View Full Version : What can you eat?

March 28, 2008, 07:55 AM
I have never gone hunting, but am curious about it. I don't really like the idea of going out and killing an animal to put its head on a wall. I do however, have no problem at all killing something with the intention of cooking it.

So what can you eat? What tastes the best?

I am from california.

March 28, 2008, 08:24 AM
Without question,,,porcupine.

There a little humor for the day..Kind of a broad question given peoples' likes and dislikes. I've eaten squirrel, rabbit, mountain lion, snake, deer, elk, moose, mtn sheep, maybe goat(I'm not sure, I was in Arkansas). My favorite is deer. Actually the old, old timers would tell you that porcupine was the best eatin of all. Supposedly they were naturally free from any kind of disease and could even be eaten raw if necessary.


March 28, 2008, 08:29 AM
A good rule of thumb is if it is a mammal and eats primarily meat or insects it is usually not good for eating, but if it is a herbivore it is usually edible. There are a few exceptions but it is a pretty good rule.

Art Eatman
March 28, 2008, 09:04 AM
I guess the primary big game animals in the US are the deer--whitetail and mulies--and elk. Just because one can have the head mounted has nothing at all to do with the eating: I'm short on taxidermy mounts, but long on eating a lot of whitetail bucks whose horns are nailed up in the garage. Same for other folks with elk.

Elk and moose are tasty. I've not eaten bear meat, but I know that some folks have spoken favorably about it. Feral hogs are tasty, as are the javelina of the southwestern deserts. Mountain lion is quite good. Squirrel and rabbit are favored by many.

Quail, dove, pheasant, ducks and geese are all quite good. My preference is quail...Wild turkey is a fetish for many; the beard is saved as a souvenir.

Folks start talking about hunting and I start thinking about yummy-tasty.

:), Art

March 28, 2008, 09:18 AM
If I don't plan on eating it or donating it (my plug for Missouri's Share the harvest program http://mdc.mo.gov/hunt/deer/share/ ) I won't hunt for it. I keep a deep freezer in my garage for any deer or turkey I happen to get. As for Trophy's, if I happen to get one that's great, but I hunt speficially for the freezer.

I used to squirrel hunt when I was younger but since my wife won't eat it I don't bother with it anymore. With food prices going up as they are I keep thinking that I really am going to have to become a better hunter.


March 28, 2008, 09:57 AM
Is this thread a joke? Go to your local book store or library and check out wild game cooking and get ready for an eyeful.
Game to enjoy, deer, rabbit, squirell, pheasant, grouse, dove, racoon, elk, moose, ducks of all kind, geese, bear are just some of the common ones. There are a whole host of critters depending on where you hunt and what is around. Another option is go to a wild game dinner if they have any in your area. Lots of out west critters, antelope, mule deer and some us north people are not familiar with.

Best eating..elk..yum. Dove..amazing good. grouse, goose excellent. Deer..lots of ways to enjoy that most of our red meat for years was deer. Pheasant good. Rabbit and squirell, a bit gamey but good stews and pies. Antelope and caribou..good. Bear and racoon..a bit greasey for my taste. Duck...again I am the only one in my family that likes it.

March 28, 2008, 10:27 AM
Deer is great, but by far the best meat I have EVER eaten was caribou. Absolutely amazing.

March 28, 2008, 10:51 AM
If it can be hunted, somebody has eaten it. It all depends on how it's prepared and how adventureous you are.

Along with all the other critters listed above, around here some folks enjoy racoon, groundhog, bobcat, and even the occasional skunk (when desperate)

About the only thing I haven't heard of anyone eating is a coyote. Thats not to say it hasn't happened.

March 28, 2008, 11:21 AM
Things that I or someone else have hunted and I have eaten:

Groundhog (very good)
Caribou (Most amazing meat ever)
Deer aka Venison (Staple food item in my apartment)
Moose (Kind of tough)
Elk (Very good for you)
Buffalo (Also very good for you)
Rabbit (My grandmother made that the best)
Muskrat (Wouldn't recommend it)
Goose (Very good when fileted)
Duck (Excellent for a chicken substitute)

You also have to remember that there are many other things other then just the meat and the head. My cousin shot a doe and had the hide tanned and turned into a blanket. My brother took the antlers off his slightly unipressive buck this year and made rattling antlers. Other parts are used for more weird things like dog toys and the like. The great thing about hunting is that a good and proper hunter will use or let someone use all of the animal and pitch nothing. I also know a lot of people who enjoy the hunt more then the meat and they will pay to have it processed and then donate it to the needy and homeless shelters to use.


March 28, 2008, 01:06 PM
So what can you eat? What tastes the best?
I am from california.Well, last time I checked, if it's made out of meat, you can eat it. But like many other things, there are some that are preferred over other animals (bighorn sheep, elk, moose), and some that may not taste all that good (armadillos??).

As pointed out above, herbivores are generally quite tasty (deer, elk, antelope, goats, sheep, etc), predators can be very good, but there is the risk of trichinosis with animals that eat other animals (bear, pigs, cougar, coyote, etc). I know very few people who shoot animals primarily for trophies (they eat some of the meat, but give most or all of it away), and NONE who shoot game animals and let them lie (this is called "wanton waste", and is a felony in many states).

In California, you have many excellent big game hunting choices. I would recommend you begin with deer hunting and then try wild pig hunting. Either one can be delicious if the meat is handled properly. As a bonus, pigs can be hunted year-round in most areas of California.

March 28, 2008, 01:40 PM
Is without a doubt Wild Sheep (Dall or Stone)...it is awesome! The second (a distant second) best for me is Moose loin...age it and it is superb...
Mountain Lion

March 28, 2008, 02:02 PM
Question for the up north group on caribou. I have heard that while tasty, caribou is a lot like rabbit in that you would starve to death only eating it. It is supposedly pretty devoid of calories persay. Not just fat but calories in general. Can anyone confirm/dispute this?

March 28, 2008, 03:04 PM
well i think that every one on here has said mostly the same things over and over agian. For me deer,pheasent,turkey are my top favorites but some thing most dont think of eating are pigeions!!!!:) the meat is on their brest. they taste just like venison there might not be a lot of meat on them but it is good. i usally cook them in a cast iron pan and add some italiand dressing in for good mesure. chuckers are pretty good to.

March 28, 2008, 03:15 PM
My sources indicate that the zombie allies in this forum (which will assist with the impending zombie uprising, which I've been warning you people about for years now) will attempt to convince you to eat brains. Don't eat 'em!!! That advice is simply intended to convince non-zombie Americans that the consumption of human brains is acceptable.

Don't fall for it, man. Just don't.

March 28, 2008, 03:20 PM
I like country pigeons too, but I don't see much similarity to venison. They taste just like dove.

Wild turkey is my favorite followed closely by the better cuts of venison cut thick and grilled med-rare with the rest of the venison pounded thin and chicken fried with cream gravy. I had some elk sausage that was excellent and most of the feral hog sausage is very good. I really want to sink my teeth into Axis filet. I have been told it is as good as it gets by my maƮtre d' and guide.

March 28, 2008, 03:28 PM
...anything that doesn't eat you first.

Generally, if it's considered a game animal by your state department of natural resources then it can (and should) be eaten. Check into hunter education in your state. You'll learn a lot about hunting, game animals and maybe even how to care for game after it's harvested. Check out Hunt-fish-cook online for recipes.

March 28, 2008, 03:28 PM
I don't know for sure on the actual nutrition value of caribou. All I know is that when I was in Alaska the cook used to make Caribou Sausage Biscuits & Gravy and it was amazing. All other forms of Caribou I have tried were just as good.


March 28, 2008, 05:23 PM
i hunt whitetail deer,black bear,ducks,geese,rabbit,squirrel. was gonna try turkey for the last 3 years. but work is really heavy during both the spring and fall hunting seasons. i am not buying a permit to not go hunting at all.

so far i've only had the pleasure of eating deer twice and black bear 3 or 4 times. prepared different ways each time. mom really overcooked the bear. she was afraid it was gonna make us sick if she didn't cook it right. my father and i hunt for the purpose of food and the father and son time outdoors. i love being out in the woods on the hunt with him. we fish too.

March 28, 2008, 06:16 PM
I mostly hunt pheasant and deer, and two of the best tasting game animals (of coarse those are the only to I have eaten/hunted) and next year hopefully rabbit, coon and turkey and maybe bear.

I was just wondering how do you cook Bear and raccoon.
any good recipes?

March 28, 2008, 07:01 PM
Iunderstand your thinkin about eating what you kill and it's admirable. But there is many other reason to kill a critter.

To end suffering. We killed 2 coyotes this year that were in desperate need of killing. #1 had a snare around it's neck that had cut thru the skin on 75% of it's neck. It had broken loose and was running loose. #2 was a yote with the worst mange I have ever seen. Hair on it's lowere legs and head, thats it.

To prevent over population. Over population can lead to starvation and the spread of disease. We had a coon hunting spot a few years ago that had loads of coon. We used it for training pups in the summer and it was not unusual to shine a row of trees and see 10-12 coon looking back at you. Whne season came the coon had disappeared. One night the dogs went in about a mile and treed. We walked to the dogs, crossing thru a vally on a game trail. After shooting and skining the coon we took the same path back to the truck. We we got to the bottom of the vally there was a coon lying in the center of the game trail we had crossed about 15 min prior. It laid there and didn't move breathing very heavy. I toed it over with my boot and steam came rolling out from under it. The area took years to recover. All the coon died a very slow and unhealthy death. Another spot a last year we found 3 coon lying on trails in broad daylight while deer hunting. All within 1/4 mile of each other. None moved but just looked at us. A bad day indeed.

Fur: Anilmals can provide other resources besides food. Fur and leather being the most popular besides food.

Proper animal managment usually involves all or some of the above reason along with others such exterimnating feral populations. Hunting to eat is not the only reason to hunt. Proper game control is the #1 reason for me.


Edited to Add: Let me change that, #1 reason is fun, #2 would be game control, #3 would be food/fur.

March 28, 2008, 07:23 PM
I've had deer, elk, caribou and moose. All good, but I liked moose the best. It was like very fine, very lean beef. Mild tasting and very tender.

I've never really hunted, but remembering the taste of the moose has me thinking about it.:)

March 28, 2008, 09:21 PM
I wonder...How many of you have taken the next step in wild game prep/food storage?
I debone, butterfly,grind..all of my wild game. My deer burger gets made into breakfast sausage. My elkburger gets ground w/ beef suet into standard burger. I also stuff elk into italian sausage which are just excellent on my little grill when out fishing,,etc. Tasty brats..
The rest gets made into steaks for pan frying, chicken frying, grilling. Roasts and then thicker steaks for swiss steak. I make jerky also.
My children, wife are avid sausage and chicken fried steak eaters. They don't care for other types anymore.
For anyone who hasn't done it, get a vacuum sealer, they are awesome.
I do pay someone to make sticks like slim jims though. Another pocket food for day hikes, etc.

March 28, 2008, 09:53 PM
In California, since I lived there for nearly 50 years, I suggest starting out with dove, quail and pheasant. For a little more expense (ammo) and travel you can hunt ducks, geese and perhaps turkey, if you find you enjoy it.

For game animals start with wild hogs as they are readily available on public land in the central part of the state and northward, and then you can go for deer.

There's plenty of game in California, but also plenty of people and much of the private land is posted, so bird hunting is easiest to get you started.

March 29, 2008, 06:02 AM
I don't know for sure on the actual nutrition value of caribou. All I know is that when I was in Alaska the cook used to make Caribou Sausage Biscuits & Gravy and it was amazing. All other forms of Caribou I have tried were just as good.

Not to hijack this topic..... But I'm amazed that Caribou has been listed as "tasty" by numerous posters. I've never had Caribou but I've always been under the impression that the meat was pretty terrible.

But what do I know, I've also heard that Pronghorn are terrible to eat and they are my favorite large game animal. I do believe that location has a lot to do with how tasty the animal is and I'd guess a Wyoming antelope tastes a little different than a New Mexico one. That being said, those Wyoming Pronghorn are damn tasty.

roy reali
March 29, 2008, 07:12 AM
You all should try California Kabobs.

March 29, 2008, 07:20 AM
My favorite is Pheasant. Because we have to use a game farm to hunt them, I dont eat it so often.
Next would be dove. But my wife made me quit shooting at the bird feeder.
[/INDENT]I like Rabbit, but my wife has started guarding her cages;)
I love Deer. I had to purchase a deep freeze, when my kids were old enough to hunt. We take no less than 4 White tail a year. There are so many ways to prepare it.
Squirrels I dont care for. I do have several neighbors that cant get out and hunt. So the kids and I donate.
One I am shocked it not mentioned, Crow. It is tasty. The only down side is they are tuff.
Freind of mine said he used to eat Possum. EEWWWW. Back when he was a kid, they were quite poor. He would occasionaly shoot one. His mom figured out how to cook it. Did I say EEWWWWW:barf:.
Ducks, you can have them. Been there done that. Wont go back. Unless they start attacking.:D
I guess I would try anything once. I am a meat and tator guy.

March 29, 2008, 11:33 AM
Let's see. I personally enjoy duck, dove, quail, turkey, pheasant, deer, wild hog, rabbit, and alligator, and would absolutely love to try just about anything else. If you're in CA then go for turkey, rabbit, and wild hog. There are plenty of folks who love squirrel as well, and I haven't personally had it so I don't know.

March 29, 2008, 05:31 PM
If you have them, Axis deer venison is wonderful!!

March 29, 2008, 06:09 PM
Anyone eat Sandhill Crane? I hear they are excellent.

March 29, 2008, 08:43 PM

March 29, 2008, 10:37 PM
Two all time classics I've not seen mentioned are frog legs & rattlesnake. Ever been to a rattle snake roundup? They fry it up and it's very tasty.

If you saw the movie Second Hand Lions, you saw the two old men "Bass Shootin' with their 12 ga SG's

March 30, 2008, 04:19 PM
My favorites are frog legs and gator........ YUM!!!!!

But I sure don't pass on any deer or wild hogs that happen to stroll by. :D

March 30, 2008, 04:57 PM
since nobody else has said it, I will...

I've always been partial to beaver :)

March 30, 2008, 05:05 PM
Hunted squirrel a lot when growing up in Wisconsin. I remember it as being my favorite and very good to eat - preferred it to rabbit which is also very good. Pheasant is excellent, though a dry meat that needs basting to keep it moist. Never had wild duck fixed in a manner that I cared for.

Rattlesnake is actually quite tasty. They do a great job of cooking it a some of the rattlesnake round-ups I've been to.

March 30, 2008, 05:37 PM
I've always been partial to beaver LMAO, I've been patiently waiting to see who would be the 1st! :D

March 30, 2008, 05:41 PM
"Is this thread a joke? Go to your local book store or library and check out wild game cooking and get ready for an eyeful"

If you have to go to the library that is a shame. Should have a couple in every kitchen.

But most of the 'cookbooks' are more like pollution to game meat. Just roast/fry and enjoy. If you need use garlic, onions, green peppers and the like stick with hotdogs.

April 1, 2008, 07:25 PM
Barman, you are correct on Pigeons. They are doves, Rock Doves to be precise. I remember reading Ernest Hemingway write that when he was young and poor he lived in New York. he would go down to the park with some birdseed and a baby carriage. He fed the pigeons until they were comfortable with him and came close. He would wring their necks and put them in the baby carriage to take back to his apartment for dinner.

April 1, 2008, 09:50 PM
Try to avoid Armadillo. Too greasy.

Squirrel and duck are good when mixed in with crawfish, bream and oysters in a good hot gumbo but that means combining hunting and fishing. But you have to make allowances for just how big a batch of gumbo you can make with a mess of squirrels, 20 pounds of crawfish, a duck, a stringer of bream and a few dozen oysters. This means you've got to invite your inlaws to help you eat it so that can be a problem. I don't know, maybe in California you could invite your ex and her new husband and his ex and her inlaws so then they would fight amongst themselves and leave you alone? ;)

For a real treat I like to shoot a Boca early in the morning and clean it, grind it into hamburger and roast it slowly over an open fire for supper. Nothing like a good Boca burger, slathered in onions and its own gravy! :D:D

April 13, 2008, 07:52 PM
I know a fellow who tried a coyote leg. When he was done, he wished he had the other one.


April 14, 2008, 12:37 AM
Grouse is #1. But moose tenderloin is mighty good if you fry it while you are quartering, and carrying out the rest of the moose. Tom.

April 14, 2008, 01:15 AM
I wonder why it took me this long in life to discover the smoker.

4 lb elk roast, Marinated in tart french dressing 1 day, smoked for 5 hours over cherry chips. cooled & refrigerated a couple of days.



April 14, 2008, 09:01 AM
You can eat most anything.

The real question is what can you stomach?:D

April 14, 2008, 12:00 PM
I've always been partial to beaver

I've always thought that it smelled kind of fishy. Not terrible if you get them young and tender but the old ones aren't very palatable.

April 14, 2008, 04:18 PM
Might print these off incase you're lost and get really really... really desperate.


I recommend the first one.