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Raymond church is cooking up a wild fish and game dinner

RAYMOND - On Thursday night, the smell of wild game and fish will fill the hall of Raymond Baptist Church during its third annual Wild Game dinner.

The event is hosted by the church's Outdoor Club, which was started by church-goer Les Houston three years ago.

The dinner is popular and free, so the 200 reserved seats were filled early and more than 50 people have their names on a waiting list.

The wild game is harvested by sportsmen and women both locally and all over the United States, as well as Canada.

This year, wild game will be offered from five different states and will include salmon, striped bass, squirrel, wild boar, bear, elk, venison, moose and pheasant.

The meat is gathered throughout the fall and then collected for distribution to volunteer cooks who prepare the various dishes and bring them on the night of the dinner.

On Tuesday night, Houston was preparing to start a batch of homemade squirrel stew.

Volunteers also spend a lot of time in the church kitchen the day of the event preparing other wild game dishes, salad, drinks and dessert.

Local merchants donate door prizes.

Houston said the event often attracts people, men in particular, who would not usually step foot in church on Sunday. The family-friendly event draws residents from Raymond and nearby communities.

This year, the event will feature a question and answer session with Chef Michael Klingingsmith on how to cook and prepare wild game meats.

"All we're trying to do with the wild game dinner is to reach out to the people in the community," Houston said.

That is the goal of many of the outdoor club's events throughout the year, including two New Hampshire hunting education classes, kayaking trips and fly-casting events.

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