Why These Animals and Not Others?
When I finally got all my licenses in order, it was springtime, the only open season near Vancouver, British Columbia was the black bear. Therefore I went around asking every hunter I knew about these animals. My ignorant self-was met with some raised eyebrows, and I was genuinely surprised to learn not everyone was open to the idea of eating bear meat.
Addressing The Stigma Around Eating Predators
My Vietnamese heritage means I get a lot of dog-eating jokes, and my usual response back is, "we also eat rats, snakes, and silkworms." To me, a bear was just another protein source, and I was excited to get out there as soon as possible to harvest my own animal and have the opportunity to butcher a whole animal and use it from nose to tail. Including the organs, lard, and heck even the blood. Most countries around the world have some version of a blood sausage.
I understand there's a lot of emotional attachment to certain animals based on how we're raised and where we live - and that's ok! We should respect each other's views and choices. But those that are curious, well why not?
Resources To Learn About Eating Uncommon Meats
If you want to learn more about eating wild game and other uncommon sources of meat listed below are some resources that are great for providing different perspectives globally from respected individuals:
Gastropod - Season 11 - Why These Animals?
MeatEater - Episode 126 - Wild Horses
From the Wild - Season 4 Episode 8 - Tandoor
Kevin Kossowan, the creator of From The Wild, was kind enough to provide a promo code for 50 free uses and share some of his thoughts around the idea below. Click buy the episode on Vimeo with the promo code “chasingfoodclub.”
creator of “From The Wild” shares His thoughts on eating bear meat
“Firstly, I think what people need to understand is that bears are omnivores like pigs - the ones we harvest are largely feeding on grasses & clover. Eating pigs is fine in most cultures, but somehow bears became stuffies while we cram pigs into high density barns. Humans tend to be very, and illogically, speciesist. We place arbitrary value on the life of a particular species for emotional reasons, and are often unaware of our biases. From The Wild has advocated for the eating of bears largely because the hunting of bears already happens, and the harvest outcome is often just the hide and/or skull with the meat, legitimately within the bounds of our laws here, being wasted. We’d like to see a better cultural understanding, among hunters at minimum, of the culinary potential of black bears. As often is effective, a great way to change minds and win hearts is through their stomachs. The best way to talk about a touchy subject is often to do just that: talk it out. Air it out. Do some critical thinking about our reasoning. Apply logic. Listen to other sides. Broadly speaking, humans aren’t great at this. I also think that while this is an important conversation, we should probably be more concerned about the extirpation of caribou in our province, caused by human resource development. But we’re not having that conversation either. Because teddy bears.” - Kevin Kossowan
Hunting FOR FOOD
The purpose of this article is to help erase the stigma around eating not only predators but on all sources of what North americans consider “un-edible or taboo meat choices”. There are those that hunt to eat, and this includes predators. It's unfortunate and heart breaking a few hunt purely for the sport, but that doesn't mean that 1% has to ruin it for the rest the rest of us who hunt for food. Being sheltered and uneducated on the matter has lead to things such as the grizzly bear ban in British Columbia, which I predict it will eventually lead to banning all predators such as black bears, cougars, and wolves.
The best way to educate and change the votes against predator hunting is to show folks that there are those that do it for food and create fantastic meals from the meat we harvest. All the resources listed above are great content for progressive discussions.
That season I had spent countless hours in the bush without much success but I have been blessed with several black bear meals through generous folks willing to share their harvest and let me tell you bear meat is good eating! I wish for the opportunity to harvest my own next spring and to continue doing so for many more years to come. Furthermore, I sincerely hope this article and the episodes linked encourages you to open up to the idea of trying new things and have a different perspective on the topic.