If you find yourself in a long-term survival situation after the collapse of society or just a typical wilderness survival scenario where you must provide for all of your necessities until rescued, you might well end up eating things that you don’t normally eat.
This might include animals that we ordinarily consider anything but food, and especially some beautiful or charismatic species.
How about swans, for instance? Can you eat swans in a survival situation?
Yes, you can eat swan in a survival situation. Swan meat is highly nutritious, and packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs. You should only kill and eat swan when you have no other choice because these birds are protected in most locations.
The thought of killing and eating one of these beautiful, majestic birds is enough to turn the stomach of most people in kinder times, but knowing hunger to say nothing of starvation has a way of putting these morals to the test.
All you need to know is that swan is it good and safe to eat if you are in an extreme survival scenario. This article will tell you more.
Where are Swans Found?
Swans, of various species, can be found all over the world in temperate regions, but are very rarely if even encountered in desert or tropical locales.
In America, the most common swans are the trumpeter swan and mute swan, both being found throughout the northern reaches of the continental U.S. and southern Canada, while the trumpeter swan can also be found all the way up in Alaska.
Both common species of swan are huge birds, and also aquatic, depending on lots of still, calm water for some of their food, for mating purposes, and for landing and takeoff much of the time.
If you are in their range and near an area with lots of large ponds, calm lakes, wide, slow streams or rivers, or clear wetlands, you will probably encounter these birds.
If you have the misfortune to be in a survival situation in their range, either species can make an impressive meal if you can bring it down!
Nutritional Facts about Swan Meat
Swan meat is comparable in nutrition to other wild waterfowl. It contains ample protein and fat, as well as a good supply of vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
Your primary concern in a survival situation is usually calories to keep energy levels up, but you might be surprised at how quickly you can deteriorate without these other vitamins and minerals, so eating a balanced diet of different foods is always best if possible.
Compared to dining on wild plants alone, swan meat can give you a great boost of short- and long-term energy that can help sustain you when you need it the most.
Does Swan Taste Good?
Swan is liked by most who try it, so long as it is prepared well. It is often compared most favorably with goose, so if you like goose you will probably enjoy swan as well.
The taste is richer than goose, and surprisingly delicate for a bird of this size. It definitely does not taste like chicken as some jokers like to claim!
Also, it can be easy to overcook swan and make it tough or dry it out so pay attention during cooking if you want to preserve its better qualities.
Is Eating Swan Even Legal?
By far the most common question that comes up on the topic of eating swan is whether or not it is even legal to do so.
The answer is “it depends”, and it all depends on where you live and what kind of swan species it is.
In the United States, for example, it is only legal to kill and eat swans in most states when you have a hunting permit.
The trumpeter swan was once nearly made extinct by hunting but has made a comeback and is now heavily protected in most of its range at all times.
The same goes for mute swans which, even though an introduced species, are also protected in accordance with their beauty and sheer appeal.
The bottom line is that you should never kill a swan, even to eat it, in normal times.
However, in a survival situation no animal’s life is worth a human’s and you must do what is needed in order to survive.
Compared to many other wild animals, a swan represents a big score of high-quality meat that is much easier to bring down compared to other large game animals.
I cannot tell you that you won’t face consequences in the aftermath if you survive, even if you acted in extremis, but it is far better to be alive to ask for permission!
Is Raw Swan Safe to Eat?
No! Raw swan, like all raw meat and especially raw meat from wild animals, can harbor all sorts of bacteria and parasites that can make you sick or, in some cases, even kill you.
You should never eat raw swan or any wild game animal unless you have no other choice whatsoever!
Swans can harbor parasites and diseases like salmonella, among others, which causes “food poisoning” infection in people and is difficult to treat in the middle of the wilderness.
If you eat raw or undercooked meat from any animal with parasites, worms in particular, you stand a good chance of becoming infested as well.
Can You Eat Swan with the Skin On?
You can, but you’ll need to thoroughly pluck it and clean it first. The skin of a swan can likewise harbor all sorts of bacteria and parasites, so you’ll need to make sure that it is as clean as possible before cooking and consuming.
It can also be surprisingly tough compared to chicken skin, so manage your expectation, and if in doubt, it is best to remove it.
Can You Eat Swan Eggs?
Yes. Swan eggs are quite large and super nutritious, a real boon in a survival scenario. Though you must be prepared for the likelihood that there will be embryos inside unless you are fortunate enough to come upon them freshly laid.
You will also have to contend with the virtual certainty that mom and dad will be defending the nest! More on that in a minute.
Is it Safe to Eat Swan Bones?
No, not whole. Humans aren’t really designed to eat bones unlike some strict carnivores.
However, you can crack them open and scoop out the marrow which is quite nutritious and useful in a variety of dishes.
Marrow is an excellent source of fat and protein, two things that are always in short supply in a survival situation.
You have options when it comes to making use of swan bone marrow: you can boil the bones to render it down into a fortifying broth, or else split or snap the bones to scoop out the marrow before adding it to a stew or the meat itself.
Discard the hard structure of the bone itself; it is no use to you. As always, cook the marrow thoroughly before consuming.
Is it Safe to Eat Swan Organ Meat?
Yes, generally. Like most birds, many of the swan’s organs are safe to eat and very nutritious.
The only noteworthy possible exception is the liver which can accumulate toxins and should be inspected carefully prior to consuming.
Other internal organs, such as the heart, gizzard, and kidneys are all good eating and can add a lot of flavor to a stew or soup in particular.
Caution: Swans Can Be Dangerous!
They might not look like it, paddling serenely around the lake as a pair of destined mates, but swans can pretty daggone dangerous.
In fact, a few human deaths and many dog deaths are attributed to them. Swans only look delicate- these are huge, powerful birds with wingspans easily topping six feet.
They have no qualms about using those wings and their powerful necks to good effect if they feel threatened or perceive any threat to their nest or young.
Swans have seriously injured people on land and drowned people and pets alike in the water simply by overwhelming them.
Don’t treat them lightly if you are planning on bringing them down for food or raiding their nest!
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.