Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Things People Eat

So I'm now a "sponsor" on with the side business.

As a sponsor you get to run a contest from time-to-time.  I thought it would be fun / interesting to run a contest asking members what were some of the odd things they've eaten over the years.  The winner was randomly selected and received a 48" x 24" CARNIVORE Big Cutting Board.  (Shameless plug warning:  These are GREAT gifts for the hunter / outdoorsman in your life.  Help out your spouse this year, ask for a BIG Cutting Board).

The give-away contest text read: welcomes a new sponsor! makes…..well…. BIG cutting boards. Their cutting boards fit perfectly across the tailgate of a truck or across sawhorses and are perfect when you have a bunch of fish to clean or a deer or hog to butcher. Made in the U.S.A from U.S.A. sourced HDPE (same stuff used in professional kitchens), their cutting boards are easy to clean and easy on your knives’ blades. 

The CARNIVORE BOARD is 48” x 24” and the CUB BOARD is 32” x 16”. Both come with carrying handles. More details can be found at

This is a special giveaway for our members. Just answer the following questions:
- What is the weirdest animal you’ve killed and eaten? 
- How did this particular critter meet its demise? (bullet, hook, ’78 Ford truck bumper,…)
- How was it prepared?
- Would you eat it again?

All who provide a reply will be entered into a drawing and one lucky winner will receive a 48” x 24” CARNIVORE Cutting Board. We will draw a winner on 09/30 (just in time for hunting season). Good luck!

The results were quite interesting and since I'm a geek, can drive a spreadsheet and have nothing else better to do than play with numbers, I thought it would be interesting to semi-analyze the results.

There were ~ 220 useful responses that seemed real.  References to chupacabre, rhino and whooping cranes were ignored.

(Please note, A Man in the Woods does not condone the reckless killing of animals or the breaking of game laws.  Many of the stories reported appear to be the result of youthful exuberance or just plain curiosity / stupidity.  Do not judge)

Critter Types
Not a surprise, mammals polled highest but I was a bit surprised reptiles were higher than birds.  The contest certainly skewed the results.

 No big surprised here.  A nice even spread of different birds.  It should be noted, the only person to have reported puking after eating something was the buzzard eater.

I assume it is a desperate man that would intentionally eat a plecostomus.  Most of the others are not surprising but I was surprised at the number of fishermen who ate their bait (at times, raw and usually on a bet).

I'm tired of the bar charts so included the same info as above in a pie chart.

Obviously raccoons, armadillos, javelinas, squirrels and nutria had good showings.

Usually, comments on the quality of table fare for a given species were wide ranging.  I'm not sure if the animals are truly that bad or if the participants are simply bad cooks.  I honestly think protein, in the hands of a good cook, can be made not only edible but actually quite tasty. (Chris, your bobcat recipe was superb!)

Also, if the weirdest or strangest thing you've ever killed and eaten is a squirrel, you REALLY need to push your comfort zone a bit.  Squirrels are some of the best free-range, antibiotic-free, wild game you can eat.  They can be tough and you need to learn to cook them but they are excellent!!!

Reptiles and Amphibians
I was a bit surprised that rattlesnake has such a strong showing.  I guess it is more popular or acceptable than I imagined.  I've never had softshell turtle but must admit, I'm curious and will definitely put one on the "to-do" list.  The python reports were, if I remember correctly, Vietnam-era field preparations.  Desperate times call for...

Means of Demise
Not a surprise, bullets or shotgun pellets and hooks were the most reported means of death.  Hands and various methods of bludgeoning were popular as well and included ball peen hammer, tire tool, wrench, baseball bat and frying pan.  Ford had 2 reported vehicular contributions with Chevy, Jeep and Oldsmobile each showing up once.  Oddest means was likely a sheet of plywood which apparently contributed to the death of a blackbird.

Guns and Bullets
Not a surprise, rimfire ammo was popular which only highlights its versatility.  I know of many folks who have taken animals up to feral hogs with .22 LRs.  I killed a 70lb hog while squirrel hunting once with a .22 mag and it dropped in its tracks.

Observations and Comments
  • Out of 16 armadillo responses, only 3 indicated they would eat it again.  Most were exceedingly negative.
  • Apparently, beef mammary tissue and beef testicles are in fact, good, in you believe the 2 folks who reported them.
  • Of the 11 javelina comments, 3 were listed as "heck yes" with most including "never again" or "only if starving."
  • Mountain lion apparently is pretty good.
  • Nutria were shockingly negative.  I thought they were good to eat but the overwhelming response was "never again".
  • Both porcupine eaters said "never again".
  • The best comments for possom were "just ok" but most claiming "never again".  Ever since I heard a story of a possum family crawling out of the anus ("bung hole" if you are from East TX) of a swollen, bloated and very dead cow, I crossed them off my personal list.
  • A single prairie dog eater said it was excellent.  I was under the impression they were awful but am now curious.  Not really interested though in contracting the bubonic plague.
  • Cottontails and 4H rabbits were generally reported to be pretty good but it sounds like the same cannot be said for jack rabbits.
  • Raccoons were all over the map with responses ranging wildly.  Several were "never again" or "only if starving" but others were quite positive.  Since they are major rabies reservoirs, I think I'll pass.
  • 10 squirrel eaters reported "just ok" twice but "heck yes" the remaining 8 times.  As I've noted, squirrels are generally excellent table fare and truly a blast to hunt.
  • Two folks reported mystery meat, one from a Russian flea market vendor and one from a Vietnamese neighbor.  BTW, you could not PAY me to eat flea market food, regardless of the country.
  • Bullfrogs were generally quite popular as were rattlesnakes.  Never tried rattler but will when given the opportunity.
  • As noted above, softshell turtle had a high 80% approval rating.
Some of the more interesting tidbits from the contest were found in general commentary.  The funniest comment of all was on the experience of eating a hardhead catfish:

Not exactly a ringing endorsement!


A Man in the Woods

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why Men Die Sooner than Women

Last week, I was in Colorado on an elk hunt.  The camp cook had a running list of items needed for the hunters' meals stuck on the refrigerator.

The "shopping list" looked like it was sponsored by the Cardiovascular Surgeons of America.

After 9 days of road food and a nearly 100% meat-based diet while in the mountains, my colon and I are glad to be home!


A Man in the Snow (with no elk... again)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Devastated Squirrel

What does a squirrel look like at the instant he drops his nut...?

From Huffington Post



A Man in the Woods who is actually looking forward to deer season ending so he can go squirrel hunting!