View Poll Results: Do You Like The Taste Of Wild Game?
I've never eaten wild game, that I'm aware of. 6 5.77%
It's disgusting. 13 12.50%
I can take it or leave it. 45 43.27%
I love it and eat whatever my hunter friends/ family bring to me. 31 29.81%
I love it and I hunt it myself. 9 8.65%
Voters: 104. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 10-02-2019, 10:21 AM
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Do You Like The Taste Of Wild Game?


For some reason, hunting has been on my mind this morning (I've written three GQ threads about the topic in the past half hour). Maybe it's because the leaves are changing and it will be deer hunting season soon.

The only wild game I've ever had is deer and wild turkey, hunted by friends/relatives.

I find deer disgusting. Just awful. The texture of the bottom of my shoe, with a taste redolent of blood and liquefied trash.

People keep telling me that it's all in how you prepare it. Well, I've eaten it, prepared by the same people who keep telling me that. Still disgusting. I've also heard that corn-fed Illinois deer is better than acorn-fed Missouri deer. I've had both Illinois deer and Missouri deer, both are equally disgusting.

As for wild turkey, I was only able to eat a chunk roughly the size of my thumb. It was... OK, I guess?

So what's your take on wild game?

Poll to follow.
  #2  
Old 10-02-2019, 10:53 AM
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Venison: it varies, I've eaten it on and off all my life. Depends on the recipe (and requires a pre-soaking in vinegar and water before cooking.) . I've cooked thin steaks in beer, an onion ring, a green pepper ring, and some peppercorns, and made sandwiches on hard rolls, with A-1 - delicious! Other things, venison is too darn game-y no matter what you put it in.

We were gifted a long, skinny wild turkey, long ago. I didn't know any better and just bunged it in the oven like any other turkey. Mistake! It was too dry and very TOUGH. But it tasted like turkey all right.

I made a stew from some collops of .... mule deer? antelope? that was from Arizona, that lived on things like sage? (memory is dim) - but the stew was just delectable! The meat was tender and delicious, not gamey at all. We look back on that meal fondly.

I had pheasant, also delectable, not unlike chicken, but mild and very fine-grained. Delicious! They raised pheasants at the prison out in the country and released the birds into the fields , I don't know if they still do that.

Once a year a sportsmans lounge had a wild game dinner with several choices, elk, moose, venison, bison....I can buy ground up frozen farm-raised game meat at the grocery store here. Since the countryside is being razed for strip malls and McMansions, there isn't so much hunting here, and those who do go hunting have to make a trip of it.
  #3  
Old 10-02-2019, 10:54 AM
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My vote would have been: Don't particularly like it, but if it's all that was available...

I had venison once. I wasn't impressed. To be fair, tho, it was the first time my mother had ever prepared it, and way back in those days, she wasn't the cook she eventually became. So maybe I'd like it now. But I'm not going to go out of my way to try it.

Does gator tail count as wild game? That was excellent!!!
  #4  
Old 10-02-2019, 10:58 AM
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I've had game meat gifted to me once or twice, but I probably don't have enough experience to really judge. I love the pheasant a friend gave me.

The venison I've had in restaurants (which is raised in captivity) was okay. Not my favorite meat. I far preferred the elk and antelope I've tried at restaurants.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:04 AM
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Sometimes it's good, sometimes not. A lot of that depends on what the game has been eating.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:11 AM
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I've taken my own deer and generally like venison. My experience is it's similar in taste to lamb, but a bit stronger. but it depends on the specific deer's diet and age. oh, and get rid of the fat. Deer fat is rank.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:13 AM
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Generally don't care much for it. OTOH, we ate off a moose my roommate bagged for quite a long time. It made great chili and amazing BBQ ribs!
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:16 AM
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NO!!
Sorry for screaming.
I have skinned, butchered and cooked every manner of beasties you can think of. Mr.Wrekker drags in all kinda crap.
I ain't eating none of it.
I want my food to be clean and government inspected. A nice purple stamp makes my mouth water.
  #9  
Old 10-02-2019, 11:30 AM
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Its OK, but I really have to know where the game was 'taken'. Some sites on the east coast that have been contaminated with toxic chemicals (but not cleaned up)
have small herds of deer that run across them.

I know that it's rude to look a gift horse on the mouth, but it's your life and ingesting toxic chemicals can shorten it.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:31 AM
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I used to really like venison. Then one time I ended up with 10 pounds of it. My wife cooked it twice a week for a long time and now I absolutely cannot stand the smell or taste of it.

Small doses are a probably a better idea.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:32 AM
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I like venison a lot. Had it a few times. Wild duck is pretty good, and alligator is good as long as they don't overcook it.

I have been expressly forbidden to cook/eat any of the squirrels I have killed as part of pest control around the house (they kept getting in the attic). My darlin' tells me that even if I take it to someone else's house and cook it there, we're getting divorced. I thought about asking if that included a campfire, but already felt like I was pushing my luck. It doesn't seem to make any difference that the recipe is in one of her cookbooks. That girl hates the entire rodentia order.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:47 AM
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I voted "I love it and eat whatever my hunter friends/ family bring to me." but that also includes "...and whenever I find it in the shops", because game meat (antelope, mostly) isn't hard to get here.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:53 AM
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I like venison a lot. Had it a few times. Wild duck is pretty good, and alligator is good as long as they don't overcook it.

I have been expressly forbidden to cook/eat any of the squirrels I have killed as part of pest control around the house (they kept getting in the attic). My darlin' tells me that even if I take it to someone else's house and cook it there, we're getting divorced. I thought about asking if that included a campfire, but already felt like I was pushing my luck. It doesn't seem to make any difference that the recipe is in one of her cookbooks. That girl hates the entire rodentia order.
Yep. Squirrels are rats with a better wardrobe. My kids and Mr.Wrekker love my squirrel dumplings. They beg me to cook it. Yuk!!
But, man I'm hungry. Tacos sound good. Corndogs even better.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 10-02-2019 at 11:54 AM. Reason: zo
  #14  
Old 10-02-2019, 11:58 AM
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Elk, boar, pheasant, rabbit (wild and raised), venison, squirrel, grouse, and turtle.
  #15  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:53 PM
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I've had venison, hare, pheasant, buffalo. I was also supposedly served bear once, but I've always wondered if they were telling the truth.

They were all good, but I was expecting pheasant to be much more flavorful than it was.

I'd have venison, hare, and buffalo meat more often, but I have to scour the butcher shops in the GTA to find them.
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  #16  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:56 PM
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Best so far: wild grouse

Good: venison, squirrel, antelope

Don't much care for: rabbit
  #17  
Old 10-02-2019, 01:10 PM
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I've had good venison, and bad venison.

Didn't care for elk, the one time I had it.

The one time my dad bagged an oryx, the steaks were rather rank, but the sausage was good.

The one time I had bison, it tasted just like beef to me.

Didn't care for the rabbit, but I don't think it was cooked properly.

Dipped in batter and deep-fried, the rattlesnake tasted just like chicken.
  #18  
Old 10-02-2019, 01:32 PM
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My wife and I were in Ogden, UT, this summer and stopped in a restaurant we were walking past because it offered grilled elk, so we gave it a try. Delicious.

This was a very high end restaurant, which probably could have made the napkins edible, but a few weeks later we were in Buffalo and had lunch in a pub. They had elk burgers, so we had to give them a try. Again, delicious.

They were even better than the Water Buffalo burgers we had in Rochester, and we went back for more of those.

We get venison steaks from Wegmans all the time.

We've also tried ostrich, bison, rabbit, and goat with good results.
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Old 10-02-2019, 01:50 PM
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Venison is probably the one I like the least even though it's the only one I hunt. I grind the whole deer into sausage with a box of bacon ends and trimmings. I love the sausage and found that if I froze steaks or roasts I'd never get around to eating them. I'd rather have yummy sausage than freezer burnt back strap.

Brown bear, black bear, Dall sheep, mountain goat, bobcat, caribou, elk, beaver, goose, duck, crane, pheasant.... I like all of them a ton more than venison.
  #20  
Old 10-02-2019, 01:55 PM
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It's not only how the cook prepares it: it's also how it was dressed out, and how long and under what conditions it was hung.

If you've had wild game that tasted terrible, it's possible that you just don't like game (which usually has a more distinct flavor than domestic species meat, especially than domestic species that have been confinement raised and generally are pretty close to tasteless). And it's possible that the animals had been eating someting that gave the meat a bad flavor. And you do need recipes that work with what's usually tougher and leaner meat. But it's also possible that whoever did the hunting didn't handle the carcass properly.

I voted that I like it and eat whatever my hunting friends bring me -- but if there had been an option, I'd have voted that I like it if it's been handled right.

Last edited by thorny locust; 10-02-2019 at 01:56 PM. Reason: close and lose are not the same word
  #21  
Old 10-02-2019, 05:14 PM
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Too many variables to answer one way for all game. I've had great game, I've had horrible game.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:27 PM
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Don't like it, but there was no response between Neutral and Disgusting, so I said Take It Or Leave It.

Best game I've ever had was in the Alps and my relatives there said "We just shot this today, and got the chef at the hotel to prepare it. So it shouldn't be too gamey".

It was the least gamey I've ever had...

... which was still gamey.
  #23  
Old 10-02-2019, 05:35 PM
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I voted "I love it and eat whatever my hunter friends/ family bring to me." but that also includes "...and whenever I find it in the shops", because game meat (antelope, mostly) isn't hard to get here.
The game meat I had in Newfoundland was good. And it's the only place I know of on this continent where you can actually get it in a restaurant (which is where I had it).
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:36 PM
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I think the only time I might have had wild game as an adult was at a restaurant in Estonia. We were served a variety of sausages, including one made from bear meat, which I assume must have been wild game (I'm not aware of anyone raising bears for meat anywhere). I honestly couldn't tell which one was bear and which ones were "normal" meats. Of course with many sausages the spices are the dominant flavor and probably masked any distinctive flavors the bear meat may have had.

As a teen we got some caribou meat a friend of my parents hunted in Alaska. My mom prepared it more or less like a pot roast; it looked and tasted almost like beef and I probably wouldn't have known the difference if I hadn't known what it was. It was maybe a bit drier and leaner than a typical cut of beef but other than that it was hard to tell.

I had venison a few times as a kid. My grandfather once sent us some venison summer sausage that I assume came from a deer he'd hunted. I liked it, but I think what I said before about spices being the dominant flavor with sausage applies here too. I also once had venison as a kid at a friend's house. That as I recall was kind of like pulled pork barbecue, shredded bits of meat covered in barbecue sauce. I remember liking that as well, but looking back it may have been because it was covered in barbecue sauce.
  #25  
Old 10-02-2019, 06:18 PM
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I think the only wild game I've ever had is moose (which several of my uncles regularly hunt), but I really like that.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:44 PM
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I voted "love it", but I'm throwing in the caveat that no matter how much a person likes wild game and no matter how skilled at cooking it every so often you're going to wind up with a carcass that tastes bad because wild animals are so much more variable than domestic ones. I suspect one (of many) reasons people domesticated animals was to take some of that variability out of the equation and make dinner time more predictable.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:54 PM
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Venison is great.

Squirrels, from what I've gathered, have some glands which absolutely must be removed prior to cooking, or you'll have to evacuate the entire block. Mom apparently did not know how to remove those glands.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:57 PM
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I think the only wild game I've ever had is moose (which several of my uncles regularly hunt), but I really like that.
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Squirrels, from what I've gathered, have some glands which absolutely must be removed prior to cooking, or you'll have to evacuate the entire block. Mom apparently did not know how to remove those glands.
You guys are eating Bullwinkle and Rocky!
  #29  
Old 10-02-2019, 07:13 PM
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Venison many times it's OK.
Wild turkey. One of the best things I've ever eaten was wild turkey cooked very simply on a charcoal grill by experienced game cookers.
Elk once. It was good. Also cooked by people that did it a lot.
Snapping turtle in soup. Too bland and chewy. Same people cooked it. If they can't make it great...?
Rattle snake. Really did taste like chicken but too much work picking it off the bones.
Squirrel, rabbit. A couple times, would eat again to survive, otherwise pass.

Last edited by River Hippie; 10-02-2019 at 07:14 PM.
  #30  
Old 10-02-2019, 08:18 PM
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Wild venison from coastal California is delicious. Much richer tasting than NZ farmed venison. I don't see the point of the farmed stuff, but I did start out eating wild venison, so YMMV. Backstraps are quite tasty, simply prepared with fresh herbs, maybe a little wine to deglaze the pan.

The best tasting wild ruminant meat I've ever had was Nilgai that someone brought back from an exotics hunt in Texas. He claimed it didn't taste much different than the Nilgai he shot somewhere in Southern Africa. Elk can be quite sweet. Believe it or not, so can squirrel.

Love wild ducks, even if I don't like cleaning them. Pheasant tastes kind of like an older, tougher chicken. With the caveat you have to watch out for bits of shot in the meat.
  #31  
Old 10-02-2019, 08:23 PM
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Wild rabbit is wonderful when prepared properly. Just tough and gamey enough to be interesting and fantastic in a stew or cacciatore. Rabbit is just about the only animal I actually hunt and even then, it's been a couple of years. I should go before it gets too cold.

Ever year, one of my many, many cousins will drop off a few big sections of Colorado and/or Wyoming big horn sheep. It's pretty tasty stuff but some of it is extraordinarily gamey. A little goes a long way but I can appreciate it's flavor.

Alligator did nothing for me. The way it was prepared, I was able to taste little more than breading and the texture reminded me of low grade pork shoulder.

Venison is ok but not worth getting excited about. It makes a decent stew but I'm certainly not going to bother with hunting one to get it.

On a dare, I ate several bites of what I'm told was possum. It was ground up, formed into a patty and too heavily spiced to taste much of anything. Assuming they weren't just pulling my leg and feeding me ground pork sausage, it was ok but not noteworthy. The same person also offered me some grilled squirrel. I actually saw him clean and cook it so it definitely was squirrel. I'd have to be really hungry to eat another one. Tough as an old boot, not enough meat to matter and smelled rancid minutes after he shot it.

I've never actually sampled any wild game bird with the exception of one small piece of pheasant about the size of my thumbnail (not enough to really taste or register any particular qualities). I've eaten farm raised ducks and geese. They're ok but not really relevant to this thread.
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  #32  
Old 10-02-2019, 09:49 PM
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You guys are eating Bullwinkle and Rocky!
And...loving it.
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:29 PM
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Elk burger used in Hamburger Helper stroganof is delightful!
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:34 PM
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Oh also, venison back strap is soooooo delicious and tender. Far more flavorful than cow filet mignon.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:09 AM
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Yes, delicious. The main animals that get off flavors from diet are supposedly fish eaters, like how coastal bears will eat rotten or dying salmon. Deer, elk, and the often and unfairly maligned Pronghorn antelope are delicious. My whole immediate family likes it, I even found a way (although with other meat ground in) to make antelope liver enjoyable to children.

The first animal I killed and the only one I let lie was a jackrabbit (i.e. hare) because I was told they "weren't good." I still regret that but was naive at the time. Next one years later I kept, definitely among the "gamiest" but one I'd try again, otherwise much like pot roast (recipe here).

There is a lot of cultural biases among hunting cultures. Here most people I know take everything home and butcher it themselves into many cuts. In other places out east, they may take it to a processor or turn the entire thing into burger or jerky. I like both of those things but I'd rather have a backstrap, salt, pepper, nothing else, medium rare.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:41 AM
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The best tasting wild ruminant meat I've ever had was Nilgai that someone brought back from an exotics hunt in Texas. He claimed it didn't taste much different than the Nilgai he shot somewhere in Southern Africa.
Eh? Nilgai are only native to India. Unless he shot and ate a rugby player...


...n/m, I see they do ranch them here - which is just dumb, they are an invasive species if they escape.

Last edited by MrDibble; 10-03-2019 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 10-03-2019, 04:36 AM
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I miss the option: I love it, and eat it in restaurants or from a supermarket/butcher.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:41 AM
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Eh? Nilgai are only native to India. Unless he shot and ate a rugby player...
...n/m, I see they do ranch them here - which is just dumb, they are an invasive species if they escape.
Nah, they've been there since the '30s and have been breeding on their own, 'gone native', at the King Ranch and a few other locations for decades. They are very susceptible to cold weather, even in South Texas and the rare freeze will kill off a lot of them. They are impressive looking - I've seen a few grazing along the shoreline while fishing in the Laguna Madre, but I've never had the opportunity to sample the meat. There are even more free range axis deer(another import from India) in Texas, with a similar history.

I love when a friend or neighbor gives me any kind of game. The diet of the animal and the way it is cooked(and sometimes aged) make the difference between a memorably delicious meal, and "shoulda made stew".
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:52 AM
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Some guy brought in shredded bear meat in a crock pot to one of our holiday lunches some time ago. The meat was black. It looked absolutely disgusting and I wouldn't even get close enough to smell it. Put me right off.

At our grandson's baptism last year, the other grandparents brought in crock pots of BBQ meat one made from venison, one from beef. Labeled them "Bambi" and "Bessie". If you're going to bring game to a potluck, please be kind and label it so the unwitting other guests don't get sick thinking about what they ate.
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:08 AM
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It's fine. I don't go out of my way to eat it, but if it's served to me I'll eat it, and if I see it on a menu I'll at least consider it, with equal weight as chicken, beef, and pork.
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:39 AM
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For some reason, hunting has been on my mind this morning
Any idea how hunting was regulated during WW2?
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:34 PM
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Eh? Nilgai are only native to India. Unless he shot and ate a rugby player...


...n/m, I see they do ranch them here - which is just dumb, they are an invasive species if they escape.
Texas is a "special" place. There are tons of wild populations of exotic game that has been there for a long time. New Mexico has wild gemsbock and Maryland Japanese sika deer. And of course one of the most iconic game animals is from around China - the common pheasant.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:55 PM
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It depends upon the type of animal and who took care of the handling and processing of the meat.

Beef is typically grain fed for a period before slaughter. People rave about grass fed beef but to me that tastes off, and gamey.

Venison and elk meat: The fat must be carefully removed and all the little glands. That is where the gaminess is. When you want to grind hamburger with these a lot of beef suet is used, not the wild fat. And since the meat is very lean it makes poor, mealy, burger if you don't add the beef suet.

Bear is greasy and tough not matter what you do. But I have heard that cougar is a good meat, I have not tried that.

Once the animals are killed/hunted it is important to skin and cool the meat down soon. The guts must be removed almost immediately. People who drive around with an unskinned deer to show off are ruining the meat. Antelope and goats are particularly susceptible to this. If you are out camping away from your cooler or storage area, skin it and hang it in a tree to cool down. You want to get the body heat out of the animal. You can re-bag it to bring it home, once it is cooled at least to ambient temperatures.

Once you harvest a game animal, that is when the real work begins. How and who performs that part is critical to the flavor of what you end up with.

And they are what they eat. A white tail deer from the mid-west eating acorns, apples, and field grain is going to taste much better than one from a wilder area.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:57 PM
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I've only had deer stew, and it was delicious.
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Old 10-03-2019, 01:30 PM
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You guys are eating Bullwinkle and Rocky!
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Originally Posted by BobLibDem View Post
Labeled them "Bambi" and "Bessie". If you're going to bring game to a potluck, please be kind and label it so the unwitting other guests don't get sick thinking about what they ate.
Someday, I wish Disney would make a cute-baby-animal movie where the cute baby animal is a carnivore. Did The Fox and The Hound address the issue? Depending on your point of view, The Lion King either sidestepped the issue, or took the coward's way out.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:03 PM
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Nah, they've been there since the '30s
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Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
Texas is a "special" place.
I was referring to the one being shot in Southern Africa. Which, unlike Texas, has plenty of native antelope of its own, so importing an Indian one struck me as weird. Although apparently it happens.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:40 PM
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Grew up hunting, can hunt no longer but I still like game. It all depends on if it is dropped with one shot or runs - adrenaline and panic hormones make game taste nasty, I refuse to try any form of catfish farmed or wild as it all tastes muddy to me. I dislike tiny fishes and really oily fishes like mackeral [blargh, cats can have it, as long as I don't have to open the cans] because it all tastes rancid to me. I like fresh water fish if I can turn it into mousseline or quennelles because I got a bone from a perch stuck in my throat when I was about 5 and now I am paranoid about bones.

I have made the family cabbage soup [rischert] with pretty much every farmed or game meat [including frog, snake, crocodile and wild caught salmon. Never again on the salmon.] While I prefer it with some form of dead pig it is excellent with squirrel, rabbit and wild duck. I can't wait to move out west, I want to have a go with some javalina. mrAru and I want to go on a guided moose or elk hunt every year to fill a freezer - I can see we will be popular - just guide us to the first legal target, we are not into trophies, just meat, bones and hides =)

I have never had bear, I want to try it, same with javalina. I have done the fishing thing for anything one can catch in Lake Ontario and environs, off the coast of Virginia and both gulf and ocean Florida. Done the diving thing getting my open water 1 and 2 we also scrounged fresh aquatic life for sashimi on the dive boat off one of the islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, and I remember harvesting some mussels off the rocks, and I have clammed here in Connecticut even though I can't eat them, ditto coquina on the beach at Casey Key in Florida, and I liked crabbing in Virginia a lot and sort of miss it.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:59 PM
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I refuse to try any form of catfish farmed or wild as it all tastes muddy to me.
Like about deer above you have to remove the fat. It looks like it should be good meat but it's not. Often commercial butchers don't. Also smaller specimens taste better. After that, it may still not be to your taste, but most of the muddy is gone.
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:04 PM
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I've only had deer stew, and it was delicious.
I had reindeer stew at the "Santa Claus" farm on the Arctic Circle in Finland. The meat was ground instead of in chunks, and the gravy was thick and brown. Very tasty!

Reminds me of the story about the Soviet troops who captured a Finnish field kitchen during the Winter War of 1939--40. They were chowing down on all the high-fat goodies the Finns ate (Red Army soldiers were basically supplied with bread and tea rations) when an artillery strike came raining down on them. Ouch!
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:35 PM
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Well, if we're counting wild-caught fish as wild game, all the goddamn time before moving away from Newfoundland, often caught it, myself. Mostly trout and salmon.
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