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Survival Hunting

Old 09-15-2021, 03:59 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Question Survival Hunting

Hello,
I'm a newcomer to the forum, posting from Australia.
I am seeking advice/information for a novel I am writing.
The novel is set in 18th century America. There are lots of descriptions of hunters taking deer and butchering them. The descriptions are as accurate as research allows. However, one part of the book details a hunter lost on the plains who kills a deer for food. It occurs to me that shooting a deer for immediate consumption is different from organized hunting whereby a deer carcass is strung and professionally butchered. If a person simply wants to eat for survival and not bother with the niceties of cutting and preserving etc how might he go about it? Would he, for example, simply slice off some 'outer' meat and cook it (over a campfire) or would he take the time to extract the loins, backstraps etc? Also, if he wished to preserve some of the meat for later consumption, could he simply salt it for a day or two?
Any advice gratefully received.
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Old 09-15-2021, 04:46 PM
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Find another subject for your novel. If you have no idea of what subsistence hunting is, it would take too long to explain the nuances to you.
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:11 PM
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I really don't know what "survival hunting" is. But if your survival is at stake and you knock down a deer then you're going to use every scrap of it and waste nothing. Now if you're talking subsistence hunting then that means you are hunting for game as your only source of food so once again you would not waste a scrap. If you are doing what they did a lot of back in the early days of this country and were hunting meat as you were traveling and game was plentiful then you would drop a deer and take the prime cuts and leave the rest. Both the Native Americans and the White settlers did this pretty often.

Also I would guess you don't really understand the size of the average deer in the USA. Most deer taken will be less than 250 lbs live weight (but they do get bigger) and a 250 lb deer will only produce about 70 lbs of meat so handling a deer carcass really isn't that big of a deal. Last year I killed a nice buck more than 3 miles from the truck and packed the boned meat out in one load to the truck. If you try to write a novel about how hard it is to handle deer in the field then few hunters will bother with it. As OT advised you may be better off sticking with a topic you know about.
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Old 09-15-2021, 07:55 PM
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Thanks for the replies and the advice. I guess 'survival hunting' wasn't the best term for what I had in mind. Flags, you nailed it in the following sentence:

If you are doing what they did a lot of back in the early days of this country and were hunting meat as you were traveling and game was plentiful then you would drop a deer and take the prime cuts and leave the rest.

That's the kind of hunting I mean. By 'taking the prime cuts' I presume you mean a sort of on-the-spot butchery that didn't fuss too much with method and would, indeed, 'leave the rest.'?

Otherwise, I feel confident in my descriptions of field dressing a deer carcass as they are exhaustively researched, including feedback from experienced hunters. It was the 'travelling hunt' that I was unsure about. If preserving the hide or smoking the meat wasn't a concern, how would someone proceed?

Your answer confirms my intuition. Thanks

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Old 09-29-2021, 11:50 AM
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As with any historical novel, research is the key. You are on the right track in doing a lot of reading.

They would be able to dry the meat, though that means some time with a fire. A hunter could cut a few pieces, dry a few pounds of meat that he could carry, and then move on in his travels.

One thing to be aware of is geography. You mention this character killing a deer in the plains. That sounds more like our great plains region, and those are flat grasslands with mule deer far more prevalent than white-tails. He'd be outside of the United States proper and in Spanish or French territory at the time until the Louisiana Purchase.

You can find grassland east of the Mississippi River, as Illinois is known as the prairie state, but "plains" generally means something west of the 98th meridian. Here is a link with a map showing it. https://www.earthmagazine.org/articl...00th-meridian/ Historically, when you get west of that 98th line, it means grasslands, dry climate, etc. It's a different world from the forest regions east of it where whitetails typically live.

For your research, look up Walter Prescott Webb. He's an historian you might find helpful. https://faculty.weber.edu/kmackay/wa...great_plai.htm

Last edited by Father Forkhorn; 09-29-2021 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 09-29-2021, 12:48 PM
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Hello FF.
Thank you for your thoughtful and informative reply. The geographical research for the novel was especially interesting, given that it is set well before the Louisiana Purchase, so I had to acquaint myself with French America as well as Spanish America. And the question of exactly which territory constituted the plains did indeed present itself. I consulted lots of period maps but was unfamiliar with the excellent source you provided. The Harvey Leifert link is hugely interesting in its own right and full of valuable information. The maps are beautiful and I would recommend them to any other readers of this forum who have an interest in American history. I wasn't familiar with Walter Prescott Webb either, but the link you provided is fascinating and touches closely on the concerns raised in the novel. I have bookmarked both sources for further reading and research. Thank you again for taking the time to reply and alert me to both sources. It's the kind of gold one hopes for in forums such as these but rarely receives. Much appreciated. J

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Old 09-29-2021, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jackdaw View Post
Hello FF.
Thank you for your thoughtful and informative reply. The geographical research for the novel was especially interesting, given that it is set well before the Louisiana Purchase, so I had to acquaint myself with French America as well as Spanish America. And the question of exactly which territory constituted the plains did indeed present itself. I consulted lots of period maps but was unfamiliar with the excellent source you provided. The Harvey Leifert link is hugely interesting in its own right and full of valuable information. The maps are beautiful and I would recommend them to any other readers of this forum who have an interest in American history. I wasn't familiar with Walter Prescott Webb either, but the link you provided is fascinating and touches closely on the concerns raised in the novel. I have bookmarked both sources for further reading and research. Thank you again for taking the time to reply and alert me to both sources. It's the kind of gold one hopes for in forums such as these but rarely receives. Much appreciated. J
You're welcome, jackdaw. Glad to be of help.
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Old 09-29-2021, 03:10 PM
  #8  
Spike
 
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Originally Posted by jackdaw View Post
Hello,
I'm a newcomer to the forum, posting from Australia.
I am seeking advice/information for a novel I am writing.
The novel is set in 18th century America. There are lots of descriptions of hunters taking deer and butchering them. The descriptions are as accurate as research allows. However, one part of the book details a hunter lost on 192.168.100.1 192.168.1.1 plains who kills a deer for food. It occurs to me that shooting a deer for immediate consumption is different from organized hunting whereby a deer carcass is strung and professionally butchered. If a person simply wants to eat for survival and not bother with the niceties of cutting and preserving etc how might he go about it? Would he, for example, simply slice off some 'outer' meat and cook it (over a campfire) or would he take the time to extract the loins, backstraps etc? Also, if he wished to preserve some of the meat for later consumption, could he simply salt it for a day or two?
Any advice gratefully received.
like survival for your life hunting ?

Last edited by ganthercage; 10-01-2021 at 04:08 PM.
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