Field dressing like a boss
Look after your meat!
I don’t know about you, but all of us at Bloodline gear love hunting. Aside from the comradery, fitness and adventure hunting provides, its primary purpose is for gathering that free range, organic MEAT. It is this wild meat that makes us hunters not hikers.
Outsmarting wild animals in their own habitat is an awesome achievement, but that skill, commitment and preparation shouldn’t stop here. Now we need to continue to respect the life taken by taking and caring for this prized meat. Those disappointing wild meat dinner table comments you sometimes hear like “too gamey” or “too strong” are often a consequence of poor meat handling.
I should preface this next bit by saying “this is what I do” and preface that bit by saying “I’m not always right but....” there are other ways that work too. But the principals are the same. Cool and dry.
It doesn’t matter if your hunting Deer, Pig, Chamois, Thar, Wapiti, or Goat...
It has to start immediately: whip out the guts!
This is to start the all important meat cooling phase and to stop as much gut fluid as we can reaching our meat. Warmth and bacteria laden fluid will spoil your meat fast!
Start by running a blade, just beneath the skin, up the line of the stomach to the ribs. I run a finger each side of the blade to force down any guts and lift the skin, this stops the blade point puncturing the stomach or intestines and releasing that nasty digestive fluid.
The guts are only held in by 2 main anchors, the throat and the rectum. Cut as high up the throat as possible and place a coring cut around the anus to completely seperate it from the rectum. Then get your arm right in the gut cavity and roll out the gut contents. This is where you look for the liver and kidneys and inside the rear ribs for the 2 eye fillets (tenderloins). Save them. You’ll have to go searching above the diaphragm for the much coveted heart. If you're not eating these you're missing out.
Sometimes a less than ideal shot or or a stray knife cut can cause a bit of a mess. Remember just get the meat cool and dry. Don’t wash the meat in a stream, this will cause the meat to stay wet longer, and those nasty bacteria to keep breeding. If its really bad you can rinse the meat lightly with water but make sure you dry it well with a rag.
This next bit really depends if you're deep in the Southern Alps of New Zealand or leaning against the Ute in the neighbours paddock.
If you're near the Ute or camp, great. As long as you can keep it cool, chuck it on ya back and deal with it later.
If you're out in the boonies and have plenty of time; to save ya back it's great to bone out the meat into individual muscle groups and let it sit somewhere clean to cool and dry off. Without the bones its a whole lot lighter for the trek back. Then when it’s cool, bag them up in game bags or if you don’t have any, a pillow case or plastic bags will do. The reasons game bags are so good are A) it stops your prized meat getting dirty, dirt and hair is so hard to get off later once dried and hard. Try to keep the meat clean as you go, pick off the hair as you're bagging up. B) it stops the flies getting to it. If they do, they lay eggs and trust me you don’t want that. C) they allow airflow, this aids the cooling and drying of the meat. Unfortunately plastic will condensate and introduce more moisture so those nasty bacteria can survive, and breed and breed.
So now the hard work is done, just that 5 hr walk back to camp.
This is a pic of Jarrod @mclauchlan.hunting repurposing his slick new Cascade Merino top into a game bag.
Unfortunately what I end up mostly doing because of the situation and time of day is “quartering out” the animal, which seems like a strange term as you're actually separating it into 5 peieces. 4 legs and a body. Because I’m usually in a rush and it keeps the meat clean, I leave the skin on and discard the lower leg from the knee down. 2 shoulders and 2 hams go into a rubbish bag, then my in pack. The 2 back straps, 2 eye fillets and heart, liver and kidneys then all go in other bags and get humped very slowly back to camp. Which reminds me, pack lite! Don't start the day with a heavy pack! With any luck by days end your pack may be a whole lot heavier.
Once back at camp with a coldy, and after retelling the wonders of my hunting prowess several times, then it's time to hang the meat to cool and dry properly in a meat safe for the night and give it the love it deserves.
We invest so much in having the best hunting gear and "quality hunting gear" is so important and makes a huge difference. It’s also important to spend a bit on game bags, meat safes and chilly bins to keep your prize in the best possible condition for your friends and families to enjoy.
If there is something I've missed or you think deserves a mention, let me know on Contact us
Stay safe out there and please tag us in on your pics as we love seeing your adventures. #bloodlinegear @bloodlinegear
Wade Hosie @freerangeorganic
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