When considering a move to a remote homestead or just the logistical problems of providing sustained food supply during a bug out in the wilderness, the question of eating wild game naturally comes up.
Most folks are already acquainted with the notion of eating such fare as deer and wild poultry, but what of other wild animals? There are so many kinds of animals out in the world it might seem like free protein for the taking.
But is it safe? What kinds of wild animals can you eat?
Yes, most commonly encountered wild animals such as mammals and birds can be safely eaten so long as they are cleaned, and cooked properly. Some reptiles and insects can be consumed, but some can be toxic.
Although it might not be particularly appealing to some people, the wild-caught game is an important resource when bugging out, or living in a remote country.
But considering you might not always have access to your favorite kind of meat, it pays to know what you are getting into before committing to this notion as part of your survival plan. Keep reading to learn more.
Wild Game is Usually Nutritious
Probably the single best attribute when it comes to wild-caught meat, whatever the species, is just how healthy it is.
Compared to farm-raised, store-bought meat, most meat from wild animals supplies considerably more protein, vitamins, and minerals than domestic, factory-produced equivalent fare.
Considering that most of us won’t be able to handle the logistics of carrying a substantial amount of packaged, produced food, assuming we even have access to it.
That means if you want animal protein, you’re going to have to get it the old fashioned way: from animals that you catch, trap or kill yourself.
Most Animals Can be Eaten Safely
Even better news, most animals, at least most terrestrial animals, can be eaten safely with a little bit of care, diligence and know-how.
Mammals of all kinds, birds, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, and insects: each category of life furnishes nutritious and sometimes delicious food so long as we can obtain it.
Here’s a list of my favorite wild animals to hunt and cook:
However, as stated, some insects and reptiles are not safe for consumption, and knowing which is which can be tricky – particularly with insects. Now, this is one of those things where preferred diet, habit, and societal norms might get in the way.
As we all learned painfully with various vegetables when we were little kids, just because something is good for you and nutritious does not mean that it tastes good or is even palatable.
You had better believe the same holds true for a variety of wild-caught game, no matter what species it is.
Also considering that you are unlikely to have a full complement of kitchen gadgetry, seasoning and other ingredients you might be dining upon decidedly novel and plain food.
This can often make an otherwise steady stomach a bit rebellious. There are many people throughout all sectors of society who have never tried insects, reptiles, amphibians or even certain cuts of meat from mammals or birds, such as organ meat.
Learning How to Clean and Prepare is Crucial
One of the major curveballs you’ll have to deal with when planning to dine on wild game is the need to prepare it properly and cook it thoroughly in order to kill any food borne pathogens that might be lurking in it.
Compared to animals raised on farms, whatever kind of farm that it might be, wild animals must contend with considerably more pests, parasites, and germs. All of them might prove to be harmful, potentially even fatal, to humans if consumed.
Undercooked or improperly prepared, animal meat is a great way to get yourself and other people with you horrendously sick, and some of these diseases can be life-altering.
Accordingly, it is imperative you take it upon yourself to learn how to properly clean and treat the various parts of the animal you’re planting to eat.
Many of the basics are the same from one species to the other, but certain animals require special handling protocols. For instance, you wouldn’t necessarily want to eat the brain or liver of certain species thanks to specific pathogens and other hazards.
Certain venomous animals like snakes can still be eaten safely, but great care must be taken to safely excise the venom-producing glands.
Some smaller game, such as grasshoppers and crickets, can be eaten more or less intact but the hard, spiny protrusions on their legs and other parts of their body should be removed first for safety, lest you choke.
Always Cook Wild Game Thoroughly!
Lastly, when cooking wild game of any kind, be it mammal, reptile or insect, or anything else; always, always cook it thoroughly. This is not the time to try fancy cuisine and a nice medium rare cut!
Undercooking the meat of any wild animal might mean that parasites and germs within it could survive and take up a new home inside you.
You don’t have to cook the meat so long and so thoroughly that it turns into a lump of charcoal, but it should be cooked well done through and through, and a few crispy bits on the edges won’t hurt anything.
Not for nothing, this requires an additional level of logistical preparation. Maintaining a level of heat adequate enough by any source for the lengthy period of time required to produce a well-done cut means you’ll use more fuel over time.
There is not much to be done about this however, and it should just be considered the cost of doing business if one wishes to dine upon wild animals.
Most wild animals can be eaten safely so long as care is taken and properly cleaning, handling and cooking them. Certain species mandate special precaution with certain parts for safety, but so long as this is done many wild animals are nutritious and will serve as a valuable addition to a prepper’s food supply.
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.