Venison meat offers protein-packed punch | SteamboatToday.com

Venison meat offers protein-packed punch

Sasha Nelson

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

— Northwest Colorado is a carnivore's paradise, with high-quality beef, lamb, pork and buffalo available directly from field to table, but this time of year, another type of meat is making its way into the freezer — venison. And it isn’t necessary to be a hunter to enjoy one of the most healthful proteins on the planet.

According to Livestrong.com, 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 for those following a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet.

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

The Elk Mountain Restaurant, at the east end of Craig, serves venison chili, elk, antelope, pheasant, bison 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,” said Catherine Samantha Eye, general manager of The Elk Mountain Restaurant.

Venison hunters also point out that, for the price of a hunting license, do-it-yourselfers can provide family and friends with freezers full of healthful meat.

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"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 is the difference between eating well and not eating.

"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 key to bringing home tasty morsels rather than 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 governed by CPW

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 an animal, and it is a misdemeanor to waste wildlife that could be consumed by humans. It is also against Colorado law to sell wild game, but hunters are allowed 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 hunter Mandy Sanders.

CPW partners with Safari Club International for a program called Sportsman Against Hunger, which salvages meat to fill 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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