reply to post by kozmo
Great thread CX and great link kozmo, EVERYONE NEEDS TO CHECK HIS LINK. This is a Very important topic that has been overlooked.
If you shoot squirrels in fall you might be suprised to see big white larvae wriggling their way out of the body. These are botfly larvae and the meat
is safe to eat but man it freaked me the first time I saw it!
I have eaten many types of wild animals (including non-game ones).
So the checklist in short:
observe animals for erratic behavior (it helps to know what their normal behavior are)
Check tongue and skin for anything abnormal - lesions, discoloration, missing fur or feathers.
Check internal organs especially the liver for spots (the liver is the very large dark brown organ)
Check inside ribcage for lumps or odd, cheesy looking "things"
When dressing game it is important to remove the organs whole without puncturing them - especially the bladder and intestines as this could ruin the
meat. If you have gut shot an animal you may have to smell each piece of meat you remove for bad odors.
To remove the organs you can do it one of two ways - 1) cut around the anus and remove through ventral hole you have created. or 2) carefully saw
through or break the front of the pelvic bone and pry the pelvis apart. This is what the saw edge on the backs of knives can do or just tuck a 6"
piece of hacksaw blade in you kit.
For large animals you will want to hang the carcass up and spread the ribcage open in order to cool the meat. wiping a layer of blood on meat will
also help prevent spoilage. HEAT DESTROYS MEAT. easy to remember.
You will need to keep flies off the animal to prevent them from laying eggs.
yellowjackets can also be very aggresive and take a lot of meat in a very short time. In the space of 3 hours yellow jackets had bore a hole through a
canvas meat bag and a 20 lb piece of rump - all the way through! Little bastards wouldn't let us take it either. lol
As soon as you can, begin to cut up and process the meat you have by cooking, drying or smoking. smoking is the best way to store extra meat that you
cannot eat right away.
Some animals have musk glands that must be carefully cut around to avoid spoilage of the meat. These animals are skunks, weasels and groundhogs in the
US. Otter are also weasels but I would never eat one for spiritual reasons.
I would recommend both gutting and skinning any animal you plan to eat. this includes snakes, turtles, mammals and birds.
It might be wise to pack a few pairs of surgical gloves in your kit for the examing animals that may be in questionable health.
You can eat roadkill if it is fresh and the damage has not broken open the internal organs. I've gotten some really good deer loins that way, don't
knock it till you've tried it!
Finally I would add that I don't like using shotguns to hunt because I have broken a tooth biting down on a piece of birdshot.
Good work CX - keep 'em coming! S&F!