Tasting the wild: Game buffets offer family fun, fellowship

By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer

As much a tradition as the seasons themselves, the wild game suppers that spring up in the swing time between the close of deer and the opening of crappie fill tables and meeting halls wherever friends may gather.
An opportunity to share extra fish and game with friends, a chance to swap recipes and share stories, to break bread together and enjoy a few laughs and a good meal on a gray February day all bring out area chefs’ best work in nature’s provender.
Two such events, one on Monday in Pittsboro and another in Dorsey on Feb. 23, are prime examples of what can be created through the community spirit.
In Pittsboro, a yearly wild game supper began in the 1980s and steadily built in popularity for a time. Renewed in 2003, the now-annual tradition brings more than 100 friends and their families together at the Calhoun County Agri-Center’s multi-purpose building.
The event includes a wild-game-related program and a friendly competition for best dish in a variety of categories. Judging for this year’s event begins at 6 p.m. and the program commences 30 minutes later. This year’s speaker will be Eric Michel, from Mississippi State University, who’ll discuss the causes of antler and body size differences in the state’s deer herd. The price of admission is $1 for those who bring a dish and $3 for those who do not.
“We enjoy it and it’s just a good event all around,” Millie Goforth said. She, her husband Joe and a core group of their neighbors coordinate the event, which includes drinks, homemade desserts and pulled pork barbecue for those of less adventurous palate. For more information about the Pittsboro event, contact Goforth at 628-6260.
Breaking grass in Dorsey
At Bethel Baptist Church in Dorsey, an event set for Feb. 23 is expected to draw more than 400 people for a similar wild game event, this one headlined by Mossy Oak’s Greg Briggs and by Breaking Grass, a group that plays bluegrass and gospel music. Additional events are expected to include fishing advice from Clay Coleman, of Clay’s Bait and Tackle in Tupelo.
“We did one of these about three years ago,” Jerry Marlin, one of the event’s coordinators, said. “This is our second one. If the word gets out, we should have a good crowd because we have such a wide variety of game. There’ll be elk, deer, hog, squirrel, crappie, bass and catfish for sure, then we’ll have some exotic things like beaver and raccoon and other things because lots of folks want to try that.”
As with the Pittsboro event, there’ll be alternate dishes for those not inclined to try the wild game.
A community event
“Out here in Dorsey, we’ve got so many hunters and fishermen, and that includes men, women and children, it just fits very well with our community,” Marlin said.
The event will serve as a fundraiser for the church’s children’s ministry, so admission is set at $10 for adults and $5 for youngsters 12 and under. For more information about the Dorsey event, contact Bethel Baptist Church at 862-7375.