Preppers: Learning to Process and Cook Wild Game
Kevin Felts 10.15.18
Our story starts in the 1970s when my dad would take my brother and I squirrel hunting. After waking up early on a cold Southeast Texas winter day, dad would take my brother and I across a creek and into old growth pine and oak forest where we would take several cat (aka gray) and fox squirrels.
After getting back to the hunting camp, dad, my brother, and I would clean the squirrels. Once the squirrels had been cleaned and washed, dad would make a pot of squirrel and dumplings. It seemed like a lot of work for a meal, and it was a lot of work. Why not just go to town and get something to eat? Therein lies the problem.
In a previous article we talked about using holidays as a bug out test run. What is one thing people pack for a trip to the hunting camp? Store bought food. We cram our vehicle full of hot dogs, pork chops, cans of beans, chips, snacks, soft drinks… etc. In essence, when it comes to food, the bug out location becomes an extension of our home.
Why would we practice bugging out, only to take processed food with us? Part of it has to do with time, and much needed rest and relaxation for a hard week at work. We may go fishing, but how many of the fish are brought back to feed the family? A lot of us catch and release, including myself.
When my family was on a hunting lease, one of the yearly traditions was feasting on a roasted wild pig opening weekend, which is the first weekend of November. Typically, someone would head to the hunting lease a few days before deer season opened, trap a pig (or pigs), keep the pigs in a pen, then butcher a pig for everyone to eat on the evening before opening day.
On closing weekend, which is typically the first weekend in January, some of the members would bring catfish caught at Lake Sam Rayburn, and we would have a fish fry.
Between the first weekend of November, and the first weekend of January, a lot of the members ate store bought food. They would harvest a deer, or pig, process the animals, then pack it away in an ice chest to be taken home.
One thing about being part of a hunting lease, there is always someone who needs help skinning a deer. Opening day it would not be uncommon for several deer to be brought into camp. A bunch of us would get our knives out, skin and quarter the deer.
While some of us would be skinning and quartering a deer, others would take their kill straight to the butcher, which I have done also. Sometimes the hunter does not want to take the time to skin and quarter the deer. Going straight to the butcher is a quick and easy way to get the deer processed.
Access to easy food has made a large portion of the population lazy. Preppers, when we make a practice run to the bug out location, we bring a lot of store bought food with us, and I am guilty of that also.
A lot of us pass up opportunities to practice our survival skills, which includes processing and cooking wild game. Next hunting season, let’s take the time to hunt, process, and cook wild game while we are at the bug out location, or hunting camp.