Eat Better. Help the Economy. Hunt Local.
Americans know the economy is deflated, waistlines are inflated and there aren't enough hours in the day to spend quality time with our families. As a result, many of us are looking for ways to save money, eat better and simplify our lives.
With food safety scares regarding meat, spinach, tomatoes and other foods still in recent memory, now is the best time to pay close attention to where our food comes from and try eating locally harvested foods.
According to James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., chief conservation officer for the National Wild Turkey Federation, there is no better way to support your local economy, get a jump on your New Year's resolution to eat better and know your food is fresh than to hunt locally and eat your catch.
"Hunters have hunted local game and provided savory, fresh turkey, venison, elk and fish for their families for hundreds of years," Kennamer said. "Wild game is healthier, and pursuing it is not only a chance to get outside and exercise, but it's an activity that can be done with the whole family — most of the time without ever leaving your home county."
For recipes that can be made with local meats and ingredients for Thanksgiving or any time, click here.
9 Reasons to Hunt Locally and Eat Your Catch
By: James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF's chief conservation officer
1) Wild game is all-natural. For example, wild turkeys feast on acorns, grasses, fruits and a variety of other plants instead of growth hormones or supplements, which are fed to many farm-raised turkeys.
2) Hunting and eating local food promotes regional uniqueness. You can buy frozen foods anywhere, but locally harvested wild game such as a turkey, deer, elk or fish will have a flavor all its own.
3) Heading outdoors to hunt and fish is great family time. Enjoying the outdoors as a family provides opportunities to mentor youth, carry on the outdoor tradition and create memories to last a lifetime.
4) Wild game is healthier. Because wild game scavenges in the wild for its own food, it gets more exercise than animals raised for commercial sale and is lower in fat. For example, wild turkey meat has roughly 2 percent more protein, a half percent less fat and slightly less cholesterol than farm-raised turkey meat due to its lower fat content. The quantity of fat is not only generally lower in wild game, but it is also healthier, since it contains less saturated or "bad" fat.
5) Hunting stimulates your local economy. Every dollar you spend while hunting and fishing in your area helps support not only hunt-specific jobs like meat processors and hunting guides, but also area businesses such as gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.
6) Hunting supports wildlife conservation efforts. License fees purchased by hunters and anglers fund conservation programs that help state agencies continue improving conditions for all wildlife and access to the outdoors.
7) Hunting locally saves money. You don't have to travel far to enjoy a day outdoors and harvest your own wild game. Times are tough, but chances are likely there is a spot nearby where you can hunt, fish or enjoy a day outdoors, saving gas money and time and decreasing pollution.
8) Wild game is more flavorful. Eating just-caught fish or fresh venison after proper processing will let you enjoy its natural flavor at the peak of freshness — minus any artificial flavorings or preservatives.
9) Heading outdoors is good exercise. You can burn 285 calories per hour by heading afield to hunt, or 175 calories per hour by casting a line — and you can hunt or fish near home.*
*This is an estimate of the calories a person weighing 125 pounds will burn. Generally, to maintain your weight, the amount of calories you take in should equal the amount you burn. To lose one U.S. pound, you must burn 3,500 more calories than you take in as food. — www.healthstatus.com