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Killing for food (not hunting)

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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."


Yes, this is true. They did that at National Camp School, too (on the overnight outpost camp), back in the day.

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Going from live, or recently live, animal to dinner would be a good lesson in how the world really works and an interesting skill to try. I'm going to tell our PLC about it and see if anyone bites. But in terms of actual survival skills and training we need to also emphasize that trying to catch and cook game is not a good survival strategy. The human body can go weeks without food and still fully recover. As mentioned in one of the posts above, the calories you'd get back probably wouldn't justify the calories burned. And improving almost anything else about your situation, including just not using energy, is probably a better use of your calories. As to why not to eat wild game or plants: they're more likely to make you sick and worse off than they are to improve your situation. It's really easy, even under good conditions, to contaminate meat when you're cleaning and dressing it. Plus lots of wild critters have parasites on or in them that you don't want to mess with. The WS MB probably doesn't specifically mention fish as something to stay away from because it's probably the safest thing to catch and eat in the wild, but again the calories gained for calories spent makes it a less than ideal strategy.

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It is an unfortunate turn of events when todays "trained scouts" could be left in the middle of a fuit orchard/farm or in a heavily (animal) populated area and starve to death because the parents fear their babies knowing that the food was once alive.


Watched as parents signed their sons up for wilderness survival merit badge at summer camp and we had a military survival instructor teach it. The complaints we received because he gave them a chicken, showed then how to kill and clean it, and showed them how to cook it astonished me. I asked them where they thought KFC came from and they said they didn't want to kow nor did they want their sons to know.


Guess their idea of survival is knowing what applications to have on a PC and where to shop for best bargains....


My $0.02





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"the calories you'd get back probably wouldn't justify the calories burned."

true enough for most survival situations. But, let's not forget that early man did hunt, and found it profitable enough to keep hunting. It all depends on techniques. The calories you get back...I first heard when discussing grasshoppers as survival food. If you chase after them one at a time, then you'll have a net energy loss. If you erect a small mesh net, and, then, starting a distance away from it, walk towards it while beating the brush with a stick you'll catch enough to gain energy for several people.

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Oh! I gotta' show this to the PLC. I sooo want to do this. Modern society and the suburban setting our troop is in is so far removed from it's food source it is a shame.


I think everyone needs to be familiar with just what goes into the 'sausage' you're eating and how it got there. The idea of the meat plant also sounds like a great idea. If anything just for the gross out factor .......they'll love it.


I'm not so sure about the moms though ;)

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As I mentioned above I'm going to talk to our PLC about the chicken or rabbit idea. And yes Blancmange the pun was intended, after I realized what I wrote.


We did a pig roast at our annual Boy Scout/Cub Scout weekend this year and everybody loved it. I was especially happy that the cubs were so fascinated by the whole process. "Is that really a pig? Wow!" And they even ate it. The older scouts did name it before we cooked it. When I picked it up at the processor they said they could take off the head and legs and it would be easier to cook, I said no leave them on that's the whole point.


The trickiest part came about 5:30 that day, all the stations the Boy Scouts had run were finished and went off without a hitch, everybody was just hanging out/running around doing free time. The cooking of the pig had fallen to the scoutmaster and me, the cubmaster and it was the first time either of us had ever cooked a pig. I turned to him and said "The only thing that can go wrong now with this weekend is what you and I are responsible for -- this pig."


I have to say one quick word in defense of "moms" here. So often in these forums they are referred to with less than the respect they deserve. Although I have to admit that after an unfortunate week at Acadia National Park my own DW now insists that camping is the difference between the Holiday Inn and the Marriott. We have several moms who regularly camp and hike with us. The other night we had some Webelos II visit the troop and one of the leaders was talking about the nice spring campouts moms go to, and I had to remind him that Nan's idea of camping was two weeks in a tent in Yellowstone. So please, when we are talking about squeamishness, please don't assume it's "moms" that are the problem.


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go back to the founders for this answer.Read the old books by Dan Beard. They lay out plans for making snares, fishing spears, blow guns, and arrow throwers (with the intention of taking game). There are also instructions for cleaning and cooking game. This should answer the question of where "Scouting's Fathers" stood on this issue.



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  • 3 weeks later...


We had a very successful survival campout last weekend and enjoyed delicious fresh rabbit!

Found a place to buy live rabbits which had been raised for food and we brought them in on Saturday afternoon.

SPL and his Senior Staff killed the rabbits humanely and placed the rabbits in patrol snares.

Patrols brought their rabbits to central location for coaching and assistance in cleaning. Some of the boys were willing to get their hands dirty and some watched from the edge with apprehension.


Some patrols had a small container for boiling rabbit into soup. Others cooked theirs on rotisserie over fire (but lost valuable drippings!). We did provide a small amount of salt and seasonings. Since the boys had not had anything to eat since Fri night, they were all plenty hungry and most declared the rabbit to be the most delicious thing they had ever eaten.


I have a feeling we have a new tradition!


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"The WS MB probably doesn't specifically mention fish as something to stay away from because it's probably the safest thing to catch and eat in the wild, but again the calories gained for calories spent makes it a less than ideal strategy."


My first reaction is ... absolute nonsense. If your contention were true, we never would have developed hunting and fishing skills. I don't exactly see a lot of calories burned by most fishermen (fly fishermen are another breed altogether).


My second reaction is ... it of course depends on your skills. I'm not a very good fisherman so you'd probably be right in my case but there are others who can more than recoup their caloric investment in fishing (and hunting/trapping).


The main point is that WS has changed to where you are unlikely to need to worry about being lost for weeks, most of us have at least 3 days of body fat on us if necessary so the prime need is potable water but let's not throw out nonsense like this.

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asichacker wrote:


Inappropriate at best.

Dangerous at the worst.

You're right. How dare they teach survival skills in the context of the survival MB! I have to ask, though, how in the world is it dangerous to eat a freshly butchered, cooked game animal? You probably have a much higher chance of getting sick from chicken that's been sitting in the cooler for a week in the store.

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I can't put into words the confidence this kind of experience builds into a boy. Its starts him to realize that nothing is impossible and that they can conquer even the smallest fears. It is a confidence that they will keep forever, and it is an experience they will tell to their grandkids. I found (by accident) that for a boy today, just setting up a tent in the hard rain while in the black dark of night is the same kind of experience.


Yep, I love this scouting stuff.



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