Hunting, fishing and gathering opportunities contribute to a healthy lifestyle
PETERBOROUGH – Long before modern society laid claim to terms like ‘organic’ and ‘ecological footprint’, anglers, hunters and gatherers in Ontario have been securing sustainable, local food sources to support a healthy lifestyle.
The enhanced social awareness of the benefits that come with choosing local food sources has helped bring this conversation into mainstream society and has made clean eating popular amongst many parts of society.
While some feel as though the term “field-to-table” may only mean “farm-to-table”, there is such a vast array of wild options for ‘locavores’ to capitalize on that the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters encourages all Ontarians to get back to nature and experience the personal and societal benefits of harvesting your own wild food while enjoying our beautiful outdoors.
The spring is a great time to add many tasty wild edibles from nature’s bounty to your diet in a sustainable way. For example, if it’s animal protein that piques your interest, you don’t have to look far for in-season fish and wildlife.
Many wild Ontario fish including trout, salmon and panfish can be harvested from a waterbody near you. Fishing is not only a fun activity for the whole family, but a successful catch can also provide fresh, wild and nutrient-packed protein.
If fish isn’t your thing, don’t forget about wild turkey. Thanks to successful restoration efforts by hunters and other conservationists, we have sustainable wild turkey populations that offer a chance for any would-be hunter to harvest a bird from the wild. Wild turkey meat is a great addition to a healthy diet as it is low in fat and calories.
Additionally, after a 17-year absence, black bears can now be harvested across Ontario during the spring, providing valuable hides and a healthy source of meat to your diet. Spring bear meat is a source of lean protein and provides more than 50 percent of your daily intake of iron (per three ounce serving) and 40 percent of your daily intake of Riboflavin (vitamin B2).
However, the opportunities to eat clean don’t end there. If you are looking for other wild food to round out your menu, the spring season offers many delicious edibles, including fiddleheads, wild leeks, asparagus and mushrooms.
“Cultural activities like fishing, hunting and gathering not only offer sustenance, but also allow us to fully experience nature and place ourselves back into natural ecosystems and processes in a sustainable way. Whether you are tapping trees for maple syrup, hunting for fiddleheads, or harvesting fish and wildlife for table fare, it can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience for yourself and your family and friends who share the bounty,” says Matt DeMille, the manager of fish and wildlife services for the OFAH.
In addition to the nutritional benefits that come with wild table fare, a steady diet of these foods can also improve weight control and general heart health. It may also prevent anemia, help with wound healing, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, autoimmune diseases and type 1 diabetes. (Source: www.eatrightontario.ca)
For ideas and tips on how to get afield, as well as prepare and cook your harvest, be sure to check out Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine, or visit www.oodmag.com as each issue features tasty new recipes for enjoying wild game.
10 wild edible foods to add to your diet this spring
- Black Crappie and other panfish
- Black Bear
- Maple syrup
(Note: not all wild mushrooms are edible. Make sure you know which ones are edible before consuming them.)
- Wild leeks
- Wild Turkey
With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 735 member clubs, the OFAH is the province’s largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org or follow us on Facebook (Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters) and Twitter (@ofah).
Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services
705-748-6324 ext. 249
Manager of Communications
705-748-6324 ext. 270