AUBURN, Ala.—Now that deer hunting season is underway, it is time to consider the benefits of eating venison.
In Alabama, there is a wide variety of hunting one can do. Animals, such as deer, turkey, duck and wild hog hunting are plentiful in the state. Most of the time, what you harvest is served on your next dinner plate. This is particularly true in the case of venison or deer meat. It is one of the more popular wild game eaten by hunters.
Sometimes hunters and even non-hunters do not realize the benefits of eating venison.
Why eat venison?
“One benefit of eating venison is that it is a much leaner red meat than beef,” said Jordan Graves, a regional Alabama Extension agent in forestry, wildlife and natural resource management. “It has little to no fat content if you process it yourself.”
Not only is venison leaner, it has less fat and fewer calories than beef. Venison is a good source of many vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, niacin and iron as well as important amino acids.
Graves said many deer processing facilities add beef or pork fat to ground deer meat to add some flavor and keep it from drying out.
Hunting benefits the environment
The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries estimates almost two million deer roam Alabama.
One advantage of deer hunting is that “adult deer are a prey species that have few to no natural predators,” added Graves. “Mountain lions and red wolves once kept the population balance of deer herds.” Their absence lets bobcats and coyotes hunt fawns, which rarely kill mature whitetail deer. Graves said that humans hunting deer in regulated fashion helps keep deer herds at suitable numbers.
“Hunting also reduces outbreaks of disease and starvation in deer populations,” said Graves.
Dr. Jim Armstrong, an Alabama Extension wildlife specialist, said hunting also helps reduce deer-human conflict.
“Large deer herds in Alabama can reduce habitat for other wildlife and create potential human safety risks from deer-vehicle collisions,” added Armstrong.
Featured image by Betty Shelton/Shutterstock.com