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When I was growing up my Dad always told me "you can shoot anything you want, but you're gunna clean it and you're gunna eat it"

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  • When I was growing up my Dad always told me "you can shoot anything you want, but you're gunna clean it and you're gunna eat it"

    When I was growing up my Dad always told me "you can shoot anything you want, but you're gunna clean it and you're gunna eat it" This got me thinking, why do we traditionally eat some animals but not others? Deer, but not coyotes, Elk, but not beaver? The obvious answer would be that they don't taste good but I've never heard anyone actually say they've eaten them to find out. ancient superstitions? they remind us of pets? what do you think?

  • #2
    coyote isn't to bad depending on there diet. as for beaver never tried it maybe soon ha. good luck out there.

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    • #3
      coyote..YUCK. i don't think i'd ever eat a coyote. squirrel is common, with the right recipe i've heard squirrel is really good. i have a good coon recipe if you would like to know it.

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      • #4
        your dad is right you should it what you kill. as far as people not wanting to it what they kill i think they just can't stand the thought of it.

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        • #5
          Reid-

          your comment is exactly what I am referring to.

          Your immediate reaction to eating coyote is "YUCK"

          but why? I take it you have never eaten it, so you cannot have a firsthand knowledge of the taste.

          coyotes are placental mammals, so I see no reason why they should taste radically different from any of the other mammals we eat.

          I understand why some people don't eat carp or catfish because they feed on waste at the bottom of the river. But this is not the case with mammals.

          so why do we assume certain mammals are so repulsive and others are so delicious?

          Its an honest question I don't know the answer to.



          btw- I eat small game like squirrel and rabbit all the time, if you don't overcook them they certainly can be delicious!

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          • #6
            During the Lewis & Clark expedition, Dog was the favorite meal of the Corp.

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            • #7
              I suppose various ethnical groups as well as different regions of the country indeed harbor unique beliefs, traditions, practices, and superstitions regarding the taking of life from certain animals. Frankly what chaps my butt is to find the rotten body of a buck with the head cut off. I phone the game warden immediately as this situation has no rightful place in anybody's world including the poacher. If I was king I would probably rule that the illegal kill be consumed by the offending murderer but then I believe in hanging pirates also.

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              • #8
                I would be game to try nearly anything, as long as it was safe.
                I think for alot of people a coyote is just a dog, so they can't eat it.
                I have often wondered myself why people do not eat coyote?
                even if it wasn't delicious, you would think you could grind it and mix it 50/50 with beef for tacos, pasta sauce etc.

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                • #9
                  From a cautionary standpoint utilize safety measures insofar as dressing and eating the rabbits. You might be aware that the lagomorph population in North American endemically is a host the bacteria which causes a disease generally referred to as tularemia or rabbit fever. This gram negative coccbacillus can be contracted by handling an infected rabbit. Also there exists clinical evidence of documented cases indicating that the infection is transmitable via inhalation. The common vector is a tick as I remember, maybe fleas or flies as well. The rabbits in Wyoming are covered in fleas even throughout the frigid days of January. When we shoot one we leaallow it to lay until it cools causing the parasites to evacuate the carcuss.
                  Interestingly enough a few years ago a hunter died from pneumonic plague believed to have been acquired from skinning a native bobcat. Certain prairie dog towns are known to harbor bubonic plague as well. Some of our elk have tuberculosis, bighorn sheep can suffer from a bacterial infection usually called "pink eye", raccoons, skunks, fecal cats or dogs may have rabies, and now we have CWD in the deer and elk. Animals certainly can become ill, fortunately many of their maladies are not transferable to humans. Nevertheless it is wise to employ caution with certain species or with any wildlife that whose appearance or actions seem unusual.

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                  • #10
                    I've had woodchuck pot roast. Pretty good.

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                    • #11
                      Most food taboos are culturally driven and relate back to what seems to be an ingrained human trait of identifying with a tribe or group. I spent a lot of time in Afica as a young man and there are taboos associated with different tribes and regions wherever you go. Some times you hear "Well only the "x" eat those and they are dirty".
                      Usually there isn't a rational or health related reason. Ishawooa makes a good point that you need to know what the risks are because sometimes they are very real. Fugu (sp) fish in Japan is one prime example.
                      I have eaten a lot of stuff in my travels, bugs, snakes, parts of animals that are no longer generally considered as table fare in the U.S. Most of it tasted fine but there were some things, eyeballs for one, that were pretty gnarly just because my mind was telling me it wasn't food.
                      I was at a cattle branding in Colorado with a guy I went to school with once where we skinned and ate the "Rocky Mountain Oysters" taken from the calves that day. The other students he had invited from the school were freaked out! During the branding they asked why the hands were putting the testicles in a bucket of ice water. They didn't believe me until dinner.
                      My understanding is that many predators do not taste good which is a perfectly valid reason for not eating them in anything less than a survival situation. Not sure it's true I have never eaten coyote, but bear tastes pretty good from the samples I've had.
                      Here in MN everyone will tell you that bass don't taste good. I've been eating them all my life and they taste just fine. The recent blog about carp is another example.
                      Like so many things in life, it comes down to the cultural beliefs you have been indoctrinated with, reality has little to do with peoples' choices.

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                      • #12
                        Perhaps the original impetus for many of the food based traditions or taboos came from a simple equation relating effort and reward. Hunting with hand held weapons often involved a certain amount of danger or potential physical contact with the prey. It always involved an investment in time.
                        If it takes "X" amount of your time which has the best payoff? Chasing a deer or a coyote?
                        Hunting a mountain lion or chasing a herd of herbivores over a cliff?
                        Because it was a survival issue these traditions were important enough to become culturally ingrained and take on the force of taboos.
                        My understanding is that many cultures hunted dangerous game as tests of manhood or bravery. An important step in the development of a warrior but not something that was expected every day or even frequently. Putting dinner in the pot takes precedence over proving what a tough guy you are/where.
                        In today's world eating what you kill is a fine way to instill respect for life in kids who are exposed to way to much gratutious violence.

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                        • #13
                          I think in many cases it is something that is difficult to get past psychologically. If everyone had to go to a slaughterhouse and see cattle harvested or a chicken operation and see how they are raised and harvested, we would likely have far fewer people consuming either. Same goes for "wild" animals.

                          I remember a story my grandfather told me about traveling somewhere in either Texas or the southwest. He was eating with some friends and tried a dish at their suggestion. Said it tasted fine, but when they informed it was rattlesnake, he made a hasty trip to the restroom to expel it! Like I said - I think a lot is in people's minds. This same grandfather had no problem going out to a 5 acre pond he had built for me and my brother and bringing in several large catfish, cleaning them and frying them up.

                          And similar to what chuckles mentioned above, regional diets probably have something to do with it as well. Here is the south, I don't know many people who haven't at least tried fried catfish.

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                          • #14
                            Lots of good info in this column. Like others, I've been stationed all around the world. There are things even I didn't touch, and I always wanted to try local stuff (I was going to say quiscine but I can't spell it).

                            I do have one theory, original to my brain at least. A big part of the difference is simply genetics. On the whole, herbivores taste better than carnivores. All the great tasting stuff seems to be only grass/grain eaters. A lot of animals that taste gamey are the eat-anything type. It's my own theory and I could be wrong, but meat-eaters are usually the "yuck" animals.

                            Other notes...
                            Squid jerky is okay if you get past the smell.
                            Camel Helper is okay.
                            Reindeer in Norway is delicious.
                            Wild boar in Germany is a bit tart.

                            Jeff's travel tip:
                            If you're in a foreign country, and you are told to try a "local delicacy", run away as fast as you can. That is usually a term for; "We usually just feed it to the hogs, but if a stupid American will pay $20 to eat it, sure."

                            In an incident in a "quaint little drinking establishment" up north, there was a "discussion" between a few Marines and Army Rangers. A Ranger was making the point that they were trained to eat anything to survive, then proceeded to eat a fat bug in front of us to prove it. A Marine responded with, "Fine... if I have to eat bugs to live, I will. But as long as the McDonalds across the street is still open, I ain't eating no bugs.".

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                            • #15
                              Like many of you, I've nibbled on some pretty bizarre meat around the world. Bushmen in the Kalahari will eat anything, with them I've had Hyena which tastes , well like hyena. Leopard tastes like Mt Lion tenderloin, not bad. Don't care for elephant, or hippo..

                              My conclusion is stick with the herbivores, followed by omnivores, and only carnivores as a last resort

                              Once, up in the Northwest Territory, while field dressing a caribou, My Innuit guide cut off a piece of raw liver, swabbed it in bile, and said"eat this!" I did so, it was horrible. With out missing a beat, I sliced off a healthy mouthful dipped in extra bile and demanded he eat it too. He looked at me and said"I wouldn't eat that sh--t!" I replied " you are today if you want your tip." He ate it.

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