The Wild Within

When I was 12 my grandfather gave me a bear skin rug made from a bear he shot. He was also kind enough to bring us a ziplock bag of bear meat that I’m pretty sure was on the dash of his truck for the entire drive over. For better or worse, it went to the dog, we just weren’t ready for that kind of advanced culinary thinking. My palette was only just moving from Steak-umms to Boboli pizzas.

Every time I looked into the bearskin rug’s fake marble eyes I wondered about hunting. Is it fun? Is it horrible? Is it both? Is it better when you eat what you kill?

I’m not really into the idea of killing animals but I do love me some meat. And I kinda feel like as a meat eater I should experience that direct connection between animal and dinner at least once. Three Jamesons into a family function recently I may have signed myself up to go hunting with a family friend. Just like that. Awesome. Awesome?

I’m pretty sure I’ll know as soon as I pull the trigger whether I’m a hunter or not. In the meantime I found the next best thing: a show about hunting and eating.

It’s called The Wild Within hosted by a dudeguy named Steven Rinella. He claims that in our modern supermarket age, we’re “losing our connection to our food, our past and each other.” (Which honestly seems a bit too flowery for this fella.)

But I give him a lot of credit, he’s not just out there blasting deer. In one episode he served up a feast of plants and animals all procured within the city limits of San Francisco, a city that has declared the street pigeon a protected species.

I won’t ruin it for you, but on the menu are some bay-caught sharks, a BBQ road kill raccoon and some regular old snails. Because of the lack of animals to hunt, he also dished up some pigeon eggs and wild edibles he picked in the park: miner’s lettuce, plantain and nusturiums.

Not sure gardening is this guy’s other hobby, he called foraging for this stuff the “lite beer version of hunting and gathering.” But he put together a solid show; while watching I heard the greatest sentence I’ve heard in over 2 years:

"We’re poke-polling for monkey faced eels."

While you’re pondering your burger, or considering shooting at other living things, give this show a whirl and see what you think.

The Wild Within is on the Travel Channel.

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