By Josh Boyd
It is human nature to overlook how comfortable our lives have become. Modern conveniences have enabled us to procure any essential goods needed for sustaining life with nothing more than the transfer of money from one hand to another. At times, we feel so distant from the struggles faced by the generations that came before us, many of which had to do with simply being able to put food on the table.
Today, if your kitchen becomes bare, a quick trip to the local grocery store will supply you with whatever goods you seek, and there is always a restaurant open to cater to any hungry patrons. This system has been the staple of modern society for many years and typically operates quite efficiently…until it no longer does.
Much of society has been thrown into turmoil in recent weeks, as the effects of COVID-19 have wreaked havoc upon our day-to-day lives. Though the rampant spread of this disease is indeed concerning, what might very well be equally unsettling is how apparent it has become that most individuals are ill-equipped to handle any sort of disaster or, in this case, pandemic.
The problem with our modernized way of life is that we have become overly reliant upon others to provide us with the basic necessities for survival, in the form of purchasable goods. However, what many are coming to realize for the first time, is that no amount of money is of any assistance when dwindling supplies lead to the inability to purchase these goods.
Outdoorsmen and Women Thrive
Luckily for those of us that hunt and fish, we possess a skill set that makes us well-equipped to weather the storms of adversity, like those presented by the recent coronavirus outbreak. One of the most notable shortages that many are currently being forced to contend with, is that of meat at local supermarkets. However, if successful in our endeavors, outdoorsmen and women have little to worry about regarding food shortages.
In a sense, we shop for our groceries without ever leaving the tranquility of our nation’s woodlands and waterways. We also find our enjoyment in the tranquility of nature, which makes facing travel and entertainment restrictions of little concern to us.
You could quite easily say that hunters and fishermen are the least susceptible subset of the population to effects yielded by a crisis of this nature. However, there are still several factors that must be considered for us to thrive under circumstances when others would falter.
Purpose Your Meat Wisely
When taking larger game like deer, it can be wise to carefully consider how best to utilize the meat that is rendered. Though it might be easy to have your buck processed into summer sausage and snack sticks, this is not always conducive to making your yearly supply of meat last.
Snack type items are undoubtedly tasty, but they offer little to no diversity in their use. By setting aside a portion of your venison to be ground and packaged, you will have a product that has an abundance of uses and will go far further than other means of consumption.
Ground venison can be substituted in place of ground beef in nearly any dish in which it is used. This means that any hunter, whose freezer is currently stocked to the brim with ground venison, need not worry over meat shortages at their local grocery.
Don’t Forget Small Game
Though many of today’s hunting pursuits revolve around larger species such as deer and turkey, do not overlook the opportunity that small game hunting provides for stocking the freezer. Not only is small game hunting a blast, but bag and possession limits on species of this nature tend to be fairly generous in many states.
Squirrel, rabbit, duck, dove, and quail all make excellent table fare when cooked properly, and can add a level of diversity to your diet if you should find yourself in a situation where wild game is your only dinner option. Game of this size also fits rather easily in a freezer, consuming minimal space.
Catch a Few Limits of Panfish
In recent years, catch and release fishing practices have gained a tremendous amount of steam. This is undoubtedly beneficial to the sustainability of our nation’s fisheries. However, when attempting to keep yourself and your family supplied with food if the need should arise, a few limits of panfish in the freezer can go a long way.
Fish such as bluegill, perch, redear sunfish, and crappie can be easily caught, and rounding out a limit of eating size fish is seldom difficult on most waters during the right time of the year. By catching, keeping, cleaning, and freezing a few limits of panfish a year, you can quickly bolster the amount of food in your freezer.
Consider Home Processing
Just as being reliant upon grocery stores for the procurement of food can be counterproductive to thriving in less than ideal times, the same also applies in regards to services. All of the fresh game meat in the world will be of little value if there were to be an instance where processing houses were mandated to close, or if financial hardship made such an option unaffordable.
For a little upfront expenditure, you can be free of reliance upon a third party to process your game during its journey from field to fork. You can handle all such matters in house, in the exact manner that you see fit, while also being free of processing fees.
Another item for consideration is that of canning meat for later use. This practice comes with several advantages. One such advantage is that meat can be canned into meal-sized portions, making dinner preparation a breeze. Another advantage is that canned meat does not have to be frozen. This allows you to make the most out of your freezer storage space.
Canned meat typically lasts a year or more when stored properly, making the process nearly as efficient as the use of a freezer when it comes to meat storage. This is especially useful when storing scraps from larger cuts that would typically be used when cooking fajitas or similar dishes.
Thriving Under Adversity
We cannot always control the events of the world around us. However, as outdoorsmen and women, we can use forward-thinking and our hunting and fishing prowess to insulate our family against the effects of difficult circumstances. By staying diligent in our preparation, and unrelenting in our attempt to minimize avoidable waste, we can thrive under adverse conditions, when others would find little comfort.