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BUTCHERING-WILD CAUGHT
DR DAVID CLEVELAND
CLEVELAND78@LIVE.COM

BUTCHERING-WILD CAUGHT FOOD

COOKING AND STORAGE OF FISH AND GAME

8-70. You must know how to prepare fish and game for cooking

and storage in a survival situation. Improper cleaning or storage

can result in inedible fish or game.


FISH

8-71. Do not eat fish that appears spoiled. 

Cooking does not

ensure that spoiled fish will be edible. Signs of spoilage are—

  • Sunken eyes.

  • Peculiar odor.

  • Suspicious color. (Gills should be red to pink. Scales should

  • be a pronounced shade of gray, not faded.)

  • Dents that stay in the fish's flesh after pressed with your

  • thumb.

  • Slimy, rather than moist or wet, body.

  • Sharp or peppery taste.

8-72. Eating spoiled or rotten fish may cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, vomiting, itching, paralysis, or a metallic taste in the

mouth. These symptoms appear suddenly, 

1 to 6 hours after

eating. Induce vomiting if symptoms appear.

8-73. Fish spoils quickly after death, especially 

on a hot day.

Prepare fish for eating as soon as possible after catching it.

Cut out the gills and the large blood vessels 

that lie near the

spine. Gut fish that are more than 10 centimeters (4 inches)

long. Scale or skin the fish.

8-74. You can impale a whole fish on a stick and cook it over an open fire. However, boiling the 

fish with the skin on is the best

way to get the most food value. The fats and 

oil are under the

skin and, by boiling, you can save the juices for broth. You can

use any of the methods used to cook plant 

food to cook fish.

Pack fish into a ball of clay and bury it in the 

coals of a fire until

the clay hardens. Break open the clay ball to 

get to the cooked

fish. Fish is done when the meat flakes off. 

If you plan to keep

the fish for later, smoke or fry it. To prepare fish for smoking,

cut off the head and remove the backbone.


SNAKES

8-75. To skin a snake, first cut off its head, to include 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 inches) 

behind the head. This will ensure you remove 

the venom sac, which is located at the base of 

the head. Bury the sac to prevent further contact. Then cut the skin down the body 2 to 4 

centimeters (1 to 1 1/2 inches). Peel the skin 

back, then grasp the skin in one hand and the 

body in the other

and pull apart (Figure 8-25). On large, bulky snakes 

it may be necessary to slit the belly skin. Cook snakes in the same manner as small game. Remove the entrails and discard. 

Cut the snake into small sections and boil or 

roast it.

Figure 8-25. Cleaning a Snake

Figure 8-25. Cleaning a Snake

BIRDS

8-76. After killing the bird, remove its feathers by either

plucking or skinning. Remember, skinning 

removes some of

the food value. Open up the body cavity and remove the entrails, saving the craw (in seed-eating birds), heart, and liver. Cut

off the feet. Cook by boiling or roasting over a 

spit. Before

cooking scavenger birds, boil them at least 20 minutes to kill parasites.


SKINNING AND BUTCHERING GAME

8-77. Bleed the animal by cutting its throat. If possible, clean

the carcass near a stream. Place the carcass 

belly up and split

the hide from throat to tail, cutting around all sexual organs

(Figure 8-26). Remove the musk glands at points 

A and B to avoid tainting the meat. For smaller mammals, cut the hide around

the body and insert two fingers under the hide 

on both sides

of the cut and pull both pieces off (Figure 8-27).

NOTE: When cutting the hide, insert the knife blade under the

skin and turn the blade up so that only the hide gets cut. This

will also prevent cutting hair and getting it on the meat.

Figure 8-26. Skinning and Butchering Large Game

Figure 8-26. Skinning and Butchering 

Large Game

Figure 8-27. Skinning Small Game

Figure 8-27. Skinning Small Game

8-78. Remove the entrails from smaller game by splitting the

body open and pulling them out with the fingers. Do not forget

the chest cavity. For larger game, cut the gullet away from the diaphragm. Roll the entrails out 

of the body. Cut around the

anus, then reach into the lower abdominal cavity, grasp the

lower intestine, and pull to remove. Remove the urine bladder

by pinching it off and cutting it below the fingers. 

If you spill

urine on the meat, wash it to avoid tainting the meat. Save the

heart and liver. Cut these open and inspect for signs of worms or other parasites. Also inspect 

the liver's color; it could indicate a diseased 

animal. The liver's surface should be smooth and wet

and its color deep red or purple. If the liver 

appears diseased, discard it. However, a diseased liver does not indicate you cannot eat the muscle tissue.

8-79. Cut along each leg from above the foot to 

the previously

made body cut. Remove the hide by pulling it 

away from the carcass, cutting the connective tissue where necessary. Cut off

the head and feet.

8-80. Cut larger game into manageable pieces. First, slice the muscle tissue connecting the 

front legs to the body. There are no bones or 

joints connecting the front legs to the body on 

four-legged animals. Cut the hindquarters off 

where they join the body. You must cut around 

a large bone at the top of the leg 

and cut to the ball-and-socket hip joint. Cut the ligaments

around the joint and bend it back to separate it. Remove the

large muscles (the tenderloin or "backstrap") 

that lie on either

side of the spine. Separate the ribs from the backbone. There

is less work and less wear on your knife if you break the ribs

first, then cut through the breaks.

8-81. Boil large meat pieces or cook them over a spit. You can

stew or boil smaller pieces, particularly those 

that remain

attached to bone after the initial butchering, as soup or broth.

You can cook body organs such as the heart, 

liver, pancreas,

spleen, and kidneys using the same methods 

as for muscle meat. You can also cook and eat 

the brain. Cut the tongue out, skin it,

boil it until tender, and eat it.

SMOKING MEAT

8-82. To smoke meat, prepare an enclosure 

around a fire

Figure 8-28). Two ponchos snapped together will 

work. The fire

does not need to be big or hot. The intent is to produce smoke

and heat, not flame. Do not use resinous wood because its

smoke will ruin the meat. Use hardwoods to produce good

smoke. The wood should be somewhat green. 

If it is too dry,

soak it. Cut the meat into thin slices, no more 

than 6 millimeters (about 1/4 inch) thick, and drape them over a framework.

Make sure none of the meat touches another 

piece. Keep the

poncho enclosure around the meat to hold the smoke and keep

a close watch on the fire. Do not let the fire get 

too hot. Meat smoked overnight in this manner 

will last about 1 week. Two

days of continuous smoking will preserve the 

meat for 2 to

4 weeks. Properly smoked meat will look like a dark, curled,

brittle stick and you can eat it without further cooking. You can

also use a pit to smoke meat (Figure 8-29).

Figure 8-28. Tepee Smoker

Figure 8-28. Tepee Smoker

Figure 8-29. Smoking Meat Over a Pit

Figure 8-29. Smoking Meat Over a Pit

DRYING MEAT

8-83. To preserve meat by drying, cut it into 6-millimeter

(1/4-inch) strips with the grain. Hang the meat strips on a

rack in a sunny location with good airflow. Keep 

the strips

out of the reach of animals. Cover the strips to keep off

blowflies. Allow the meat to dry thoroughly 

before eating.

Properly dried meat will have a dry, crisp texture and will

not feel cool to the touch.


OTHER PRESERVATION METHODS

8-84. You can also preserve meats using the freezing or

brine and salt methods. In cold climates, you can freeze and

keep meat indefinitely. Freezing is not a means 

of preparing

meat. You must still cook it before eating. You 

can also preserve meat by soaking it thoroughly 

in a saltwater solution. The

solution must cover the meat. You can use salt 

by itself but

make sure you wash off the salt before cooking.


CAUTION: THIS VIDEO IS NOT 

FOR THE FAINT HEARTED, I KNOW!



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