Wild Game Preparation

The general rule for dead animals is if you didn’t kill it leave it the hell alone.

Elk feeding alone.

An elk feeding

Risks of improper wild game preparation

Having skills in knowing how to hunt and having wild game preparation skills will be an important part of your survival plan. In addition to having to deal with insect born diseases during your hunting adventures, recent science research indicates that humans may be at risk of contracting zoonotic animal born diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease, Mad Cow Disease, Swine Flu, and Trichinosis from eating contaminated animals.

A recent news article out of Denver Fox News discusses a recently discovered unknown bacterial disease killing hundreds of wild ducks and geese in Colorado. The concerns are real enough that the health dept and animal services are requesting being contacted if a deceased bird is found so they can dispose of the animal’s carcass.

The effects can be terminal

Chronic wasting disease was first identified in 1970 in the mule deer population in Colorado referred to as a TSE transmissible spongiform encephalitis. It causes degeneration of the animal’s brain causing loss of body functions emaciation and finally the death of the infected animal.  

Since 1980 we have been familiar with Mad Cow disease. The disease is rare in North America and the chances of contracting it are low unless you consume the cow’s brains or meat from around the spinal cord of an infected cow. It normally takes 12 months from time of exposure to the first signs and symptoms.

Global pandemic threats are real

In 2009 a pandemic strain of H1N1 influenza spread globally infecting poultry, swine’s, domestic pets and some human beings. The occurrence in the United States was predominately in the mid western states. It can contaminate an entire herd in three days.

Trichinosis occurs worldwide and is spread through animals consuming other contaminated animals. Humans contract it through poor wild game preparation and by eating raw, under cooked or under processed infected animals.

Leave dead animal carcasses alone

In several educational television survival programs, I have listened to and watch the host or main character discuss eating already dead animals. Understand this act is for dramatic purposed for the viewing audience and is not a recommended survival practice.

The general rule for dead animals is if you didn’t kill it leave it the hell alone. You do not know if it died of old age, poisoning or diseases so why make an already challenging situation worse with this risky venture. 

Some steps to increase safety

A prepper may be cornered into hunting and gathering wild game as part of they’re diet. There are some things you can do to decrease your exposure to these animal born diseases.

1. Avoid hunting if you are ill because your immune system has been compromised putting you at a greater risk of being infected.

2. Do not handle or eat game that appears ill or is not acting normal.

3. Do not eat, drink or smoke while cleaning or preparing game.

4. wear protecting gloves and glasses while preparing or dressing out game.

5. Thoroughly clean and disinfect utensils used to prepare game including in between preparing multiple pieces of game.

6.Examine game and dispose of any which have signs of previous infections such as puss.

7. Immediately remove games intestines to prevent contamination of meat, fill the internal cavity with ice to keep the kill cool until you can prepare it.

8. properly cook making sure it reaches the proper internal temperature for that game.

9. when done dressing the game properly dispose of the excess material and properly clean and disinfect the preparation surfaces and utensils.

Education is key

The scientific research on how human beings can become infected by contaminated animals is ongoing and ever changing. Wild game preparation should be a primary focus in prepping. Stay abreast to any new development on these diseases. Do not take the easy kill, if the animal does not appear to be acting normal pass on it as a food source.

Additional sources of information can be found at Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.org (ICWDM.ORG) and Wildlife Disease.org.

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As always stay safe and healthy my friends.

Ralph Tcat.

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