By: Cailyn Schroeder
As hunters we all like to think that eating wild game is better for us, but is that really the case?
Almost across the board, Wild Game meat is higher in protein content than domesticated meats, and the calories per serving stay relatively close between the different meats, with domestic meat often slightly higher in calories. This is due to the fact that Wild Game meats are generally leaner with protein containing 4 calories per gram and fats producing 9 calories per gram.
As you're probably aware, wild game meat is generally lower in fat, but you need to understand what that means to know how that may benefit you. There are many common health risks such as heart disease that benefit from diets lower in fat. There are two types of fat commonly come up when talking about food; Saturated fat and unsaturated fat. An easy way to think of the difference between the two is saturated fats are solid at room temperature such as coconut oil, butter, and the white marbled animal fat in meat. Common types of unsaturated fats are omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Wild game meat has a higher omega 3 fatty acid content, and Omega 3’s have long been known for their benefits in brain and heart health as well as their anti-inflammatory properties. Grass-fed beef is one of the few meats that has a similar lipid (fat profile) to wild game meat. Bison meat, while considered domestic, is also a very lean meat compared to beef and can be considered wild game as well. Bison meat is highly regulated by the FDA and, though a little more expensive, is a great option as a meat you can purchase at the store. Wild turkey is also a much leaner choice than domestic turkey.
Besides the easy to see differences between the two meat types you might think of the "quality" of meat and where it comes from. Domestic animals are often raised in a non free roaming environment and fed an assortment of grains from treated farm fields. Wild Game live off the land but often still spend time gazing those same treated crops, but don't have this as their primary food source.
Overall, game meat is generally leaner with a better omega 3 profile compared to that of domestic meat and lives and feeds on the land instead of being fed grains from crops for every meal. Also, as we all know, there is a special respect and care that we as hunters take away from being able to harvest an animal and fill the freezer for our families, which makes Wild Game meat a lot more fun to go shopping for!
**Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information presented in this article is based on scientifically published literature and is not intended to be used for specific individual nutrition counseling needs.