Hunting for sport – and food

By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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I inquired of George deVilbiss as to a book written on the values that are passed down from father to son and daughter that come from learning to hunt and fish. Learning to deal with the wiles and wonders of the great outdoors is as old as mankind. The art of hunting and fishing were originally taught to feed oneself, one’s family, or even one’s tribe or village. The idea of trophy hunting and fishing came into existence when improved economies made it no longer necessary to pursue game for food. It then became sport. This is not to imply hunters and fishermen today don’t eat the game they catch or kill, they do, but the necessity of it isn’t as great now as it once was. But, because of a book George brought to my attention, hunting and fishing for food may be coming back. Being someone who grew up in Wyoming, hunting and fishing for food was not uncommon. Elk and deer meat were common fare and most had a favorite recipe for trout. In fact, eating game got me through my first year at the University of Wyoming. My family did a lot of hunting and fishing, and my roommate’s family owned a farm. He brought the vegetables to school and I brought the entree. We were able to get through school on just the money we earned over summer vacation. The book, “The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food” by Jackson Landers, an outdoor writer, is rapidly catching on. Landers grew up in a vegetarian family and said hunting for food is the next best thing to being a vegetarian. Being from Virginia, Landers sticks strictly with eating venison (deer meat). He said it contains very little fat and has no injected hormones or antibiotics. He likens it to the perfect dish for those who prefer organically grown. Landers said the success of his book comes from what he described as a sudden increase in people who want to learn how to hunt as a source of obtaining local food. That would translate into hunting as close to home as one could and still find wild game. The author also offers tips on reducing that “gamy” taste of wild game. He said that comes largely from the method used to dress the kill. He said if beef was handled the way some hunters go about butchering a deer it would taste gamy as well. DeVilbiss also had a good column on reducing the “fish” taste of trout in his last column. Without father’s passing down those secrets to their offspring much of this information gets lost. I would hope our economy doesn’t sink to the point families would go hungry if unable to bag a deer or catch a big salmon for dinner. But if it supplements the diet that’s good, and more wild meat in the freezer means spending less at the grocery store. Reducing demand for domestically grown protein could also help bring down the price of it. For more information on Landers and his book visit