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Role of Wild Game in the Diet of Recreationists in South Carolina

  • Biology
  • Communication
  • Design


Risk assessors have devoted considerable attention to the consumption of fish in the diet of recreational and subsistence anglers, but little attention has been directed toward the percentage that wild game contributes to total protein intake for people who engage in hunting and fishing. While recall studies have limitations, the relative errors should be similar for different types of fish and game. We interviewed 454 people attending the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic in South Carolina to determine their consumption patterns of domesticated animals, fish (both wild-caught and commercial) and wild game. The percentage of people who consumed each type of meat was: chicken (98%); beef (95%); wild-caught fish (79%); deer (79%); restaurant fish (73%); pork (71%); dove (47%); commercial fish (41%); wild turkey (40%), duck, squirrel and self-caught quail (about 25% each); restaurant quail (10%); and raccoon (11%). Although a similar proportion of white respondents and black respondents consumed wild game overall (90%), there were ethnic differences in the number of meals of wild-caught fish and game. Black respondents ate more wild-caught fish, rabbit, raccoon and squirrel, and less deer, than did white respondents. Wild-caught fish and game made up 50% of the meat and fish diet of black sportsmen, but only 32% for whites. Wild-caught fish and game were being eaten disproportionately more by low-income black respondents, while more deer was consumed by higher-income black respondents. The data suggest that managers and planners should take into account age, ethnicity and income when (1) conducting exposure assessments, (2) considering consumption patterns for wild-caught fish and game and (3) managing risk from wild-caught fish and game. The data will be especially useful to policy makers and risk managers who are designing consumption advisories, for risk communicators in identifying the target audience and for managers designing long-term stewardship for sites with contamination.

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