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Platte wild game feed tradition continues

Event started in 1952 features fare of all kinds

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Members of the public made their way through the line during the East River Sportsman's Club annual wild game feed at the Platte Community Building in Platte Saturday evening. The event, which began in 1952 and serves as a club fundraiser and membership drive, features dishes made from wild game taken by club members during the previous hunting and fishing seasons. Among the fare are dishes made from elk, wild turkey, duck and rabbit, among others. (Erik Kaufman / Republic)

PLATTE — A long-running wild game feed continued its tradition Saturday evening.

The East River Sportsman’s Club annual wild game feed returned to Platte over the weekend, again drawing community members to the Platte Community Building for a dinner showcasing a menu of wild game, including dishes featuring duck, rabbit and elk.

Josh Moret, secretary for the club, said the menu is composed of game taken by club members during the previous hunting seasons, as well as other game donated by supporters. And while the usual South Dakota game fare can be found on the table, the club does occasionally get some unusual items for diners to try.

“We have duck, deer, elk, rabbit, goose, turkey, pheasant and a fish fry. But we didn’t have anything too exotic this year. Usually we’ll get a wild sheep, and we used to cook raccoons,” Moret said. “I think the rabbit is (my) favorite.”

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The event also featured a raffle for one of 10 guns and door prizes for those in attendance, though the club included a caveat that winners did not need to be present to win to accommodate people who may not have wanted to attend out of concerns for COVID-19.

Moret said the meal usually draws a few hundred people who are hungry for wild game or who are otherwise interested in supporting the club, which sponsors local events such as youth archery shoots and fishing derbies, among other activities.

“It’s been right around 300 the last few years, so we’re hoping we can even with COVID-19 get close to that,” Moret said.

The meal also features some close-kept secret recipes, some of which have been used stretching back to the earliest days of the meal.

“That’s been in the secret books of ours since it started,” said Chad Kuiper, another member of the club, referring to the popular meatloaf recipe served at the dinner. The item is so popular that some people will make a donation and request a pan of it even if they don’t plan to show up to the meal.

Moret agreed that the meatloaf remains perhaps the most overall popular item.

“That meatloaf recipe dates back to when we began. We get people who can’t make it (to the dinner), but they’ll donate and request that they get a pan of meatloaf,” Moret said.

Moret said the event is a chance for members of the club to get together with each other and community members to share a unique meal as well as give back to the community. It’s something that he expects members of the club will continue well into the future, provided its members have steady luck in bringing in food for the table.

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“(We do it) every single year on the first Saturday in February,” Moret said.

Related Topics: EVENTS
Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at ekaufman@mitchellrepublic.com.
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