If you’ve spent any time in the grocery store lately, you have likely noticed the eye-popping increase in the price of all things protein—from beef to pork to chicken. And you’ve probably also overlooked a possible alternative to those popular meats. Wild game. Before you roll your eyes and turn up your nose at the thought of harvesting or consuming wild creatures, hear me out. After a bit of research into the nutritional value of these meats and especially looking at their large overall local populations, I think you’ll be convinced they are a great alternative to the usual suspects on your dinner table.
Over the past few decades, Americans have been “force fed” diets to entice them to eat healthy foods. While this has been a nationwide phenomenon, many food experts point to the South as the region of the country with the most unhealthy people with the worst diets who ought to look at making changes. Without question, we Southerners love our butter, sugar, breads and desserts, but you might be surprised to find that some very healthy foods are prevalent in the South, too. Diets that include wild game, waterfowl and upland bird dishes aren’t just good for you, they are flat-out delicious too.
It’s pretty obvious that a wild-game diet would be more common in the South than in other regions of the country, too. After all, there are more hunters per capita in the South than anywhere else in the nation. And the availability of game birds and animals for harvest here is astounding when you consider the length of the hunting seasons and bag limits for various game and bird species set by federal and state governments.
Game and wild birds are popular with the hunting populous here in the South, including venison (Whitetail Deer), pork (wild pig), wild turkey, quail, dove, duck and (for the adventurous eater) even alligator and snapping turtle. Wild game meats, of course, arrive on the table with no preservatives, no added hormones, no genetically engineered DNA and no antibiotics—common additives to the over-the-counter meats we buy at our local grocery store. These animals and birds choose their own diets from available meats, grains and natural foods found in their habitat, and, as a result, their meat is very low in fat and high in protein.