Wild game harvest and Craig businesses provide healthy eating

Proper field preparation and processing are important to keeping venison edible, vacuum sealed and butcher paper wrapped meat is ready for the freezer.

Proper field preparation and processing are important to keeping venison edible, vacuum sealed and butcher paper wrapped meat is ready for the freezer.

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— Northwest Colorado is a carnivore’s paradise with high quality beef, lamb, pork and buffalo available direct from field to table, but this time of year another type of meat is making its way into the freezer — venison and you don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy some of the healthiest proteins on the planet.

“A 3-ounce serving of roasted venison contains 140 calories, less than 1 gram of fat and 26 grams of protein, which is 50 percent of the daily value for protein if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet,” according to Livestrong.com.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides even more detailed nutritional information easily accessible using the Self Nutrition Data searchable database compiled by the Conde Nast company.

Local eatery, The Elk Mountain Restaurant, located at the East end of town on Highway 40 in Craig, serves venison chili, elk, antelope and pheasant along side buffalo and beef. “Our game meat is all farm raised from South Dakota, there is a difference, but there are all kinds of nutritious benefits, and it’s easy on the tummy.”

For the price of a hunting license do-it-yourselfers can provide family and friends with freezers full of healthy meat.

“Hunting allows a person to go out and harvest organic meat and many feel that kind of meat is more attractive than purchasing meat from a grocery store,” said Mike Porras, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the Northwest region.

For some game meat means the difference between eating well and not eating at all.

“Being able to hunt and get your own game is a great survival tool. I fed my kids with a $25 deer tag,” said hunter Jamie Skidmore.

Proper field care and preparation are the keys to bringing home tasty morsels and not a hot rank mess.

The Realtree company, maker of camouflage clothing for hunters, provides butchering tips to ensure game meat doesn’t become tough, dry and gamey tasting in the blog, “12 Reasons Why Your Venison Tastes Like Hell” by Will Brantley.

Hunting is governed by regulations developed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

It is felony in Colorado to willfully destroy wildlife and abandon the body or carcass of the animal and a misdemeanor to waste wildlife that could be consumed by humans. It is also against Colorado law for hunters to sell wild game; however, hunters can choose to give away excess meat said Kyle Davidson, Colorado Parks and Wildlife public information officer for the southeast region.

“There are people who are out there who need meat but can’t hunt, so if our freezers are full then we offer it to others. We are feeding our family and others so it’s not going to go to waste,” said young hunter Mandy Sanders.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a partnership with Safari Club International for a program called Sportsman Against Hunger to salvage meat confiscated or salvaged into the pantries of people in need of food. When accidents occur, people can also call and request a road kill permit to use to salvage meat for their own families.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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