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.