Tis the season for Pa. wild game banquets to celebrate hunting
As much as I hate to admit it, the off-season is barreling down upon us. Save for a few remaining days of small game and furbearing, and an occasional crow or snow goose hunt, my hunting boots are grounded until spring. I suppose it’s finally time to clean out my truck.
But as Keystone State hunters are forced to reluctantly stow gear and tidy up, a different kind of season is just getting started. It’s one that requires little more than a few successful hunters, some chest freezers for storage, a bit of creative culinary craft, and a venue large enough to host a crowd of hungry appetites.
It seems at some point between February and April, nearly every small town in Pennsylvania holds at least one wild game banquet. These events, held at fire halls, churches and sportsmen’s clubs, offer outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to gather together in celebration of the year’s harvest, while most importantly – enjoying a delicious meal.
I recently attended one such dinner in Schuylkill County, where my wife and I had a chance to sample savory venison prepared multiple ways, as well as bear, goose, stingray, trout, woodchuck, and even raccoon meat. (I can’t say the latter was the best-tasting feature of the spread, but it did prove that all meat is edible).
Potluck-style wild game dinners give everyone a chance to contribute their own favorite entrees while gathering new recipes from others. One host made some fantastic white oak acorn bread that I’ll have to try to reproduce some day. Nature surely provides a bounty of tasty morsels for anyone willing to notice.
It’s always great to see so many people turn out for the common purpose of swapping hunting stories, generously sharing their harvest, and just celebrating another great year in the woods and waters of our incredible state and beyond.
Deer roasts, bear roasts and wild game dinners are the perfect way to show respect for the animals we harvest, while doing so in the company of like-minded friends and family who enjoy the sport as much as we do.
It also helps pass the time during the off-season until we can once again begin collecting new entrees for next year’s feast. Here’s to full freezers and happy hunters.