Monday, November 10, 2008

Looks Can Be Deceiving

It seems that each year I get a few ducks that aren't quite what they appear to be once I have them in hand. This hen Mallard is just one of those.

From her initial jump when Jet and I crested the top of the dike she seemed a strong healthy bird. It was after we returned to the cabin and had brunch when I began processing (cleaning) my mornings harvest. I typically begin plucking the wings out to the first joint and then pluck the body. Well as you can see from the picture this duck had a golf ball size tumor on her upper left breast. It was very firm and not mobile at all. There were no signs of a previous wound, no gang green and from all appearances seemed to be an internal issue. I was reluctant to finish dressing her out and decided best to leave her in the field. I don't like not being able to eat what I kill, yet this time it seemed to be the prudent decision. I thought about taking her to Fish and Game on my way home, but I forgot to put her in the freezer and by the next day, it was to late. She was not an overly robust hen Mallard like some are with a nice fat layer under a corn colored skin. I suspect she was last years hatch since she is void of pin feathers(2007) and just didn't have the ability to bulk up like some Mallards can and do. So she went to the Magpies in the end and I was sorry to have seen her end up that way. It wasn't my first choice that's for sure. Not knowing what the tumor was, it was not worth the risk to my own health.

Over the years I have shot ducks and geese that had been previously shot and showed a greenish tint or color to their skin around the wound. Definitely gangrene and in most of those cases I have cut out the affected area and eaten the birds with no ill affects what so ever. This was just not one of those cases.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt


Tom Sorenson said...

Interesting - I'm not sure I've ever seen this in a bird. Maybe I'd better start paying closer attention - this could explain so much about how I got this way! :)

Terry Scoville said...

You are not alone Tom. Maybe I need to stop eating waterfowl that has gangrene too! I have shot ducks that had tumors on the inside too. . .yucky.

Live to Hunt.... said...

How very curious Terry. I've seen different malformations in animals I've harvested, but nothing ever as large as that tumor.

Anonymous said...

You never know what the wildlife are getting into, it could be caused from what they getting in contact with.

Blessed said...

One of the deer we shot last year had a huge tumor in one of its hindquarters - we disposed of that whole leg and ate the rest... I hope it didn't hurt us :)

NorCal Cazadora said...

Weird! It'd be interesting to hear from biologists whether it would be a health risk to cut out the tumor and eat around the bird.

Weirdest thing I've found plucking isn't that weird. It was a terrible shoot day and just one bird came our way - a lone spoonie hen who made the mistake of dropping into our spread. I shot her, and when I got home and plucked her, I saw scabs healing on her back. She was probably just recovering from a coyote or hawk attack when I came along and shot her. Man, that made me feel bad. Poor girl didn't get any breaks.

Terry Scoville said...

Blessed, good idea to not consume the hind quarter. Sounds like you are all doing just fine to me!

Norcal, yea I wish I would have put her in the freezer and taken her to the ODFW on my way home. After doing some google searches about duck tumors, there are lots of illnesses that plague waterfowl. Next time I will give it to ODFW.

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