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Forum Index > Medium and large game hunting > checking an animal is safe to eat

checking an animal is safe to eat

07 Mar 2014
@ 08:57 pm (GMT)

jason brown

I thought id start this for me and anyone else new to hunting.

ok, so im in new Zealand, maybe add which country your in if your including any helpful information in your post/reply.

I havnt been hunting for long, maybe three years, well at least things I want to eat. I understand there isn't too much to worry about in new Zealand but surly there are a few things to check on an animal to know its ok to eat.

all my hunting is fairly self taught so I don't know a lot. my first animal was hacked up enough to remove the insides and from there I took it to my dads mate for a demo of skinning and breaking down the animal. (a pig) and another guy guided me through a sheep.
so from there iv known just enough to be dangerous, or at least get by.

I usually just look at the animal to judge its over all health. if its slow moving or looks to be real skinny there must be something wrong with it.
I also look at the organs to see if they look normal, yet im not really sure what im looking for and my favourite projectile the amax never leaves them looking "normal" so it can be hard to tell.
I have heard of spots on the liver but yet again im not sure what it means or which animal gets then.

all this came about after yesterday I got a fallow deer, spiker.
I noticed it had a sore leg. maybe broken at some stage, healed except for a piece of skin missing.
it also had little black pieces in some fatty tissue under the skin mainly around the wind pipe area.
and later while skinning I noticed a .... what can only be described as a hard fatty looking nut, about the size of one of his real nuts if you know what I mean. above the same injured leg but higher in the shoulder area.
all this seemed a bit strange, or at least things I hadn't noticed before. everything else including the meat looked good, a rather good conditioned animal that seemed to be moving ok.
(iv also never really worried before as I havnt ever noticed a ill looking animal)

I took photos for the wound database here which I often send to Nathan. I also had nobody else to ask about the things that seemed strange, so I ran them by Nathan. who seemed to think the animal should be fine. but to be sure Nathan has also asked his friend which is a vet to have a look.

so that's what made me start this thread.
anyone willing to describe to me and others things to look out for in the future, please do.

Replies

08 Mar 2014
@ 02:55 pm (GMT)

sllindsay

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
Hi Jason,
If I understand correctly and the "hard fatty looking nut" is associated with the injured leg, it is probably a lymph node. Lymph Nodes filter the body fluids that are not a part of the blood system and in cases of infection they become enlarged. The injury was probably infected early on, thus the enlarged lymph node. Eventually it would have gone back to normal size. If the injury was healing well then there would not likely be any systemic infection to spoil the meat. I'm not sure what to make of the black spots, so I would avoid meat in that general area, just to be safe.

The 1991 Lentle and Saxton book, Red Deer in New Zealand, has a section in chapter 9 entitled "post mortem" which goes over how to examine the carcass for signs of disease and includes a handy diagram of things to watch for. I believe Roger Lentle is a medical doctor so should be well versed in this sort of thing, especially for diseases specific to NZ. These things vary a lot from continent to continent.
sl
08 Mar 2014
@ 04:07 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
thanks, I did cut the lump open, no fluid. it really just looked the same as the outside.
I am meaning to get those books, im guessing they don't cover pigs though in the what to look out for.
and thought it would be an interesting subject to share.
08 Mar 2014
@ 04:28 pm (GMT)

sllindsay

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
Pigs would be pretty much the same - looking for the same sort of odd things in the meat or the organs. I do not know if trichinosis is a pig problem in NZ, but there isn't anything to see with that parasite anyway - adequate cooking solves that problem, as well as most others.
sl
08 Mar 2014
@ 04:51 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat


08 Mar 2014
@ 05:11 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
well that works for me, click on the image and you will see the other pictures too.
08 Mar 2014
@ 11:14 pm (GMT)

sllindsay

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
Yes Jason, that ball-like structure is an enlarged lymph node and is exactly what one should expect from the look of the wound on the leg. It was granulating nicely and no doubt infected initially. There is a lot of inflammation associated with granulation tissue such as that and that will also cause lymph nodes to be enlarged. The black structures also appear to be lymph nodes and not a health concern. From what can be told from photos, the animal looks health overall. However, it is still important to examine the liver and kidneys closely for odd looking lumps or colors if you wish to eat those. And always cook the meat well as a final safeguard.
sl
08 Mar 2014
@ 11:58 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
thanks for looking over the pictures and your reply!
I do look at the liver, but maybe even more attention is needed. maybe cut them open too. I don't eat them though.
the little black bits really stood out as I opened up the animal along side its wind pipe. it almost looked to have been shot with a shotgun.
not so much else where but still in the odd place like the piece I cut out.
sometimes its hard to tell after everything is shot up, the liver is usually ok to inspect though. I did take a picture of the lungs and tried to include the liver but the picture didn't really show it.

well I feel I know better in what to look at now. and will take a bit more care it the future instead of just rolling it all out with a quick glance and moving on. thanks.
12 Mar 2014
@ 11:13 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
sllindsay... I thought of one more question if you don't mind...

it seems a lot (not all) of the... lets say bugs, that the deer can have don't seem to transfer to humans. I suppose cooking the meat helps too.

so the question what about the likes of dogs... eating the trimmings raw? are they at risk more than humans?
(mines had the shits for the last two days, so iv stopped giving it to him)

im waiting for my lentle and saxon book to turn up too now, so that will be interesting.
13 Mar 2014
@ 03:10 pm (GMT)

sllindsay

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
Jason,
I am not in NZ and I don't know the details of the bugs there, but it is always safest to cook meat well before consumption by either people or dogs. I would make a guess that your dog has simply had too much of a good thing and probably just needs a chance to clear out his system. If he were really down and out, too, he should be seen by a veterinarian.

A concern in the US with raw game meat for dogs is trichinosis which is fairly common in bear muscle, but can also be found in deer from time to time. It used to be a huge problem in pigs, both domestic and wild. Tuberculosis is a possibility in NZ as I have read that it is a concern on deer farms there. Anyway, cooking is safest. Dogs seem to be able to eat just about anything, and do in the wild, but that's not to say that they can't get something bad in the process.
sl
13 Mar 2014
@ 04:11 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
Hi Jason, I managed to talk with Helmut, he has been away with work (testing for diseases). I went through all of this when I started out farming but had forgotten the facts- no good guessing huh. So this subject is a good refresher for me.

OK, boiling / cooking kills Lepto, TB and Hydatids- our major threats (although I have not heard talk of Lepto for a long time).

Freezing for 7 days kills hydatids.

TB shows as pus filled lumps in the lungs and liver. Hydatids appears as fluid filled lumps in the same areas. Lepto is harder to see (within kidney) but other symptoms prevail such as diarrhea.

Helmut studied the photos and agrees with Stephen's conclusions including his comments about your dog. Neck bruising is most likely from thrashing, trying to escape something (fence etc).

Helmut wanted to stress that if there is any doubt as to the health of an animal, do not eat the meat. That needs to be your rule. Simply consider the hunt as a cull. He did not like the general color of the gut and although he could not see any disease present, he felt that the meat should be dis-guarded as it will most likely have a taint. In his words, he would rather head back out and tip over a couple of nanny goats if in great need of meat.

I have to admit, if I have the slightest doubt- even based on animal condition alone, I won't take meat. I also come across liver fluke from time to time. It has no effect on the meat but I treat the kill as a cull. Probably a delicacy somewhere- mini flounder.

Thanks for all of your help Stephen, it has been greatly appreciated.
13 Mar 2014
@ 05:08 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
sllindsay, Nathan and helmut... thanks for your replies and information to help me, and maybe others.
all this has really been an eye opener to take more care. inspect the animal better and to leave it if in doubt.
this is important to know and i feel more confident for next time im out in the field now. thanks.
13 Mar 2014
@ 05:24 pm (GMT)

Helmut Pleiter

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
Hi Guys
Finally having a moment to reply to this.
With regards to Tb, it may pay to check the Animal Health Board's website here: http://www.tbfree.org.nz/ Amongst other things they survey wildlife for signs of Tb. Should give you an indication how prevalent the disease is in the area you intend to take game from.
A caveat on Lepto: it is still around, mainly affecting dairy workers and workers in freezing works (I've also heard about the odd possum hunter affected in the old days). The main route of infection is urine from infected animals coming in contact with the mucous membranes of humans (urine splashes into mouth and nose) but cuts and open wounds are obviously another entry point.
Maybe this whole subject needs more work?!? Another photo database, a chapter in one of the next books (I'll write - you edit Nathan)? Or, if there is already a good book out there, point people in the right direction.
As a general rule, like Nathan already said, I would always err on the side of caution. We are really lucky here in NZ - there is so much meat out there! If there is any doubt about the animal I'd leave it for the hardier creatures to deal with. I know a lot of hunters turn their noses up at goat, but personally I think it's among the best eating there is. Try it before you knock it!
13 Mar 2014
@ 08:30 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
is there any signs that the human has been infected with any of the nastys, or is it fairly normal symtoms like vomiting, diarrhea?
as the general thought was the meat should be ok, well at least until yesterday after dinner when I checked the forum, I ate some last night. im not worried, at least at this stage.
the meat seemed fine. but I have learnt a lesson for my next animal inspections.

if I do drop dead in the next couple of days, I will give instructions to send my sendero to you Nathan.... enjoy.
oh, and feel free to use any pictures of my insides for future reference to this subject. (I know its a serious subject but iv already eaten some, so one can only joke and hope for the best )

yes, I should try some goat, apparently much like lamb.
13 Mar 2014
@ 09:09 pm (GMT)

sllindsay

Re: checking an animal is safe to eat
Jason,
I would certainly follow any advice offered by Helmut - not only is he there, but he is a professional. On the other hand, I would not be too concerned about your meal yesterday. Again, thorough cooking will destroy bacteria and parasites and poor meat should cause no more than an upset stomach or be not very nutritious. One of the big takeaways from all this is to be very careful in the field while handling the carcass, and especially the offal. Lots of hunters in the US now wear medical-type latex gloves when dressing their game. I do not and a medical doctor friend of mine does not, but it can help one sleep better if somewhat uncertain about what to look for in the field. In the end, though, a good and thorough job of cooking will save the day.
 

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