Meeting My Meat

Warning: This blog contains pictures that some people may not stomach well.

I found this poor lady in the gutter on my way home from foraging yesterday. I dug her out from under a parked car and wrapped her in my jean jacket, much to the disgust of my girlfriend Sasha who said, “You can’t skin that at my house.” Luckily Erins yard, which just around the corner from Sasha’s house and houses my tipi, served as the perfect location.

I knew it could get bloody, so I grabbed some newspaper and laid it down on the table in Erins backyard. As it turns out, the newspaper page I picked came from the smut section, adding to the perversity of the following photographs.

When I picked her up, I could feel that rigor mortis had already set in, yet I could still feel some internal warmth from when her soft little heart still beat. Upon closer examination I found she had some large, gnarly fleas. A common find on roadkill squirrels, and also a good sign; if fleas have not yet abandoned the ship, you know that it didn’t die too long before.

Of course, fleas carry the Bubonic Plague so… Maybe we shouldn’t consider them a “good” sign, but a sign of freshness none-the-less. I didn’t find myself to worried about catching the plague, or rabies or any of that. Make sure you learn about these diseases if you plan to pick up roadkill.

After skinning a few squirrels, you get a feel for it. Cut ’em open and peel off the hide. I don’t see much more advice than that. You learn to skin by feeling the skin peel away from the muscle and fat.

Next, you’ll want to take the guts out. Make sure you do this carefully! If they rupture… well… Don’t rupture them.

Peel the rest of the hide off.

Cut the head off. Cut the legs off. Cut the chest open. Rinse with water & season.

Stretch the hide on a rack.

Barbecue it up.

Bon appitite.

On Honoring the Animal
(Reposted from Week4: Foraging a New Path)
I didn’t feel much skinning the squirrel, but later when I told the story of how I think it died, the crunched shoulder, the twisted pelvis and the blood-clot filled chest… I just can’t imagine the pain the squirrel must have felt when it died. It reminds me of the squirrel that I hit with the rock, that survived, probably in much pain, but still it survived. Squirrels show great resilience, and I honor and respect them. Someone who can primitively kill a squirrel must have skills, but I see no honor in the death of road kill. Cars stumble and fumble down the road like giant drunk bullets, killing anything in their path. To die at the hands of such a retched machine, to roll a painful roll into the gutter only to rot… How terrible for these animals. I only hope I can honor their spirits by using their bodies to provide me & those I love with sustenance. I find it interesting that I didn’t really make the emotional connection until I told the story of what happened, and in telling the story and describing where the squirrel got hit, I could feel it in my own body.

*I wrote this blog in E-prime.*

Show your support and appreciation for Urban Scout

16 Comments on “Meeting My Meat”

  1. Pardon the late arrival of my comment. I have just begun the initial stages of exploring all that makes up primitivist culture, and so did not stumble upon your blog until now.

    I must say, an entry like this finds me quite interested. My first thought wandered off to thinking of the reaction OTHER people would have over such photos and descriptions. I could easily see the words “this stuff disgusts me” coming my way. To which I would retort: “Do you eat meat? If so, someone has done this same act to each morsel of meat you have ever eaten. Not to mention, the animals you eat are most likely raised in an environment where they are treated like shit before meeting their demise.”

    Personally, I will find my first skinning to be satisfying. Not for the joy of the kill, nor for any sense of amusement from the act itself. The satisfaction will come from my appreciation for the animal, and the simple fact that there exists an “honouring” act that must be performed before the meal. It will most definitely be more rewarding and humane than grabbing some horribly mistreated carcass from some aisle in a grocery store.

  2. Pingback: Urban Scout: Rewilding Cascadia » Blog Archive » The Need For Anti-Agricultural Propaganda

  3. Eating meat is not something I currently partake in, but my reasons deal mostly with the cognitive dissonance involved in doing so in the modern world – creatures live in often horrifying ways, sometimes never seeing the sun or feeling the warm earth beneath their feet, only to have their lives cut short by the grinding cogs of the industrial meat machine.

    As such I wish to voice respect for your reclamation of the victims of car slaughter, and your respect towards the life your food lived, which is so vitally important to being human, and so frequently forgotten.

    I do appreciate the skinning tutorial as well. 🙂 Very helpful.

  4. Hey Cehualli, yeah… Cars are aweful things. I have had many close friends die in car accidents. When I skinned & butchered my first roadkill deer I tossed and turned all night as I felt myself getting hit by a car and the g-forces of the accident. I’m glad I can use the deers body to learn more about rewilding, but I also want to honor the deer’s life by working to end car culture! I didn’t say that in here about the squirrel, but the same goes for her too.

  5. Pingback: How To Age Roadkill 101 | Urban Scout: Rewilding Cascadia

  6. Bravo! I have yet to dine on roadkill, but the thought has crossed my mind. I recognize that it is a valuable skill when times get rough, and rough times are coming. Honoring the life that was lost is vital, as it recognizes that we, like the squirrel, are just cogs in the wheel of life.

    I think I’m going to enjoy your site for a long time. Thank you for posting this. For those that have never eaten squirrel (a huge majority, I suspect), please tell us how it tastes.

  7. I liks reading the post on roadkill meat. I live a semi-primitive life, so an ‘free’ meat is a god thing. I keep my eyes open for possable meals. Deer are great bcause there is lots of meat, but one needs some kind of storage place. Squirrels make a nice one person meal. I once got a turkey, but the best was a baby fawn. One needs to be in a scouting mode because the ‘athorties’ might not approve. I think they make laws to tun us all into criminals.
    It is dishonnoring in my eyes to let one of the furred or feathered rot in the ditch if they can be eaten by someone if they understand the honnor way or not. However, one must use caution and common sence and know when it is too late to partake of the meat.
    Living the Honnor Way, Coyote

  8. Thank you for this website. I was gifted a raccoon last year that had been raiding a henhouse and had to be put down. That’s when I found out how much I love coon meat. On my way home from an unfortunately unsuccessful deer hunting trip yesterday, I picked up two large male raccoons, both roadkill. I will use the meat for our second Wild Foods Feast. I firmly believe in honoring the lives that were given so that I could eat. I thought what better way to give meaning to a stupid accidental death like that, than to use it for sustenance. You completely rock, man, and I agree with you a hundred percent.

  9. Dear Mr. Scout,
    Thank you for being brave enough to be yourself. I was wondering if you could help me promote a primitive skills gathering. I have a few ideas that I would like to mention to you. I hope to hear from you soon.

  10. About a month ago, my boyfriend and he caught a big catfish. I decided we should eat it, because eventually I was going to need to learn what it’s like to catch and kill my own meat. We had the fish in a bucket for a little while, it looked sad and I had this really somber feeling take over. I sat over the bucket w/ the fish and was just thinking thoughts in my head directed towards the fish, how grateful I was that the fish was giving it’s life to nourish us, and that I wanted to kill it in the quickest most humane way, and appreciate the meal. We took the fish out of the bucket, laid it on a table, and clubbed it with a baseball bat. 2 quick hits just to make sure, and it was instantly dead. I began gutting and filleting the fish, this part was hard and took a while because it was the my first time butchering any animal. I grilled it, and ate it. My boyfriend decided he didn’t want any so I ate the whole thing myself. Even though I was sad for the fish when I knew we were going to kill him, I was somehow happy and enjoyed and appreciated that meal more than any other I’ve had. When I was preparing the fish, much like you described with skinning and butchering the squirrel, I didn’t really feel sad for the fish until later. However, it wasn’t a guilty sadness, it seemed more like respect, because I do feel better eating an animal that has had the chance to live wild (and even had a chance to escape and continue living) compared to farm animals of the industry. I drove past a truck of pigs on the highway the other day, and just looked at them for a while, wishing that they could have at least lived in a pasture rather than a big factory like they probably did.

    I’m also going to start keeping garbage bags in my car, in case I happen upon any road kill so that I might take it somewhere discreet to butcher it. I brought this up to my parents (not that I would be doing it, but how I felt about it) that roadkill should be used for food, and how that animal’s life shouldn’t go to waste if we’re going to kill other animals for food anyway, they couldn’t really argue with it.

    Anyway Scout, your experiences are motivation and inspiration for the things I want to learn and be able to do.

  11. Eating road-kill meat is a good practice; it costs you none of your pretend fiat currency and very little of your time and energy. But the jack-booted government cogs will take issue with anyone they catch doing it, for some reason. We raise our own animals (goats, on a rotating, sustainable plot-schedual) that we slaughter in a ritual fashion. Other than hunting, it’s the only way (in my experience) to ensure the animals are respected and treated well in life, and are granted a quick humane death. The spirit of the animal is honoured and our children, who participate in the raising and slaughter, gain a relationship with their food, something that is sadly lacking in today’s consumer-centric world. we taech our children that we are not only stewards of the land, but PART of the land.
    Thanks for helping to get that message out, Scout.
    til ars ok friðar!

  12. while i really enjoy the fact that you can demonstrate how to utilize and honour the flesh that is usually just ignored or cast aside…
    i have a problem with the fact that no mention is made to use the innards or bones.
    it makes the rest of the animal seem disposable.
    to honour you must use all parts of the animal and let nothing go to waste.

  13. so this is pretty far after the fact, but I feel pretty weird about eating roadkill I find in the city. I have no idea what the squirrels I’m picking up are eating day to day, and it sketches me out. do you know a secret I don’t know, or are you just more “gutsy” than I am?