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By Cynthia Haggitt
One of the more enjoyable aspects of hunting is enjoying the bounty at the dinner table after a successful hunting trip. However, not all hunting meat from animal game is safe to eat.
According to Field & Stream, a retailer that caters to hunters, fishermen, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, notes that the following are some ways hunters can determine if freshly killed game is safe to eat.
■ Look for signs of previous injuries. Previously wounded animals may be infested with maggots or have abscesses, which are swollen areas of tissue that contain pus. Animals that appear to have been injured prior to being killed should not be eaten, as consuming them can leave hunters vulnerable to illness.
■ Examine the animal’s eyes and skin. Sunken eyes or emaciated, scabby skin also could indicate the animal was suffering from illness or injury prior to being killed.
■ Look for tick infestations. Games infested with ticks should not be consumed.
■ Look for fluid discharges. Games that have discharges of dark blood or creamy or green substances should not be consumed.
■ See if the animal passes the smell test. Game suffering from gangrene or had decaying flesh typically emit a strong, foul odor and such animals should not be consumed.
■ Investigate the interior of the animal. Just because a game animal exhibits no outward signs of illness or injury does not necessarily make it safe to eat. Hunters are advised to wear surgical or dishwashing gloves and run their hands over the body of the animal. Signs of disease or illness include hair that comes off easily, a soft or gelatinous underside of the skin when peeled off, and/or a film of blood or fluid that is not the result of the hunter’s gunshot wound.
■ Examine muscle tissue. Muscle tissue should not smell bad or contain parasites or blood spots. In addition, examine the muscle tissue for blood clots, black blood or a greenish discharge, each of which are indicators of disease.
■ Examine the rib cage and muscle tissue. Humans can contract tuberculosis after eating a game that was infected with the disease. Indicators of tuberculosis include tan or yellow lumps on the inside surface of the rib cage or in the tissue of the lungs.
Infected game can make hunters seriously ill if consumed. All infected animals should be reported to the appropriate local authorities.