By Amanda Williams
Today’s culture has seen a massive push towards the already prevalent trends of consumerism. We have constant input about the newest technology, marketing strategies, quick money schemes, and more.
We have become more globally active than ever, resulting in a decreased capacity to do things for ourselves. We believe that we can’t do or make essentials ourselves, instead of buying and outsourcing to sustain ourselves.
As people realize the destruction in the bottom building blocks of society, the sufficiency of each family unit has begun to turn towards self-sufficient living alternatives.
This shift doesn’t mean that they have moved out to a field, ostracized themselves from those with technology, and homeschool their kids. Although this might turn out to be the best option for some, a complete lifestyle change isn’t always available.
Instead, thinking of things that it is easier for you and your family to do helps form a stronger foundation of self-sufficiency. Food is often the most significant obstacle to becoming self-sufficient. Many people’s solution is gardening, but you can’t plant a cow.
Hunting, fishing, and foraging have become major proponents of an incorporated self-sufficient lifestyle. Here are some of our best tips about bringing one or more of these aspects into your life.
It is expensive to buy fresh meat, but it is also difficult to find producers that practice sustainable methods of production. The cattle, pig, and chicken farms scattered throughout the West and beyond are cruel to their animals and poison the areas around them. They pollute the air and any nearby water sources.
Hunting for your food finds harmony between you and the balance of nature instead of a counterbalance concerning only specific types of animals.
Each state and most of the time, each region has its regulations on hunting locally. The animal populations also vary. In the West, there are deer and antelope, the North offer moose, elk, and deer. The East and South have an even greater mix of big game.
Each animal has a window called the hunting season. During this window, a hunter can go out and try to kill their limit. Concerning big game, they need to go online once the hunting season starts to approach and apply for hunting tags. These tags, or licenses, are issued by the state government.
They work together with rangers and conservationists to determine each big game species' population when they decide how many tags to offer each year. They want to maintain a particular community of each one to protect it and the ecosystems of which it is a part.
When it comes to smaller animals, including birds, a hunter might only need a license. Then, they are free to go out and hunt the statewide limit each day. The idea is that they only kill what they need to maintain prime population levels.
To find land to hunt on, talk to local farmers and others that might have problems with deer on their land. Other options involve more research as there are large tracts of government land on which it is legal to hunt. Always wear a reflective vest or bright-colored clothing if you are not aware if there will be other hunters on the land.
Hunting with a gun seems intimidating to many people that weren’t raised with the practice. Of course, they can learn, but if the desire simply isn’t there, fishing is another great meat option.
Fishing in each state functions similarly to bird hunting, although there isn’t typically a fishing season like there is when hunting specific bird species. Instead, all year round, there are daily limits of certain kinds of fish that can be caught and kept.
If you don’t know how to identify fish species when you pick up your fishing license, ask if they have a guide. Typically, the local Game, Fish, and Parks put out an annual guide to the local area.
There are multiple choices to make when it comes to the kind of fishing you want to do. You can ice fish, fly fish, or general pole fish. Research the best options in your area and access to local fishing spots. From there, news of the best annual fishing holes is spread by word of mouth. Strike up a conversation!
Finally, we get to foraging. We could write an entire book on the ins and outs of foraging, and many others have. If this is something you are interested in getting deeper into, consider investing in one of these books or an online seminar.
Some of the pros of foraging instead of buying food are:
Wild foods are more nutrient-dense
You can forage absolutely anywhere
Foraging helps you try new foods and flavors
It broadens your experience and perspective of the natural world
Beyond all of these, though, it is yet another step towards a self-sufficient lifestyle. Finding a mentor is perhaps one of the best ways to learn quickly. It also helps build your confidence in the viability of wild edibles versus poisonous plants.
If you choose to go with a guide book, or perhaps no one is available regionally, learn specifically about the dangerous plant species in your area. There are generally not too many of them, and it is much easier to recognize a few poisonous plants than the plentiful edible ones.
Foraging requires you to be in touch with the habitat and environment you live in. Learn where plants prefer to grow to have a higher chance of finding them. Some plants also have companion plants or those that are commonly found growing near to each other.
Don’t intend to identify all of your edible plants solely by sight. Use all of your senses to differentiate from look-alikes in the wild.
Each step counts towards generating a self-sufficient lifestyle. Being capable of supplying food for yourself and your family is perhaps one of the most basic and essential of all of the facets of self-sufficiency. So now, what is stopping you from putting fresh food that is high in nutrients on the table for your family and learning how to do something new in the process?
Wildline is happy to help you navigate the minutia of all aspects of hunting, fishing or foraging in your area. We can even create a detailed foraging map specified to wherever you live!