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The Hidden Danger of Eating Bear Meat

When out in the American wilderness, there are no creatures as big as the bear. We don’t recommend attacking one. But if you do, you might want to think twice about what materials you harvest from the body after. There’s nothing wrong with the fur, it’s the meat that’s dangerous.

Bear meat has one distinct property to it that makes it a very dangerous meat to cook and eat. Nearly all bears are infected with Trichinellosis, also known as trichinosis. This means the meat is infected with a microscopic parasite known as Trichinella.

The parasite is most commonly seen in carnivorous animals, so normally it’s only a cause of concern with undercooked or unprocessed pork. Since bears aren’t farmed for their meats, their risk is far more common.

If you are infected with trichinosis, you can experience illnesses like stomach pain, swelling, muscle pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms can last months. While there are medicines to help combat this, they’re of no help if you’re living in the wilderness.

The good news is that you CAN eat these meats safely, as long as they are cooked properly. According to FoodSafety.gov, you can safely kill off all Trichinella in pork by cooking it at 145 for at least three minutes. The CDC recommends cooking above 165 for at least 15 seconds. Point is: if you cook it hot enough, you can kill off the parasites, making the meat safe to eat.

If there’s no other option, bear meat can be made safe. But we’d recommend avoiding it anyway.

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2 Comments

  1. D May 13, 2021

    bear meats awesome, is this a fear monger piece? I just harvested one yesterday. Will be my 6th bear and no trichinosis yet. Just need to cook it properly like mentioned, shouldn’t be discouraging it, you can get worms from any meat. Most commercial grocery stores sell “fresh” cod and it comes with worms 50% of the time. Don’t knock something if it’s not something you are not very educated in. Bear has one of the highest contents of fat mixed with the meat…which is essential to survival. And it can be rendered down for cooking oil and even balms. If you harvest a bear and a really worried about worms you can just smoke all your meat and turn it into jerky. Everyone loves jerky and there’s absolutely no risk that way. I could go on and on, but I have to go now, bear roast is ready to come out of the oven. Message brought to you by a fellow Canadian Hunter.

  2. D May 13, 2021

    And to add to my comment, if you harvest a bear in the fall and all he eats is the landlocked rotting salmons, then ya he wont be a good bear….If you get a garbage bear that like eating around town, then yes he wont be any good. But if you harvest a spring bear that just came out of hibernation and he lives in the forest, then all he would have eaten is berries, and the small new growth shoots in the spring…and believe you me those are some tasty bears, with a better quality of meat then any grocery store out there.

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