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#4395607 - 09/08/10 Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat?
Moss Offline
New Member

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 9
I enjoyed eating rabbit as a child and lately I've had the craving for it. I'm going to hunt for it this Fall and Winter. My only concern is disease and parasites. Is it safe to eat wild rabbit? Are there any special precautions I should take? I would appreciate any advice.

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#4395753 - 09/09/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: Moss]
GrizzlyBear Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1110
Loc: NC
Normal sanitary precautions. Wear gloves.

I had this when I was a kid.

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#4396114 - 09/09/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: Moss]
The_Real_Hawkeye Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 70605
Loc: Northern Florida
Originally Posted By: Moss
I enjoyed eating rabbit as a child and lately I've had the craving for it. I'm going to hunt for it this Fall and Winter. My only concern is disease and parasites. Is it safe to eat wild rabbit? Are there any special precautions I should take? I would appreciate any advice.
They say that if you wait till after the first overnight freeze you should be safe because, theoretically, if there's any with a disease, that will kill them by morning. They need to be in tip top health to survive an overnight freeze.
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#4396152 - 09/09/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: The_Real_Hawkeye]
Otter Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 3253
Loc: NW Arkansas
We always followed the old wive's tale that if the month you kill them in has an "R" in it, then you would be OK (i.e., don't kill them for food in May, June, July and August). I'm still alive and with no known ill effects from rabbit meat . . .
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#4396272 - 09/09/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: Otter]
fish head Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 15996
Loc: Colorado Front Range
It all comes down to final cooking temperature. Once you get get the meat hot enough to kill any living organisms it doesn't matter as much. Handling infected meat at room temperature and the risk of cross contamination is a different story.

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#4396315 - 09/09/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: fish head]
Otter Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 3253
Loc: NW Arkansas
Originally Posted By: fish head
It all comes down to final cooking temperature

Yeah, that's pretty important, too. We always fried the parts and then steamed in the oven for a good long while, mostly to help make it tenderer (is that a word?) but it also got the internal temp up to "safe" levels. Made rabbit pot pies in my Dutch ovens on a campout last year, they didn't last long and this thread is getting me ready to go get some fuzzy tails . . .
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Someday I hope to be the person my dogs think I am . . .
Someone once said "a nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."
Shiloh Sharps . . . there is no substitute.
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#4396630 - 09/09/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: Otter]
2crow Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/19/04
Posts: 3542
Loc: Southern San Joaquin
We were just talking about wabbits the other day around here.

Think we'll give them a try here.
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#4396724 - 09/09/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: 2crow]
medicman1 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/04/06
Posts: 150
Loc: NW Ontario, Canada
The old wives tail about no months with an R is the rule we followed as well. I always checked for spots on the lungs and livers, and when there rejected the rabbit. You can eat tame rabbits butchered any time of the year.

Randy formerly posting as medicman
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Randy formerly posting as medicman

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#4400821 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: medicman1]
brinky72 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2930
Originally Posted By: mrguns
The old wives tail about no months with an R is the rule we followed as well. I always checked for spots on the lungs and livers, and when there rejected the rabbit. You can eat tame rabbits butchered any time of the year.

Randy formerly posting as medicman


Ditto! Just check for spots on the lungs and liver real close. As far as cooking that depends if your getting cottontails or snow shoe hare. Cotton tails are easier to prepare but snowshoe hare you need to slow roast or even pressure cook for hours before you will be able to sink a tooth into them. They're tough as nails. Good when you get them tender but just keep in mind it won't be a quick meal.


Edited by brinky72 (09/10/10)
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#4401135 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: brinky72]
hotsoup Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 11/07/05
Posts: 5471
we hunt em' and eat em' every year. we don't usually begin hunting until sometime in oct (except when they get too plentiful in the spring and start eating soybeans). we always fry them first, then into either the pressure cooker or oven for a spell. i am aware of the diseases and parisites associated with rabbit, but have never even heard of a case around here. perhaps it has somwething to do with "country cooking". we started wearing gloves 10-12 years ago.

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#4401678 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: hotsoup]
TexasRick Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/23/06
Posts: 3173
Loc: East Texas
The old tale about only taking rabbit during months with an "R" has more to do with the presence of bot fly larva ("wolves" in Texas). These may be found under the skin of the neck or back during warm weather months....the first frost of the year (or possibly just the time of year....as "first frost" in Texas may be in late December some years) causes them to mature and leave the rabbit.

The larva are ugly but harmless and are btween the skin and meat.....not "in" the meat.....and easy to remove when skinning. I knoiw there are suposed to be some diseases that rabbits have (rabbit fever), but never knew anyone who contracted such......and we always have eaten rabbits 12 months out of the year. Maybe we were just lucky, but I'd not worry too much if I wre you.

By the way, older cottontails and swamp rabbits CAN be pretty tough. We always boil them (or pressure cook) first.....then batter and fry. Or, just use the half-grown ones for fryers and use the older rabbits in stews and soups.
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#4401917 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: TexasRick]
Sassy Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/14/08
Posts: 3815
Loc: Jones, Michigan
One of my grandma's nephews caught "rabbit fever" when I was a kid. I remember the family saying he was really sick with it.
Wild rabbit on the menu disappeared for a few years after that. The only time I've ever heard of it until this thread.
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#4401981 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: Sassy]
Pete E Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 04/11/01
Posts: 12226
Loc: North Wales, UK
Funnily enough the "only when there's an R in the month" approach is traditional over here too, but I always thought it was to avoid shooting milky does??

As far as I know we don't get Tularemia in wild rabbits in the UK and I first heard about it while on a course in the Royal Welch.

Its seen as a potential bioterrorist weapon:

BBC Article


Edited by Pete E (09/10/10)
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#4402017 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: Pete E]
BMT Online   content
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 11/10/02
Posts: 18562
Loc: Alvadore, Oregon
FWIW:

ALl the bases have been covered. I eat cottontails as CHILI.

Yep, Rabbit chili (boil the meat down to stew meat) and eat with Cornbread.

BMT
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#4402028 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: Pete E]
shrapnel Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 06/05/07
Posts: 12845
Loc: Bozeman, MT
My experience... YES













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Originally Posted By: deflave
If you want to fit in with a new crowd, ask them if they know shrapnel. There is no friggin' way they won't know who that man is. He is the Chuck Norris of Montana and you will have a nice icebreaker to discuss.
Travis



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#4402158 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: shrapnel]
2crow Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/19/04
Posts: 3542
Loc: Southern San Joaquin
Sorry shrapnel...I didn't see the 50BMG head shot rascal in there! wink

Nice work!
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#4402179 - 09/10/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: shrapnel]
croldfort Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/18/03
Posts: 4539
Loc: SE KS
Shrapnel

Are you under gunned? You would probably have better luck catching snipe with a sack than hunting rabbits in my part of KS anymore. We shot tons of them in the 50's and sold them for $.25 a piece. Most were shot with .22 shorts (.25 per box vs .40 for LR's). We never hunted them until after the first hard freeze, and always washed our hands with rubbing alcohol after gutting them for sale. Two families that I knew, crated them gutted in the fur, and shipped them to New Orleans by rail. I think that they got about $1 each.

I had an older uncle that coon hunted with dogs all of his life. After he was too old to walk for coon in the night, he got beagles and hunted rabbits with a shotgun. If we still had rabbits, I would probably have beagles now. Life is good.


Edited by croldfort (09/10/10)

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#4402469 - 09/11/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: croldfort]
shrapnel Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 06/05/07
Posts: 12845
Loc: Bozeman, MT
Here are 2 of the hefty 50's in action...lookout rabbits.



_________________________
Originally Posted By: deflave
If you want to fit in with a new crowd, ask them if they know shrapnel. There is no friggin' way they won't know who that man is. He is the Chuck Norris of Montana and you will have a nice icebreaker to discuss.
Travis



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#4408873 - 09/13/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: shrapnel]
rob p Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 5731
Loc: rhode island
Tularemia is transmitted by fleas. My cousin in Beacon, New York was a big rabbit hunter and he would say that you could see the fleas hopping off the dead bunnies. He'd stick them in the snow and pick them up on the way back to the car. He was genuinely afraid of it.
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#4410523 - 09/13/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: rob p]
GrizzlyBear Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1110
Loc: NC
also transmitted by getting blood on an open wound...which is how I acquired it

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#4411438 - 09/14/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: shrapnel]
2crow Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/19/04
Posts: 3542
Loc: Southern San Joaquin
Originally Posted By: shrapnel
Here are 2 of the hefty 50's in action...lookout rabbits.





Right On!
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"Stupid Hurts"

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#4448499 - 09/26/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: 2crow]
cdi23 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 95
Loc: Arkansas
Luv that BAR shrapnel! I cooked a young cottontail in the crock pot yesterday with a can of cream of celery soup and it didn't last long,lol. We're still alive.

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#4456036 - 09/28/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: hotsoup]
Duquesne_Beer Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 09/20/10
Posts: 382
Loc: Pennsylvania
If you harvest a rabbit in the summertime where I live, they are usually covered with flea's and have some bot fly larvae living inside of them.

Once the first frost hits them, the bot flies larva either dies or goes away because the lumps disappear.

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#4528272 - 10/24/10 Re: Wild Rabbit Safe To Eat? [Re: Duquesne_Beer]
Kodiakisland Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/03/01
Posts: 3597
Loc: AK..CO..MO..CO..EU..AR..next??...
Tularemia is the biggest concern. It is more of a problem in warmer states than colder ones. When I was in school taking epidemiology many years ago, Arkansas was the tularemia hotspot of the US. I think there are far fewer cases now as fewer people subsist off the woods.

I used to not worry about catching anything until I got into healthcare and actually started seeing people with diseases from wild animals. I still trap and hunt as much as I used to, but now use gloves when skinning fur bearing animals and small game. I don't worry about deer.

I also try to limit when I contact these small, furry animals to winter time. Hopefully they have less fleas and ticks on them at that time, thereby decreasing the chances of getting something. Chances are pretty low, by the way.

So in answer to your question, yes, rabbits are safe to eat. Take some small precaution when handling them and you will be fine.
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