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Nov 25, 2008 07:30 AM

Beaver, Moose, Puffin

I saw the recent episode of Bizarre Foods from Maine.
I'm trying to locate a wholesale supplier for
these meats to sell in my retail meat shop here in Pennsylvania.
Any help would be appreciated.

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  1. You may find all of them difficult. At least here in Maine, most game animals that aren't farm-raised (and moose would be one) can't be sold retail. Beaver would be hard to imagine as a "usual" game animal, so you'd have to find a trapper or two to supply you. And puffins (shame on you!) are a protected and endangered species.

    5 Replies
    1. re: mainemal

      After talking to residents in Iceland, my understanding was that Puffin was not endangered, and that in Canada locally harvested birds are available in Canadian markets.
      As for the other animals, yes, to be sold here they must be commercially farmed, not wild.

      1. re: pacheeseguy

        As to Canada, that may be. But in the US, they are, I believe, Federally protected. They were almost extirpated in our Maine waters for many years (and this is the southern end of their range), and we've worked hard to re-establish them.

        1. re: mainemal

          I am not sure if they are protected federally or on the state level, but they are definitely protected in Maine. They do extend quite a bit further south, however, at least as far as Virginia and possibly to the Carolinas. They are still hunted, I believe more for their eggs than their meat, pretty much everywhere in the North Atlantic outside of the US. The reason limited hunting is permitted in Canada is that hunting by humans is not what threatens puffins. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to puffins (at least in our part of the Atlantic) is commercial fishing. This works in a number of different ways. To start with, there simply is no longer a large enough stock of the fish and shellfish most consumed by puffins to support a truly substantial population. Much of the land that is best suited to puffin nesting has also been taken for use for commercial fishing. Fish processing plants cause populations of gulls and rats to swell. The gulls compete with the puffins for food, and also eat the puffins' eggs. The rats eat both the eggs and the puffins themselves. Fishing boats, fish processing plants, and the population centers that spring up around the fishing industry all contribute to the contamination of the waters puffins inhabit. A good number of them are also killed when they get tangled in nets and other fishing equipment. The initial depopulation can be attributed to hunting, but the reintroduction and conservation efforts, while they have increased puffin populations, have failed to produce thriving puffin colonies because we have drastically altered the puffins' habitats. Puffins are also one of the species in the area that has been identified as most vulnerable to climate change, so their future in Maine is not looking bright.

          1. re: danieljdwyer

            According to this site (and my suspicions..), "Most of the large puffin colonies in Canada are protected as provincial reserves or federal migratory bird sanctuaries."


            I am from Newfoundland, and it is the official bird there, so i'm sure that alone would make it illegal to hunt, however I have never heard anyone talk of eating Puffin, or heard of it being sold commercially anywhere .

            A local grocery store back home (shout out to Bidgoods), does sell moose, caribou, seal, rabbit and turr I think.

            1. re: im_nomad

              Huh. I guess it must just be the Nordic Countries that still allow puffin hunting by the logic that hunting is no longer the major force driving them to extinction.

    2. I've lived in Maine my entire life, and I've never even seen any of these in a store here. I've had Moose, but I've never even heard of someone eating a puffin, in fact, theres only once place i have ever seen a puffin. I would assume that these meats are no more available to us than they are to you, but good luck with your search, and let us know if you find where you can get these. I would love to try beaver and puffin.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Shamus

        From what I've seen, puffins are mingy little birds that look like a lot of work for little meat, but if you want to go there, I won't stop you.

        But beaver?! Let's remember it's essentially a large water rat, with nice fur and better marketing. If I were starving, I would have no problems eating beaver, squirrel, or even rat, but if I weren't, I'd be looking for anything else. I'm Canadian, and I remember from my history books stories of Indians and trappers eating deer, caribou, moose, bison, and rabbit, but never beaver.

      2. Thanks all for the replies. If indeed Puffin is banned, in danger, protected, then of course I do not have any interest is selling it. I did have customers asking me to research it, and that's what I've been doing. It is very well loved in Iceland and highly recommended.
        As for beaver and moose, again I've had requests, as well as someone asking for penguin. So again, I'm just doing research. If it's available, and the pricing/shipping is agreeable, I try to bring new things to my store.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pacheeseguy

          Ok, well....
          Having lived in Alaska, moose was a staple. They're plentiful there and responsible hunters utilize the entire animal and DON'T hunt it from a helicopter.

          But I don't even think that Sarah Palin would consider eating puffin.

          And sorry, but the idea of eating beaver is just nauseating and penguin simply immoral.

            1. re: ejs1492

              lol....i saw what u did thur.......

              1. re: im_nomad

                Ok, knock it off. We can turn this car around RIGHT NOW.

        2. On an odd note there is a breed of dog, the Norwegian Lundehund, that was specifically for puffin hunting.