10 Reasons Wild Game Has Earned a Spot on Your Table

It’s a simple fact: Wild game doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Beef, chicken and pork are all great, sure, but buffalo, wild boar, venison, alligator and the like offer options far beyond the norm with a great taste to match.

Turns out, though, the benefits of consuming wild game extend far beyond your palate. With a host of health, environmental and even economic benefits, it’s long past time that wild game got its due and earned a spot at your dinner table.

1. Wild game meats have a lower calorie count than most domestic meats. One 3-ounce serving of beef contains about 215 calories; compare that with the same serving of whitetail deer (134 calories), elk (137), and caribou (145).

Three ounces of chicken breast clocks in at just more than 200 calories; quail (145) and grouse (140) beat that handily. Rabbit (175), alligator (140) squirrel (120) and wild boar (104) also offer lots of taste for relatively little regret.

A #TrophyMeal is something we can all agree on. No debates over @venison ribs cooked to perfection & ice cold brewskis over here ??

A photo posted by MeatEater with Steven Rinella (@meateatertv) on

2. Wild game meats have an ideal ratio of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest human beings evolved to live healthiest on a diet with a ratio omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oils, poultry, beef, pork and dairy) to omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, flax and hemp seeds, egg yolks and walnuts) of 1:1.

However, in the typical Western diet, that ratio hovers around 15:1! Excessive consumption of omega-6 fats have been traced to cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and more; omega-3 fats have been shown to suppress these negative effects.

3. Wild game meats are a great source of lean protein. Because of their active lifestyles and natural diets, game animals like deer, elk and antelope are lean animals; as such, so is their meat, making it much lower in saturated fat than other red meat.

For instance, 3 oz. of fatty, red bison meat contains 24 grams of protein; the same sized serving of lean (and still tasty) venison packs in 22 grams of protein with much less fat.

4. Wild game meats are a good source of iron and zinc. Wild game is a good source of essential minerals like iron and zinc. Iron deficiency can cause anemia and a host of other problems, especially for pregnant or menstruating women; a lack of zinc can lead to increases rates of malaria, pneumonia and other immune system disorders.

5. Wild game meats are usually locally sourced. When you buy wild game, odds are you’re buying it from a local hunter or rancher. That keeps money in local economies and in the pocket of your neighbor.

6. Wild game meats are relatively inexpensive. Compared to the ever-rising of cost store-bought, free-range, grass-fed, certified-organic, GMO- and antibiotic-free meat and poultry, wild game is surprisingly inexpensive.

7. Wild game meats are truly free-range and grass-fed. Free-range and grass-fed are all the rage in meat these days, and with good reason.

Animals raised free and on natural diets are happier and healthier, and the meat they provide tastes worlds better than the factory-farmed stuff.

8. Wild game meats are naturally organic and free of GMOs, hormones, antibiotics. It doesn’t get more natural than wild game. Animals who live out their lives in the wild aren’t treated with hormones, antibiotics, medications or other chemicals, the long-term risks of which we simply don’t know.

9. Wild game meats leave a much smaller carbon footprint than meat taken from factory farms. Aside from humanitarian concerns, factory farms have widely negative effects on the environment.

The practice accounts for 37 percent of the country’s methane emissions, and the toxic waste and byproducts of factory farming can leach into water sources.

10. Wild game meats offer new and exciting culinary options and tastes. If you’re reading this, you probably love food.  Why not expand your palate into the wide world of wild game?

Recipe: Jalapeño Blue Cheese Venison Burgers