A common angling refrain holds that some lures are better designed to catch fishermen than fish. Hunters are no less guilty. In this series, I’m going to highlight the greatest hunting gimmicks of all time. Some might make you feel nostalgic. Others might make you nauseous. My hope is that all of them give you a good laugh.
What if the second your shotgun pellets connected with a game bird, the flesh was seasoned and ready to cook? This absurd “what if” became a reality in 2006 when Brett Holm invented Season Shot—scattergun shells marketed as “ammo with flavor.”
“Season Shot is made of tightly packed seasoning bound by a fully biodegradable food product,” according to their website. “The seasoning is actually injected into the bird on impact, seasoning the meat from the inside out. When the bird is cooked, the seasoning pellets melt into the meat, spreading the flavor to the entire bird. Forget worrying about shot breaking your teeth and start wondering about which flavor shot to use!”
Now in case that tongue-in-cheek advertising didn’t give it away, these shotgun shells are meant to be a gag. The wad isn’t made of food product and the pellets won’t disintegrate when cooked. Not everyone has the discerning eye of a hunter, though.
HiConsumption, a website “established by gearheads for gearheads,” lauded Season Shot for their revolutionary invention in 2014. “’This was no hunting accident. This bird was killed by a tasty array of lemon pepper and honey mustard.’ That’s the enticing coroner’s report you can expect to hear with Season Shot, a new way to hunt and season your game with one deadly but delicious trigger pull.”
Thrillist, a website dedicated to food, drink, travel, and entertainment, similarly wrote an un-ironic review of the product in 2014. “Each pellet is (obviously) non-toxic and 100% biodegradable. Potential flavors include: Cajun, lemon pepper, garlic, teriyaki, and honey mustard. The days of biting into metal and chipping a tooth are over. It’s this kind of forward-thinking that makes the world a whole lot tastier.”
Maybe I shouldn’t fault these naïve bloggers for seeing Season Shot’s potential, though. In a 2019 YouTube video, TheGunCollective tested a comparable product made by PreSeasoned Duckshot. Like Season Shot, PreSeasoned Duckshot promises “a blast of flavor” via “season-coated duckshot and spices.”
In the video, host Jon Patton fires a 12-gauge PreSeasoned Duckshot load from a Remington 870 into ballistic gel. At about 5 yards away, the seasoned shells throw a pattern comparable to standard birdshot. And, amazingly, the “Cajun BB-Q” spice mix shows up in the wound channel of the pellets.
“Now what’s really interesting, there is like tiny bits—like orange bits of seasoning—attached to the shot,” Patton said. “It does seem like there is a little bit of seasoning in there, but I would say this is not functional enough to get enough seasoning on your bird.”
So while the joke ammo exceeded expectations at the gun range, we won’t be adding peppercorns to Federal Premium Bismuth shotshells anytime soon. Consider Season Shot the perfect white elephant gift for your nephew and watch the gears turn as he reads the product’s convincing marketing.