Animal Lovers Unite

By Glen Wunderlich
Outdoor Columnist
Professional Outdoor Media Association

I love animals. As a matter of fact, I’ve never had one that was properly prepared and wasn’t absolutely delicious. That even goes for a raunchy ol’ 4 1/2 year old Upper Peninsula buck I took in 1986 that I couldn’t stomach with my typical flash-fried approach. I tried to ease that wildness down my throat repeatedly but I ended up pawning it off to my black Lab mutant, Otis, who eup his nose to nothing short of onions and apple seeds – both of which he knew instinctively as poison to his system. (He’d chomp down whole apples and always spit out the seeds.)

My good friend, “Fast” Frank Kellison, brought over a pressure cooker and canning paraphernalia and that gamey gastro garbage was transformed into a gourmet delight. No kidding. Once in the jars, it took up no room in the freezer and was good for years. Any recipe that called for meat got the instant meal treatment of canned venison whenever I wanted. We still had a mess of venison to deal with from the 190 pounds of dressed deer, so we found a recipe for marinating meat in preparation for some tasty jerky. Once again, you would never have known how foul the stuff was before this doctoring duo did it up.

In Michigan’s southern counties, we are blessed with venison that is quite palatable without any French chef’s tricks. Fortunately for me, our mostly farm-fed game affords me some fine eating without all the masquerading fuss. Maybe it’s a guy thing; maybe it’s just me, but I am not one for slaving over the stove for anything. I don’t live to eat; rather, I eat to live and that means from freezer to microwave to skillet to mouth in a half hour or less. I guess it’s proper at times, but I despise spending an entire evening taste testing all manner of worldly delicacies at some fancy downtown-tablecloth-Miss Manners-affair, only to miss the big game on TV. It never ceases to amaze me how much people will shove down their throats – especially when someone else is buying – and then top it off with some debilitating dessert and wash it all down with a Diet Coke so they can keep their girlish figures.

I much prefer lean meals derived from the wild as opposed to any store-bought packaged or processed meats. According to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), I have it all wrong: “There once was a time when most Americans needed to hunt to put food on the table, but hunting today is a recreational pastime…”The HSUS believes that “causing suffering and death is by definition inhumane, regardless of method.” Its point is that killing is bad. Could it be that they can stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast? I wonder what HSUS members eat if they don’t have it killed for them first. It sure can’t be chickens, pigs, cattle, or fish. I’m sure the poor defenseless head of lettuce brimming with life would object to their plucking. Does it not live, as does the tiny alfalfa sprout? They claim doves are “hardly a viable food source…There simply isn’t much meat on them” but just how many sprouts must one kill to be satisfied? And, if plants don’t have feelings, how come we were encouraged to talk to them in the 70s?

Some time ago, our family was sharing a birthday meal in honor of our granddaughter’s 7th birthday at Bill Knapp’s. The kids ordered regular kiddie food and I ordered trout. When my meal arrived, fins intact, my granddaughter sitting next to me shrieked at the top of her lungs, “Grandpa! Grandpa! It’s a real fish!” I attempted to coax her into a sample but she’d have none of it. As long a fish comes breaded and square, it’s not real fish. And, burger that comes packaged in a bun isn’t really from an animal that had to be killed. The bottom line is that if we are going to eat it, it’s a good idea to kill it first. Just make mine wild and well done.