Taking Caddyshack’s Carl Spackler’s war on gophers a step further, here’s how you dress and cook a pocket gopher for eating.
Bob Hansler isn’t channeling Caddyshack’s Carl Spackler here, but he is showing you how to put the lowly gopher to good use in a survival situation.
Hansler has been trapping the little beasties lately, and he’s set one aside to illustrate how to clean and prepare the rodent for eating.
He has a small fire going and a gopher to prepare. He begins by removing the head, which he says that you can use as bait to trap other critters. After cutting off the gopher’s head he takes his knife and splits the small mammal up the middle on the belly side.
He then removes all of the innards, pointing out a few choice pieces like the liver and heart. These you may consume yourself or use for fishing bait. The intestines and other guts make good bait for fishing or crawdad trapping.
Then he carefully peels the hide from the body, being extra careful to avoid crushing any of the meat. Gophers are small animals and it’s easy to treat the carcass too roughly.
After the body is cleaned and all of the guts removed, he threads it onto a forked stick. He’s careful to leave it spread open.
He indicates that he might then briefly singe the claws and body over the flames to remove any hair. Then he props the gopher-on-a-stick between a couple of rocks, well over the flames so that it cooks slowly.
You don’t want to burn or char the carcass, but you do want it to cook thoroughly to remove any parasites. After 15 minutes or so the meat should be cooked through and be ready to consume. This process is similar to Shawn Woods earlier video on cooking and eating a rat over an open fire.
“That’s good meat,” Hansler says after taking a bite. “It really is. Very tender.” The creature is so small that you can probably crunch up many of the bones and eat them too. Remember, in a survival situation every calorie counts.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.