As whitetail hunters, we've all met at least one person who doubts or disapproves of what we do and why we do it. Although many arguments can be made against hunting by those who do not believe it in, one of the more common opinions has nothing to do with hunting so much as convenience. They simply ask us why we spend money on guns and ammunition or bow technology, put on all of our specialized gear, and go sit alone in the cold woods for hours on end when we could far more easily go down to the grocery store and simply by a steak. If your eyes widen with horror when confronted with such a question, you are most definitely not alone.
Perhaps it is because the average person has never had whitetail deer meat or any other wild game that prompts them to assume a grocery store steak is just as good or better. Maybe they don't give any thought to how venison is as natural and organic as it comes as opposed to beef from cattle that are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. Sure, disease is present in both species, but there is no evidence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) infecting humans whereas Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow Disease, actually has a human form known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). Although this alone is a powerful argument, it is only the beginning.
If you've gone to the grocery store lately to peruse the meat section, you will likely find that a dinner sized ribeye will set you back close to $20. Sure, that is a decent cut of meat and you'd likely enjoy it, but a large portion of what you're paying for will be fat in addition to meat. Suppose you have a family of several people to feed; you will then be looking at a much larger investment for one meat dinner, a lot of which could be discarded fat because not everyone enjoys consuming it. Add some drinks and veggies and before you know it, you've plunked down a good $100 or so on a single meal you had to cook yourself. The bigger picture doesn't make that steak so cheap after all. Instead you could spend that same amount of money for a hunting license, ammo, and gas to go hunt a deer that will feed your family for months. Sure, there is the initial investment of a gun or bow, but a good one will last throughout your lifetime. Hence, though the cow may win the convenience argument, it hardly wins the economic one.
Photo: Venison for Dinner
A few other reasons to eat venison include:
-Low in saturated fats than both other game animals as well as farm animals.
-Lowers your bad cholesterol and infuses you with good cholesterol.
-Contains Vitamins B6 and B12 with reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.
-Contains Vitamins B2 and B3 which regulate metabolism.
-Rich in Iron to prevent anemia and give you energy.
-Lower in calories that other meat sources to help keep you lean.
-Easier to tolerate for those with food allergies or other digestive upsets.
When you look at the big picture, it is easy to make the choice to sustain on venison as a regular part of your diet. Those of us who hunt already understand this, hence pursuing fulfillment of our meat needs the way we do. Not only is hunting important from a conservation standpoint, but time spent in the woods is also good for our mental health and sanity. Being able to enjoy a delicious dinner when all is said and done is just the icing on the cake...or venison on your plate!
Have you run into people who question why you would choose venison over beef? How do you present your stance on the issue? Let us know in the comments.