Hunter’s Pouch

Kentucky Hunter’s Pouch –

Few words are needed to show this project.  It is a Kentucky Hunter style pouch of a style popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in America.  Its antecedents come from Britain and mainland Europe but changed with the times as North America was colonized.

Most of the components cut out and ready for sewing.

In the days before the common man had trouser pockets he still had a fair few things to carry, especially while out foraging in the forest. Men and women have carried some sort of bag to hold their essentials for as long as we have supplemented our inadequate selves with tools. Things such as food, fire making supplies, sewing kit, or ammunition.

After lining with a medium-weight cotton fabric, the interior pocket is sewn in.

The poor man’s hunting pouch is essentially a single pocket bag with one or more internal pockets to separate out the smaller items.

Closing a bullet hole in the hide.

I chose some bark tanned elk from Joe Brandl as it is sturdy but with a very soft feel.

When using real linen, I often soak it overnight in a hot cup of tea before drying and waxing. This gives a nice reddish-brown color.

Pocket complete.

The body is sewn with a welt to create a tight seam and edging is added to stiffen the pocket and flap.

Edge-binding and the reveal of the interior pocket.

The inside pocket makes small items accessible that might otherwise be lost in the bottom of the bag. When shooting black powder, this pocket is a must.

Hand-pinked and pierced binding at the top of the bag.

People have been adding fringe, ruffles, and other decorations to seams and edges for as long as there have been makers.

This type of bag is designed to stay closed without any fastener but it is good to have a way to really secure the flap when traveling. This simple closure is a type that I like for a rustic bag. The toggle is carved from antler and is secured by a simple loop.

Completed bag with strap and buckle.

Finally, a shoulder strap is added. This one is 7 oz. veg tanned cowhide and adjusts by more than 12 inches. This will accommodate most people but more importantly will adjust with the seasons as heavier or lighter clothes are worn. The buckle is solid brass and will never rust.

Typical attire of the early frontiersman. Nearly always armed for hunting and protection, our gentleman here sports three essential items; gun, powder horn, and hunter’s pouch. “Western Hunter.” Illustration credit: Lewis Collins, History of Kentucky, 1850.

This bag and others are available in my Etsy shop linked here:

Free food

Sitting on the couch late in the evening, drowsiness coming on when a nearby gunshot pierces the air.  The dogs go on alert and I am up on my feet.  Probably neighbor poachers, but I need to have a look around anyway.  My nearest neighbor is more than half mile away.  The road is several hundred yards from the house, so I don’t get a lot of extraneous noise.  Walking out onto the front porch I see the lights from three police cars lined up along the highway about 100 yards apart.  Spotlights and flashlights were scanning the area, both toward and away from me. Weird stuff happens and I seem to be a magnet for crazy so my first thought was some sort of manhunt.  Very awake now, I drive up the driveway toward the police.  It would normally be a walk but I didn’t think it wise to come out of the dark toward a bunch of cops in the grass.

Luckily, I was completely wrong.  It turned out that two cars traveling in the same direction simultaneously hit two bucks crossing the highway.  The gunshot I heard was an injured buck being put down.  The spotlights and police were looking for other possible injured deer.  When I got to the road, one of the officers recognized me and said the magic words, “would you like one of these deer?”  The only right answer is “hell yes, let me get a knife.”  I was tired, it was late, but even a damaged deer is a gift of food.

I don’t like to butcher beat up meat.  And this was the first road kill I did on my own.  A cleanly killed animal is much easier to disassemble as you don’t have to work around bruising and broken bones.  That stuff is edible but not very good.  Survival food only for me.

However, dogs aren’t picky.  They like it nasty.  Good dog food is expensive so I decided to harvest as much meat that I couldn’t butcher cleanly into stew meat for the dogs.  They love me.

Click the image to see more of the processing.

Now the bad part was that I had to work my day job and the light is still a bit short this time of year.  I worked as I could, letting the carcass hang about 15 hours before butchering.  In the end, we maybe got 30 good pounds of human food including two beautiful tenderloins, a few small roasts, and a lot of stew meat.  As a bonus, the hide was in excellent condition and I was able to pull it off with only a few small cuts at the neck, legs, and tail.  Although not large, the antlers are beautiful so I sawed off the top of the skull to deal with them later.

I am of the school of thought that it is everyone’s right to make his or her best effort to feed themselves and family.  Due to many reasons, including the stupid human factor, this needs to be regulated in the modern world.  This makes it difficult to hunt, especially in places like New Mexico with less than easy hunting regulations.  After living on either home-grown cow or wild game for quite some time, the last few years have been a let down, having to buy commercial meat.  I’ve seen the feed lots and I don’t want to contribute to those companies any more.  Luckily, some free food came our way last week.