Game Animals and Birds

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Wild animals—sometimes called game or venison—have always been especially prized in the autumn, when they fatten themselves for the coming winter. While the autumn game season is still celebrated in many European restaurants with wild duck, hare, pheasant, partridge, deer, and boar, in the United States wild meats are banned from commerce (only inspected meat can be sold legally, and hunted meat is not inspected). Most “game” meats available to the U.S. consumer these days come from animals raised on farms and ranches. They’re perhaps better described as “semi-domestic” meats. Some of these animals have been raised in captivity since Roman times, but haven’t been as intensively bred as the domesticated animals, and so are still much like their wild counterparts.