Yesterday we spoke with Hank Shaw, the blogger behind Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and the author of Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast, who told us how to forage cheaply in New York by feasting on gingko nuts. Today, he gives us advice on how to hunt cheaply, too — and tells us more about the difference between blogging and cookbook writing.
What’s the first piece of advice any would-be hunter should have?
For fishing and hunting, I’d say go with a guide. There’s no shame in going with a guide. I’ve fished for striped bass all over the country, but I’m happy to go with a guide somewhere new. I know where the fish are where I live, but a fish might need to be caught in a different way in a new place. And with hunting, go as an observer first. See if it’s something you can actually go through with.
How cost-efficient is hunting/fishing/gardening?
Once you’re good at it, you can save a lot of money. I spend less than $50 a week, and that includes beer and that’s half of it! I still buy dairy, beer, and some fruit. If you start duck hunting, though, that can be an expensive pursuit to get into. You’re going to spend $80 a duck that first season. But now I spend about $7 duck, which includes gas, shells, and licenses. Once you get good, you save a lot.
You had a book out earlier this spring with the same name of your blog. How is cookbook writing different than blogging?
In some ways I prefer blogging because it’s active. Whenever I write something, a conversation ensues. Everyone learns something. The knowledge of my readers never ceases to amaze me. With a cookbook, you never really get the benefit of interaction.
Besides your book, what are some useful guides to edible flora and fauna?
My book is mostly a guide of why [you should hunt and forage], what you should look for, and what to do with what you get. For the nitty-gritty, get Samuel Thayer’s The Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden. If you have those three, you’re good to go. And Mushrooms Demystified. With all that, you can go anywhere in the country.
I read that you were planning your second book. What’s it going to be about?
It’s still in flux but I’m going to focus on Native American ingredients.