Harvesting Astragalus Bones

Ahhh… country roads… you never know what resources they provide or what adventures they invite. I was taking my wife out to breakfast this morning in a nearby town. We enjoyed a serene drive down the mildly curved and hilly roads of the countryside while passing corn fields and expansive freshly mowed lawns. As we neared our destination, I spotted a victim of the night’s traffic… a deer – a.k.a. roadkill.

Now, when I see this, my eyes light up because I think “astragalus bones” that I use as sockets for my bow & spindle fire kits. When my wife sees this, she cringes because she knows what’s coming next. In this case, we agreed to postpone my harvesting task until after our breakfast. Good thing… when I arrived at the scene on our return trip, I could see that the deer was not exactly fresh, and definitely had an “air” about it. In fact, I decided to harvest only one of the bones. In the end, this adventure influenced our outing to proceed directly home. My wife recovered while I boiled the bone to preserve it and help remove excess remaining tissue. Men, I recommend this as a “guys-only” activity whenever possible.

In any case, if you decide to harvest astragalus bones in this way, cut along the front side of the rear leg joint. This opens the hide and severs all of the front ligaments. Then hyper-extend the joint forward by stepping behind the leg and placing your foot on the joint while using both hands to pull the upper and lower leg bones against your foot pressure. This is similar to breaking kindling wood. The astragalus bone should pop up where you can cut the side ligaments to release it.

You can learn more in my article “Astragalus Bones

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