View Full Version : Rabbit Question

07-15-2012, 3:09 PM
I live in the So Cal mountians about 4500 foot elevation, when I was teenager (30+ years ago) we always hunted cotton tails but all the old timers told us we could only eat them in the winter months (months with the letter R in it like October, November etc) because of a parasite or something that went away when it got cold. It was told to me so much that it just stuck in my head as the truth. I have seen the rabbit hunt thread for July and August and it made me think about it. Is this an old wifes tale or is it true?

07-15-2012, 3:19 PM
I believe the reason why is that rabbits can carry a disease from ticks and flies called tularemia. Cold months mean less ticks and less likelihood of getting anything. I always heard you start hunting them after a good freeze because thats what kills all the parasites. Yes your likely hood of catching something from a cottontail that you killed today and ate is lower, I prefer knowing its a lot lower during the winter.

Also there is some larvae that attach to the neck of the rabbit and although they won't make you sick from eating, I have heard its an appetite killer.

07-15-2012, 3:30 PM
make sure you just check your game inside and out for ticks and their vitals. healthy heart and liver probably means the rabbits fine.

07-15-2012, 3:43 PM
I've never had any problems with cottontails. Any game I plan to eat gets a good inspection, inside and out. Jacks you can eat as well but I here some could be diseased. Just for the heck of it, I kept a couple very healthy looking jacks a few years ago. Opened them up and they looked great, no spotted liver or anything suspicious at all. We saved the meat and the wife and I tried it. Edible but that's about it. Meat was tough. I guess if you pressure cooked it and added the right seasonings it may be just OK. In a survival situation, I would not hesitate one second to eat a jackrabbit.

07-15-2012, 3:51 PM
They are so thick this year you can pretty much hunt them with a hand full of rocks. My dog is old, she can't even hardly run and she gets a couple each week. My son has been wanting to eat some so I thought I would ask first.

That makes sense about the ticks and cold months because our first freeze here is in October and thats when they always said to start eating them.

I know fully cooking them would kill any parasites but would fully cooking get rid of tularemia?


07-15-2012, 7:05 PM
Use disposable gloves to field dress the rabbits, cook meat thoroughly, and you'll be fine. The disease is usually in the entrails like the liver, and can be transmitted through a break in your skin when field dressing.
It can be present in any small animal like squirrels and rabbits. The liver will usually have yellow spots if the animal is diseased.

More info

07-15-2012, 8:58 PM
Old wives' tale chknlyps2, rabbits are safe to eat in the summer too. Here's a link to a good explanation why.