Hunting & Trapping in the Great Depression

Show Notes

In this week’s No Lowballers podcast by GoWild presented by, we’re talking about several iconic firearms of the Great Depression era that have long been admired in the hunting industry. We start by visiting what hunting was like during the Great Depression era. Have you seen Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” Royal Grand Double rifle? The one he used to kill elephants, rhinoceros, and other big game in Africa? Find out where you can go see it on display in Louisville, Kentucky. Roosevelt worked really hard to preserve public lands and protect hunting for future generations. He was behind important hunting regulations such as the Lacey Act of 1900 and the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906. During this time, market hunting turned into subsistence hunting and the North American Model of Conservation was established. 

One of these notable guns of the era is the Winchester 1894. We check one out in .30-.30 and learn why this lever action rifle became a popular big game hunting rifle by many Americans after the Army Calvary carried it. The Winchester 1894 then became available to the general population as an affordable and reliable firearm. Why is the .30-.30 such a popular caliber for whitetail deer hunting? The Winchester 1894 has also become a cherished possession that’s been handed down in families over the generations. What is it that just makes lever guns so cool?

Shotguns were also utilized during the Depression era but their popularity in America goes all the way back to the 1700s when smoothbore flintlocks were found throughout the colonies. When J.M. Browning came out with the Auto 5 (A5) in 1905, it completely changed the game as a repeating semi-automatic shotgun. Even how this gun came to market has a complicated and exciting story–find out how it all happened! There are so many different versions of the A5 out there now in many different gauges–head to to see what’s available and find out which gauge is the most popular and why.

We also showcase the Winchester Model 70 that came out in 1936 during the Great Depression. This bolt-action rifle became an iconic gun and highly collectible in a variety of calibers and barrel lengths. There is a pile of these on GunBroker in a wide range of calibers and conditions. This rifle became the “Rifleman’s Rifle” and a true do-it-all rifle with a stunning aesthetic and function.  

Finally, we talk a bit about the lifestyle of the hunter and trapper during the Great Depression era and why they used the firearms they did. What was the average wage? How much were pelts selling for? During this challenging economic period, hunting provided a means for individuals and families to obtain food and survive, supplementing the scarce resources available during the Depression era.

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The No Lowballers podcast is a brand new joint venture between GoWild and to explore the history and heritage of firearms. We hope to expose you to the vintage guns of the golden age along with newer, modern guns, specialty items, and a few other odd balls along the way. Jump in and come along for the ride! 

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