Skimming through the Spring 2021 Issue of North American Whitetail Magazine I read through an article by Dr. James Kroll entitled Return to Venison. He spoke of how millions of acres and forest were converted to farmland over the last 200 years and how the landscape has drastically changed.
Throughout that time and still today, hunter numbers continue to decline. That continues to be a separate issue and definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. Many hunting related shows and podcasts, as well as pretty much every game and parks commission in every state are trying to find ways to address that issue. But, back to the original issue.
As Dr. Kroll mentions in the article it is obvious that millions of people live in areas where they can’t hunt or fish. To me that means that modern farming practices are still going to be required to sustain the human population. Think of all the products that come from modern farming practices. There is no way around it. Yes, they have an environmental impact on wildlife, sometimes negatively. Clean farming practices and the reduction of “edge” habitat have had a dramatic effect on gamebird populations and even where whitetails choose to bed and move around the landscape. But, we as a human population need modern production ag.
With all that being said, those of us with the ability to eat wild game, most definitely should. Here’s why. This was the part of Dr. Kroll’s article that really stood out to me. Kroll says, “A whitetail doe is unique among ruminants, in that she has the potential to wean more than her body weight annually. Here in East Texas, an average doe weighs about 100 pounds on the hoof, and the weaning weight of a fawn is about 60 pounds. If the doe weans both her fawns, that’s 120 pounds.” 120 pounds! Now granted, that is not all meat, but the majority of it is. And all that meat is the most environmentally friendly produced meat you will ever find. Bring that up next time you talk to an anti-hunter. No greenhouse gas emissions at all. Deer meat is also some of the most healthy “red” meat you can eat, let alone it is pretty darn tasty. But, I’m preaching to the choir here. When properly prepared it is definitely safe to eat. Although CWD has called this into question in previous years, but it should be noted there has been documented transition of CWD to humans by eating infected meat. I am by no means an expert on CWD, so if you are in a CWD area I encourage you to do your own research and make an informed decision on whether you should eat a deer that has CWD.
I found it crazy how efficient a whitetail doe can be and it is just another reason why whitetails will surely always remain North America’s favorite game animal and a great way to provide an environmentally friendly dinner for you and your family.