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Montana
12-17-2012, 03:13 PM
So curious as to how others handle the cost of hunting trips, gear and permits.

I personally got hammered this year. I did a great job saving for my New Zealand trip. Saved for a little over a year and came back with a few extra hundred bucks, even after taxidermy. I had 2 additional week long trips after that. Then in the stand 3-4 days a week. The last 2 weeks of rifle I had to dip into the family savings account and the wife was not happy. To be honest, I wasn't either. Now with Wyoming's drawing only 6 weeks away, here we go again. I just paid back the family savings and it seems like I'm off to a rough start for 2013.

I put in for 6 states, do roughly 3 or 4 one week trips a year. Curious to hear strategies of saving and most importantly keeping the family happy, which means mama happy :)

Fink
12-17-2012, 03:44 PM
Excluding Missouri and Kansas, which have guaranteed tags, I put in for 6 states. Annually, I spend about a week and a half hunting turkeys in Missouri and Kansas, and about 2 weeks of vacation bowhunting whitetails in Missouri. I only plan for 1 western hunt a year, while building points for the rest. If I don't draw a tag, I hunt CO OTC elk.

As far as savings and financial stratagies go, when my wife and I got married, we decided that it would be in our best interest to keep separate checking accounts. Each month, we each place an agreed upon amount into a joint checking account for our joint monthly expenses like the mortgage and other bills. The rest of our money stays in our separate accounts. That way, I don't get bent when she spends our money on a stupid Coach purse, and she doesn't blow a gasket when I spend a bazillion dollars on elk and deer points.

Timberstalker
12-17-2012, 04:36 PM
It wouldn't surprise me if I spend less money on hunting than anyone on this forum. But I haven't applied for out of state tags yet either, that is going to change in 2013. I would say a typical year I spend about $2000 on hunting and most of that expense is fuel, I spend less than $500 a year on gear, and less than $150 on license and tags in Oregon. I usually only take one week a year off work for hunting, it changes between deer and elk depending on what tags I get. In 2011 I drew a Bighorn sheep tag, I took 2 weeks off work for that hunt. The only gear I bought for that hunt was a pair of Kennetrek boots, I used my 40 year old rifle, a $200 pair of bino's, my $80 packframe and a $40 daypack, and borrowed a buddies spotting scope, and the tag was $122.50. That sheep hunt cost me about $3000 total, with fuel and taxidermy being the two biggest expenses. One thing I've always liked about hunting, you don't have to spend a ton of money to do it. But if I want to start hunting other states I can see that changing for me.

Drhorsepower
12-17-2012, 04:43 PM
I hope my wife doesn't see this thread but if you guys keep popping out these big numbers then I might have to show her to get an atta boy.
I never have added up the cost of a hunt and never will. I'm too scared.

Ikeepitcold
12-17-2012, 04:53 PM
I've always tried to hunt on a budget. I have spent money on good glass, clothing and boots. I wait till I find sales and pick up what I need. I don't need the newest stuff. I like what I have and use it till its worn out then maybe upgrade at that time. As far as out of state tags go I put away money through the year to help pay for the trip if I do draw.

Montana
12-17-2012, 05:05 PM
to get an atta boy.


Only way you are going to get your "atta boy" is if you dont add it up, because the cost is there :)

I think Timberstalker nailed it at $2,000 a year without the out of state stuff. Thats where I am too. But i do at least one out of state hunt a year.

As far as Fink.. Thats pretty much my dream. But no chance here on the separate accounts.

Timberstalker
12-17-2012, 05:12 PM
I hope my wife doesn't see this thread but if you guys keep popping out these big numbers then I might have to show her to get an atta boy.
I never have added up the cost of a hunt and never will. I'm too scared.

Hunting expenses add up fast when fuel is $4.50 a gallon. If I didn't count fuel one of the expenses, I would be lying to myself. The closest place to my house that I hunt is an hour drive one way, I can't leave the driveway witout spending at least a $50 bill.

Drhorsepower
12-17-2012, 05:24 PM
Taxi bill as well is a huge cut

Colorado Cowboy
12-17-2012, 05:26 PM
I'm retired and do not have an unlimited amount of $$$ to spend. I travel to Texas to hunt turkey and hogs every year in April. Licenses are cheap...less than 200.00 for unlimited pigs and 4 turkeys. I stay at a friends house and hunt on his land...fuel & food is about it. I usually hunt elk here in Colorado and deer too. Hunt from my place here. I save up and try to do an out of state big game hunt every year. 2013 will be a wilderness deer hunt in Calif...about 1,200 to 1,400. 2014 will be a guided out of state elk hunt or Alaska for moose or caribou (or both), not sure yet. Will make up my mind in a couple of months. Budget will be about less than 5k. How can I do Alaska on that? We are planning a 3 month trip to Ak during the summer in our RV, I'll hunt while I'm there at the end of the trip.

I keep my wife happy by taking her on a trip every year in the winter. She picks it, this winter we are going back to Belize in February. We get out of the snow and enjoy some warm weather. I also invite her on any of my hunting trips....she laughs and declines! Been to Mexico (Cabo) lots of times, Costra Rica and Hawaii.

Just wanted to add we have been married 48+ years. She came from a hunting, fishing and camping family....I chose well:)

Zim
12-17-2012, 06:31 PM
"As far as savings and financial stratagies go, when my wife and I got married, we decided that it would be in our best interest to keep separate checking accounts. Each month, we each place an agreed upon amount into a joint checking account for our joint monthly expenses like the mortgage and other bills. The rest of our money stays in our separate accounts. That way, I don't get bent when she spends our money on a stupid Coach purse, and she doesn't blow a gasket when I spend a bazillion dollars on elk and deer points."

OMG. For all you young guys out there, shoot for this deal from day one. My ex quit her job after the first kid and never looked back. We only had a joint account and she never deposited one dollar in there in 20 years. I had to pay 100% of the bills for her and our 3 kids plus myself. What a nightmare. On top of that she controlled and conditioned my kids to dependency on her alone. Pathetic soul wiped me out for life.

Fink
12-17-2012, 07:22 PM
"As far as savings and financial stratagies go, when my wife and I got married, we decided that it would be in our best interest to keep separate checking accounts. Each month, we each place an agreed upon amount into a joint checking account for our joint monthly expenses like the mortgage and other bills. The rest of our money stays in our separate accounts. That way, I don't get bent when she spends our money on a stupid Coach purse, and she doesn't blow a gasket when I spend a bazillion dollars on elk and deer points."

OMG. For all you young guys out there, shoot for this deal from day one. My ex quit her job after the first kid and never looked back. We only had a joint account and she never deposited one dollar in there in 20 years. I had to pay 100% of the bills for her and our 3 kids plus myself. What a nightmare. On top of that she cotrilled and conditioned my kids to dependency on her alone. Pathetic soul wiped me out for life.

Damn Zim, that's horrible. I think our decision is probably the best one we've made. When we got married, right out of school (actually, she was still in school), neither of us had a dime.. Everything we've built from from that day is ours. I like that.
When studies show that the vast majority of marital disagreement is about finance, we figured we'd just cut that part out. It's worked like a charm. I suggest it to all of my friends who are getting married. My brother listened, and it's worked great for them as well.
I suppose it's not for everyone, but we feel like even though we are married, we are still individuals, and part of being an individual means having your own dayum checking account.

I'm also with CC. A week or so long vacation with the wife, to a destination of her choosing, will go a long way come September.

xtreme
12-17-2012, 08:24 PM
August 19 my wife was at Mayo In Rochester Mn. Our surgeon said he could do surgery the following tuesday or we could set a later date. My wife said let us wait until september 25 for surgery, we can go back to Arkansas and you can do your Colorado bear hunt. As soon as we got to Ar. I sent the bear tag in to Colorado for a refund. I decided to keep 3rd rifle unit 67 with 9 points. My wife passed Oct 12, not from the surgery, but from the disease. She would have insisted I go on the mule deer hunt, in fact, of the three scouting trips, she was on one of them. We drove the jeep pretty much all over that unit looking. She almost never complained about hunting expenses.
I seldom do anything but diy hunts. Spring bear on the Jicarilla was an exception and expensive all things considered. May have been a bargain at that. I estimate the bear hunt with taxidermy to be about $6000. The mule deer, gas $750. License $350 plus and lodging was about $250. Total will be $1800. Too much.
I bought a new cheap camera, an Olympus model no. SP-820OZ It has a 40x digital zoom, so far so good. My thinking is to take some wildlife pictures on the cheap while not too crowded in the field. Weather is mild pre season.
I do have 4 elk pp. Four pp should get me a decent elk hunt this fall and I expect to apply for deer pp and unit 81 as a second choice. I don't want to hunt elk but I have been helping others get their elk out, I may as well hunt my own.

Doe Nob
12-18-2012, 09:48 AM
I just pay my child support and tell her when I'm leaving town, I have an 18 mo old son and his mother and I are not together. I keep track of all the kid time I miss during hunting season and make all that time up in the off season. I also give her a round trip plane ticket anywhere she wants to go at the end of hunting season provided she is agreeable during the season and doesn't give me too much hell. I start traveling in August/September, will be gone for a week or so at a time 3-4 times in the fall and every other weekend I'm in town Nov-Jan I will be duck hunting Saturday and Sunday morning.

This seems to be working out ok so far. The big thing for me is managing her stress levels. I can tell when she's getting at the end of her rope and then I'll take a Sunday off from hunting and take the boy so she can decompress. Keep the pot from boiling over, its all good, but if it blows up, it requires a lot more maintenance to clean up.

On the financial side, I love my son and would not change anything about how things are, but man, I think of all the awesome hunts I could go on if I kept that $1500 a month!

Timberstalker
12-18-2012, 11:32 AM
As far as how the wife and I deal with the expense of hunting, we have seperate accounts. We both work full time and we share the household expenses. She has her $ I have mine, its the only way to go. I am still trying to figure out where the extra $ for out of state apps/tags is going to come from though. She alway has said, as long as we have our house, food on the table and no 72 hr notice on the door from the utility companies, she doesn't care what I do with my mad money. Bringing her flowers to her on the way home from hunting doesn't hurt either.

llp
12-18-2012, 12:50 PM
I guess I am a little old school for this discussion. Been married for 30 years and only ever had one checking account. My wife is frugal, as am I, generally, but we hunt and fish together as much as possible. We never count food and fuel in the cost of hunting trips, nor taxidermy. These are either "extras" or something we would be spending money on anyway. Just like I don't count the cost of my truck or guns in the cost of a hunt - I would have them anyway.
About this time of the year we start our discussion and planning for the following year. "Where do you want to go dear?" followed by "I'm thinking of going (sheep/moose/muskox/whatever) hunting myself this year." Together with a realistic look at what we should draw in the fall in various states. My wife isn't interested in hard core backcountry hunts, and in many cases prefers fishing trips to hunting trips. I've already been told that if we spend a week fishing in Baja this summer, all will be right with the world. We skipped that trip last year as she asked to go hunting in Argentina, which seemed like a good trade at the time. Somehow I will suffer through the Baja fishing trip (:o), and we will spend the spring turkey and black bear hunting, with maybe a trip top Namibia or Australia (her next request) and come fall I will elk hunt in 2 or 3 states depending on the draws, with a few lower priority antelope and deer trips thrown in the mix. If I can find the right deal, maybe a sheep or Grizzly hunt on my own. My wife will come with me on 90% of these hunts, and she never complains about the money when she is with me on the hunt.
llp

llp
12-18-2012, 12:52 PM
And yes, our entire recreation budget is based around hunting and fishing trips. When I was a bit younger, we spent a lot more weekends just camping and fishing from our tent trailer, scouting and seeing new country. These days we have a camper and travel a bit more widely for some hunts, but still greatly enjoy our time on DIY hunts throughout the west.
llp

Edelweiss
12-18-2012, 01:31 PM
We have only been married a couple years, she wasn't around when I paid $10K to hunt Namibia, or almost three thousand to go to Germany.

I talked to her about it a lot before we got married, and told her that I would never stop hunting, never stop spending money to hunt, and never not want to hunt.

I have hunted quite a bit here in Australia for foxes and sambar, not too effectivly though.

But we just don't have the money for me to hunt like I once did, and more importantly to pay for big out of state hunts.

Growing family, so she is kind of winning the battles these days.

Then again, she also knows it is the calm before the storm. We are just about a year from living in America again. I can see a lot more hunting in my future.

AKaviator
12-18-2012, 02:26 PM
I come close to paralleling llp's situation. Only I have only been married 20 years to my wife. ( I had a catch and release wife early on!)

One advantage I have; I have numerous friends that hunt world-wide. I point to their $30,000+ Marco Polo hunts and that makes my hunts look like a bargain by comparison!

My wife is and excellent hunter and my son is getting that way; it's a family event for us.

slim jim
12-18-2012, 04:00 PM
My wife and I split bills and put the same amount each away for savings and the rest, which isn't much, we keep for our own spending money. I don't even want to add up the cost of all my gear and hunting for each year. My freezer is full of venison and elk and I'm sure it cost me a lot more than the price of organic beef but oh well I'm going to do it again next year!

HuskyMusky
12-18-2012, 04:01 PM
did anyone mention the Credit Card?? haha.


pretty simply I don't spend more than I have, if I ever draw that sheep tag etc.. and have to hire an outfitter etc... I would find the money, even if that meant credit card and paying that off. If that meant no out of state hunts the following year, or going out less etc... priorities!

Jerry
12-18-2012, 06:49 PM
I too have been married 30 years, with only one checking account that both incomes are deposited into! I guess our incomes aren't high enough to pay all these extra fees and license charges. I've never applied out of state and am at a loss how people can afford thousands of dollars every year in just license and tag fees not counting travel to several states every year. My one major wish would be to go on a sheep hunt somewhere but 30 grand for a hunt several thousand more in taxidermy, license fees travel etc. says it will probably never happen!

Montana
12-19-2012, 04:40 AM
am at a loss how people can afford thousands of dollars every year in just license and tag fees not counting travel to several states every year.

Thus my post :) Fun to read and good insight. In reading all of these I really think it highly depends on where you are in life... Married, not married, newly married, new family, kids out of the house, retired. It has actually encouraged me...
Hold on through this time... I feel I'm doing ok for this time in my life :)

Zim
12-19-2012, 06:33 AM
Damn Zim, that's horrible. I think our decision is probably the best one we've made. When we got married, right out of school (actually, she was still in school), neither of us had a dime.. Everything we've built from from that day is ours. I like that.
When studies show that the vast majority of marital disagreement is about finance, we figured we'd just cut that part out. It's worked like a charm. I suggest it to all of my friends who are getting married. My brother listened, and it's worked great for them as well.
I suppose it's not for everyone, but we feel like even though we are married, we are still individuals, and part of being an individual means having your own dayum checking account.

I'm also with CC. A week or so long vacation with the wife, to a destination of her choosing, will go a long way come September.

I am left getting to write letters to my controlled sons who live 1,000 miles away now in Texas, while I still have support checks deducted from my pay. This is despite they both work 40+ hours/week. This is to my sons who don't even communicate with me any longer thanks to the unemployed trailer trash who never paid one bill in 20 years. What a great system we have.

Somehow I worked my tail off solo enough to buy my dream property 45 acres by age 40. All the while unilaterally supporting 3 sons. Could have retired at 45 had I not had that ugly ball & chain wrapped around my ankle. Judge stold everything from me to evade paying welfare.

Keep seperate accounts from day one, or get out immediately. The parasites will eat and eat and eat. Won't go away. Won't get a job. Nice knowing your money is being stolen by someone laying in bed all day eating chicken fried steaks and watching Jerry Springer 5 hours a day. While they tell your kids "momma's the greatest thing since sliced bread".

hoshour
12-19-2012, 10:54 PM
My wife and I have been married 38 years and never had separate checking accounts. We each have an amount in the budget that is our's to spend as we want, no questions asked, but it is fairly small. We also split our income tax refund down the middle, after putting some in savings.

When we were much younger, we were badly in debt to credit cards but once we paid them off we swore - never again! Marriage and family are way more important than great gear, great trips or having the wife buy enough clothes for three closets or remodel another room.

I spend a lot less on hunting than some guys but I watch my costs and buy almost everything used. I can't see the point in buying things new when I can usually get them for anywhere from 25% - 50% off a year or so later. This year, I bought a 2011 Elite Archery Pulse for 1/2 price because someone got the bug to buy a new one a year after he bought this great bow. Makes me feel sorry for his wife, though maybe she does the same.

trkytrack2
12-20-2012, 12:01 AM
The biggest cost to my hunting now is fuel. To be able to hunt elk where I now live in Colorado, it's over a 100 mile drive, one way, just to get to the foothills of the Rockies. Then depending on what area I want to hunt, it might be another 90 or up to 200 miles more before I'm into my area. I use to live on the Colorado northern front range and was able to hunt every weekend but now one trip is a really big deal. All the more saving and planning.

Fink
12-20-2012, 08:12 AM
The biggest cost to my hunting now is fuel. To be able to hunt elk where I now live in Colorado, it's over a 100 mile drive, one way, just to get to the foothills of the Rockies. Then depending on what area I want to hunt, it might be another 90 or up to 200 miles more before I'm into my area. I use to live on the Colorado northern front range and was able to hunt every weekend but now one trip is a really big deal. All the more saving and planning.

Try coming from out east! Fuel is a huge expense when you're coming from 1,000+ miles away. At around $4 a gallon, you're looking at a minimum of $500 round trip, not to mention the 25-30 hours of drive time. It makes taking a separate trip to scout about impossible. You're almost forced to just tack days onto the front of your hunt, and do your scouting for several days before you start hunting.

The more I think about it, the more I'd like to live out West somewhere... But I don't think I could ever talk the wife into that.

buckbull
12-20-2012, 10:53 AM
Try coming from out east! Fuel is a huge expense when you're coming from 1,000+ miles away. At around $4 a gallon, you're looking at a minimum of $500 round trip, not to mention the 25-30 hours of drive time. It makes taking a separate trip to scout about impossible. You're almost forced to just tack days onto the front of your hunt, and do your scouting for several days before you start hunting.

The more I think about it, the more I'd like to live out West somewhere... But I don't think I could ever talk the wife into that.


If I go out west for Elk or Mule deer I try to get out there 3 days prior to opening day to get a good campsite and scout. For antelope, I just get out a day before, we hunt private land and pay just a $100 tresspass fee. We also do not have a need to scout, we know where the goats are at. I've been trying to talk the wife into moving west for years. It will never happen, she is a big fan of the florida coastline. So we just stay in St. Louis where neither of us are happy :).

NDHunter
12-20-2012, 11:04 AM
My wife and I have separate accounts for our fun money. I have a budget for the year and then if I pick up some extra hours at work, I keep half and put the other half into savings. I really can't complain and am fairly happy with our system.

xtreme
12-20-2012, 11:57 AM
This works in Nebraska, go middle of the season, the crowd is gone. Sure some of the good deer got killed but you have it to yourself now and the deer have come back from hiding. This might work elsewhere too.

hoshour
12-20-2012, 11:08 PM
The biggest cost to my hunting now is fuel. To be able to hunt elk where I now live in Colorado, it's over a 100 mile drive, one way, just to get to the foothills of the Rockies. Then depending on what area I want to hunt, it might be another 90 or up to 200 miles more before I'm into my area. I use to live on the Colorado northern front range and was able to hunt every weekend but now one trip is a really big deal. All the more saving and planning.

Try buying fuel back and forth from North Carolina, not to mention motels and food!

It's cheaper to fly, but then I have not found any way once I get out there to rent a true 4WD vehicle to hunt with. The rental company will tell you 4WD and it ends up being all-wheel drive with low clearance. Even then, it's $100s to rent the vehicle on top of the air fare and another $150 to ship guns back and forth. Add in $350 or more for the tag and it really starts to add up, not even counting buying equipment. I can see why guys stick with guided hunts but, like a big kid, I just want to do it myself!

It would be so much easier if I knew people out west to hunt with. It's not just the cost and a local 4WD vehicle, but the scouting. When you are building points for good areas you can only hunt them once every few years and you can't scout from 1,500 miles away.

dihardhunter
12-25-2012, 10:00 AM
This is a scary subject, but one - that working off a graduate student budget - I have paid a great deal of attention to over the past 5 or 6 years. I never buy anything new - unless it is marked down 70% or more. Sites like steepandcheap, theclymb, backcountry.com, can really save your butt if you are willing to buy off the wall colors in last year's models. Most things are going to be layers under a soft shell outer anyways, so the critters don't know you are wearing neon green or purple! I buy one bow every 4 or 5 years off Archerytalk.com...has to be the biggest single lot of used bows on earth. When I buy one piece of gear, I get rid of another. Buy a GoLite tent, sell Scent-Lok coveralls. Buy Summit treestand climber, sell back-up spotting scope. I've never leased ground and it's been 5 or 6 years since I've paid for a guided hunt, but frugality can't help with gas prices. I suppose 10,000 miles a year are blown on hunting related travels. That is BY FAR the biggest expense. Going with buddies helps cut down on that. Thankfully, I'm great buddies with a taxidermist and I helped him out one winter 10 years or so ago, so all that comes down to me at a near-cost discount. Like most of us here, all meat care and processing from skinning/quartering to making sausage and jerky is done by yours truly. To supplement an extreme frugal approach to equipment and supplies, I take several odd jobs every year that 100% of income goes towards...Adsense blog money, camera survey or 2 for wealthy landowners, 2 or 3 guiding trips, birthday/Christmas check from grandma, etc. Besides the gas cost, I try and usually a achieve net zero by the end of the year. Squeezed in a ton of gear purchases/upgrades and a 15 day OTC Colorado archery elk hunt plus all my east coast wanderings for that this year.

Old Hunter
12-25-2012, 10:16 AM
I doubt anybody can come close to what I spend. I hunt elk and mule deer for a total of $300 a year.

It's all my freezer will hold.

packer58
12-25-2012, 12:49 PM
Hell Old Hunter...........with all the money your saving / not spending on hunting you could easilly get another freezer:p

Old Hunter
12-25-2012, 12:58 PM
It's more like it's all I can afford. ;)