Eating Rabbits in Summer?

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by SoDakHunter, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. SoDakHunter

    SoDakHunter G&G Newbie

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    Hey Guys,

    Got a question thats been bugging me for years. I live in South Dakota (duh), and i LOVE rabbit hunting. It's so fun to bring out the sporterized 10/22 and raise some hell. I also love eating the little buggers. Here is my question... all my life i have been told not to eat them during the hot summer months. Every time i ask "why?" People say, "It's because of all the bugs on them." Now, if you skin it anyway...doesn't that solve the problem? Or is there a different reason having to do with the actual meat that i am unaware of? A little feedback would be great.
  2. iflylow74

    iflylow74 G&G Newbie

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    Ive always heard the same thing. Down here rabbits and squirrels get whats called wolves. Its a worm type parasite that gets in their skin and makes a big bump. I figure if they dont have them then it should be o.k. to eat. Any that Ive killed that had wolves I just through away. I hated to wast the meat but after you've seen one, you'd understand why.
  3. jimkim

    jimkim G&G Newbie

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    I used to raise rabbits we ate them year round. I think your right about the wolves. Another thing is I think they breed more in the summer.
  4. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

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    I also would like answers . . .

    as I have been told since childhood never eat wild rabbit until after the first good freeze. Some people say the meat tastes better after the first freeze. Seems to me if you cleaned the meat and cooked it to the core
    past 160 degrees F. it might be a little tough and stringy but should not hurt you.

    Thanks for posting the question.
  5. cold queso

    cold queso G&G Regular

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    My dad always told me 3 things about eating wild rabbits.

    1) Don't eat them until after a good freeze.
    2) Don't shoot one unless it's running - might be sick.
    3) Don't eat one that has white spots on the liver.

    Is this stuff valid or just some old folklore?
  6. Paul T

    Paul T G&G Newbie

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    From what I have read there is a parasite that is sort of like a liver fluke
    and it gives them some sort of sickness that may be passed to humans.
    It was virtually eradicated a couple of years back but its making a comeback. Got this Info from the American hunter mag a few months back
    but cant quote the exact article.
  7. troy2000

    troy2000 Suspended

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    I don't normally cut and paste entire pages, but this is important. It isn't the parasites you need to worry about; it's Tularemia:

    Tularemia (Rabbit fever)

    What is tularemia?

    Tularemia is an illness caused by a bacteria, Francisella tularensis, which can affect both animals and humans. Most cases occur during the summer months when deerflies and ticks are abundant and the early winter months during rabbit hunting season. During hunting season, illness usually results from skinning infected rabbits.

    Who gets tularemia?

    Anyone can get tularemia if they spend time outdoors in areas where infected animals, deerflies or ticks, can be found. Rabbit hunters, trappers, and laboratory workers exposed to the bacteria are at higher risk.

    How is tularemia spread?

    The most common way tularemia is spread is by the bite of an infected blood sucking insect such as a deerfly or tick. Another way people get tularemia is by getting blood or tissue from infected animals (especially rabbits) in their eyes, mouth, or in cuts or scratches on the skin. Tularemia can also be spread by handling or eating rabbit meat that is not cooked well. Drinking contaminated water or breathing dust containing the bacteria can also spread tularemia. Person to person spread does not occur.

    What are the symptoms of tularemia?

    The usual symptoms of tularemia are fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, chest pain, and coughing. If tularemia is caused by the bite of an infected insect or from bacteria entering a cut or scratch, it usually causes a skin ulcer and swollen glands. Eating or drinking food or water containing the bacteria may produce a throat infection, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Breathing dust containing the bacteria may cause a pneumonia-like illness.

    How soon do symptoms appear?

    Symptoms may appear between two and ten days, most often within three to five days.

    What is the treatment for tularemia?

    Antibiotics such as streptomycin and gentamicin are used to treat tularemia.

    What can be done to prevent the spread of tularemia?

    1. Persons at risk should reduce chances for insect bites by wearing protective clothing, and by searching for ticks often and removing attached ticks immediately. Tick/insect repellents containing "DEET" provide additional protection. Permethrin is also helpful when sprayed onto clothing.
    2. Children should be discouraged from handling sick or dead rabbits, or other possibly infected animals.
    3. Gloves should be worn when skinning or handling animals, especially wild rabbits.
    4. Wild rabbit meat should be thoroughly cooked.
    5. Face masks, gowns, and rubber gloves should be worn by those working with cultures or infective material in a laboratory.

    Where can I get more information?

    * Your personal doctor
    * Your local health department, listed in the telephone directory
    * The Utah Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology (801) 538-6191

    UTAH DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
    BUREAU OF EPIDEMIOLOGY
    August 2001
  8. LiveToShoot

    LiveToShoot Suspended

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    Troy,
    That's some rock solid precautionary info...

    SDH,
    In my youth, Dad would only take us hunting for rabbits, when we were going to eat them, in the winter months...after the snow was on the ground for awhile and it had gotten below freezing too.
  9. KGunner

    KGunner G&G Newbie

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    When I was a kid we would shoot them in our backyard with a pellet gun and skin them and cook them up on the grill. They were fat and tasty too, since they fed off our garden all the time. Never got sick, but maybe I was lucky.
  10. Mike Franklin

    Mike Franklin G&G Newbie

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    You can freeze'm after skinning and eat'm later. Use rubber gloves to avoid skin contact. Pork ought to be handled the same way in warm months.
  11. troy2000

    troy2000 Suspended

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    If we had waited until freezing weather to kill 'em in the desert I grew up in, we'd have had a long wait...:)

    But we religiously avoided hunting them for food in the summer anyway. My dad taught us not to eat them in the months that "don't have an 'R' for rabbit," as he put it. That would be May, June, July and August; and we usually threw in September to be sure. I don't know whether that was just a tradition brought from colder climes by earlier generations of the family, or whether it actually makes a difference in this area too...
  12. elmer fudd

    elmer fudd G&G Newbie

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    ya ive been told to not eat them or handle them much until after the 1st snowfall
  13. Coeloptera

    Coeloptera G&G Newbie

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    Yeah, it ain't the bunnies so much as the parasites. Since most insects sleep out the winter (either hibernating or as eggs), the risk is vastly reduced.

    Can't add much to what troy2000 posted. Summer's bug season, so anything that's gonna spread via insect vector is more likely to spread then.

    - Coeloptera
  14. AKHunter

    AKHunter G&G Newbie

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    With regard to tularemia. For those who hunt predators, particularly predators that (can) prey on rodents (as most do), bears, foxes, coyotes, lynx/bobcat, etc., those predators are potential for contracting tularemia.

    Being a mechanic, I may be more conscience of this than many due to the frequency which I may have cuts, etc. on my hands. To avoid contracting disease/parasites and the like, I wear latex or rubber gloves when dressing out these animals to reduce exposure.
  15. Windwalker

    Windwalker G&G Newbie

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    Nice post Troy. Good information.
  16. jimkim

    jimkim G&G Newbie

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    That's exactly what my grandma said. I asked her if it was rabbit season once. She asked me if there was an R in the month. I took the hint it was march guess what was for supper. Yep Chicken?!! I think the same thing goes for squirrel.
  17. GlockMeister

    GlockMeister G&G Enthusiast

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    T2K's copy and paste says it all. But I was simply told not to eat rabbits out of season because the meat is tainted. T2K's copy and paste post is why...Now that's tainted...
  18. GlockMeister

    GlockMeister G&G Enthusiast

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    Very good advice and a most excellent rule to hunt, rather, not hunt rabbit by if you ask me.
  19. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 G&G Newbie

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    I have always been taught to only hunt and eat wild game after the first good, hard frost. It supposes to kill off the sick and weak animals.
  20. sell33

    sell33 G&G Newbie

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    +1

    even tho our season is only november thru february i have shot a couple htem out of season before when caught eating crops and wondered about eating them...when i have done that tho it is too much gun and most meat is gone anyway....lol
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