Monday, February 18, 2008

Hunting for food

A few years ago I considered becoming a vegetarian. Obviously I decided against it. I like meat, fish and fowl (except turkey), especially bacon, steak and pâté. At one point I wanted to be a butcher but that is another story.

I decided that I could only eat meat in good faith if I was willing to kill it, clean it and fix it myself. I do not really have the option for regularly fishing or hunting or even raising (can't keep a cow in the city limits) my own meat, but theoretically I am mentally and emotionally capable of doing this should the occasion arise. Anyone who does not have the stomach for killing another creature to eat it should be a vegetarian. It's not right to be capable of eating meat only if it comes in the sanitized form of neat little cuts in tidy plastic containers, is it?

Reading Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma pushed me over the edge. I signed up for a hunting education and safety class.

My goal is to go pheasant, quail and/or duck hunting. I only want to hunt what I will eat so no turkey or deer hunting. I'm not a huge fan of venison, and I don't really want to deal with an animal that I cannot carry out of the woods. My general rule of thumb: if it is big enough to trample on me then don't aggravate it by shooting at it.

There are two exceptions: I would love to hunt boar and alligator. Boar are apparently mean and scary. I just want one to eat not for trophy. YUM. Boar is tasty! Same with alligator. They have big teeth but they sure taste good stewed or on the grill, and they make lovely handbags!

In all likelihood, most creatures will be safe. I'm not a very good shot.


Anonymous said...

I would hunt if I like the taste of game which I don't. I hate that gamey taste and all the seasoning they try to hide it with.

I never eat game birds becuase there is allways an outside chance I might bite into a piece of birdshot and crack a tooth.

Brian said...


I like this blog and others, and it seems to me the concept of hunting to have fun and eat what you "harvest" is a good one.

Most taste is acquired, not inate. Game birds such as quail and dove are not often described as gamey. Ducks often taste like what they have to eat. Some ducks tend to taste bad, so you try not to shoot them (mergansers). Geese, deer, rabbits, pheasant, and most game animals have a lot of potential. If you are a cook, you relish the chance to work with the flavor, not hide it, and then maybe even surprise yourself.

Christopher said...

I have found that slow cooking recipes work better with game. The pheasants I harvested this year took much longer than a chicken to "cook" the meat off the bones. The only thing I can figure is these animals are not sitting around in a pen nor are they being dosed with hormones. I am still working the Venison side. You guys can tell me if the Venison Chili is ok tomorrow night. After having Venison Brat, I prefer them over what you buy from the butcher as they are have no where near the fat content.

brandon said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Some people will criticize hunters and then go get a burger…it’s crazy! It’s my opinion that people who have actually killed what they eat have much more respect for the animals they eat. I too try to eat only meat from animals hunted by myself, friends or family. Best of luck to you in this noble effort!