People hunt for a variety of reasons: the sense of accomplishment, the thrills, the meat, and also the memories of hunting with friends and family. One of the biggest benefits to hunting is the quality venison that they eat or if they on far away trips, they will donate it to local soup kitchens or food banks. However, people don’t generally think of venison as a replacement for other meats, like beef, in their diet. Putting wild game on the table and providing sustenance for your family is hugely rewarding, but are there other benefits to eating venison? How does it stack up to beef in nutrition and taste? Here’s a side-by-side comparison of venison and beef.
While venison and beef contain many of the same vitamins, venison has a slight advantage over beef in vitamin content. This Livestrong article calculates that venison contains more thiamine and riboflavin than beef, a little less niacin and vitamin B-6, and the same amount of vitamin B-12. While beef does have more minerals overall, venison is still a good source of the same minerals beef provides, including iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Venison is a leaner meat than beef, which makes sense considering the active lifestyle of a wild deer in comparison to that of a domesticated cow. It is lower in calories and lower in cholesterol than both beef and poultry. Also, in most cases, venison is also higher in protein.
Taste is, of course, subjective and, certainly, some people do not like the taste of venison. The flavor of venison is heavily impacted by how the meat is handled immediately after harvest and especially by how it is prepared and cooked. If venison is processed and prepared correctly, chances are you won’t even be able to taste much of a difference or may even come to prefer its flavor over beef. In fact, Alex Robinson from Outdoor Life conducted a blind taste test where venison beat beef 8 to 2.
When you talk about food safety with venison, people immediately jump on the issue of chronic wasting disease (CWD). Currently, there are no known cases of CWD being transmitted to a human being. On the other hand, there have been documented cases of humans contracting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the human version of mad cow disease) from infected cattle.
Deer live a life free from artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals or medicines that may be employed for use in commercial animal production operations. There is one special risk associated with deer meat and that’s residual lead from the bullet, assuming the deer was killed with a gun. Of course, if you take the deer with a bow then you don’t have to worry about this. For deer taken during rifle season, hunters can mitigate the risk of ingesting lead particles or residue by cutting liberal margins around bullet entrance and exit holes when butchering their deer.
Besides the obvious health benefits, eating venison is important to the balance of nature. It has been well documented that hunting is one of the most efficient and effective ways to keep deer populations within a sustainable carrying capacity for the local ecosystem. The annual reduction of deer population helps to decrease deer-vehicle collisions, which account for hundreds of human deaths each year.
Becoming self-sufficient through hunting and butchering your own deer meat increases your sense of independence. Knowing that you don’t have to rely on a grocery store to provide yourself and your family with a healthy, safe and great tasting (renewable) natural resource is an incredible feeling.
What do conservationists think about hunting animals for sport?
Sounds like a simple question with a fairly obvious answer.
But, if an open letter from a group of 133 scientists is anything to go by, the argument may be more nuanced than many of us may have thought.
They claim there is “compelling evidence” that a ban on so-called trophy hunting will not help protect animals – and in fact will “negatively affect” conservation.
They wrote the letter as the UK Government considers whether there should be new rules on importing hunting trophies.
One of the signatories, Dr Amy Dickman, talked it through with Radio 1 Newsbeat.
She’s very clear that she’s not a supporter of hunting – but she and her colleagues are worried that if it’s banned completely, huge areas of land will be converted to other uses and cease to be a habitat for these species.
“Rather than have a knee-jerk emotional response, conservation action should be based on evidence,” she told us.
The scientists say the focus on banning trophy hunting – where animals are hunted and their remains kept as trophies – is distracting attention from the other threats faced by endangered species.
Imposing a complete ban is likely to likely cause “more animals to die”, according to Dr Dickman, a conservationist at the University of Oxford.
“You might not see it on social media, but animals will be dying – ensnared, poisoned or in conflict with local people.”
She says her aim is to “minimise” overall deaths and that can’t be done “by fixating on one type of wildlife killing”.
“It’s not a win if we say ‘look, we’re going to reduce the number of animals killed through trophy hunting’ but then the unintended consequence of that is we end up with far more animals killed through illegal killings and habitat loss.”
According to the scientists, ending trophy hunting means land will be converted to other uses, and will no longer be home to many animals.
Dr Dickman says “in areas where you don’t have the trophy hunting and tourism, you don’t have an economic reason to maintain wildlife”.
“I don’t like trophy hunting, but what’s the alternative land use for this area and is it going to be better or worse for wildlife?”
Opponents of hunting suggest photo-tourism as a substitute – but Dr Dickman says many places do not have the infrastructure to turn land into attractive animal viewing areas.
“So if maintenance isn’t viable, you’ll end up with more snaring, hunting, killing, conflicts… and those will be more damaging to the population.
“That’s the scientific basis and why trophy hunting can be a benefit – because it act as a buffer against these much larger threats.”
The scientists say they are in favour of well-regulated trophy hunting – and guidance by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) should be followed.
Dr Dickman says it’s not about relaxing all restrictions “and having a free for all”.
She says only trophies which meet certain criteria should be allowed to be imported and adds that “an age and area based approach” should be taken to trophy hunting restrictions – which is better for conservation.
“With lions for example, you don’t want want more than one lion killed every 2,000 square kilometres.
“And the science shows if you only take male lions above the age of six, it’s unlikely to have a detrimental impact because they should have reproduced and pass on their genes by then.”
She adds that this has been successful in places such as Mozambique because trophy hunters change their behaviour and only take older males, meaning it has less impact on the wider population.
There’s been criticism of the scientists for this letter.
Eduardo Gonsalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, said:
“Many of the world’s wild animals are in danger of extinction. Trophy hunting is a leisure activity for the very rich. It is needlessly adding to the problems they already face.
“It’s a barbaric hang-over from the colonial era and has no place in a civilised society. It needs to be abolished.”
But Dr Dickman says it’s important to “develop fully funded alternative solutions that deliver equal or greater benefits for people in wildlife”.
“If we leap to the end, and just put bans without proper steps, the huge likelihood is that we will make things worse for conservation, and for local people – and none of us want that.”
Update 3 December 2019: In October the Science journal published declarations of interest from the letter’s authors. These included Dr Amy Dickman, who is the Director of the Ruaha Carnivore Project, which has been funded by phototourism (Asilia and Nomad) and in the past from the Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International.
A Montana man told authorities that he cut off a grizzly bear’s claws as a memento after shooting it in self-defense because he was mad that the bear was going to eat him, according to court records.
Bryan Berg, 35, appeared in court last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Missoula after pleading guilty to illegal transport of grizzly bear claws, a misdemeanor, according to the Flathead Beacon. A judge sentenced the man from the northwestern Montana town of Marion to three years of probation and ordered him to pay $5,000 in restitution.
Grizzly bears in northwestern Montana are classified as a threatened species.
Prosecutors said Berg shot the bear in self-defense in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in 2017. He cut off its claws and pushed the carcass over the side of the mountain.
Berg never reported the shooting to law enforcement and he later took the bear claws to Washington state, prosecutors said.
Acting on a tip, authorities interviewed Berg in March 2018. He admitted he shot the bear in self-defense, handed over the claws and provided investigators with photos and videos of the scene, according to records.
He added that he didn’t report the incident because he was “terrified” and said he knew taking the claws was illegal. “I was hoping I would never run into you two,” he told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents investigating the case.
Berg was also charged initially with failure to report the shooting of a grizzly bear within five days. That charge was dropped as part of a plea deal with prosecutors Berg signed in December.
Korth makes spectacularly great double-action revolvers. Co-developed by Nighthawk Custom and Korth, the new NXR handgun features a 6-inch stainless barrel inside a black DLC-finished shroud and frame, over-travel-adjustable trigger, fully adjustable rear sight, and interchangeable front sights.
An under-barrel balancing and recoil-taming weight is user-removable. The double-action is silky smooth, and features a perfectly brief indent at full hammer extension with the cylinder fully locked up, so you can squeeze to that point, then hold till ready to fire and drop the hammer with a single-action-like feel.
You can order this action in one of five settings, tuning that “indent” to suit your preference perfectly. The single-action trigger is tuned to break at 2.5 pounds. The walnut grip is nicely contoured to fit your hand and features the legendary Sheriff Jim Wilson’s signature at the base of the grip. The cylinder release is located near the hammer, enabling the shooter to activate it without breaking his grip. Picatinny rails atop and below the barrel enable simple accessory mounting.
This revolver would make an ideal heavy hunting handgun, and with a scope mounted atop would provide plenty of range and firepower. You’re going to pay as much as you’d hand over for a used car, but trust me, this handgun is spectacular.
• Finish: DLC Coated
• Caliber: .44 Magnum
• Weight (Empty): 3.05 lbs.
• Barrel Length: 6″
• Overall Length: 11.65″
• Width: 1.72″
• Height: 6.38″
• Cylinder Capacity: 6
• Barrel: 416R
The Korth NXR has an MSRP of $5,299. For more information, visit nighthawkcustom.com.
A “bloodthirsty” American tourist has been condemned after posting pictures of herself with a dead stag and of her gore-covered face during a trip to Scotland.
Rebecca Wolfe Spradley was branded “vile and disgusting” after sharing the gruesome photos from the trip she went on in December.
The row comes after the backlash in 2018 against American TV presenter Larysa Switlyk, who was also slammed for glorifying her hunting trip to Islay.
Now a petition has been launched in an attempt to ban Rebecca, from Florida, from ever returning to Scotland, where many say she is “not welcome”.
The gory photos in question show Rebecca with animal blood smeared on her face.
Others show her stalking prey and smiling next to the body of a dead stag.
The mother-of-three had posted the images advertising her new role as a booking agent for hunting company, Direct Sporting Lets.
She and husband Brannon are big hunters and Rebecca regularly posts online about her kills.
She shared the photos with the caption: “As many of you know, I just returned home from the Highlands of Scotland after an unimaginably wonderful experience hunting Highland stag.
“Since my return, I have had so many of you reach out to me about booking a Stag hunt in the highlands of Scotland and I’m trying to go through all my messages to respond with a price list!
“I don’t want to miss anyone so if your interested in booking your own trip of lifetime, reach out to me as I’m excited to announce I have become a US booking agent for @directsportinglets.
“Brannon and I plan to return to the highlands next October and we would love to have you join us!”
However, her post was met with fury online.
Alexandria Chilton wrote: “You are not welcome in Scotland. Do not come here Scotland doesn’t want you killing our beautiful wildlife.”
Kirsty Reed added: “This is horrible. You’re not welcome here in Scotland to hunt our beautiful wildlife. They should be protected from people like you.”
GR Murray commented: “Can’t wait for next October when you are over. I’m sure there will be plenty of locals wanting to give you a warm welcome and the famous Glasgow kiss.”
And Gillian Greig shared a link to the petition against Rebecca saying: “Vile and disgusting. Get out of our country you blood thirsty cow.”
Despite initially dismissing the backlash, Rebecca appears to have deleted her official Facebook account.
However, the images are still visible on her personal profile.
According to the Scottish Government website: “Deer can be taken during daylight hours by those with permission and, at night, by those with both permission and the appropriate authorisation from Scottish Natural Heritage.”
Many who support hunting argue that it is an effective means of culling the deer population, which has doubled in Scotland in the last 50 years.
According to Scottish Gamekeepers, country sports are worth around £350 million to the Scottish economy.
However, back in October 2018, TV presenter hunter Larysa Switlyk sparked outrage for posing up with dead stags and sheep she had killed on the Isle of Islay.
Many also mocked the big game hunter for choosing to hunt goats and sheep.
Many famous faces came out to condemn Larysa, including BBC radio presenter Nicky Campbell who branded her: “A twisted sicko”.
Friday is the deadline for lawmakers to file legislation in Virginia, which means we have three more days for legislators to introduce even more bills attacking the right to keep and bear arms, as well as the longstanding traditions of rural Virginians.
Some of the latest bills to be introduced do exactly that. HB 960, for instance, would impose a new tax on firearms and ammunition in the state, with the proceeds going to hire school counselors and psychologists. I’m certainly not opposed to more mental health counselors in our schools, but this seems like something that the entire community should be paying for, not just gun owners.
Besides, since the goal of gun control advocates like Del. Mark Levine is to reduce the number of legal gun owners, it seems odd that he would try to raise the funds for additional counselors by tapping into what he hopes will be a declining revenue stream. My suspicion is that this has less to do with raising money for school counselors and more to do with making it more expensive to exercise a constitutional right.
Prohibits a dog owner from allowing his dog to run at large on the property of another after the landowner has given notice to the dog owner to keep dogs off the property. The bill provides for a civil penalty of $100 per dog enforced by animal control, conservation police, and other law-enforcement officers and a civil penalty of $250 per occurrence for a second or subsequent occurrence. The bill contains an exception to the penalty if the dog’s owner or custodian releases the dog on property measuring 500 acres or more that is owned or leased by him or on which he has written permission to hunt.
The bill provides that the release of a hunting dog on a public road or on either side of such road within 100 feet of the centerline is a Class 4 misdemeanor. The bill also requires a hunter of game other than fox or raccoon, when going on prohibited lands to retrieve his dog, to obtain the permission of the owner or occupant of the property before entering such prohibited lands. A violation of such is a Class 4 misdemeanor.
Finally, the bill makes it a Class 4 misdemeanor to discharge a firearm or bow within 75 feet of either side of the centerline of a road. Current law prohibits such discharge in or across any road, within the right-of-way thereof, or in a street of any city or town. The bill includes technical changes.
There are lots of guys who hunt with dogs where I live, and if you’re one of them, it’s absolutely a way of life. I’m not, so it’s something I tolerate, even when their hounds come baying across my fields and get distracted by my goats or chase after my chickens. My attitude is I chose to move here, and this has been a way of life far longer than I’ve owned my farm. I have my no trespassing signs, but every now and then I do end up going out and talking to a hunter parked on my driveway or at the edge of my property.
Other rural residents are not as tolerant. They can’t stand the dogs running through their woods and pastures, and they get concerned when they drive by hunters on the side of the road who are waiting for their dogs to drive a deer out into the open shoulder where they can take a shot.
It’s a divisive issue in rural Virginia, and the fact that northern Virginia Democrat Dave Marsden introduced the bill instead of a more rural representative will only deepen the divide. Back in 2017, a similar measure offered by the Republican Speaker of the House was narrowly defeated in a 48-47 vote. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say this year the proposal is likely to pass, despite the bill’s inability to address several issues, including what happens to the thousands of hunting dogs in the state if you can no longer hunt with dogs?
We may very well see more bills like this dropping in the next couple of days as the filing deadline approaches. In the meantime, if you’re a Virginia gun owner make sure you’re keeping up the contact with your state senator and delegate and urging them to oppose Ralph Northam’s agenda targeting the state’s legal gun owners.