If I happened upon the scene of a vehicle-meets-wildlife road accident, I know full well that I’d be woefully ill-equipped to put the grievously injured animal out of its misery, much less turn its carcass into food. Jackson Landers, though, is decidedly not me. The author of 2012’s Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species and 2011’s The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food, Landers recently wrote a piece for Slate describing such an experience.
As he details,
Moments before I arrived on the scene, the SUV’s driver’s plans for the day had been interrupted by a black bear trotting out in front of her vehicle…. The bear and the SUV were the only casualties.
I’m a professional hunting guide, so my first concern was for the bear, which lay dying on its side in the middle of the road. It was struggling to get up with its front paws, but its back legs were clearly paralyzed, and there was no hope for the animal. I put down several wounded deer by the side of the road each year, but I had neglected to stash a spare rifle in my truck that morning. I did, however, have a very large hunting knife. A quick jab in the heart ended the animal’s suffering.
I dragged the bear out of the road so traffic could start moving again, and then I waited for the police to arrive in order to obtain permission to keep the bear. (Being in possession of a dead bear outside of bear-hunting season can get you charged with poaching unless you get special approval.) I had realized that this was as perfect an opportunity as I would ever have to find out what bear meat tastes like. Disassembling a 150-pound dead bear wasn’t what I’d had planned for the evening (I’d intended to catch up on The Walking Dead), but I’m a carpe diem kind of guy. An hour later I found myself the proud, legal owner of one dead black bear.
For the answer, including some food for thought about eating animals, check out the full essay here.