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Is it safe to eat jack rabbits in central Oregon?

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by ORHunter79, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. ORHunter79

    ORHunter79 ... Active Member

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    So yeah. There's a lot of them out here. I don't like to hunt something I can't eat so I was hoping some experienced Oregon hunters could tell me if it's safe to eat the jack rabbits. Any risks? I know if the liver is spotted, something is wrong with it. I I asked the fish and game guy in bend, he couldn't give me a honest answer. Said something about parasites and to cook it well. That's any game as far as I know. Anyway, I love some rabbit so I'm hoping it is safe.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    Guess I don't KNOW for sure, but here is a nugget you may not have known;I didn't until recently!
    Up north in the irrigated portion of the basin, there WERE jacks. Apparently the Fins and feathers(can't recall exactly whom) infected them with syphillus(spelling?). An old construction fellow showed me an old paper from the 50's with a PSA warning NOT to eat them because of it.
    They were trying to stop crop damage caused by them when water first came apparently.
    The cottons up here are known to carry plague infested fleas, FWIW.
     
  3. ORHunter79

    ORHunter79 ... Active Member

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    Damn that's not what I wanted to hear. Thanks for the heads up though. Actually it was on the news this morning. No connection I'm sure but still. http://m.columbian.com/news/2012/aug/05/syphilis-rise-alarms-county-health-officials-sexua/
     
  4. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    They are just fine in the winter/spring. The young are better. The heat of summer will bring on parasites. As with any wild meat, cook well. Enjoy!
     
  5. Toxic6

    Toxic6 Higher then a PDX hipster (~10,000 ft higher) Active Member

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    I was always told the cottontails where the only good ones to eat and jackrabbits were tough and stringy, and was also told only to take rabbits in the winter if I didn't want to be grossed out by the deerfly larvae or whatever it is that gets in their skin.....we just killed the jackrabbits since they were a pita that ate the garden lol.

    That was in eastern Oregon, and I ate a few of the cottontails so hopefully they weren't packing herpegonnasyphiloids lol.....
     
  6. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have eaten Jackrabbits taken in the late winter and through the spring. I check the livers and wear platex type rubber gloves when I butcher them which is within a couple hours of killing them. And then on to Ice until home.

    What happened in the 1950's to get rid of rabbits in the valley and other places has nothing to do with the populations that are around now.
     
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  7. ORHunter79

    ORHunter79 ... Active Member

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    I read your other post on what to look for so thanks for the reply. I might hold of till the winter hits and then hunt and eat them.
     
  8. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    jacks be some alien looking critters, rather eat peter cottontail.
     
  9. Vantage

    Vantage Pacific Standard Time Active Member

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    The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says they're safe to eat. They even provide recipes on their website.

    Having said that: I don't have a problem with hunting them and just leaving them out there. Just because YOU don't eat them doesn't mean SOMETHING won't eat them. And even if they don't get eaten... they still return to the earth for bugs and worms to enjoy. And fish and birds eat bugs and worms.

    Its more natural and humane to leave them out there than to eat them. Critters in the wild have to seek out and hunt for their food. I can just go to the drive through. My survival hardly rests on my ability to procure food for the day. At least right now it doesn't. :)

    So leave a little something out for the critters.

    Unless you just really WANT to eat them. Then by all means. But don't feel obligated just cause you killed it.
     
  10. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    A friend asked her cooking teacher about parasites in rabbits.
    He said to soak it in wine a little longer (french cook)
     
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  11. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Everyone knows the French eat bugs but it don't make it right :)
     
  12. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I think when the OP talked about safety in eating, he was referring to actually butchering, cooking and consuming the rabbit, rather than another activity most might reserve toward intimate female companionship of same species.

    That aside, having literally been raised on rabbit meat (we had little else in Winnemucca, Nevada), we did try to eat Jackrabbit more than once, and found it barely tolerable for flavor (especially when compared to a nice cottontail that was at least as prevalent). Young ones in the spring were better, but still not as good as a cottontail.

    Diseases include tuleremia and "warbles" (insect larvae which resemble a half-curled fat caterpillar under the skin). Inspection of the liver and lungs for normal appearance is recommended, and unless the little guy is inundated with warbles, we found them to be no problem. Winter does mitigate the prevalence of parasites and disease to some degree.

    As to your moral dilemma regarding eating what you shoot, that is commendable, but you may find some comparable exemption in the fact (hopefully) that a mouse caught in a trap in your kitchen does not get popped down your gullet, nor do you scoop up deceased carpenter ants after the Orkin guy leaves. (This from a hunter who has actually cooked and eaten Rockchuck: alfalfa fed young ones aren't bad at all!)
     
  13. jake2far

    jake2far Portland Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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  14. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I have 'fed' 100s of them to the 'yotes and buzzards over the years but never to myself! Unless I was starving I would not eat these hideous looking creatures. The aforementioned disease and parasite issues are very real. Even the early Eastern Oregon homesteaders (whose diet ran heavy to jacks) had to deal with it 'back then'.
     
  15. jjackffrost

    jjackffrost central oregon Active Member

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    I eat cotton tails in the spring. The jackrabbits are only good for stew. We do not have the flea problem in central oregon that they have in the valley (thank god)
     
  16. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    So what was the family business? lets see... the local prison, the mine, one of the little casinos, the pussycat lounge and now days the ford dealer and walmart up on the hill overlooking the golden arches and the truck stops....