Its Game Time


Wild Game
In the UK game is defined in law by the Game Act 1831. It is illegal to shoot game on Sundays or at night. Other (non-game birds) that are hunted for food in the UK are specified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. UK law defines game as including:
Black grouse (No longer hunted due to decline in numbers), Red grouse, Brown hare, Ptarmigan, Grey partridge and red-legged partridge, Common pheasant.
Deer are not included in the definition, but similar controls provided to those in the Game Act apply to deer (from the Deer Act 1991). Deer hunted in the UK are:
Red deer, Roe deer, Fallow deer, Sika deer, Muntjac deer, Chinese water deer, and hybrids of these deer
Other animals which are hunted in the UK include:
Duck, including Mallard, Tufted Duck, Teal, Pintail and Pochard
Goose, including Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Pink-footed Goose and in England and Wales White-fronted Goose, Woodpigeon, Woodcock, Snipe, Rabbit, Golden Plover.
Capercaillie are not currently hunted in the UK because of a recent decline in numbers and conservation projects towards their recovery. The ban is generally considered voluntary on private lands, and few birds live away from RSPB or Forestry Commission land anyway.
Health and nutrition
Wild game meats have significant health benefits when compared to most conventionally farm reared animal meats. Wild game lives on a primarily natural diet and forages in a way that suits the animal’s natural behavior. The food it finds will be right for the animal’s genetic makeup and therefore will be digested well and give the animal the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Animals that eat green foods in the wild will have meat that is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in addition it is generally found that the meat contains higher levels of many beneficial nutrients including vitamin E, Beta Carotene, Zinc and Iron.
When game is taken from well managed Estates it is generally the case that they are being hunted from reserves that are either buoyant in numbers or are over populated and require a regular cull to manage the stocks humanely. When a species becomes overpopulated it has a detrimental effect on both the surrounding eco system and the health of the animals.
Most game is killed in its own natural environment and is there for less likely to be stressed at the time of slaughter. Animals that have to be slaughtered in a licenced abattoir have to undergo some form of handling, transportation and exposure to unfamiliar circumstances, all of which will cause an element of tension.
For an insight into Game Hunting and what it involves have a look at these videos.
Wild Game has a range of habitats however they usually require natural cover, woodland and moorland. When managed well, these types of habitats are home to a wide range of flora and fauna that create biodiversity. These habitats help the wider environment too as they have a significant beneficial effect on climate change. Plants and trees take harmful CO2 from the atmosphere and lock it down into the soil where it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Peat represents the country's largest single carbon sink, with more carbon stored in UK peat than in the combined forests of Britain and France. This type of habitat, particularly large moorland estates, can be very expensive to manage and maintain. An essential part of the income for managing this habitat has to come from selling the rights to shoot or selling the game meat itself. I feel that this environmental benefit outweighs the moral dilemma about hunting, for fun or for management. Unlike some elements of the meat industry, harvesting wild meat involves no chemicals, hormones, abattoirs, animal housing, or land to grow roots or cereals for feeds.
Cooking and Seasons available
Wild game is generally very rich in flavour and colour and may be a little tougher, depending on the age of the animal and how natural it life has been. To counteract the toughness, it's 'hung' after shooting to help tenderise the meat and encourage the development of 'gamey' flavours. The longer meat is hung, the more pronounced the flavour will become, but hanging periods usually range from two days up to 12 days.
In earlier times, birds would be hung by their heads until the body fell off, at which point they would be ready for cooking. This method is probably a little too strong for most people today but some form of hanging usually improves tenderness and flavour.

There are lots of ways to cook game and many recipes to try. In general game is very naturally lean and therefore may dry out quickly.
If you are cooking a prime cut such as a loin of venison or breast of game bird you can avoid this dryness by lightly cooking it and enjoying it ‘pink’. In addition these cuts can be wrapped in fatty bacon or have added fat to baste the meat during the cooking process.
The parts of the animal that do the most work tend to produce the cuts of meat that need slow cooking. Using rich and fatty sauces and gravies to cook over a low heat and long period will really help keep these cuts succulent and delicious.
Wild Game can only be shot in certain seasons. These seasons dictate when fresh wild game meat will be available. Please see the dates below.
Species England, Scotland, Wales Northern Ireland

Pheasant Oct 1st - Feb 1st Oct 1st - Jan 1st
Partridge Sept 1st - Feb 1st Sept 1st - Jan 31st
Grouse Aug 12th - Dec 10th Aug 12th - Nov 30th
Ptarmigan Aug 12th - Dec 10th -----
Blackgrouse Aug 20th - Dec 10th -----
Snipe Aug 12th - Jan 31st Sept 1st - Jan 31st
Jack Snipe Protected** Sept 1st - Jan 31st
Woodcock Oct 1st - Jan 31st Oct 1st - Jan 31st
Woodcock (Scotland) Sept 1st - Jan 31st -----
Duck & Goose (Inland) Sept 1st - Jan 31st Sept 1st - Jan 31st
Duck & Goose (Below High Water Mark) Sept 1st - Feb 20th Sept 1st - Jan 31st
Coot/Moorhen Sept 1st - Jan 31st Ptoected**
Gloden Plover Sept 1st Jan 31st Sept 1st - Jan 31st
Curlew Protected** Sept 1st - Jan 31st
Hare Cannot be sold March-July Aug 12th - Jan 31st

Species Sex England,N Ireland, Wales Scotland

Red Stags Aug 1st - April 30th July 1st - Oct 20th
Hinds Nov 1st - March 31st Oct 21st - Feb 15th
Fallow Bucks Aug 1st - April 30th Aug 1st - April 30th
Does Nov 1st - March 31st Oct 21st - Feb 15th
Sika Stags Aug 1st - April 30th July 1st - Oct 20th
Hinds Nov 1st - March 31st Oct 21st Feb 15th
Roe Bucks April 1st - Oct 31st April 1st - Oct 20th
Does Nov 1st - March 31st Oct 21st - Mar 31st
Red/Sika Hybrids Stags Aug 1st - April 30th (NI only) July 1st - Oct 20th
Hinds Nov 1st - March 31st( NI only) Oct 21st - Feb 15th
Chinese Water Deer Bucks Nov 1st - March 31st
Does Nov 1st - March 31st
Muntjac No Closed Season**

Based in the heart of the Lake District

YEW TREE FARM, Coniston, Cumbria, LA21 8DP|Telephone: 015394 41433 | 07753 957150|Email: [email protected]