Fall is here and that means hunting and trapping seasons are open for deer, turkey and other game. Whether you are in the field or your kitchen, here are some tips to hunt, cook and eat sustainably from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Hunters help to reduce the number of over-abundant deer in New York state. Make sure you know the hunting and trapping seasons and regulations in your area. This will promote an eco-system balance and safety in your game food acquisition. Remember, seasons and regulations are set for a reason - keeping our environment in mind. Find information on hunting seasons and regulations at dec.ny.gov/outdoor/65231.html or dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28182.html and trapping by visiting dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45551.html
By choosing to eat wild game meat, you make the healthy choice to eat meat from an animal that was free range, consumed a natural diet, and was never treated with hormones or antibiotics. You are also taking an active role in acknowledging where your food comes from.
To make the most of your game harvests, learn a variety of recipes from jerky to meatballs to crock pot stews. Check for fall hunting sustainable recipes at dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/lglfallgamerecipes.pdf
Consider marinating your game meat to further promote tenderness and reduce “gamey” flavor. Properly prepared deer, turkey, and other game are both good to eat and good for you. These protein sources are low in fat and can be an integral part of a healthy diet.
Make compostable items part of your menu, including vegetables like carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and more. Composting organic materials such as yard trimmings and food scraps reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. Preventing organics from landfills reduces the production of methane, a power greenhouse gas. For good composting, the bacteria and fungi that do most of the work must have four things to thrive, which are captured in this simple rhyme: “making compost takes some care; add greens, browns, water and air.” Learn more about home composting in your yard or an indoor environment at dec.ny.gov/chemical/8799.html
Fill your freezer
Hunt to fill your freezer to save money on meat and reduce worry about supply chain shortages at the grocery store. This will also result in little or no packaging waste.
If you have too much meat, there are ways to share with those in need. DEC partners with the Venison Donation Coalition and Feeding New York State (feedingnys.org) to help provide food for those in need. Through a cooperative relationship involving the New York State Department of Health, non-profit organizations like Feeding New York State’s regional food banks and deer processors, hunters contribute nearly 40 tons of venison each year to needy families across the state. Learn about venison donation programs in your area at dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8351.html
For extra tips on how to be a friend of the environment visit dec.ny.gov/public/337.html