Don’t think I wasn’t apprehensive about tackling this one. When the prospect of bear hunting for From The Wild first came up, I scoffed. I’m now firmly on the opposite side of that fence. Rationale: Spring bear is not in fact fatty at all, which many claim is what makes it ‘gross’. Bear meat is far from ‘gross’, and in fact is more delicately flavoured than moose or elk. The bear in the photo and the others we saw are feeding heavily on the first grasses of the season. Bears are omnivores, like pigs, and I’m fine ethically with eating a pig. My backyard hens are omnivores too for that matter. Bears are a managed species in Alberta and hunters aren’t chomping at the bit because 1] they’re gross to eat (false) and 2] it’s illegal to abandon the hide so it’s a commitment to get it processed afterwards. Sadly, it would have been fully legal for us to harvest this bear, skin it, and walk with the hide leaving the carcass for the scavengers. Instead, we’re putting it to marvellously good use. I’m now on a mission to wake others up to the fact that black bear indeed should have a place in our culinary repertoire, especially if we’re going to claim that we know the foods of the place that we live. Expect more posts about bear, and I welcome any challenges about the ethics around its culinary use. For those of you who are going to see me at Host Edmonton – bear is on the menu. Full episode is still in edit.
Very excited to see the finished episode!
Do you notice any difference in Labrador Tea in early spring versus late summer? We were in Athabina last weekend. Tons of Labrador Tea but it had almost no aroma.
Interested to hear more about the bear…
I’ve eaten bear many many times in my days outfitting/guiding hunters. I always felt obligated to eat what I killed. It is wonderful meat!!! More akin to pork than I thought it would be. Early settlers were more than happy to bag a bruin to feed the family and light the lamps and grease the boots and harnesses. Cograts Kevin!
Elyse – me. too.
Allan – yes. agreed re: the reduced volatiles on it. should change soon though as I’ve harvested them when in bloom, at which point the aromatics are intense and even more complex than normal. Also found that some plants looked desiccated, and some not as bad, so had some variability depending on which ‘patch’ I was in. It was a winner to smoke with.
John – thanks!
Congrats on the successful hunt!
There was a traveling teddy around the farm a couple summers ago. My Uncle and Sister got a special license to get him if he got too friendly.
Lots of jerky was made… lol
I am excited to see the episode! I was fortunate to get my first bear this season, spot and stalk. He was young and eating lots of clover..as such the meat is fantastic. It’s too bad that many bear are not eaten and only taken for their hides.