The idea is simple: everyone brings something to share.
We started hosting Wild Fish & Wild Game dinners in the Summer of 2019, as an excuse to get together with friends and share some of the meat from the freezer—and hopefully attract some new, like-minded folks who were hiding out in the neighborhood.
In our immediate network of friends, we had fishermen, spear fishermen, duck hunters, bird hunters, novices, seasoned-veterans, curious wall-flowers, men, women, kids, and some darn good cooks.
By lighting a hot grill and inviting folks to bring something to share, it creates room for everyone to shine, connect, and forge new friendships.
It has been one of the most rewarding, and self-propelling things I've ever been a part of. If you are even remotely interested in hunting, fishing, regenerative ag, cooking, gardening, or the like... then you've gotta take a swing at using it as an excuse to bring folks together.
Here is my best advice for planning your own Wild Fish & Wild Game Club Dinner:
Start by inviting your friends, and tell them it is an open invite to bring their friends.
The only rule is everyone has to bring something to share. (Meat, fish, tortillas, bread, veggies to grill, a side, a sauce, chips & guac, beer... anything that makes some bit of sense at a potluck dinner)
I would recommend AGAINST posting the time & date on social media. Keeping the details private ensures that the dinner is a gathering amongst friends, new and old, rather than an event to be promoted as if something is being sold. Freely invite all who are interested, just keep the invitations personal.
Our expressed purpose is to get in the regular rhythm of sharing.
There’s something to be said about working hard to procure something for the table, and then turning around and sharing it with friends. It breeds a connectedness with the natural world and each other, which is about as good as it gets on a weekday night.
We have found that these nights feel most natural with very little set structure. While we have dabbled in movie nights, guest speakers, Q&A's, and club polls... at the end of the day people just want to share in some conversation and eat some foods they might never encounter otherwise.
Conversation rarely lags when you get a bunch of hunting and fishing enthusiasts in a room together and hand them a beer.
We have hosted dinners at all sorts of venues: the front lawn of a surf shop, a back yard, a house, the courtyard of a business, a wood-working studio, and a brewery.
Basically, anywhere that would tangentially benefit from people coming and spending time. The trick to getting invited back is cleaning up. If you brought, it goes home with you.
And try to support the local businesses who graciously share their space with you.
We have always opted for weeknights—predominantly Mondays. We're not trying to fill an amphitheater, just get 15-60 folks together to share some food and mostly true stories.
At our most consistent, we were doing dinners once a month. More recently its every couple months—so no single person gets burned out with the planning and logistics.
If you can swing it, it's really nice to have two sources of heat: one Hot & Fast and one Slow & Low.
In most cases, people should do as much prep-work as possible at home, and bring things that either just need to be warmed up, or just need a quick grill.
Build an email list to keep people informed about future gatherings. Spread the responsibility around.
Because we believe conservation happens when people are participating in the natural world. There is an entire world, filled with immeasurable wonders and our day-to-day modern experience insulates us from engaging with it.
Participating in—and encouraging—these pursuits of the outdoors ensures we, and the generations following us, will have a life-long appreciation for wild places and wild things.