Humane Hunter

Why one Lodi man hunts and fishes to fill his plate

When he was growing up, Joseph Magnelli spent a couple years living with his uncle in Central Oregon. At his uncle’s house Joseph learned to live off the land, only eating what his uncle hunted, grew, and gathered.

“That made a huge impact on me growing up,” Joseph, 32, says.

When Joseph moved back to Sonoma County with his parents, his way of life changed because no one else in his family hunted. He fished but really only for stress relief, stopping by a lake in Santa Rosa on his way home from work to unwind.

One year ago Joseph decided to get into hunting, and eat everything he killed or caught. He saw hunting and fishing as a way to give the middle finger to the factory farming industry, save some money, and get outdoors.

Over the year Joseph has killed and cooked wild turkeys, fish, jackrabbits, and other game, all with a bow. He’s still waiting to land that first deer, which can yield 40-50 pounds of meat, enough to feed him and his wife their fill of red meat for a year.

The ultimate goal is to hunt and fish enough to stop buying meat from the grocery store. As a result he says he’s supporting animal rights, which many non-hunters don’t understand.

“Either way you do it animals are going to die from what you’re eating,” Joseph explains. By hunting for his own food, Joseph is acting humanely—hunting animals that have lived full lives in the great outdoors and not ones kept in cages on a farm somewhere.

Joseph limits waste by using every part of the animal he can. He narrowly chose photography over culinary school and he still has an appreciation for the skill set. He knows how to properly cook gamey meats and use the bones, gizzards, and organs for meals. He even vows to catch a coyote one day and see what he can do with that.

“It helps because I understand food,” he says. “When you know how to cook you kind of have an understanding of how to use every single part of the animal.”

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Joseph Magnelli


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