Tasty Wild Game Meat, The Benefits of Hunting Game Animals, and More – Steven Rinella on The Joe Rogan Experience #1204

Key Takeaways

  • On wild game meat:
    • Joe and Steven agree that beaver meat tastes absolutely fantastic
    • Black bear meat is widely known as being quite being tasty
    • Mountain lions are delicious
  • People tend to be fine with killing non-game animals—cows, chickens, and pigs—but find the death of game animals—deer, bears, and moose—abhorrent
  • Some people believe hunting a certain species will eventually destroy it, but it’s far from the truth
  • Benefits of hunting game animals include:
    • The animals (wolves, bears, etc.) begin to see humans as a threat and tend to keep away from people
    • For many, hunting serves as a vital source of income (and food)
    • Hunting and fishing licenses help fund wildlife and disease research

Intro

Books Mentioned

Steven’s Netflix Show

  • Joe enjoys watching Steven’s Netflix show, MeatEater
    • Not only does the show cover the hunting and fishing process, but it also teaches viewers how to cook what they kill
  • Growing up, Steven’s father was interested in cooking food and sharing it with others—the pair would cook everything from snapping turtles to bullfrogs
    • These experiences helped shape Steven, and his TV show reflects much of what he’s learned

Eat Your Beaver Meat 

  • Joe and Steven agree that beaver meat tastes absolutely fantastic
  • When skinning a beaver, avoid getting castoreum on your knife or hands—it’ll make the meat taste like “rose perfume”
    • (Castoreum is a yellowish exudate which comes from a beaver’s castor sacs used, in combination with urine, for territory marking)
  • Beaver tails are twice as thick in the fall compared to the spring
    • To cook, take the tail and skewer it on a stick. Then, put it next to a fire—this will cause skin to start bubbling and boil away. Lastly, peel the skin off and you’re good to go.
  • Surprising fact: “The beaver market made America’s first millionaires” – Steven Rinella
    • The Astor family made much of their fortune from the beaver trade 

Pigeon Meat

  • Pigeons were first brought to the U.S. as a source of food
  • A squab = a young pigeon (usually only a few weeks old)
    • Pigeon meat is tougher and grayer, while squab is tender and pinkish
  • In most states, you don’t need a special hunting license to hunt pigeons

Explorers & Native Americans

  • “By the time Lewis and Clark headed out into the Great Plains, there were Native Americans living there who had been to Europe, met the King of France, and returned back” – Steven Rinella
    • The equivalent of a modern Lewis and Clark expedition: Traveling the Amazon river and interacting with the various tribes along the way—living with them, eating their foods, and adopting their customs as your own
  • Real mountain men are those who travel to new places with an insatiable curiosity, even if it’s dangerous
  • When it comes to food, indigenous people tend to have very limited diets—they eat the same meals day after day
    • They also don’t stray from their cooking techniques—they continually follow traditional cooking methods passed down from ancestors
  • Americans can choose to hunt; native people, on the other hand, have to hunt to survive

Bear Meat

  • Black bear meat is widely known as being quite being tasty
    • Meat from brown and grizzly bears doesn’t taste nearly as good
  • During the Revolutionary War, bear meat was the most popular meat on the frontier 
  • Learn how to cook bear meat in Steven’s book: The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Every Hunter and Angler
  • 🎧 “Coastal bears are better to eat in the spring when they’re not eating tons of rotten salmon” – Steven Rinella

On the Negative Perception of Hunters

  • 🎧 Ranchers are tied into American society and celebrated by many—one of the reasons they’re often added to pick-up truck commercials
    • This is ironic as the primary job of a rancher is to breed & kill animals
      • For some reason, Americans love ranchers but don’t have the same feeling towards hunters, even though the two play similar roles
  • People tend to be fine with killing non-game animals—cows, chickens, and pigs—but find the death of game animals—deer, bears, and moose—abhorrent
    • For instance, you’ll never see social media backlash for someone killing a turkey
    • Why is this the case?
      • “There’s a virtue signaling aspect of sh*tting on hunters—you’re always going to get some positive remarks about it” – Joe Rogan
  • “People are extremely resistant to the idea that you would now start hunting something you weren’t hunting a few days ago” – Steven Rinella
    • “People recently protested the killing of a tiger in India that had killed 13 people”
  • In summary: It’s hypocritical to condemn hunting game if you eat meat from other animals

Legal Hunting Doesn’t Destroy a Species  

  • A large number of people who protest hunting game animals aren’t doing it for ecological reasons; they’re doing it because of their personal views on animal rights and moral grounds
    • The debate around hunting animals is a proxy war for conflicting views on wildlife
      • 🎧 The discussions are bigger than bison or grizzlies; the real questions are: “What is our relationship with the natural world? … What is the relationship between rural versus urban perspectives on how people should be around wildlife?” – Steven Rinella
  • Steven believes that, when it comes to wolves and grizzlies, as long as the population is stable, they should be managed as renewable resources
  • Some people believe hunting a certain species will eventually destroy it—that’s far from the truth
  • Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana all have state management wolve systems
    • “All these horrible things that were going to happen when the state resumed management of wolves didn’t materialize … It was going to be the end of wolves right? Well, it hasn’t been … In the first few years, you actually saw the populations go up … You’re not going to see wolves vanish from the landscape.” – Steven Rinella

There Are Many Benefits to Hunting Game Animals

  • Benefits of hunting game animals include:
    • The animals (wolves, bears, etc.) begin to see humans as a threat and tend to keep away from people
    • For many, hunting serves as a vital source of income (and food)
    • Hunting and fishing licenses help fund wildlife and disease research
  • Steven believes the most vital part of his job is having conversations with people who live a hunting lifestyle, and presenting those conversations to people who aren’t familiar with the way of life
    • “The more people that are engaged in this activity, I think, the better it winds up being for American wildlife” – Steven Rinella

Additional Notes

  • Early modern humans were just as violent as Neanderthals
  • Florida is an excellent place for bass fishing 
  • Men buy 90% of hunting licenses
  • Mountain lions are delicious
    • Supposably, wolves are also tasty 
  • Why are there sheep, goats, pigs, and other farm animals on islands?
    • Sailors used to release them to reproduce so, the next time they came to visit, they would be able to kill the animals for their meat (instead of having to carry live animals with them on the ship)
    • However, this had several adverse effects: An invasive species can disrupt the natural ecosystem and kill off much of the native plants and animals
  • Joe wishes there was a wild game restaurant where you could buy well-prepared bear and mountain lion
    • “I think that would be a fascinating place to eat” – Joe Rogan
  • “By any reasonable measurement, we have too many deer” – Steven Rinella
    • There are also too many bullfrogs