By Aidan Pike
March 22, 2023

How To Hunt On A Budget

Let's face it, the dream for all of us is to have enough money and time that we can hunt as much as we’d like in the fall. But for most, the reality is that time and money are both very limited. Hunting expenses can certainly add up and time off from work can be slim. Taking a strategic limited expense approach next fall can save you a considerable amount of money.

Buddy Up

For many, driving to those prime areas that have the best hunting takes a considerable amount of windshield time. Limiting your drive time and hunting closer to home are obvious ways to save, but finding those unpressured areas often requires putting on the miles both in the field and on the road. One easy way to cut the expense of gas in half is splitting the cost with a buddy. Putting all the dogs in one truck can be a pinch depending on the vehicle but it's certainly doable. Ultimately, taking one truck with one or two buddies is a great way to take both weekend and multiple day trips. Alternating who fills the car up is one way that works for big out of state trips. But for smaller hunts, you can divide the number of miles driven by the average fuel efficiency of the car and then multiply that by the average cost of gas in the area. Essentially having a buddy around to share the experience of the hunt and its costs is a bonus.

Truck Camping

Depending on the time of year and available space, camping out of the truck can be a viable option. The money that would normally be spent on a motel room, stays in your pocket. Truck camping is an art and the key is finding what works best for you. Staying organized and getting a good night's sleep are some important factors to keep in mind. Hunting hard for multiple days is miserable when you don’t have a good place to sleep. For those who have the option of sleeping in the bed of their truck try using two sleeping pads. Putting an inexpensive foam pad as the base and then layering a nice inflatable pad on top creates the perfect amount of cushion. The foam pad works to absorb the rough bumps of your truck bed while also providing a smooth surface for your much more comfortable air pad.

Cook in the Field

Grinding through a week-long hunting trip while eating only granola bars and other packaged foods is not how to hunt on a budget. On the other hand, going out to eat at the local diner every night is not sustainable either. Cooking in the field is hands down the best when trying to strategically save money. Not to mention a warm handmade field lunch gives a much needed boost of energy and breaks up the day. Putting a couple of burgers on a Blackstone or portable grill during the rather unproductive hours of the day, can give yourself and the dogs a much needed break. Consuming the proper amount of calories with a field lunch also allows for a full day of hard hunting. Tailgate cooking also means you stay in the woods or prairie longer instead of heading to the nearest town for food. PYKE Gear favorites Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Cheese Burgers Brats or Hotdogs Chicken Noodle Soup

Pyke Field Favorites
-Grilled Cheese/Tomato Soup
-Cheese Burgers
-Brats or Hotdogs
-Chicken Noodle Soup

Don't Drink Beer at the Bar

For those of the legal drinking age, having a beer after a long day of putting on the miles is a great way to wrap up a hunt. Heading to the bar a couple of times during a trip can add up quickly. A great alternative is packing a cooler with your beverages of choice. Sipping a cold beer on the tailgate of the truck and watching as the last light of the day pierces through the tall prairie grass perfectly complements the privilege of being a hunter. Reliving the thrills of the day and sharing stories with buddies encapsulates what it means to be a bird hunter. The setting of a bar doesn't quite produce the same atmosphere as a crackling campfire or the view of a sunset. Ultimately, packing beer saves you from overspending at bars and it allows for a better way to enjoy the comradery of friends.

There are many ways to cut costs on hunting excursions throughout the season. Focusing on limiting unnecessary spending and saving in the areas that you can is the main goal. Next fall take these tips into the field and experience how much more efficient you can be.