I have recently embarked on a ‘self-sufficiency’ kick and have been moderatly succesful. I have fishing gear, an air rifle and a hunting catapult (sling-shot) and was looking for like minded individuals to share their knowledge on any of these (and related) topics.
I’m only after edibles as I don’t understand the point of ‘trophy hunting’ so want to focus on the fishing aspect alongside air rifle hunting and particularly hunting with a catapult as this intrigues me greatly.
So, have any of you folks got an interest in any of this and if so do you have any tips/techniques etc? I’m looking for hunting tips as well as sheletr building, fire making, trapping, clay oven building, wild flora and forna as well as outdoor cooking techniques.
I don’t know if this is ok (please remove if not) but here is a link to a picture of me with my first ever trout:
I hunt a lot of my meat, but not with an air rifle - I only use that for vermin control. I assume you’re not in the US? I don’t know about where you are, but in California you need a specific license to trap game animals.
I’m also a big fan of processing the meat myself. We make sausage and jerky, smoke often, and cook out on the open fire about all fall. I dabble in dutch ovens too. I process a lot of food from my garden too.
Thanks! I was really pleased with it - I’ve been really lucky with regards to the fishing because I’m friends with a farmer with 1000 acres of land and woodland which has a tributary of the river Test running through it, on the opposite side of the bank people (including George Bush Sr) pay £2000 for the privilege whereas I pay nothing on his side - result!
I am in England not the U.S which is why I have an air rifle rather than a ‘proper’ gun! I know you can get guns here but high powered rifle licences are a massive hassle by all accounts and out of my comfort zone at the moment. Maybe in a few years time!
I really like the idea of making jerky but not sure what meat you can use? So far I’m taking rabbits, ducks and pigeons but there are deer on his land - I’m going ‘lamping’ with the gamekeeper next week so will ask him about hunting them.
I’ll check out your blog ASAP and will try and find out the legality of trapping animals in the UK as well.
I use venison, elk, or beef for jerky. I don’t know about smaller game - I expect ducks would be too fatty, and the meat would go rancid. Rabbit’s pretty dry already though, so you might give that a try. You lose a lot of volume, so jerky from a rabbit would fill a small little bag.
In that case, set some sort of slot limit. Bigger fish carry more eggs and have better genes. So try to keep fish that have reproduced but aren’t “vital” to the species.
I’d personally target mackeral and other fast growing fish since they’re abundent, can be located easily and are very willing to bite.
In the freshwater world, that would probably be bluegill and trout. Depending on where you live, it might be yellow perch, walleye and pike. Sorry, I can’t bring myself to eating bass. They’re just too much fun to catch.
I can give you more specific help if you give me some info on your location and how you enjoy fishing.
His user profile says he’s in Southampton. (Say hi to Henry Wriothesley for me!) I assume most of the game in England is small game: hares, squirrels and birds. It’s entirely possible to kill those with an air rifle - I certainly got my share of them, as a kid, with a .177-caliber Daisy Powerline. They make some pretty powerful air rifles nowadays and if you use pellets made for hunting, you’re looking at more or less the equivalent of a .22 varmint rifle. (Hopefully the UK doesn’t ban these soon.) I assume for wing shooting though you will want a shotgun. Can’t you get a permit for a shotgun over there, for hunting?
If you’re interested in curing meats in general I think there would be better options for you and the game you have available than jerky. The exception would be venison, if you can bag a deer you could make some outstanding jerky from it however I think this would be difficult with an air rifle. Does the UK have a bow hunting season and would that be an option for you? If you have the opportunity to take some duck I would wholeheartedly recommend trying your hand at putting up some duck proscuitto if they are fatty enough.
Well I’m not really in it for the ‘sportsmanship’ of it and I’m going out with the gamekeeper who has to ‘lamp’ in order to control the rabbit population so really I’m just utilising a source of meat that would otherwise go to waste.
I always try to, the only problem is that one can never be sure that you’ll catch anymore fish so you have to kind of take what comes but I always stop when I have enough to eat. The more experienced I get and the better I know the area I’m fishing will allow me to tailor my approach to the situation.
I do go sea fishing about once every month and mackerel are my favourite fish to eat so I usually go for these and sea bream - the sea bream are abundent in an area off the coast of Mudeford that is only fishable using a rod so is very sustainable.
I’m in Winchester in Hampshire (UK) so the basic freshwater species are salmon, trout, pike, perch, carp, grayling and eels - not sure what else is edible in my neck of the woods? I’ve tried everything I’ve listed except pike and carp but didn’t think much of the perch to be honest. Not horrible but very bland - needs a lot of aromatics next time! I’m still using pretty basic techniques at the moment (no fly fishing etc.) but would appreciate any advice you can give me.
I agree about the Bass, I’m concerned about their stocks so not sure if I could actually kill one if I ever have the fortune to catch one!
My .22 Crosman does the job but is still pretty weedy - I’m either going to upgrade to a high powered .22 air rifle or try for either a live arms .22 or maybe a shotgun licence soon. Shotgun licences are relatively easy to procure still I believe…
If I get the oppurtunity to bag a deer I’ll come back to you for advice on making jerky - actually my friend has a whole ‘roadkill’ deer in the freezer, might defrost that and try making some jerky. Will it work from frozen?
For the sort of work you’re doing, a 12ga shotgun would probably be better than a .22 rifle. IME, they have the same effective range under spotlighting conditions (there’s a limit to how far you can see via spotlight) but the shotgun is more effective at the ranges encountered whilst spotlighting.
A good double-barrel shotgun is a very versatile piece of equipment, and they don’t have the “EVIL GUNZ!” stigma attached to other longarms, for some reason.
Really? Ok, this might be a good idea as I think that a shotgun licence is easier to obtain than a rifle licence and it would cover the two types of hunting I really want to get involved in.
I agree about the EVIL GUNZ thing although I only really see the point in functional guns as opposed to pistols/automatics etc. but this is probably due to being English - the only guns available are ‘functional’ although I have fired a few machine guns in Poland - a good laugh and all but realistically does anyone really need one?
I like to partially defrost it. It’s easier to slice if it’s somewhat frozen than either fully frozen or fully thawed. I slice to between 1/4 and 1/8 of an inch thick, and I like to go across the grain. With the grain makes nice long sticks of jerky but it’s somewhat chewy. Sliced too thin and the jerky gets brittle, which I don’t care for.
I have a few cures (with nitrates) that I like to marinate the slices in, or sometimes I’ll just use soy sauce and black pepper and no cure at all. I have a smoker for dehydration, so that adds a lot of flavor. I’ll put the heat really low and just watch the jerky; times vary wildly. The times I’ve tried it in the oven, I haven’t been able to get the heat low enough.
Here’s a forum with good references for smoking and sausage making.