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Theres no small game thread? Why not? anyways...

Ive heard that you're not supposed to consume the flesh of rabbits prior to the first frost because of some parasite. I have eaten rabbits on sept 15 well before frost and am still alive. Is this a serious problem and something I should really be concerned about? Does the same thing apply to other species of small game as well? Any input is appreciated.. thanks
 

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I have heard the same thing. No rabbits before the first frost.

I just don't enjoy being in the woods with all the bugs that early in the season.
 

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The chance you take is with cleaning them,not eating them.It's some sort of liver disease some of them get,if you have cut's/nick's on your hand's you can catch it.The one's with the disease will die-off once the weather start's getting cold.
 

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Its called Tularemia. Ive only seen one suspect case in the 34 years I have been shooting them. I just buried it and kept on hunting. To this day I cant confirm it, just suspected it. If the meat is cooked properly it shouldnt even be a concern.
 

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I always wear surgical gloves whenever I clean any game even though the gloves give me other memories I'd rather forget (lol) but that's besides the point. If you keep clean while you skin and butcher there should be no problem. During the process if you see something abnormal or it bothers you trash it. If it is diseased it is better removed from the population. I hunt as much as a physically challenged person can beginning the opening of small game and I barbecue or slow cook all of it my self. Lots of barbecue sauce (a variety to your taste or homemade), mushrooms, onions, and any other spices that are your favorites. Works for almost all types of small game and no one in my camp turns it down. BTW those surgical gloves can be purchased by the box almost anywhere and are relatively inexpensive. Oh, yes, don't get the powdered kind, they tend to be a downer on the flavor!:lol:
 

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My understanding of "rabbit scratch fever" or Tularemia is that it can be spread by either not properly cooking the meat or the biting insects that live on rabbits (fleas/ticks). My understanding is that by waiting until the first frost, the number of fleas/ticks die off, not to mention you'll be wearing thicker clothing if you are outside cleaning them once snow is on the ground verses when it's still 80F outside. However, I've still shot rabbits that will leave the surrounding snow looking like pepper was sprinkled on it from all the fleas/ticks that jump off as the body cools. :eek:

FWIW, a link with a bit more about the disease: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tularemia
 
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