“I could never eat that!” I can’t tell you the numbers of times I have heard that one! With normal grocery-store-plastic-and-foam-to-grill crowd I can understand that statement. But from hunters? I have seen people look down their nose at suggesting eating wild game but mention other animals and they freak out. Mention eating muskrats and people look at you like you are from Mars and have two heads. They have that “Stay away from my children” look. I find it amusing. Muskrat (a.k.a. Marsh Rabbit) is said to have a rat tail. But true rat tail is round whereas a marsh rabbit’s tail is flat on the sides.)
This reminds of old western movie I saw with Paul Newman. A lady says “I could never eat a dog.” Paul Newman replies ” Lady if you were really hungry I mean really hunger not just missing a meal but not having a meal in three days. You would gladly eat it and fight over the bones to suck the marrow out.” In a lot of ways I feel like Paul Newman if you were really hungry you would gladly eat it.
For many years in Louisiana have been called “marsh rabbits” think about it you are hunting rabbits miles from anywhere around a small farm pond you shoot a rabbit. I bet that rabbit would be good eating, right? Now take it one more step in the pond is muskrats they live and feed on almost the same kind of food, plant life. How come the rabbit is a prize and the muskrat is scorned? Program response because people have been lead to believe that anything with the word “Rat” in it is unfit for human consumption. I remember the time when I was single and sharing an apartment with two other guys. I spent a day making jerky. They came home and the kitchen table was covered with finished jerky that was cooling before packing. They ask if they could try some. I said sure why not. They were eating and raving about how great it was. After both had eaten 3 or more pieces they ask what kind of meat it
was. I smiled and said guess? Tasted like farm raise beef kind of lean. Maybe an old bull that was why it was chewy. Nope, snapping turtle, I reply. One guy immediately ran to bathroom to puke. The other guy grabbed another piece and said that it was great. You see it was all psychological for the guy who puked. Just seconds before raving about how good it was until he found out what it was.
Muskrat is the same way. Sometimes when a person becomes brave enough to try it they will gut a muskrat inside the house. This I will warn is a big mistake. Muskrat live a long time underwater and for some reason they really smell when you open their guts up. Make sure you clean them outside. Or if you just want to try it skin it leave the guts in and cut off the back legs. I did this last year on the back legs of m’rats and we BBQ on the grill. I can say with all honestly it was the best marsh rabbit I have ever cooked. How does this fit into a survival plan will you can easily trap them with 110 conibears, or if you are heading to a retreat you can make a multiply catch trap. Yes, this trap can catch up to 10 in one night but most customers report back they get between 3 and 5 a night.
But what other animals can you get? Learn to snare “small deer”. What the heck are small deer? Raccoons, ground hogs, beaver, etc.. Even in most suburban areas there is plenty of animals running around like raccoons, ground hogs (woodchucks) squirrels, rabbits, marsh rabbits, etc. Raccoons are easy to snare once you learn how. Now raccoon are a very important survival food because 2 lbs of roasted coon meat equals 2500 calories. As US ROG stated 1 raccoon can provide a soldier 4 days worth of food. How you cook raccoons is very important they are very greasy but if you grill or roast them over a fire so the fat can drip off they are truly excellent. Another way is to par boil allowed to cool and strip the meat off and then make a stew.
Beaver another excellent food source. In fact they are one of my favorite wild game I like it better then venison. They taste real close to beef. My Survival Snaring and Water Trapping videos both cover catching these animals in detail. As one customer told me. “I took the back legs off and decide to roast it at work one day. Place two back legs in roasting pan pour over the meat 1 cup of Lipton onion soup and baked for 1 hour. Guys at work were at first real hesitant to try it. But finally they did and before I knew it almost all of it was gone. Afterwards everyone was asking when I was bringing more in.”
I always hear that “all the animals will be wiped out”. I smile when I hear this one. Please keep believing this more food for the rest of us. I have read hundreds of account of trappers who made it through the Great Depression. You can’t hunt all the animals out like beaver and marsh rabbits–you need traps for that. You still should have store food but what if you can add 25-100 animals each year. Sure would stretch your food supply, won’t it? By the way, I trapped in Michigan back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That was when some counties had unemployment at 25% (same as the Great Depression) I caught plenty of animals.
One last thing Pre-Y2K I was working a show selling conibears traps and snares. Two Air Force enlisted guys in uniform walk by and I ask if they want any traps they said “no I could never do that to an animal.” I just smiled. The conibear trap was rated as one of the most humane traps for quick kills on the market. Just a different kind of mouse trap. But when these folks come back day, after day, after day, after day with no game from hunting they will wish to God they would have bought some trapping supplies. In a True TEOTWAWKI happens with no resupply possible and you are hungry for three days straight sure would be nice to whip out some traps and snare) and go catch dinner. But only if you can get over your programming of “I could never eat that!” – Buckshot