During a Disaster Could You Kill, Clean and Cook an Animal to Feed Your Family?

SRI-Smith Urbandeer Urban deer Horton Legacy HD 225

This deer taken from an urban environment could provide food for your family and friends for several days in the event of a natural disaster. Would you know how to process and cook it?

It seems that we have a new horrific natural disaster hitting somewhere in North America every week. It might be a record-strength hurricane like Irma that left millions of people in Florida without power for weeks which was followed by Maria which has just ravaged Puerto Rico with projected power outages for months. In the meantime, people are still digging out from an earthquake in Mexico City while forest fires are ravaging much of the Western U.S.

For those of us fortunate enough not to be hit by any of these present disasters, it appears nearly certain that sometimes during our lives we and our families will someday be at peril. With electric power out and food distribution systems torn up, being able to make meals from live animals will become an increasingly vital skill. This is something that many of our grandparents did every day, but these skills and arts are now largely lost to most in modern society.

The percentage of the population in the U.S. that actively hunts is usually said to be about 7 percent. The percentage of those who actually process their own meat is likely now down to about 2 percent. So even among hunters, this is a rapidly vanishing skill. Only in that segment of the population who are recent immigrants, particularly those from Central America, is this percentage of people who know how to do live-animal-processing appreciably higher.

If you do not have electricity and refrigeration, the only practical way to transport animal products is while they are still alive. Humans are not the only creatures impacted by natural disasters and thousands of heads of livestock also perish or are injured. Some of these may be salvaged for food. When people are threatened with not only hunger but starvation, using local resources becomes increasingly important.

E-mail new cover backyard deerOne reason that I wrote my book, Backyard Deer Hunting: From deer to dinner for pennies per pound, was to provide a primer for those who had seldom or never hunted on how to kill, process and cook a variety of wild game animals. Included in the book are recipes than anyone can cook. The soft-cover book is supplemented by an E-book version along with a video versions. Among my over 650 videos are those that show the details of processing deer, wild hogs and alligators.

The value of owning a printed book is that it does not depend on the presence of electric power or access to the Web to be useful. My book, and others like it, should be on the shelves of community libraries and in community shelters all over the country. The softcover is available from Amazon.com, other E-commerce book outlets and on order from your local bookstore.

E-sources for information on game processing are presently being restrained.  I was recently informed that my videos that featured game processing would no longer receive money from Google placed ads because, “They are not suitable for all advertisers.”  I strongly disagree as I am showing the advertiser’s audience how to keep themselves alive in stressful times by being able to process their own food. Blood and guts are shown, but the great majority of the population still feed on living creatures, even if they are packaged in Styrofoam and plastic wrap. Mine just come packaged in hide and fur.

Billy Joe Chopper and blank reduced

Prototype Rib Chopper (bottom) with blank for commercial version (Top).

More recently I have introduced the Billy Joe Rubideoux line of cooking tools, where I make cutlery instruments from found steels. These have included Chef’s knives made from found steels and a heavy cleaver forged from a lawnmower blade and handled with water pipe. These were made on a homemade forge. I also have YouTube videos on this topic. The governing rule for the Billy Joe line is,  “Take what you have and make what you need.” The easy way to find my videos is to Google “Hovey hunts video” or any other combination of terms that reflects your current search interests.

A couple of cautions if you are attempting to cook in a disaster situation. Do not use racks from refrigerators for grilling. They are often coated with toxic cadmium. This metal is fine at room temperature, but is vaporized with heat and may result in a difficult to diagnose heavy metal poisoning. Also do not cook using painted or preserved wood. The paint may contain lead and the preserved wood arsenic and/or other toxic materials. Similarly, avoid burning tires or asphalt shingles unless you need to make a smoke signal. Remember the potential for Carbon Monoxide deaths resulting from burning any fuel in confined spaces. The gas has no odor, it cannot be seen and is deadly.

Disasters, both natural and man-made are now parts of many people’s everyday lives. If one should visit you and your family at some stage be ready and learn how to secure and process your own food should the need arise.


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