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Survival Skills: Game Processing Tips from Our Ancestors

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October 19, 2012
Survival Skills: Game Processing Tips from Our Ancestors - 4

With news stories about bubonic plague in squirrels and hantavirus in other rodents, cleaning and eating small game may not look like such a smart survival solution anymore. But these diseases are not new.

So how did our ancestors, with limited knowledge of biological hazards, process game to avoid these illnesses?

Cultural Taboos

Even without the understanding of microbiology, our forebears figured out which animals were trouble through trial and error. A friend of mine from the Navajo nation told me that no one in his town would ever go near mice. The local lore instructed his people from an early age that mice were the harbingers of death, and that mice are considered helpers of witches and evil spirits. Because of this, mice should be avoided at all costs. That may sound strange, until you realize that Navajo country is ground zero for hantavirus, a potentially fatal mouse-borne virus.
 
According to a Jicarilla Apache legend, you can become ill from eating bears. Perhaps this refers to the likelihood of infection from a bear attack, but bears commonly carry worms and other parasites. Other cultural taboos abound throughout the world. Each continent seems to have traditional people who avoid certain animals out of superstition or habit. For examples of this in modern times, look no further than the religions who do not allow the consumption of pork, beef, certain sea foods, and other meats.

Game Handling
From the Paiute Indians of Nevada to the Aborigines of Australia, many cultures have handled potentially diseased wild game with one of the crudest cooking methods—whole animal roasting. Yep, that’s right, you simply throw the whole animal on the fire. It is not skinned or gutted. The fur, feathers, or scales are burned off along with any diseases and parasites. I have only tried this once, with a perfectly good squirrel. Let me just say that this would be a hardcore survival move. From cooking this furry critter on a bed of coals, the burned hair and burned skin odor seeped into the meat imparting a not delicious flavor to the meat. Choking down pieces of that squirrel is high up on the list of the worst things I’ve ever made myself eat. 

Tell us if you avoid certain animals for certain reasons, and how you process your game by leaving us a comment.

Comments (4)

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from fuglybugger 11/1/2012 at 10:31pm

Eating from silver utensils always helps... it kills bacteria and builds up the immune system.

Old timers used to put silver coins in milk to make it last longer.

colloidial silver.

hope this helps.

and they say you can't eat silver... ha!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from peteyraymond 10/26/2012 at 08:26am

Agree about avoiding mice because of the hantavirus.

I believe that any fresh meat (bear, pork, etc.) is safe to eat as long as it is THOROUGHLY cooked. I know people who won't eat a steak unless it's still basically bloody. You might be relatively safe with a store-bought steak if it's cooked rare. But any wild game should definitely be cooked "Well Done."

Regarding taste/flavor: Yeah, get rid of any fur or hair before cooking.

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from dek0609 10/22/2012 at 03:46pm

can't get away from the political kettle or the pot here can we. The old timers cooked everything to death, boiled or pressure cooked till nothing was left, nothing finer than a pork chop cooked till you could sole your shoes with them!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fuglybugger 10/20/2012 at 08:39pm

I'll try again.
first post wouldn't take.

As far as ancenstry goes.

I'd like to point out a couple of things.

humans have been around millions of years.

we tend to have interruptions every 25,000 or so years.

and so

coming upon another one of those...

speaking of critters to avoid and cooking tips

politicians and bankers cook the books

better to eat nature salad

than to be stuffed with lies from the firehose of mainstream

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

from dek0609 10/22/2012 at 03:46pm

can't get away from the political kettle or the pot here can we. The old timers cooked everything to death, boiled or pressure cooked till nothing was left, nothing finer than a pork chop cooked till you could sole your shoes with them!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from peteyraymond 10/26/2012 at 08:26am

Agree about avoiding mice because of the hantavirus.

I believe that any fresh meat (bear, pork, etc.) is safe to eat as long as it is THOROUGHLY cooked. I know people who won't eat a steak unless it's still basically bloody. You might be relatively safe with a store-bought steak if it's cooked rare. But any wild game should definitely be cooked "Well Done."

Regarding taste/flavor: Yeah, get rid of any fur or hair before cooking.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fuglybugger 11/1/2012 at 10:31pm

Eating from silver utensils always helps... it kills bacteria and builds up the immune system.

Old timers used to put silver coins in milk to make it last longer.

colloidial silver.

hope this helps.

and they say you can't eat silver... ha!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fuglybugger 10/20/2012 at 08:39pm

I'll try again.
first post wouldn't take.

As far as ancenstry goes.

I'd like to point out a couple of things.

humans have been around millions of years.

we tend to have interruptions every 25,000 or so years.

and so

coming upon another one of those...

speaking of critters to avoid and cooking tips

politicians and bankers cook the books

better to eat nature salad

than to be stuffed with lies from the firehose of mainstream

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

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