Monday, October 10, 2011

Hunting for food storage

I've discovered that some kinds of hunting can be a great way to build your food storage.  I come from a hunting family.  My uncle is a talented hunting guide.  Last year he took us antelope hunting.  I didn't get one myself last year, but everyone was happy to give me their meat.  We took it to a processing place, & I discovered it was only $1.20 a pound to get it ground up like ground beef.  That was pretty cheap, so I did that & then canned most of it.  We loved it!!  I noticed as I browned the meat, that is has much less fat than beef; even less than really lean beef.  But how did it taste?  I'd heard bad things about antelope meat.  It tasted great!  I made tacos, & put it spaghetti, & my son had no idea it wasn't beef.  The only thing I noticed was it takes a bit more seasoning than beef to get it to taste the same.
So is it cost effective?  I figured after the canning jars, & antelope tags & processing, it was still under $2 a pound.  Now if you have to figure in gas & staying at a motel & things like that, it might end up not being worth it.  But I have family who wants to hunt anyway.  It's a hobby.  So the cost to me was just the processing & jars.  I can't buy lean ground beef for that cheap, so it was a real bargain.
So this year I went hunting again, & we got more tags now that we knew we liked the meat.  Our group got 10 antelope on our trip, and I shot my first one!  My uncle did have a couple of tips for keeping the meat tasting good.  Don't get the antelope running around before you shoot it.  We got about half our kills from far away to avoid this (my shot was 680 yards).  The other thing he does, is cut the meat off the antelope immediately, rather than gutting it & taking the carcass to hang for days somewhere.  He took the meat off the legs, ribs & back strap, put them in large plastic bags in the cooler.  Not only does that help the meat flavor, it's faster & easier for the hunter.
Many hunters just want to hunt, & are glad to share the meat.   I'll post some of my favorite antelope recipes in the next few days.  And maybe I'll have to try deer next!

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