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I have heard that rabbits shouldn't be eaten in the summer because they have ticks and parasites on them at that time and that one should wait till after it freezes.

Of course, you have to abide by hunting seasons, but some like jackrabbits can be hunted all year long.

One can get diseases from rabbits, is the risk unreasonably high in the summer?

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The idea of avoiding them in the summer is that you can get fleas from them. After the weather turns colder, the fleas freeze off and you won't have the problem. So the risk from the rabbit itself isn't unreasonably high, just that the rabbit is more likely to have the parasites in the summer.

As an anecdote, the show MeatEater had the host Steve Rinella shoot a jackrabbit while hunting Sage Grouse in Wyoming. The rabbit ended up having fleas due to the weather still being warm. [Unfortunately, I am not able to link to the episode]

Here are some tips for checking to see if your rabbit is infected. https://www.themeateater.com/hunt/general/small-game-field-care-tips-2

The easiest way to determine if a rabbit or the fleas on a rabbit are a vector for Tularemia is to examine the animal’s liver. If the liver is dotted with white spots, discard the rabbit and wash thoroughly with strong soap.

  • But after cooking it, is the risk still high? – Loduwijk Nov 2 '18 at 18:00
  • I'm tempted to ask a question along the lines of "What is the risk when eating cooked meat that had various parasites (fleas, ticks, etc.)? Can you get any diseases from them?" For example, could you get lyme disease from eating meat with a tick in it? But if I asked that question, the answer would be so close to the answer for this question that it's essentially a dupe. – Loduwijk Nov 2 '18 at 18:01
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    @aaron, per the cdc cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html you cannot get lyme from cooked meat – user16724 Nov 2 '18 at 18:47

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