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#187906 - 12/05/14 09:09 PM Hunting while backpacking
wclary Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/05/14
Posts: 3
I am a relatively uneducated backpacker but have plans to take on the AT about a year from now. The longest pack I've ever attempted has been about 2 weeks and we carried in all of our food. I wanted to know if anyone has gone completely free of that while attempting trails and relied strictly on the surrounding wildlife and vegetation for nutrition. This is the way in which i ideally would like to attempt the trail. Also any literature recommendations would be highly appreciated. Thanks so much for your time and considerations! Tschüss!

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#187907 - 12/05/14 10:33 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: wclary]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
Hiking the necessary miles each day to finish the AT in one hiking season takes a lot time each day. Hunting and foraging take lots of time. There are not enough hours in the day to do both, especially if you are burning up to 5000 calories a day just by hiking 20+ miles with lots of elevation gain and loss.

It takes bales of vegetation to get 5000 calories - just ask a giraffe! Hunting is subject to restricted seasons for most game species and there are many local regulations. Hunting is not allowed at all in National Parks and foraging is probably frowned on, too, and may be entirely forbidden (I'm not sure on that - you'd have to look it up).

These are just a few of the reasons you will not find anyone who has tackled the AT by relying entirely on the surrounding wildlife and vegetation for nutrition. I'm sure there are more, but these few are enough by themselves.

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#187908 - 12/05/14 10:42 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: aimless]
wclary Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/05/14
Posts: 3
You brought up several valid points I hadn't initially thought entirely through. Thanks for your time and knowledge!

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#187909 - 12/05/14 11:52 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: wclary]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
There's also the issue of limited hunting/fishing seasons and that you would need a hunting/fishing license for each of the states through which the trail passes. Non-resident licenses are extremely expensive and often have other restrictions besides cost.

Plus some of those states have extremely strict gun laws.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#187939 - 12/08/14 11:33 AM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: wclary]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
If you ever do decide to go the whole 100% hunted and gathered food route at some point in any location (not the AT), do NOT do what Christopher McCandless did. Definitely hire a good survival guide who is knowledgeable about the area to show you the ropes. Know what you're doing before you attempt anything like this solo.

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#188060 - 12/16/14 04:19 AM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: 4evrplan]
wclary Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/05/14
Posts: 3
Thank you guys for the continuing advice! It's been so eye opening to think of some things that just didn't initially occur to me. Obviously I need to give this a lot more thought. Any more advice or if any others would like to offer their 2 cents, I'm all ears! Thanks!

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#188063 - 12/16/14 09:35 AM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: wclary]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Just to echo what everyone else is saying.....pick one or the other.

If you look at native people before Europeans showed up, or even just look at any society, before or after metal....travelers generally didn't forage along the way. Even look at Lewis and Clark. You either spend your time hiking/walking, or you spend it looking for food. Most travelers that had to forage would have to stop for enough time to store up food until they had enough to go farther on their journey.

The AT is a heavily populated trail. Even if you had the time, it would be very difficult to forage enough.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#188070 - 12/16/14 12:10 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: wclary]
shua Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 26
Loc: North Dakota
I would in no way ever encourage somebody going out on a long trail with no food but if you do I would suggest fishing rather than hunting, for one you don't have to worry about gun laws, 2 most trout fishing in any state is legal during the hiking seasons.3 if you mess up while using a fishing rod you won't kill somebody or yourself. I know Washington has many mountain lakes with eager trout I could point you toward some and give you advice. If you do this bring at least 3 days of food and save it as an emergency supply in case you realize you have to go back to civilization so you don't die along the way.

Other notes, as far as I know fishing in all national forest/parks does not require a state permit. Also fishing gear is way lighter than a gun and ammo is. I would try fishing in the lakes you plan to hit before you decide this some lakes can't support fish population naturally and just cause you find information it was stocked 4 years ago does not mean fish still live in it. Best of luck and pm me if you have any additional questions

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#188076 - 12/16/14 01:25 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: wclary]
Minx Offline
member

Registered: 11/22/14
Posts: 23
As you are, by now understanding, hiking and food gathering are not compatible. That is not to say that opportunities don't present themselves along the way on some hikes. They do. Many people do not have the knowledge to safely gather food in the wild. With a good knowledge of wild eatables one can augment their meals in most places but safety is the key and knowledge is the key to safety.
+1 on fishing if you've a lot Ted the time. Hunting -1. Time, weight and restrictions prevent it's usefulness.
Good luck.
Tread lightly.

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#188078 - 12/16/14 02:51 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: wclary]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
By now you may be deciding to choose one goal or the other.

If you are choosing the thru-hike, I suggest starting to walk immediately. Get a pedometer like the Fitbit Zip to help keep track of miles.

If you are a planner, I suggest reading, "Average People, Extraordinary Trail." He was a B-52 Navigator who seemed to plan almost every step.

If you like to plan as you go, I suggest "See you Down the Trail." Shadow was in great shape when he started, but reduce the daily miles and you will get the idea.

For a fun book, I suggest "Footpath my Ass." She didn't know much about what she was doing at the start, but she made her way up the trail.

If you REALLY want to finish, I suggest spending a small sum to take Warren Doyle's class this year. Then hike the trail next year.

If you need gear and haven't done all the research, I suggest skipping all the research and calling Mountain Crossings They are at Neal's Gap along the trail and people fix their bad choices there. Their prices are about the same as everyone else's.



_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#188083 - 12/16/14 05:32 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: shua]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Shua, state fishing licenses are required in all states in which I've lived (and that's over half of them). The only exceptions are in a very few national parks (such as Yellowstone) that were established before 1900, before modern game laws. National forests, which are a 20th century phenomenon, are not exempt from state game laws. In addition, the OP plans to hike the Appalachian Trail, not the PCT, so info on Washington lakes won't help much. (Now if you want to share that info with me…. grin)

Wclary, as others have mentioned, the Appalachian Trail is so crowded and close to "civilized" country that there is no way you'll find sufficient forage. Plus it follows ridge tops, so you won't be close to potential fishing areas for much of the trip. Lots of ponds at the Maine end, but by that time you'll be in a hurry to finish your hike before the snow flies!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#188084 - 12/16/14 05:43 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: Gershon]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1719
Loc: Napa, CA
Just a quick note to add about fishing. Wild trout really don't have many calories. I used to travel this way a lot--catching fish each night--but also serving those fish over a bed of pasta.

Because two POUNDS of trout is 1500 calories...and that's if you eat two pounds of trout---not if you catch two pounds of trout. That's a lot of fish...and a long way from being enough calories for a day's hiking.
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#188095 - 12/17/14 11:22 AM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: OregonMouse]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I can confirm that a fishing license is not required in Texas state parks (still required in NF, ACE, municipal parks etc.), but I have no idea about the regulations in any states along the AT, so I guess that doesn't help much.

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#188103 - 12/17/14 03:09 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: 4evrplan]
shua Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 26
Loc: North Dakota
I think this is why I thought all national parks were exempt from licence fees. I always had one in Washington but have been told by rangers when hiking in Gifford pinchot national forest, Olympic national forest, and Rainer national forest that they are not needed, ( inquired for my hiking buddy who does not regularly fish) I also know that glacier in Montana you don't. I need to check on black hills nat Forest

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#188105 - 12/17/14 04:16 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: shua]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Per the current Washington Sport Fishing Regulations, page 1:
Quote:
State licenses and rules apply on National Forest lands.

Per the Gifford Pinchot NF website
Quote:
Anglers over age 15 must have a current Washington fishing license!
Recreational licenses are required for both residents and nonresidents 15 years of age and older. Reduced fee licenses are available for qualified disabled persons, disabled veterans, youth age 15 years and younger and resident seniors (age 70+).
Fishing regulations are determined by the state: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


Olympic National Park (not Olympic National Forest) requires a WA license only for saltwater fishing

Mt. Rainier National Park (there is no "Rainier National Forest") does not require a license but otherwise follows Washington state rules.

North Cascades National Park:
Quote:
Fishing anywhere in the North Cascades National Park Complex is subject to all WA State fishing regulations and requires a valid Washington State fishing license.


US National Forest rangers do not enforce state game laws, so don't really care if you have a license or not. You'd think they'd know what's on their own website, though! Were you by chance talking to a clerical employee or a volunteer instead of one of the ranger staff? They wear the same uniforms, so it's hard to tell. Judging from the inaccurate trail info I've gotten from USFS ranger stations in Washington and Oregon over the years, the misinformation you were given is par for the course. It's only if you get really lucky and happen to talk to the trails coordinator or wilderness ranger that you can find out anything.


Edited by OregonMouse (12/17/14 04:28 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#188110 - 12/17/14 08:56 PM Re: Hunting while backpacking [Re: OregonMouse]
shua Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/14
Posts: 26
Loc: North Dakota
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
Per the current Washington Sport Fishing Regulations, page 1:
Quote:
State licenses and rules apply on National Forest lands.

Per the Gifford Pinchot NF website
Quote:
Anglers over age 15 must have a current Washington fishing license!
Recreational licenses are required for both residents and nonresidents 15 years of age and older. Reduced fee licenses are available for qualified disabled persons, disabled veterans, youth age 15 years and younger and resident seniors (age 70+).
Fishing regulations are determined by the state: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


Olympic National Park (not Olympic National Forest) requires a WA license only for saltwater fishing

Mt. Rainier National Park (there is no "Rainier National Forest") does not require a license but otherwise follows Washington state rules.

North Cascades National Park:
Quote:
Fishing anywhere in the North Cascades National Park Complex is subject to all WA State fishing regulations and requires a valid Washington State fishing license.


US National Forest rangers do not enforce state game laws, so don't really care if you have a license or not. You'd think they'd know what's on their own website, though! Were you by chance talking to a clerical employee or a volunteer instead of one of the ranger staff? They wear the same uniforms, so it's hard to tell. Judging from the inaccurate trail info I've gotten from USFS ranger stations in Washington and Oregon over the years, the misinformation you were given is par for the course. It's only if you get really lucky and happen to talk to the trails coordinator or wilderness ranger that you can find out anything.


Hey actually that's very appreciated... I never personally broke the law as I always had my annual combo anyway. Also if you do want info on some good lakes I have fished in Washington on the trail feel frwe to pm me. I always just called the numbers I've found for the local ranger stations and talked to them via phone.

My apologies to the op for hijacking your thread for a while lol.

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