Sense & Centsibility Blog
Man holding binoculars in the woods

What to think about before hunting season to save money

Since (sadly) summer is almost over and hunting season will be here before you know it, here are things to think about now to save money this hunting season.

Here is a follow-up to a previous post, Hunting on a Budget. It is a guide on some general principles to follow to reduce the expense and clutter of deer season. I broke it down into three general categories: before, during, and after the hunt. 'After the hunt' of course implies that something tangible was harvested. This is not always the case; I produced nothing for my efforts last season.

Assess Your Stand Options Carefully

I have already noticed a contradiction in my original philosophy so I may as well start there. Last time I said, “Building a stand can be WAY cheaper than those commercially produced stands.” Well, it depends I guess. Do you already have lumber sitting in the garage? Can you salvage and scavenge for parts effectively? Do you want to sit in a tree or on the ground? There are dozens of questions to consider when deciding on the proper approach to your cover.

This time I designed a box stand big enough to move around in. It would have cost over $300 to build. I wandered on to the next big box home improvement store to see if I could shave a few bucks here and there by comparison shopping. I stumbled into a 72”* 72”*72” ground blind for $108.99 plus tax, of course. The point is decide what you want and don’t want in a stand and then carefully choose the way to go. I saved $200 on hunting season before I even walked into the woods. That will be my only purchase (besides a license) for the entire season.

Bore Sighting

The cost of ammunition has absolutely skyrocketed. It has increased to the point of being a major expense for hunters, especially for the…well… fools who buy top of the line bullets. I am looking for ways to use less and save more. My father recently introduced me to the latest innovations in bore sighting. It is much more precise than I thought it would be.

An effective bore sighting kit (ranging from $35 to $80) can usually be used on anything from a .223 to a .45 caliber. There are often additional attachments for 12 and 20 gauge shotguns. Considering how easy it is to blow through two boxes of bullets sighting in a rifle, this investment can pay for itself after one or two uses. This is a great investment, too, just in case your scope takes a jolt during the season. I now consider a bore sighting kit nearly a necessity for hunters and gun owners.

Stop Buying Scent Wicks

Think about the utter absurdity of spending $3.59 on three or four specially shaped CHUNKS OF COTTON! These are already all over your house. Consider a bag of cotton balls for a buck or two or grab a few of the wife’s feminine hygiene products on the way out the door. Either may look a little silly hanging from a tree, but they provide equal or better results. Scent wick makers should be put out of business by lack of demand, in my humble opinion.

Consider Your Food Plot

There are scientifically designed deer food “systems” that are “guaranteed to grow big bucks”. This is quickly becoming a huge industry for manufacturers. Apparently the age old diet of the deer is somehow no longer good enough. These bags of feed can cost $25, $30, and more! And it's not a bag you need help carrying out to the car, either. This is a hand held, tiny bag of product.

There are many more ways to lure deer, large and small, to your stand or field. First off, when building a stand, have lanes that reach a water source if possibly. When considering where to spend money on feeding deer, consider where you get the most bang for your buck. One bag of deer lure can be replaced by an apple tree for the same cost. You can buy literally thousands of seeds to plant anything from alfalfa to corn to more apple trees. Also, a 50 pound bag of corn is still around six bucks. Always, always consider your state hunting laws when plotting food.

Stock up After the Season

The last thing retailers want is to sit on blaze orange winter gear for eleven more months. In order to unload it quickly to generate revenue for the next season of purchasing, they put items on sale after the season ends. Use this to your advantage. Are your coveralls looking pretty ragged? Tough it out for another season. The season is 16 days and actually even less if you work, have family, etc. For the amount of time you will actually spend in the woods, I am sure whatever equipment you are replacing can last for ONE more season.

My bibs are shot. They are hole-in-the-knee, no-pockets-left, different-degrees-of-blaze-orange kind of shot. Replacing them will cost $125 right now. I expect that number to be closer to $50 around December 1. I can make it ONE more year. Technically, I am shooting for two years, because I am trying not to buy new things right now. But that is another topic for another blog. My self-promotion knows no bounds…

We all have hobbies that we love and doing activities that we like is essential to our well being! So, I really recommend trying to save as much money as you can while doing your favorites hobbies. If you're skipping out on some hobbies or other fun things this year because you're trying to keep up on credit card payments instead, give us a call at 888.577.2227 for your free financial counseling session. We provide tools and resources to pay off debt for good and build savings. Want to start now? Click here to GET STARTED ONLINE.

By Malcolm Johannessen