What will you be eating for Christmas dinner?

At Christmas time, more venison will be consumed than at any other time in the year.

Sika Venison

Indeed, in Europe, the traditional Christmas meat is game, mainly venison or Boar and the market for game on the continent dwarfs that of the UK where, the traditional Christmas dinner is not wild, or sustainable, but intensively farmed.

Shame! What are we doing?

DEFRA have made it abundantly clear, that for the benefit of the UK countryside, more deer need to be shot.

The case for shooting deer is not ambiguous, it is not uncertain, or yet to be determined. It has been debated to death and the outcome is of no surprise, more deer in the UK need to be shot and to encourage this we must promote venison.

So, people, ‘sing it from the roof tops’ and for God’s sake, make sure that you are serving it at Christmas dinner to your family and friends.

Of course, I recognise that I am preaching to the converted, the choice for most deer stalkers is not between venison, Turkey, Beef, or other alternatives, but simply between species of deer.

Proclaiming a preference for the best type of venison, is a bit like proclaiming a preference of rifle calibre, it is a widely debated and provokes wide scale debate.

Nonetheless, here goes! It is venison from Sika deer that is my current favourite. In fact, I strategically kept two Sika calves back from our latest Capreolus Club trip to Dorset, especially for Christmas dinner. They’ve been dropped off to my local Butcher; ‘Andrews Quality Meats’ in Marlborough and await collection.

I specify it is my ‘current’ favourite because tastes change and the desired outcome from your chosen dish can differ. However, for Christmas dinner, I am looking for a ‘fatty’ venison with a beef like quality. In fact, I truly believe that most people would assume that it was beef, albeit a leaner, more tender version.

And that is the joy of hunting your own meat, you get to choose the species and age of the animal, and believe me, the difference between a Sika Calf and say a mature, rutting Red Stag, can be chalk and cheese.

Whatever your preference, whether it be a diminutive Chinese Water Deer, who incidentally, are rutting in December, or large Red deer, there is plenty of opportunity, with all species of deer, being in season, somewhere in the UK throughout the build up to Christmas.

If you’d like to learn how to harvest, gralloch, inspect, skin, butcher and cook a deer, the best place to learn how, is via a series of Courses & Masterclasses available through the ‘UK Shooting & Hunting Academy’.

Via this easy access online platform, you can learn how to hunt via the PDS1 Certificate, inspect the shot deer via our online Large Game meat Hygiene Course, Gralloch, Skin & Butcher it by watching Ben Heath’s Masterclass and then rediscover the taste of venison by taking Michelin Star Chef Asimakis Chaniotis Masterclass on venison cookery.

It’s all there for you this Christmas, so there’s no excuse not to ‘tuck-in’ to some healthy, delicious venison. Why not click here to the ‘Hunting Academy’ now: huntingacademy

Finally, this month, in case you’ve missed it, we have our latest film which comes to you from Exmoor, where we are hunting the regions Giant Red Stags: youtube.com/watch

Peter Jones 150IN Season in England & Wales:  Roe Doe, Fallow Doe & Fallow Buck, Sika Stag & Sika Hind, Red Stag & Red Hind, CWD Buck & CWD Doe, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.

OFF Season in England & Wales:  Roebuck.

In Season in Scotland:  Fallow Buck, Fallow Doe, Roe Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind.

Off Season in Scotland: Red Stag, Sika Stag & Roebuck 

(Peter Jones - Editor)


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