Yes son, you have to know how to do this.
Field Care of Big Game
Admittedly, the field-dressing chore is not the most enjoyable part of the
hunt, but the extra time spent taking care of the meat will pay dividends at the
table. Field dressing takes effort, so your heavy hunting coat should be removed
and your sleeves rolled up so they wont be soiled. Disposable vinyl or latex
gloves lessen the chances of passing infectious diseases and make hand cleaning
Blood and digestive juices from organs possibly penetrated by the shot must
be removed from the body cavity quickly, and the sooner the organs, which
deteriorate rapidly, are removed, the faster the meat will cool. Field dressing
also eliminates dragging unnecessary weight when moving the animal.
Before starting the field-dressing process, keep in mind that it is important
to keep dirt and foreign objects away from the exposed body cavity. Removing the
scent glands is not considered necessary, but is done with care by many hunters.
Some archery hunters save the glands for use as scent while hunting. Removing
the glands carelessly can taint the meat.
Roll the carcass over on its back with the rump lower than the shoulders and
spread the hind legs. Make a cut along the centerline of belly from breastbone
to base of tail. First cut through the hide, then through belly muscle. Avoid
cutting into the paunch and intestines by holding them away from the knife with
the free hand while guiding the knife with the other.
Unless the head will be mounted, the cut should pass through the sternum and
extend up the neck to the chin to allow removal of as much of the windpipe as
possible. The windpipe sours rapidly and is a leading cause of tainted meat.
With a small sharp knife, cut around
the anus and draw it into the body cavity, so lt comes free with the complete
intestines. In doing this, avoid cutting or breaking the bladder. Loosen and
roll out the stomach and intestines. Save liver. Split the pelvic or "aitch"
bone to hasten cooling.
Cut around the edge of the
diaphragm, which separates the chest and stomach cavities, and split the
breastbone. Then, reach forward to cut the windpipe and gullet ahead of the
lungs. This should allow you to pull the lungs and heart from the chest cavity.
Save heart. Drain excess blood from the body cavity by turning the body belly
down or hanging animal head down. Prop the body cavity open with a stick to
allow better air circulation and faster cooling.
A clean cloth may be useful to clean
your hands. If you puncture the entrails with a bullet or your knife, wipe the
body cavity as clean as possible or flush with water and dry with a cloth. Don't
use water to wash out the body cavity unless the paunch or intestines are badly
Part of the satisfaction of the hunt comes with making a clean kill and in
doing a neat job of field dressing your animal. Veteran hunters may have
variations in the steps of field dressing. The important points are to remove
the internal organs immediately after the kill without contaminating the body
cavity with dirt, hair, or contents of the digestive tract and to drain all
excess blood from the body cavity.
All parts damaged by gunshot should be trimmed away. If the weather is warm
of if the animal is to be left in the field for a day or more, it may be
skinned, except for the head, and washed clean of dirt and hair. It should be
placed in a shroud sack or wrapped with porous cloth to cool (cheesecloth is
ideal). The cloth covering should be porous enough to allow air circulation but
firmly woven enough to give good protection from insects and dirt. Lacking
porous cloth, hunters often coat the inside of the body cavity with black pepper
to repel insects. Adequate cooling may take six hours or more, depending on
THE TRIP HOME
After the deer is checked and sealed, the head may be removed and the animal
quartered for easy handling. A car top carrier is ideal to transport the kill
home, or you may prefer to put it in the trunk. However, don't park in the sun
or in a heated garage. Never tie the deer or antelope to the car where engine
heat can cause deterioration. Warm meat spoils quickly.
AGING THE MEAT
Age the carcass in a cool, dry place. Aging of well cared for carcasses at
correct temperatures yields better flavored, more tender meat. Best results are
obtained in a near-constant temperature, preferably from 34 to 36 degrees
Fahrenheit. Aging for one to two weeks is about right for the best quality
venison, depending on the age and condition of the animal.
CUTTING THE CARCASS
If the carcass is to be placed in freezer or locker plant storage, it may be
more convenient to use the services of an experienced butcher for the cutting
and wrapping. If the intent is to gain experience by doing the job yourself, cut
according to the diagram shown.
The first step is to saw the carcass down the center of the backbone,
dividing it into two sides. If the neck is to be used for a pot roast, it should
be removed before the carcass is split. Place the sides of venison inside down
on a table and cut according to the chart. Trim excess bone and gristle and
further cut meat into family-size packages.Reproduced with permission from Eric
Stacy and his wife..