TV Network. Vince, is a remarkable fisherman and pretty much any port on the water, he’s been in on it. But, he joined me in the field for some pork and a crash course in cleaning and butchering a pig. He did good; by noon he had a fair sized boar hog hanging from my skinning pole and class commenced.
Now, I’m not going to get into the details of cleaning a hog, as I know not all of you are hunters and I wouldn’t want to upset anyone. But, whether it’s done in the field or in a controlled environment such as a slaughterhouse, it’s a chore which has to happen. For every ham sandwich, sausage McMuffin or stuffed pork chop, there was somebody, somewhere, that undertook the task of preparing that meat for you. I prefer to do it myself and I welcome everybody to learn how. Ol’ Vince, he passed the class with a B-minus…. But, after years of fileting redfish and snook, he had at least a passing familiarity with handling a knife.
I’m proud of him, as I am all, who are interested in expanding their knowledge of the outdoors and who wish to learn to expand their diet. So, anybody else seeking advice on wild dining or other help in getting started on the hunt, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] God Bless and good hunting!