The bear sausage balls were amazing

I loved the bear sausage balls. And the beaver salami. And the smoke lake trout. And the wild turkey salad on whole wheat crackers. The students circulating these great dishes often got asked to stick close to our group!

The annual Unity College Wild Game Dinner was awesome, and the dishes listed above were just some of the many appetizers offered to guests during the pre-dinner happy hour. And yes, it was a very happy hour, although the great beer brewed by a local guy ran out, thanks to the very large and thirsty crowd. I did get one glass of a very good brown ale so I guess I can’t complain.

This annual fundraiser selected Operation Game Thief for their charity this year, and the silent and live auctions and raffles, along with ticket sales, must have raised a lot of money.

My favorite chef, Kate Krukowski Gooding, was the guest chef at the event, and I quickly suggested that they sign her up for all future game dinners. Kate is not only an amazing cook, but her wild game cookbooks are the best.

I took note that Judy Camuso, DI&W’s Wildlife Division Director, bought one of Kate’s books and even got her to autograph it. Judy sat at our table, reserved by Mark Latti, DIF&W’s information and education staffer for both the wildlife and the fisheries divisions. Mark, his wife, and his parents joined us as did my sister Edye and a new game warden and Unity graduate.

Other appetizers included Elk Steak Bites, Venison Soppresatta, Picked Venison Kielbasa, Moose and Elk Empanadas, and Smoked Turkey.

The dinner featured an array of meat dishes, all of which were wonderful: Fried Crappie, Venison Cheddar Pies, Apple Venison Meatloaf (one of my favorites), Pheasant/Shiitake, Moose Tongue Pate (delicious!), Citrus Turkey Bites, and Curried Beaver (Kate’s dish featured on Bill Green’s Maine and the National Furrier Association’s latest “beaver DVD.”

Joe Saltalamachia, Unity College’s Director of Admissions, is a very avid sportsman and an outdoor writer, and he manages the dinner, working with staff and lots of students to make this a very special event. Joe even does some of the cooking. I can’t wait for next year’s event! And I sure do hope they’ll have those bear sausage balls again!

Photo: Joe Saltalamachia, Kate Kruskowski Gooding, and Unity College President Melik Peter Khoury.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.