What is the difference between Game and Bush Meat, Venison or Deer? Regardless what we call it wild caught food has a taste that brings high quality protein and new flavors to the table. In the suburbs we are over run by deer that eat or damage almost anything we try grow aside from grass and honeysuckle. Yet we are not allowed to hunt the deer. This is a structural issue that restricts our ability to harvest the natural bounty of our property. On the other hand in rural areas, deer are routinely harvested and provide an economical and environmentally friendly source of high quality protein. The picture below shows four braised venison shanks ready to be chopped up and added to a petite marmite along with some winter vegetables. Sounds expensive right? The same food could also be called boiled deer feet. Sounds gross right? Aside from the structural issues with hunting or terminology tells if we approve or not.
This particular deer was stealing corn at a friend’s rural hobby farm earlier this year. The structure of his environment allows for safe hunting and self-sufficiency. He acted as an agent protecting his crops and feeding himself. Although he is a well-paid, C-level executive he spends very little on meat: he can literally open his kitchen door and bag a turkey, deer, rabbit, or squirrel before work. He hangs the prey in his walk in refrigerator for later butchering. About ten of us had a great time making sausage, salami and other stuff out of this deer. This was a guys’s fellowship afternoon that was more fun than a bike ride, run or pick-up game of football. Should we criticize those who enjoy wild caught food and the fun that goes with it?
In the end the salami tasted great, we had fun, and a few weeks later I cooked a great dinner for my wife and family. Whether we call wild caught food game or bush meat, it tastes great, is environmentally friendly and an underutilized way of feeding folks in the North Atlantic Democracies. Why do we negatively view folks in less developed areas for eating wild caught bush meat? For many folks in the States it a great pastime and source of high quality protein.