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Question by Reece Cantrell. Uploaded on July 28, 2011
An old rule of thumb is after a few good frosts to kill parasites. Also wear rubber gloves while handling and cook thoroughly. Makes for a good hasenpfeffer stew, served with spatzle dumplings, a German favorite.
Like 99explorer said,
I always wait till after the first few good frost or first snow storm to go hunt rabbits.
Technically speaking, rabbits can be eaten any time of year...state regulations often prevent the harvest of rabbits throughout the year, so be sure to check your state regulations. Cook thoroughly and practice safe cleaning techniques. Never had it smoked, so I couldn't tell you.
Rabbit meat if cooked right is safe to eat any time of the year. What you have to watch out for is cleaning and handling the meat. If I hunt rabbits before the first couple of freezes I wear rubber gloves when cleaning them.
thanks everyone. down here in Tennessee the season opens in November, so i think they'll be ok by then.
Combined, everyone is right. Rabbits do carry parasites in warmer months that can be very dangerous to people. If you are careful in your cleaning and thoroughly cook the meat. After cold weather kills the parasites, you don't have to be quite as careful.
I won't eat rabbits, squirrels or any other rodent simply because of perasites. Safety First.
Like they said, you can eat them anytime if you cook them thoroughly (don't we follow that rule for any meat from any source?), but it helps to wait for a few frosts to make sure the little nasties are dead and gone. Especially with squirrels.
Rabbits ain't rodents, by the way.
Shane, Moishe didn't get Zermoid's memo apparently. (LOL) I do not think I have ever seen a rabbit with what we call 'wolves' that commonly afflict squirrels prior to the first frost. These are external parasites of some sort of larvae that are removed when skinned and do not affect the meat. They are indeed nasty looking enough to make you want to discard the squirrel. I think the biggest problem with rabbits are fleas and ticks prior to the first frost.
Right on RES1956.
Squirrels aren't so bad about ticks, but could have a real "flea" problem.
For squirrels, I don't pick them up immediately as "parasites" have a tendency to abandon a dead animal. Mark the animal down and wait 5 minutes or so. Should be no fleas.
We always started hunting squirrel Oct 1st and there was a late spring season in May. I've eaten tons of squirrel killed in both time frames and never had a problem.
Because of tularemia, my dad and grandfather WOULD NOT kill and eats rabbits! Jacks or especially cottontails. On the rare occasion, we would kill a "cane cutter" in the creek bottom. Those, my grandad would eat. I don't know the difference, it just looked like a great big cottontail to me.
Any month that contains an "R" september-April. easy.
'Any month that contains an "R" september-April. easy.' ~ owenosker... That doesn't work too well in Arizona, by the by, in Arizona the rabbit population is way high, and they're in season all year, incidentally most of southern AZ is warm enough to foster parasites during the coldest months... we just burn our rabbit meat, if it's black and on fire, it's almost done... lol not quite true, but I cook the expletive out of it for sure.
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