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Killing for food (not hunting)

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Our guys are working on survival skills leading up to next campout.

PLC wants to demonstrate how to kill, clean, and cook a domestic animal like a rabbit or chicken. We have adults who are ready, willing, and able to teach this skill to a few senior boys so they can do demonstrations at the patrol level.


I really like it when the guys lean forward to try something new, but one parent objects to the guys killing living animals when it's not really a survival situation.


We certainly won't force this activity on any boy or family who objects, but I also want to know if BSA says anything about it. G2SS only talks about hunting.


Is there another prohibition out there?



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I have heard talk of an old local Wood Badge course where each patrol was given a live chicken and told to prepare dinner. This was before my time, but I have heard old timers speak of it fondly.


I would like to do the same for scouts in the troop, but I do not have the necessary skills to teach this to the scouts. Good luck! Sounds like a great experience for your patrols.


If nothing else, let us know how it goes....

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Ask the objecting parent where they think the chicken from KFC or the steak they had last night comes from. Would they object to their son visiting a farm and seeing where their food comes from? I don't exactly see the nexus between outdoor survival and butchering a domesitcated animal, but it is still a good thing for a scout to learn about. The closest thing I can think of is to point out that the fishing MB requires the scout to clean and cook a fish that he caught

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As far as game animals (rabbits, squirrels, etc.) check with your local fish and wildlife division. They can advise on any local prohibitions as to methods and seasons. Penalties for taking game out of season can be severe. For domestic animals, check with your agriculture or animal control agency. They usually handle pets and farm animals.

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My troop did this when I was a youth with chickens and turkeys. We also did a hog, but that really turned into the adults doing it. I don't know what the BSA would say about it, but we really enjoyed it and it is a very good learning experience and a real good confidence builder. I do know that folks raise rabbits just for eating, so I'm sure you can find them as well. You might check with a Chinese restaurant to find a source. I think that was where our adults found them.


Personally I think cleaning and skinning a rabbit is easier than the chicken and someone could use the fur for tanning. That used to be a Merit Badge.


Oh, how did we kill them, grab them by the head and yank hard. Also get the right chickens, for cooking and I would say one chicken feeds at most three hungry scouts.


Hope you guys can get it worked out, the boys will have a lot of fun and stories to tell.


I love this scouting stuff.



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We have found sources for both live rabbits and chickens raised to sell for food - no problem there.


We did a chicken on a survival campout a few years ago - the guys are still talking about it - and now the current PLC wants to go one better with live rabbits. (I agree - cleaning rabbits is much easier - but more emotional because they're cute and they are sometimes pets. Important tip: Do not give your dinner a name!)


We're negotiating with concerned parents now. Will probably spare the guys the up-close-and-disturbing part by giving patrols rabbits which are freshly killed and boys have never seen alive. It's one thing to go find the wild rabbit you just shot (or snared) and another to pet him until you whack his head.


Thanks for your thoughts!

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Hopefully, this post isn't too much of a change from the original topic. My intent is not to hijack the thread, as it seems related.


This topic got me wondering, wouldn't it make sense to teach methods of building a traditional snare or trap from natural materials in the context of survival? The G2SS ban on hunting appears to be directed toward traditional hunting activities ("The purpose of this policy is to restrict chartered packs, troops, and teams from conducting hunting trips.").


But, looking further, the last requirement for the Wilderness survival MB states "Explain why it usually is not wise to eat edible wild plants or wildlife in a wilderness survival situation." I can understand the discouraging of eating plants as it requires high level of familiarity to avoid poisoning, but the risk of eating a cooked wild rabbit or sqirrel is no greater than eating a freshly caught fish, which as noted above, is a fishing MB requirment.


Would it be worthwhile to teach the skill of building the snare, even if you don't actually use it? Actually using the trap would require compliance with game regulations as well.



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Before our cooking campout we take the boys shopping down to the market where it's still like the old school butcher shops. not plastic wrapped like the super WalMart. It's right down the street from some slaughter houses. I call my supplier and he usually get us a tour including the killing floor. In all the years we have only had one boy who had to leave. then again about half the boys live on working farms and show 4 H.

Maybe you could find a place that would give tour/demo. I've got to tell you that a poultry plant is fairly nasty.

Last year we got into watch a Kosher kill. the guy explained the reasons behind everything and why certain things were done. Very interesting.

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The Blancmange:

I think you bring up another point too:




So....... what else is there? No vegitation ( which actually, I agree with) and no wildlife either. Ummmm are there edible rocks? Can you fry up a fresh batch of dirt? Mmm- mmm! Delicious!


OKay, I know they want you to survive on your granola bars and rations, but wouldn't a true survival course teach you to kill a squirrel with a pine needle dart or something like that? How much granola bars can you carry? What if you really, really need to survive longer than the amount of food you have with you?


I'd think you want to teach them how to make a functioning and dependable snare... but in the hopes they won't ever need it.


As far as the original post..I say it should be fine as long as you eat the "food" afterward.


I'm not a hunter. I like to fish instead. I salt water fish. But one thing I do is this: If I catch a fish that I am not going to eat.. I release it. I say release and not "throw it back" because where I'm from, release means alive and healthy ( other than maybe a sore lip).


I will not kill any fish that I do not plan to eat or give to others who physically cannot fish( elderly). I also tell my son that if he keeps a fish, he better plan on eating it too.


So I think as long as you don't kill it, skin/ clean it, and cook it only to toss it in the trash...everything should be fine.


As far as those freaked out parents... ask them if the know where bacon and eggs come from!


Ask them where all that meat at the grocery store comes from.


Then ask them about........... jello!

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We already have a troop rule: If you kill anything bigger than a cockroach, you eat it.


I know it's not in the Wilderness Survival MB any more, but we always have the patrols building snares and traps on these campouts. If they do a good job, they are rewarded a store-bought chicken or two. If they don't do a good job, they stay a little more hungry.


The truth is, the energy required to build the snares and traps is very unlikely to be offset with captured prey and is unnecessary in most situations, but it's a cool skill that boys want to know.(This message has been edited by Mike F)

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PLC and Instructors have now been trained in dispatching and dressing a rabbit.


All parents were consulted, talked it over with sons, and gave consent.


Looks like we're on our way to a legendary survival campout!

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I remember learning this skill as a young second class. We had some lectures from a very qualified ASM. We started with watching him field dress a deer. He explained how that process was similiar to a steer, and where the hamburger was made. We learned how to use every part of the deer with nothing wasted. It was amazing, probably one of the most memorable experiences I have. We were then shown a 'survival kit' and directed to make our own.

The best part was the overnight experience. We 'planned' an outing, including food, water, and shelter. The adult leaders, without our knowledge, had a better learning experience planned. We packed all of our gear on friday into one of the leaders trucks, and basically went about our business. We showed up, like always at the jump off point for our trip, assumed all of our gear was in the truck, and took the hour ride out to knowwhere. The adults had done a great job of 'planning' and when we arrived at the rustic site, we went looking for a good campsite. Boy were we amazed when we went back to find that the truck had left, leaving none of our gear, excecpt the kits that we had made. The SM and ASM were sitting on the ground by a tree, waiting for our return. We were completely shocked, and the surprise added reality to the event. The ASM had a burlap sack that he said was full of our dinner. The SM laid out the rules for the event. We were stranded/lost and we needed to work as a team to survive the night. The burlap bag was so distracting, what was in it, you might ask? We had no idea. Shelter was priority one. DONE. Water was priority two. DONE. That burlap bag was finally opened about 2 p.m. The look on our faces was probably a VISA moment, especially when the ASM released 6 live chickens, with a raucous laugh, followed with, "Dinner is served!" We spent several hours just trying to catch the chickens. I cannot tell you the fun/fear we had. It was AWESOME. The whole time we were being observed and taught what to do. I am pretty sure that we scared every 'real' animal away from our area with our running, laughing and screaming, so snaring a wild rabbit or squirrel would have been impossible. Once caught, we had to kill, clean, and cook the birds. I will apologize for not following the LNT principles, because who knew how many feathers were on a chicken. Some guys didn't remove the feathers and cooked them off, Some got most off, while my group peeled the chicken. We ate every piece of edible meat off that chicken, and it was terrible. It was completely overcooked and had no flaveor, but it would have kept us alive.

AWESOME EXPERIENCE. Good on your PLC for wanting to add this to their plan. Please don't drop into a pet store and ask for a rabbit for stew, though. 'Domestic' animals are not for eating. The yellow pages is your best choice for looking to find 'wild' animals for food.


BTW, this happened in 1982.

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