This time of year, outdoor events have slowed down a bit for most people. At least as slow as it ever gets. I say this since many of you are skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and hunting cougar, wolf and varmint.
I hate to be a whiner but I have to admit, I'm bored. Granted there's ice fishing, wolf hunting and varmint hunting and I've had a lot of seminars going on but I'm ready to get out hardcore. Aren't you? It'll be a good two months before the whistle pigs and prairie dogs are out and then another month or two until we'll be hitting the bear and turkeys hard. Then we'll move on into backcountry fly-fishing. I can't wait. But until then, it's winter.
Due to having a few free minutes this time of year, many sportsmen put on wild game feeds. What can be more fun than having a get-together with your friends, eating and shooting the bull? The only thing that can be better than that is to have a wild game feed and have 100-300 outdoorsmen get-together. Your church, bow club or shooting club can sponsor one.
The sky is the limit for programs. They can be extravagant or down to low key. Most have a guest speaker that gives a talk and shows a video. As far as speakers go, they may be from a local outdoorsman, or I've been to some that fly in a big name celebrity.
I once went to one in Emmett, Idaho, hosted by the Black Canyon Bow Hunters. They took turns telling the year's hunting stories. The last guy got up and told how he'd shot a world record bear. As he was going up to tag his trophy, a bright light shown down on the bear. A flying saucer swooped down and sucked it up and that explained why he didn't have any pictures. Dead serious he looked at us and said, "True story." Then he sat down. We all set there looking at each other a minute. The emcee got up and said with that story I think we'll call it a night and we did.
Some of the big ones coincide as a fundraising event. They have items donated for a silent auction. Some have door prizes. I've also seen ones that had items donated for a live auction. The Black Canyon WGF had a photo contest. People voted on the best outdoor photo for the year. They had the framed pictures on a table with a coffee can in front of it. Everyone was given three tickets and they put their three tickets in what they thought was the top three pictures. The picture with the most tickets won.
One idea that might be fun sometime is to have a chef give a talk on how to prepare different gourmet wildgame dishes. He could prepare them right in front of you and pass out samples.
One challenge is where to have it? I've been to ones in individual's homes, 4-H buildings, granges and churches. I've even been to one in the showroom of the local Toyota dealer. Think about where you've been to dinners before and hit them up. A school would work well for a large group. Just figure out how big of a group you'll have and plan accordingly.
Next you need to plan the decor. Have a few guys bring mounts. Everyone likes to show off their trophies. I've seen gunsmith Jim Combe at a lot of feeds. He brings old traps, old Winchester rifles and other miscellaneous items. They add to the decor of the event. I have a buddy that makes longbows. It's kinda cool when he brings his collection to a wild game feed.
Who do you invite? Wild game feeds are made to have your whole family attend. They can be great family fun. Some are a men's outreach but I like the ones for the family. That way your wife can see how much fun you and the boys have together enjoying good clean fun.
If you're shy, just have a wild game dinner with your hunting partners. Get your hunting camp together. You can rehash that year's hunting stories together. You should have them perfected by now. A good story has to be practiced a little before it's actually ready to be shared with a group anyway, doesn't it?
Anyway don't set around and mope during February and March — have a wild game feed. After attending one, you will make it an annual tradition. Or if you're like me, it will be a series of wild game feeds, one after another. They'll be something you'll grow to look forward to.
Happy eating, and remember, this is one thing that forestry and game can't regulate. You can eat to your heart's content without a limit! If you don't have any wild game, don't worry. Sneak down to your local grocery store and buy a can of sardines — after all, a good fishermen never truthfully tells where he caught his fish anyway does he?