Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Feb

Real Primal: Hunting for Dinner

From a reader email:

Mark,

Let me say that I thoroughly enjoy your web site and have been digging in to it since I discovered there are people and indeed a whole movement doing what I have believed in for quite a while.  I never knew I had such an untapped support group!  My search and practices started years ago after reading Paul Shepard’s “Coming Home to the Pleistocene” and of course Cordains “The Paleo Diet”.

My “beef” is this though-  I have seen on several sites, like yours, questions concerning cheap but good animal protein and how to obtain the best for your dollar; grass versus organic; free range versus yada yada yada…..

How about getting out and killing your own food?  That seems pretty Paleo to me….so that’s what we do in this family.  I’m not talking about the high tech, redneck, trophy hunter syndrome.  I’m talking about subsistence hunting- spiritual hunting.  Taking responsibility for ones hungry place in the natural world and reconnect..

Now we aren’t backwoods bumpkins, or survivalists fringe folks.  And I certainly don’t get all my meat from hunting- but for a family of three, we do supply ourselves with over 50% of our animal protein.  Whitetail deer populations continue to explode in this country and that is a great meat source- and contrary to some news reports- A LOT SAFER THAN COMMERCIAL MEAT. We usually will harvest 3 to 4 deer per year, which yields about 120 to 160 pounds of lean organic venison cuts.

It is a new skill and paradigm to a lot of your readers- but one that may come in handy in years to come.  It is not for everyone- but is certainly true to the Paleo lifestyle.  And being in the woods the past 18 years hunting every fall – (I bow hunt- less people, more solitude) is as spiritual and connecting a pastime as I have ever found.  There is reverence for my prey and the experience of not just looking at nature from a tour bus window, but being an active player in the circle of life.  Not to mention great Paleo exercise…..

In just about every state there are public lands, and timber company lands to hunt.  Resident state licenses and safety courses are cheap and available.

I know a lot of people will not be able to bring themselves to kill or have the time to take to the woods-but some do and would.  Death is a part of life- and no one survives without something else perishing- even the total Vegans are not immune.

We regularly hunt, process and freeze deer, wild turkey, rabbit, squirrel, a few ducks, and an occasional grouse here in Virginia.  So when you talk about our primitive ancestors and what meats may be similar for your readers, don’t leave out the option of getting out there and getting really primal and hunting.

Yours in great Paleo health,

Oh – the elk in the attached photo provided over 325 pounds of incredible protein for my wife, son and I….and I hiked more than 80 miles over 6 days at 9,000 feet in the Colorado mountains (on public land) to harvest him. For Colorado residents -elk are abundant.

Chuck Neely

______________________________________________________________

Thanks, Chuck, for the email. You make a great case for hunting, especially to those of us on the Primal Blueprint. You also gave me a great idea for today’s post.

I’ll admit – I’m no hunter. I don’t own a gun or a bow and arrow. I buy my (admittedly local, organic, and sustainable) meat. But the question Chuck poses is a fascinating one. Truly, what’s more Primal, more Grok-like, than stalking a wild animal for its meat? Poised over your prey, heart pounding, waiting for the perfect time to strike… the very idea feels raw, visceral, and utterly Primal. Pure. Man versus animal. Wit against brawn.

Now, I’ve done plenty of fishing. Spear-fishing, freshwater trout, dock fishing – pretty much whatever was available growing up in Maine. But spearing a fish isn’t quite the same as looking a warm-blooded mammal in the eyes and taking its life. That’s something you can’t ignore. If we’re pledging to live as Primally as possible, though, maybe it’s something we ought to try.

What do you think, readers? Ever considered going truly Primal and hunting your own meals?

It may not be feasible or even legal for some of our readers to hunt for their food. For one, if you’re going to hunt on a regular basis, it helps to live near actual wildlife (trees, too – they help). And it’s not the 19th century anymore; conservation laws prevent people from just going out and shooting any animal they can. There are limits. Hunting is now mostly limited to specific wildlife management areas, both federal and state-run, and you’ll need a permit and a license for most game. (Although vermin, or pests, can be hunted by anyone at any time without a permit or license. Wild rabbits and red squirrels are often classified as pests, but certain states have different classifications, so make sure before you start picking off bunnies.)

The Legal Stuff

Before you start hunting, you’ll need a state-issued hunting license. Most states divide licenses into several categories, each corresponding to a category of wildlife. License categories might look something like this:

Big Game: including white tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk, reindeer, bear, boar
Small Game: including hare, raccoon, opossum, rabbit, squirrel
Furbearers: beaver, red fox, mink, musk rat, bobcat
Predators: cougar, coyote
Upland game bird: grouse, turkey, pheasant, quail, dove
Waterfowl: duck, goose

Some states allow online licensing; others require prospective hunters to go to a physical location. The laws vary wildly, but this page with links to every state wildlife office will clear things up and get you started.

Most big game requires a “tag” for each animal harvested. Buying a tag allows you to hunt a single animal, and it fosters conservation and quotas. For smaller animals, there is typically a “bag limit.” A bag limit represents the maximum number of a particular species that can be in a hunter’s possession at any one time. Ducks, for example, might have a daily bag limit of six, meaning you could hunt and carry six ducks per day.

Where?

This map shows all the federal preserves open to hunting. Far more numerous are the state-run ranges. Again, check out the various state wildlife office links for more information.

What?

The most commonly hunted – and prolific – game is the deer. East of the Rockies, the white-tailed deer reins supreme; to the west, the larger mule deer can be found. Large, lean, and meaty, deer venison is a great source of protein. Its incredibly low fat content makes it easy to overcook, and some people even blend it with bacon fat to make deer burgers. The leanness makes it ideal for jerky (if you ever get your hands on some wild venison, try our jerky recipe).

The recent scare surrounding contaminated deer meat can probably be ignored. There’s no evidence that chronic wasting disease (similar to mad cow disease) can be transmitted to humans, and the few cases that did pop up originated in farmed deer. If you’re going Primal and hunting your own, you can rest assured your meat will be far safer than any farmed meat.

Moose, elk, wild turkey, duck, and rabbit are also popular animals hunted for their meat. Different areas are better for different animals, and most animals have specific hunting seasons, so check with your local wildlife office for further details.

Why Not?

Fresh, wild, organic meat by the pound? Four days in deep, desolate wilderness without bleeping car horns or smog or cell phones? A potential life and death struggle with your future meal? Plenty of vitamin D and Primal exercise?

Sounds somehow exciting and relaxing at once. Count me in!

Still…

There’s a lot to think about when considering hunting. Practical concerns (Do you have it in you to make the kill?). Cost-benefit analyses (is it cheaper to just buy local, organic meat from the specialty grocer or just go cowpooling?). You’d need a weapon, probably a gun, unless you practice your archery skills (and with a gun comes great responsibility – do you want to bear that?). If you’re successful, you’re going to have a lot of meat on your hands (Do you have freezer/storage space? Are you prepared to butcher an entire animal?).

Intellectually, I know that the truly ethical act would be to hunt, to kill my own food. As Chuck said in his email, it’s important to make sure you’re “not just looking at nature from a tour bus window, but being an active player in the circle of life.” I worry that too often we’re so far removed from the act of killing, of harvesting an animal for sustenance, that we miss something in the process. Whether we order an entire side of grass-fed beef from the local farmer, or pick up a package of flank steaks from the grocery store, we are totally removed from the fact that a life was extinguished to support ours. Now, I obviously have no misconceptions about where my meat comes from. I know animals die to feed us. That’s how life works and I’m okay with it.

So why haven’t I been hunting (not counting fishing, of course)?

I guess it’s the fact that, despite the Primal Blueprint and Grok and everything else, I’m still a modern guy living in a modern world surrounded by convenience and creature comforts. As much as we model our lifestyle on Primal man, are we really just watching “from a tour bus window”?

That’s a tough one. I’m not sure I have a good answer for that. But maybe being intimately involved in the entire process of hunting and harvesting our meals would make all subsequent meals even more satisfying. And the act of hunting – at least how Chuck describes it, stalking an elk for 80 miles over the span of several days – is the perfect Primal exercise (low intensity, constant movement, punctuated by bursts of energy). We talk a lot about mimicking Grok by running sprints and lifting heavy weights, but stalking an animal through the wilderness for days on end is exactly what Grok would have done (knowing myself, though, I’d probably do pull-ups on branches for extra work as I went along). It’s the real deal. You can’t get much more Primal than that.

I’m definitely intrigued. Maybe I’ll give hunting a shot (no pun intended) and step down from the tour bus. What about you, readers? Any hunters out there?

Further Reading:

It’s Time to “Get Real”

Insects: Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Rule #1 of The Primal Blueprint: Eat Lots of Animals and Plants

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Mark, I think you missed the hardest part of hunting when you summed it up… not making the kill… not having the responsibility for a gun… but cutting the thing up. If it didn’t freak out most amateurs, doing it right would at least pose a significant challenge. That said, this is something I have been thinking about a lot recently.

    Eugene wrote on February 5th, 2009
  2. A very interesting book that talks about the Primal/Spiritual blend in regards to hunting is Ted Nugent’s “Kill it and Grill it.” Some of the recipes aren’t purely primal, but there are some pretty neat stories in there, along with some perfectly fine paleo type recipes….

    CPT B wrote on February 5th, 2009
  3. Great stuff Chuck and thanks for posting Mark !! Ironic timing, as I was setting here looking at some venison (harvested on our family farm) and stewed tomatos (grown in my garden) I packed for lunch. Always enjoy your posts and thought provoking comments from the readers. Take care, RP

    RP wrote on February 5th, 2009
  4. Hi Chuck, thanks for this post, i love it!

    I’m originally from Louisiana and my whole family fishes and hunts. I’ve been fishing since i’m 4 years old and hunting since i’m 10 years old. Now i live here in TN. and the license differs from LA. Here in TN. I buy 1 License for 1 year, it’s a combination whether your fish or hunt of both. In LA. the licenses are separate.

    In LA. alot of people bring along a hunting dog to assist. Most of the time a beagle is used in LA. But, different kind of dogs are good for hunting different things.

    Even my 6 year old grandchidren love to fish, and at their early age are being taught the “safety” of hunting. But, it’s never too late to learn.

    I absolutely love the outdoors, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, i love nature! My favorite is to Bass Fish every chance i get, i love to be out on the boat on the water, there’s nothing like it.

    Personally, i know Nikon makes a great Rifle Telescope Lens, that’s why i own a Nikon Camera, In my opinion, Nikon Lens is excellent!

    Chuck, i do have a question, do you ever use hunting dogs, what’s your thoughts on bringing along a dog to assist hunting, it’s certainly popular in LA. Thanks-Donna

    Donna wrote on February 5th, 2009
  5. Chuck,

    We agree for the most part. As i said and you reiterated, hunting is not sustainable for any significant % of the population, and so is best left as a practice for a few. So, I understood everything you wrote, and I did agree. I’ve certainly enjoyed my time spent hunting with family and friends. It’s great to get away from electricity for a while.

    And hopefully anyone would agree hunting is perfectly safe if common sense is present in any reasonable quantity. Safer than driving to work? I agree. Safer than a PETA rally? Definitely. :)

    Game numbers at an all time high is easily refuted, however. american bison were once the most numerous animal on earth, and were hunted to near extinction and are now (thankfully) doing decently. Wild turkeys (estimated to once # ~20-30 mil low 30000, recent 6.5 mil), white tailed deer (low 300000, current ~30 million), etc… are not all at all time highs, but are certainly improving. conservation efforts, lack of predators, livestock for carnivores to prey on… the reasons will obviously vary from region to region. It is unfortunate that some species went extinct before conservation measures could be implemented on their behalf. They were probably tasty.

    Anyway, I have no problem with hunting and we agree on pretty much everything. My response wasn’t intended as a jab or criticism towards those who do hunt legally. I’m truly sorry if it came across that way. Don’t shoot me! doh ho ho. :)

    nathan wrote on February 5th, 2009
  6. No worries Nathan- love the one about the PETA rally! And yes the Bison would be a magnificent animal to hunt- but true, they are now a mere shadow of their old plains days.

    Chuck Neely wrote on February 5th, 2009
  7. I really like hunting birds. This fall I was torn, though. Every time I took off through the forest on my moutain bike I’d see so many grouse. But when I went grouse hunting with my shotgun, I’d see none, and wished I’d taken my bike out instead. So my husband got me a nice .22 pistol with a long barrel for more mobile bird hunting. I have a little holster for it on the side of my camelback pack, and had a great time mountain biking with the .22 in fall! It feels very strange to jump off the bike and run off into the forest with a gun and bike helmet still on, though! When I find chanterelle mushrooms too, that’s the best. It’s not a great workout when I am stopping like this for mushrooms and birds, but it’s hella fun. I don’t think I bear much resemblance to Ms. Grok with my full sus bike, fancy gun, headlamp and GPS. The instinct is there still.

    Danielle T wrote on February 5th, 2009
  8. Hey thanks Nathan and Chuck for addressing the population issue.

    Ever since I watched a Papua New Guinean on the Discovery Channel shoot an arrow into the side of a little pig and it ran around screaming in agony, I knew I would never be able to hunt unless I was absolutely starving and lost in the woods.

    Now granted, any one of those animals would take you out in an instant if it could. Nevermind the predators who might eat you for dinner, the bigger herbivores would stomp you into the ground and the smaller critters will shred your flesh with their teeth. So I’m well aware that this uncomfortableness with inflicting pain on another creature is not mutual. In my ideal world I would keep a domesticated supply of animals and slaughter them humanely myself if at all possible. But obviously again if I were in a situation where I HAD to eak out a life in the true wilderness, then yes I would hunt to survive.

    RBH wrote on February 5th, 2009
  9. RBH I understand and certainly dont expect everyone to be able to hunt- I dont like inflicting pain on another animal either. Thats why I strive to be an efficient, experienced hunter. Wild, free animals hunted obviously dont suffer compared to domesticated animals like cattle who spend their lives in captivity, getting pumped full of drugs, hormones etc. and then end up being trucked great distances under extremely insensitive conditions, to feedlots where they are packed in shoulder to shoulder and fed grain while standing knee deep in their own dung. Then they are run through the shoots to be killed and processed in questionable conditions. Lots of stress on those animals – then the public eats that?

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but as you think about that scenario more closely and how that commercial model applys to most of the world’s livesotck and poultry it makes hunting seem so much more humane for animals. They live free and wild and sure, they die at our hands- but there is reverence for the animal- or should be- and it is our duty to be very quick and efficient in the kill. I will take on that burden and that animal’s spirit becomes a part of me symbolically. I honor the kill by using all of that animal and trying to give back to nature, habitat improvement on my land, support for various conservation organizations and projects, and of course by not supporting the industrial argricultural model.

    Chuck Neely wrote on February 6th, 2009
  10. Eating is our primary relationship.

    Personally, I am rewilding my whole being.

    http://rewildkatuah.blogspot.com/

    Charly wrote on February 6th, 2009
  11. Chuck Neely needs a blog on his experiences! I would so love to read that!

    Paloma wrote on February 6th, 2009
  12. to the folks that commented they wouldn’t know where to start on butchering, a couple of ideas:

    one, my state’s conservation department (which administers the hunting permits) also has some great workshops where you can go with a conservation agent and a small group and learn a variety of these skills–finding and bagging game, cleaning and dressing, butchering, preserving and cooking. Lots of states have similar programs. My conservation department offers fishing workshops too, so if the whole animals-with-eyelashes thing makes you a little squeamish, start with the finned kind!

    Two, if you’re in an area with hunters, find an older hunter to mentor you, from a more subsistence-oriented generation, and you’re likely to learn a whole lot. Commercial processors often take a brute-force approach to butchering (read-power saws) that leaves the meat pretty mealy and tough; in the hands of an expert, there’s nothing better than fresh venison! The experts, in my experience, often come wrapped in overalls and aprons. :)

    Scooter wrote on February 6th, 2009
  13. Agree on the butchering issue, I needed help to do that with a bunny I hit with the car, also with the plucking for a pheasant.

    I’m an old country boy but have tended to leave the hunting to the Real Groks and just eat the game provided, we have Real Butchers here who get their produce direct from the hunter and the rest direct from the farm, a far cry from the intensively farmed supermarket crap in nutritional and flavour terms and I’m only two steps away from the originator, that’ll do me! Having said which, I am a pretty good shot, maybe I should see if one of the deer stalkers will take me out one day. Health & Safety regs will probably prevent me from being allowed to kill anything myself though. You probably have to complete a Risk Assessment before using a sharp knife nowadays, but strangely not before eating toxic food.

    Trinkwasser wrote on February 7th, 2009
  14. As far as how safe is hunting – the national average is about 4.5 hunting related shooting incidents per 100,000 hunters. to give that a little perspective the number of injuries for football is 250 per 100,000 players. So .hunting is very safe and the trend is that it is getting safer. All states require new hunters to be certified and pass written as well as demonstrate they can handle firearms safely. Another thing to look into for you gals is the Becoming an Outdoor’s Woman program and Women in the Outdoors that many states offer. Here in Vermont we offer a Becoming an Outdoor’s Family weekend with seminars on shooting, game processing and cooking and lots of woods lure training.
    Great post and comments. I’m a retired game warden, a hunter education instructor and life long hunter. Currently I have a moose, deer, duck, goose, squirrel and lots of fish in the freezer. All great eating and they all come with a great story!

    Eric Nuse wrote on February 8th, 2009
  15. Hmm- my own blog- that may be a distinct possibility…I will have to pick Mark’s brain a bit on that. Maybe coming soon to the Paleo movement- a “Grok does Camo and Goretex” blog or something along those lines!

    Chuck Neely wrote on February 8th, 2009
  16. Good day to all!

    Mark, Chuck, Lewis, and everyone else, you have hit upon some very important points. The moral certainty of being able to provide for yourself, the questions of whether killing is something you can do, the touch of the past and primordial in the hunt.

    This is one of the best commentaries I have read in quite some time.

    The net is full of helpful how to’s and though it is a little difficult to learn how to butcher an animal through pictures, there are a lot of folks that you can reach out to for help. Same goes for hunting, you might not get an invite to someones lease, but most of the time someone will point you in the proper direction.

    I’m in west central Florida and always willing to answer questions on hog hunting, and things of that nature.

    Regards,
    Albert A Rasch

    Albert A Rasch wrote on February 8th, 2009
  17. Chuck,

    Blogging is easy!

    You just have to have something to say!

    Regards,
    Albert

    Albert A Rasch wrote on February 8th, 2009
  18. Don’t limit yourself to wilderness hunting lands. Most farmers let someone hunt their land, if you ask that could be you. I know some who prefer those who are not locals because the locals know the game warden’s route and so they can cheat.

    In some states farm aid requires the farmer to allow hunters!

    Of course this is grain fed… Can’t have it all.

    Henry miller wrote on February 9th, 2009
  19. Awesome article. I’d love to go hunting someday, when I have more disposable income. Unfortunately at the moment I’m 21 and live in London, but someday I will. Does anyone here watch Ray Mear’s Bushcraft/Wild Food programmes. He also raises some interesting points about bushcraft and hunting, and how we are losing thousands of years of knowledge in these respective areas, and also our connection with food and nature.

    On a side note, I always wondered how Grok would be strong and ripped. However judging by the size of that deer in the image, you wouldn’t need a power rack and a set of olympic weights to get big, if you have to carry that majestic looking beast back to your home.

    Bob Smith wrote on February 13th, 2009
  20. A friend of mine bagged an elk here in AZ several years ago. He brought some rib steaks over to barbecue. The flavor of that lean cut was far better than any prime rib I had ever tasted.

    Dogbreath wrote on February 15th, 2009
  21. Great post Mark! I recently acquired a deer through a hunter friend of mine. I paid $65 (and a bottle of bourbon that I bought on my product promotion allowance from work…i.e., free) for about 30 or so pounds of Bambi burgers, steaks, roasts, and chops. Thus far, I’ve only dug into one of the steaks, but man, I pan-fried it (rare) in some butter and it was amazing!

    Learning to shoot a bow and arrow is next on my list of things to do. I’d like to be able to at least bring home some of my own food.

    Cheers
    Scott Kustes
    Life Spotlight

    Scott Kustes - Life Spotlight wrote on March 2nd, 2009
  22. Hunting, with a bow nonetheless… that’s seriously bad a$$! Mad respect. Hunting my own meat is something I will be doing in the future NO DOUBT.

    FitJerks Fitness Blog wrote on November 4th, 2009
  23. I’m coming a bit late into this conversation, but as an archer and bowhunter I have to comment on the assertion that bowhunting is inhumane and causes unnessary suffering on the part of animals.
    Any bowhunter who really considers himself/herself a bowhunter will practice shooting all year around, will become instinctual in aiming, and will readily pass up doubtful shots, either because of excess distance or obstructions from leaves/limbs, etc. Also, there is only one place to put an arrow, behind the front leg ideally going through both lungs and out the other side. This requires the animal to be broadside or quartering away. A hunter never shoots with the animal coming toward him. A good shot will result in the animal (ie: deer) dying within a minute or so, after running perhaps a hundred feet or thereabouts. This is far more humane than the fate that befalls cattle and pigs in commercial slaughter houses.
    After the kill and recovery, the animal must be gutted in as clean and antiseptic way possible, and the meat treated with the respect it deserves.
    I can only agree with most of the other posters with regards to organ meats. Yummy! My 3 cats like it too. Especially when we are butchering, bagging and freezing.

    Paul in FH wrote on January 17th, 2010
  24. I too am a latecomer to this conversation and had in fact scrolled down the comments to see if anyone addressed the issue of the humaneness of hunting with a bow as opposed to a rifle. I have the utmost respect for the arguments that hunting is more ethical than farmed meat, particularly intensively farmed meat; I think hunted meat will often be the ideal choice. However, if it’s correct that even the most skilled bowhunter can only guarantee the animal will die inside a minute, that’s still a minute of pain and fear for the animal. Surely an instant death with a rifle (assuming an equally skilled shooter) is a more humane option?
    Once again I have no argument whatever with hunting in principle, but I would like to see some discussion about this point.

    LV wrote on January 19th, 2010
    • Well I’ve been away for almost an entire year. I authored this post and its still my lifestyle. Mark, I am still a modern Grok! I will be sending Mark a new manifesto on true Grokism for 2010. I hope he posts it.

      And by the way- a well placed arrow is far superior in humane death to a bullet. I sympathize with posters and give them the benefit of not really knowing what they are talking about when they say a bullet is a cleaner death–not so. Accurate arrows kill with a quiet lethal action- massive blood loss quickly. Think of cutting yourself accidently with a sharp scapel- you don’t even realize how bad the cut is at first. A doublr lung arrow is humane and incredibly quick. Bullets produce massive foot pounds of energy and shock/trauma resulting in tremendous shock to the animal and tissue damage. Both bow killed and bullet killed animals die in about the same amount of time. I know- I have killed dozens and dozens of game animals with both tools. The only difference is with a good bow shot- they are dead on their feet so to speak- not even knowing they have been mortally hit in many cases. With a gun- the tissue damage is incredible- besides wasting a lot of good meat (usually shoulder and loin cuts) it has to be extremely painful for the animal compared to the low energy bow. Enough about that- dead is dead – then I eat. Long live the wlld beast and the wild men like me that chase them! Yours in health- Chuck

      Chuck Neely wrote on January 29th, 2010
  25. Not sure the percentage, but a good % of my meat comes from hunting. I wish it was more, but bills/taxes blessed with upon exiting the womb, keeps me out of nature more than I’d like.

    The good thing is… my ratio’s changing now that I no longer try and keep up with the Joneses (since becoming primal).

    I sometimes document my outings with photos & videos. Most of this can be found on my hunting tag:
    http://castlegrok.com/tag/hunting/

    Grok wrote on February 7th, 2010
  26. As a fellow bowhunter, I enjoyed reading this. I have gotten several friends into duck hunting now (in WA state) which has been rewarding to see them enjoy themselves.

    I am a firm believer in the idea that in order to eat meat, you should have an understanding of what it is to take a life of another living being. We’d probably have more vegetarians and a healthier populace if you had to kill something one time in order to be allowed to eat meat. We’d also undoubtedly take better care of our animals that serve as food.

    I think that hunters are some of the best conservationalists that I know and they are certainly more in tune with nature than your average day-hiker.

    As for the gun vs. bow debate, I agree with Pual from FH. A worse fate is taking a bolt to the head in a slaughterhouse after being packed into a feedlot for a few years. Hunted animals are almost always (in my experience) treated with respect and dignity.

    Curtis wrote on February 15th, 2010
  27. Can anyone speak to the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio one would expect to find in wild venison meat? I know in the midwest, the deer have plenty of access to corn (probably GMO corn).

    Jay wrote on February 18th, 2010
    • Wild game does not have the marbelling of fat which is found in commercial meat. In addition, I trim all visible fat off of my meat, as well as never cutting a bone. Some people complain of a “gamey” taste with wild game. Most of the time this taste comes from the fat or bone marrow. Avoid these and you can avoid the gamey taste.

      Sheldon wrote on April 7th, 2012
  28. As far as animal ethics are concerned, I think it is common for people to romanticize all primitive/tribal people as having some deep respect for animals.

    In the book The Forest People, by anthropologist Colin Turnbull, he notes how the Pygmy tribes in the African Congo would kick and laugh at the animals they killed.

    The idea of respect for animals is cultural or personal, and not something one gets simply from living like Grok.

    matt the artist wrote on April 4th, 2010
  29. Doesn’t have to be big game. Some of the best meat I’ve had was jackrabbit (using the German recipe for Hasenpfeffer).
    In fact, we’re heading out this weekend to get some jacks.

    Tom wrote on April 7th, 2010
  30. I’d like to respond to a comment made by Chuck on the relative suffering induced by being shot by either arrow or bullet.

    I have no argument with Chuck that a well-placed arrow results in a relatively painless death, but he is wrong in arguing that a similarly place bullet causes more suffering.

    While it may seem counter-intuitive, relatively pain-free bullet wounds are so common that many militaries train their troops to visually examine each other after any combat. As one of my older acquaintences told me, ” After running around the jungle for 20 minutes following the contact, when we pulled up, the patrol medic suggested that I check my leg as I had blood showing.” That check reveal a .30-calibre bullet hole through the thigh. He hadn’t felt more than a bump.

    Careful hunters cause insignificant suffering in their quarry, regardless of the weapon used. “Nature” causes far more.

    Peter

    Peter wrote on July 21st, 2010
    • I check back on my post from time to time and certainly follow Mark daily. So its cool to see folks still posting on hunting. And I’ll have to admit- Peter makes an excellent point here. I guess I should clarify that a “not so well placed” bullet would cause a lot of shock and tissue damage. If I had to be hit with a poorly placed shot- I’d rather take the arrow. More chance of that healing cleanly I think- than an expanding 30-06 bullet traveling at 3,000 ft per second. But hey- to each his own. I do agree also- either tool in the hands of a responsible, prudent hunter will bring great paleo protein to the table efficiently and humanely. My earlier comments were really a reaction to people saying bowhunting was somehow more inhumane than general firearms hunting. On an update note- my wife and I have moved back to the woodland homestead, checked out of corporate America for good, and are building our ridgetop home on 120 acres and looking forward to a simpler life, in tune with nature and full of wild game. I might even get around to starting that blog…..

      Chuck Neely wrote on July 27th, 2010
  31. Chuck if you ever do start the blog, let me know. Alex dot Woods at gmail dot com.

    Alex wrote on July 27th, 2010
  32. Chuck….

    Hunting generates enough irrational enmity from its opponents, without hunters deriding each other. I prefer other methods to bow hunting, but that does not prevent me from acknowledging the skill and dedication required to master the sport. My hat is off to you, Sir.

    On the subject of wounding game, I’ll say this. Firstly, that while uncommon, animals that have recovered from either gun or bow-shot wounds turn up often enough to demonstrate that critters are a lot tougher than many of us would guess. Secondly, I have not lost a deer after wounding it, but having had heart-shot deer run until they bled out, I have considerable doubt that “shock” plays as much part as we would like to think.

    I hope the non-hunters here will pardon the diversion into technical matters.

    Respectfully,,,, Peter

    Peter wrote on July 28th, 2010
  33. Most people would be very surprised to know that there is an untapped source of FREE wild game near them. What am I talking about? Most hunters DO NOT eat hearts, liver or any part of the kill that cant be made into meatloaf or country fried steaks.
    My local game locker pulls hearts and livers for me from selected small deer and doe. If the hunter dropping the deer off doesnt request these parts they cleaner pulls them and saves them for me. NO artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient, chemical preservative, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient. That’s it! No packaged feed, veterinary Rx, or growth stimulants. Raised without antibiotics or growth hormones.
    AND FREE!

    k stephens wrote on November 21st, 2010
  34. My freezer is full of deer.
    I hunt it..I eat it.
    GROK ON>>>

    DAVE PARSONS wrote on February 19th, 2011
  35. I’ve dreamed of hunting for years, but unfortunately I was raised by my mom. Women are emotional weaklings who think it is disgusting to kill animals.
    On the bright side, now that I’ve moved out I can start practicing to hunt again.

    Alex Good wrote on February 28th, 2011
  36. whoa steady there Alex Good! don’t tar all women with the same brush! I raise my own sheep, and while I get a professional to do the actual killing (right in the paddock) and processing (he has the right equipment and does it fast and clean), I stick around and watch the process. I have no problem with killing or death, it is just a part of life. I think it is far more respectful to be there at the moment of death of your animal food than to buy a packaged lump from the supermarket.

    Sam wrote on February 28th, 2011
  37. Gee, Alex. Not only do I wear a bra, I even wear it while I’m hunting.

    Gotta admit, hubby does the field dressing. He grew up hunting and does a fantastic, quick job. When he’s done, though, I have to grab a leg and help tote the carcass back. And help get it in the truck. And hang it from a tree.

    Hubby does the butchering (he doesn’t like my knife skills). I cook it and we all eat it. Yum.

    Dana wrote on February 28th, 2011
  38. Hey Alex Good, not all woman are the same, on any issue. Just as all men aren’t the same. I’ve been involved with raising animals for food, which involves slaughter, gutting and skinning. I think we all should know from whence our food comes.

    bbuddha wrote on February 28th, 2011
  39. Okay, I’ll admit I was wrong. My mom’s still pathetic though.

    Alex Good wrote on February 28th, 2011
  40. Chuck, great post! Well said.

    It’s great to see the discussion on this topic. Sadly, most “modern” people have no idea how and where their food is harvested. Just bring it to me in a package….

    I have hunted, trapped, spearfished and gamefished since I was a kid. I grew up on Catalina Island and spent my days chasing animals, camping, hiking, etc.

    There is a vaulable spiritual side to hunting and respecting your prey. The skills stay with you forever.

    My kids are now learning respect for the natural environment and respect for the animals and fish they harvest. You kill it, you eat it. Period.

    I have expanded my hunter side with the gatherer side becoming interested in wilderness survival and self sufficiency. I’m passing these skills along to my boys also.

    Primal Blueprint is great. Not quite a purist yet, I’m getting there.

    By the way, Bison is great meat. But think twice about harvesting one… I’ve participated in this years back. 2000 lbs of animal to process and freeze. Big job.

    Hang in there.
    Nick

    Nick wrote on March 2nd, 2011

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