Struggles With the Red Fox: An Eat What You Kill Code

Featured in the May 2017 Issue of Fur-Fish-Game

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My first wild game dinner was a steak from a whitetail doe my dad shot when I was seven years old. The dinner was a prime opportunity for a lesson in outdoor ethics, and he explained to me the relationship between hunter and prey. To sum up his words: “if a deer didn’t taste so damn good, there’d be no reason to shoot it”. The point being, you eat what you kill.

As most hunters understand, that’s the only way to truly honor an animal’s life. Some find it contradictory, and a whole article could be spent trying to explain this complex relationship. But no matter how you spin it, hunting for meat gives purpose to the chase, and an enigmatic value to the cuisine.

I’ve taken this idea a step further than most. Everything from boiled whitetail tongue to green-winged teal liver has landed on my plate in a curious game of trial and error with wild meats, but I was never a trapper. Nor did I ever have any desire to put fox in my catalog of wild game recipes. After three months spent wreaking havoc on a resident red fox population, however, any limitations I put on wild game meals had to be broken. I had a new culinary obligation: to hunt and procure a red fox steak.

Read the May 017 issue of Fur-Fish-Game for more!


3 thoughts on “Struggles With the Red Fox: An Eat What You Kill Code

  1. Interesting. For the most part, I agree with you. But now that nature is out of balance, and some predators have to be controlled to preserve other species, I wouldn’t feel a need to eat them all. (I wouldn’t eat a spider and some years we are overrun with them.) I have a problem with the leghold trap, mainly because the trapper can’t always be there immediately after the animal is trapped and I don’t like animals to suffer. I do think some populations get too big and need to be culled, but maybe there are other ways of doing it. Our wolves are getting far too many and too brazen out here on the Pacific coast (my opinion) and because, like the foxes, they often appeal to the emotion of dog lovers, it is always hard for management to balance the uneducated but emotionally charged public’s opposition to a culling program with the need to save other species they have now put at risk by introducing the wolves in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very tricky and tough anytime predators are involved. Historically, they seem to be a last resort food source although some, like Vilhjalmur Stefansson, reported wolf to be his favorite food in his arctic exploration book, My Life With The Eskimo. I had a tough time with the predator trapping that entailed my job. I have trouble valuing one life over another, although I understood my employer’s stance that the shorebirds we worked for are endangered. I believe every animal, small and large, herbivore and carnivore, deserves equal respect. For me, the struggle with the fox had a personal value to it on top of the inevitable culinary curiosities that past accounts from people like Vihjalmur provided. Were at an interesting place in human and environmental history, the wolf conflict your area is dealing with will probably be one of the biggest ethical, moral, and environmental dilemmas of our lifetime. I’m interested in seeing how it plays out! Thank you for sharing as always!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There have been several cases of wolves attacking and killing dogs (pets), one recently – in Alaska, I believe – killing the dog while the owner was out with it on a hiking trail, and several park areas have had to be closed temporarily on Vancouver Island when wolves were coming right into the camping areas. The wolf-love group is highly charged, emotionally, and that makes the problem extra difficult for those trying to use common sense and reason to deal with it. But we’ll see how it plays out. I’m not a wolf hater, but neither do I swoon over the idea that it would be wonderful to have a pet that is half wolf (I get so tired of that sentiment).


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