Follow Up: Hunting and Eating Purple Swamphen

Yesterday, Field Notes alerted you to a new South Florida wingshooting opportunity. However, many of you expressed concern over both the sporting and culinary attributes of the purple swamphen, namely: how does it taste and how do you hunt it? Now this story in the Miami Herald answers both questions...

Lost in the recent furor over the fearsome exotic Burmese python is another invasive species that has spread quietly over the past 14 years from the man-made marshes of Broward County to Lake Okeechobee and beyond. Neither ugly nor dangerous to humans, it nevertheless poses a significant threat to South Florida's fragile wetlands ecosystem. But there is good news: This particular invader is edible -- and tastes just like chicken.

Great! That certainly puts to rest your fears that swamphen might taste like a coot. But what of its sporting qualities?
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Tim Regan, who worked as wildlife biologist for the FWC for more than 30 years until his recent retirement, was involved in the swamphen hunt three years ago. Regan said the birds aren't much fun to hunt because it's hard to get them to fly unless you flush them with an airboat. "It's more shooting them on the ground, not very sporting,'' he said._

Well, that's a bummer. So much for the Everglades becoming a hot new wingshooting destination, but at least they're (allegedly) tasty, and I'd rather have easy and tasty than challenging and rancid any day.