• As hunters, we all know that one of the best parts about harvesting a deer is the food the animal provides for you and your family. There is nothing better than knowing exactly where your food comes from, how it was killed, and how it was processed. This past hunting season I harvested two deer, which provided me with well over a hundred pounds of meat in the form of burgers, tenderloins, sausage, jerky, and backstrap. The best feeling was knowing that I took these animals in their natural habitat, where they have a fair chance of survival compared to those they share their environment with. Not only is there satisfaction in harvesting your own food, there are also many more health benefits that you may not be aware of.

    Venison is a much leaner meat than beef; in fact, one pound of venison has only 50% the amount of fat that is found in one pound of beef. The saturated fat content found in venison is only a small fraction of the amount found in beef. High amounts of saturated fat are responsible for higher cholesterol, which in turn, increases your chances of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Venison has been shown to lower your LDL (“bad cholesterols”) and increase your HDL (“good cholesterols”), and is full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that our bodies need in order to not only survive, but thrive. For those of us trying to be more health-conscious about our diets, here are some numbers to think about: 3 ounces of venison contains about 130 calories compared to the same amount of beef, which carries close to 250 calories. That same 3-ounce portion of venison only contain 3 grams of fat, where as beef contains 15 grams. And protein wise, 26 grams are found in the 3-ounce portion of venison compared to beef’s 22 grams.

    The benefits of consuming an animal that you harvested yourself are limitless. Since the beginning of time, humans have established a predator-prey relationship among animals that provide for ourselves and our families. Even while living in an age that is mass-producing animals for widespread human consumption, we can take back our ability to control exactly what we put in our bodies. We can take full advantage of everything nature has to offer us, without needing to add artificial flavors or chemicals to our food. So, when you pull the trigger this upcoming hunting season, I encourage you to take a moment and appreciate the animal laying before you, and everything it has provided for you and your family.


    Author’s note: If you have deer meat that you would like to donate, Hunters Helping the Hungry is a program run through the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation. They provide meat to low-income families and individuals in Alabama. You can find out more about this program and a list of participating processors here.