“This is the most gratifying meal I have had in a long time. My wife Lisa cooked fried turkey breast strips from this incredible eastern wild turkey I took in New York last Wednesday.”
That Facebook post with a photo of the fried turkey breast and me with the bird got a huge, positive response and to be honest I expected some blowback.
After all some of my followers are wildlife lovers, not necessarily hunters or anglers.
Hunting for me has always been about connecting with nature and getting wonderful meat for the table. Whether it is wild turkey, wild boar, flounder, salmon or whitetail deer, the Moore household has always enjoyed wild game.
If we don’t eat it we don’t kill it. Period.
There is no doubt hunter and fisherman-based conservation works tremendously well but hunters in the age of social media haven’t always done a good job putting forth that message.
That’s why I think it’s time to start Trophy Cooking.
Yep, I said it.
The trophy should be what’s on the grill or in the pan instead of what’s on the wall. I’ve got antlers hanging in my house too but the beauty of the harvest is best expressed in the kitchen, not just in the taxidermist studio.
For the Moores it is about celebrating a successful hunt and eating tasty meat that doesn’t come from a corporate farm. It blows me away that people are OK with someone buying something often brutally killed in a factory farm but are not ok with someone killing their own meat.
For some like my friend Jennifer (@Savagetexan on Instagram) eating wild game is about health.
After a horrendous health battle that left her in the hospital and nearly dead she decided to start eating clean and saw quick results.
Along that journey Jennifer decided she wanted to start killing her own game and eating the most organic meat possible.
“I didn’t come from a hunting family so I had to learn on my own,” she said.
“There were great challenges, especially being a woman but I have found it to be extremely gratifying.”
Jennifer says she mourns the kill but celebrates the harvest.
“I pray over each animal I kill and thank God that he allows me to be part of this circle of life. I appreciate every animal I have the opportunity to hunt, kill and eat and I am grateful for what is does for my health,” she said.
A study entitled Perceptions of Hunting and Hunters by U.S. respondents showed some interesting results in relation to eating wild game.
An online survey of 825 U.S. residents was conducted to determine their views on hunting, hunters, and hunting practices within the United States. Overall, 87% of respondents agreed that it was acceptable to hunt for food. However, only 37% agreed that it was acceptable to hunt for a trophy…
For hunter-conservationists who wish to promote healthy, sustainable wildlife maybe it’s time to focus on the meal instead of the mount.
As demographics change and fewer people grow up in hunting and fishing families there has to be a way to get people interested in these pursuits and accepting sustainable hunting.
A recent survey from marketing charts.comshows that nearly half of Americans watch cooking television shows regularly and only 21 percent say they never watch them. Millenials in particular shows a deep interest in this type of programming.
With venison recipes a regular on these types of programs maybe it’s time to reach out via the kitchen.
A big reason for my love of wildlife and fisheries comes from growing up fishing and hunting. I learned very early in life that if you take too many deer they disappear.
If a stream if polluted it’s not good to eat the fish from there.
We need to build bridges into communities that support all means of keeping wildlife populations high and wild grounds and waterways healthy.
Whether that is hunting, fishing birdwatching or diving we need to unite over habitat and things that get the job done for wildlife.
I will be gathering and dispensing numerous wild game recipes and other aspects of game and fish cooking over the coming year. If you have any you would like to share please email me at [email protected]
There is an old saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
Perhaps the way true hunter-conservationists can reach the hearts of America is in the kitchen through cooking.
Chester Moore, Jr.