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Gary Howey

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Wild Game a Healthy Choice By gary Howey

Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

December 14, 2022


Wild Game, like this venison hi-mountain seasoning venison pastrami have less calories, cholesterol and less fat.

(Photo courtesy of Hi-Mountain Seasoning)

At many of my presentations and seminars, I’m surprised by the people who don’t like the “Wild taste” of wild game.

  After making that statement, I ask them, “what does “wild” taste like, many times, they’ll come back indicting the fishy taste in certain fish, or the wild game taste in venison.

   The big thing you need to do is take care of the game before doing anything else, to process them properly, which means, getting the entrails out of the body, and letting the meat cool.

    At many of my presentations and seminars, I’m surprised by the people who don’t like the “Wild taste” of wild game.

   Just because it’s wild game or a fish, there are several things you can do to start out right, before you have it ready, to cool it as soon as possible, the better the meat is going to be.

  The big thing you need to do is take care of the game, before doing anything else, to process it properly, which means, getting entrails out of the body, and keeping It cool.

   According to “BUILT LEAN” web site, wild because they are raised in in their natural environment.

Take for instance, venison, venison meat is leaner than beef, as deer is wild and grass-fed, generally naturally leaner than cattle.

   Trimmed of fat, a 3-ounce portion roasted provides about 135 calories and 3 grams of fat. That’s only 1 gram of fat per ounce of meat.

  My dad and grandparents always cleaned the animal, pheasants, ducks, geese and deer as soon as possible allowing the inside of those to cool down as quickly as possible.

  They did the same thing with the fish they caught, gutting the fish and the filleting the meat off.

    For larger fish, such as catfish, I’ll fillet the fish and then put it in a plastic tub, run cold water over it until the yellow fat, no longer show up in the tub.

  A lot of the folks up north in Watertown, S.D. where I was raised, always soaked their game in salt water, which drew the blood from the bird or fish, leaving it overnight in the refrigerator until the thawed meat should be handled in the same way as fresh meat.   

  Be sure to thaw frozen meat properly, either in the refrigerator, in a microwave, or, if vacuum packaged, under cold running water, but never at room temperature.

When storing and handling meat, preventing cross-contamination is important. Prevent meat juice from dripping onto other food items in the refrigerator and clean all surfaces and utensils that come in contact with the raw meat or its juices with hot, soapy water and rinse well.

  Always cook raw game meat, birds, and fish to the proper internal temperature. This internal temperature needs to be reached or exceeded baking, roasting, frying, or boiling in order to destroy bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. When roasting meat and poultry, use an oven temperature no lower than 325°F.

  Cook ground meat to an internal temperature of at least 160°F, cook game bird breast meat to an internal temperature of at least 165°F.

 Use an instant-read meat thermometer to ensure that all meat has reached the proper internal temperature.

Over the years, and thousands of miles, we discovered numerous excellent wild game recipes, and included them in our Outdoorsmen Adventures Cooking Gone Wild cookbook, everything from waterfowl, upland game, venison and numerous other wild game recipes.

  Information in the cookbook can be found at www.garyhoweysoutdoors web page.








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