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Discussion Starter #1
This has probably already been a topic, but I struggled finding it.

When should you clean or field dress your harvested bird?
Do you gut the bird in the field or is it ok to wait until you get home or at least back to the truck?

Help a noob out.

thanks
 

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I never field dress birds, I do immediately do field dress rabbits. I would never do it but some folks hang teir birds with the entrails in for days before cleaning them, they claim it makes them taste better. I age venison, not birds.
 

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On a warm day I'll field dress the bird soon after it's down, but it's normally not necessary and I'll wait till I get home.

John’s post reminded me of when I was a kid growing-up in Bucks County during the 70’s; we had a neighbor who always just let his birds hang outside without field dressing. He took them down and prepared them around Christmas time.
 

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I always wait to do them when I get home but make sure I did them that day. Anything that would not be eaten in a day or two got vacuum sealed and went into the freezer.
 

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A number of years ago the PGC had a video available on aging meat. I was amazed at the time you can leave birds and mammals go before cleaning them. I remember in the case of the pheasant, they suggested leaving the entrails in the bird while aging! I was a little blown away. They said removing the entrails actually spread more bacteria than leaving them in the bird. If a bird was shot hard, then immediately clean and process. Also the temperature plays an important role in aging meat. Anything out of the high 40s probably not a good idea. From now on, you should be fine leaving them hang for days. Yum, yum
 

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I have a friend that puts his birds in the crisper drawers of an old refridgerator for a week or more to age them before he cleans them. I told him, I would never eat game at his house. Just the thought of guts leaking digestive juices inside the bird takes away my appetite. Then with woodcock some the guts to make a sauce. Not me brother.
 

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John S said:
Just the thought of guts leaking digestive juices inside the bird takes away my appetite.
John, you have a way with words. The way you put it, I just lost my appetite too.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok gotcha, bird with guts and digestive juices to the crisper.
I'll run that by my wife and get back to you...


Actually I know what her snarky reply will be
"Based on your past history as a bird hunter, my crisper is safe".
 

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I've tried a number of variations on cleaning and aging.
Aging the bird does depend on temperature.
At around 40º to 50º they can age for 3 or 4 days in an airy or dehumidified space like a refrigerator or someplace that's dry and in the shade.
I like eating the heart, liver and gizzard (dirty rice) so I now gut them either immediately or at the end of the day. I then stuff a ball of wax paper into the cavity to keep it from drying out and to help maintain an even over all temperature while aging for a couple of days. Leaving the feathers on keeps the skin from drying out and helps maintain an even temperature. Aging the meat does improve flavor and tenderness. The skin does add some flavor too but it's good without it too. If you leave them outdoors you might have to do something about flies.
 

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I always take a knife and ziplock baggies with me.
Step 1: Shoot the bird (Hardest step for most)
Step 2: Lay the bird with the breast up
Step 3: Step on both wings next to the breast
Step 4: Grab the legs/feet
Step 5: Pull the legs straight up hard until the breast is exposed
Step 6: Grab the breast and twist until it breaks
Step 7: Cut around the wingbones

Debone Steps

Step 8: Lay the breast with breast plate up
Step 9: Cut along the breast plate
Step 10: Cut around the wishbone
Step 11: Place in ziplock baggies

Time to completion is less than 3 minutes.
 

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spur said:
I always take a knife and ziplock baggies with me.
Step 1: Shoot the bird (Hardest step for most)
Step 2: Lay the bird with the breast up
Step 3: Step on both wings next to the breast
Step 4: Grab the legs/feet
Step 5: Pull the legs straight up hard until the breast is exposed
Step 6: Grab the breast and twist until it breaks
Step 7: Cut around the wingbones

Debone Steps

Step 8: Lay the breast with breast plate up
Step 9: Cut along the breast plate
Step 10: Cut around the wishbone
Step 11: Place in ziplock baggies

Time to completion is less than 3 minutes.
I'm surprised this is the first I saw this posted. It's the way I do it if I have a bonus day hunting rabbits and kill a bird. Right in the field, no mess, fast.
 

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Breast, pluck, skin, all at home.

I have no issue with picking up a freshy found in the field. Rather eat it than see it put to waste.
 

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In Scotland, they hang woodcock by nails in the mortar joints of stone buildings until they pretty much rot. Then they cook it.
 

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I have seen the birds hung in England until I thought the feathers were falling off. Not sure if I could do that myself but I know its done. I clean them back at camp. Never in the field. I think we are so far removed from the realities of things as a society in general that we would be surprised at what life was like pre walmart if you know what I mean.
 
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