Proper field dressing of your animal is a necessary evil, it certainly is not the most fun thing about hunting, but by following the steps below even a novice hunter can quickly and safely clean his/her game.
1) Position the animal on its back.
2) Cut a circle around the anus at least 1 Ĺ -2 inches deep, using string, tie the anus closed to prevent anything leaking out (for lack of a better word).
3) Clean your hands and knife thoroughly, any bacteria left on the blade after step 2 can quickly taint the meat. It is also advisable if you have any open cuts on your hands that you wear gloves.
4) Make an incision from the pelvis to the sternum; avoid the puncturing the paunch or internal organs and intestines. This is where having a gut hook on your knife comes in handy.
5) Split the rib cage if possible; omit this step if you are having the animal mounted.
6) Cut around the outer edge of the diaphragm and sever the windpipe.
7) Roll the animal on its side and remove all internal organs and intestines, you will have to cut some away from the backbone, be careful not to cut into the loin.
8) Save the heart and liver.
9) If you are not saving the head as a mount cut from the chin down and remove as much of the windpipe as possible.
10) Wipe out the cavity with a clean cloth, use minimal water, it will lead to spoiling, as will the use of moss or snow. Donít laugh I have seen this done, o.k. Iíve done it myself (when I was younger).
Aging the meat
If it is warm it is necessary to get the carcass into a cooler or to the butcher ASAP. If you happen to live in a cool climate, then aging the animal outside or in a shed is possible. Remove the fur from the animal and wipe down the carcass. Wrap the carcass in a porous cloth, cheesecloth works best and allow the animal to age 1-2 weeks. Do not let the animal freeze and thaw as this leads to lower quality. The best way to age meat is in a walk in, at a controlled temperature of 34-36 degrees F. I have had luck quartering deer and keeping then in a spare refrigerator.
John Clifton a visitor to HuntingBlades.com wrote in to let us know that: If you freeze you wild meat the white sinue and fat peels off like peeling a banana. we are going to have to try this next season.
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