Gamey Or Wild Tasting Meat September 21st, 2009


Deer archery season is right around the corner here in Indiana and every year i hear about all the folks that have a problem with wild or gamey tasting meat.

Part of the problem early in the season can be attributed to the warm weather. If a hunter has to spend much time on a 70-80 degree day searching for a downed animal potential problems with meat quality can certainly arise.

That being said I’ve always held the opinion that gamey meat is, for the most part, the result of poor handling practices. Granted, a large animal downed in the field must be dealt with in the conditions at hand but there are some things we can do to help preserve the quality of the meat.

Once the animal is down deterioration begins right away. Bacteria begin multiplying and the breakdown process is under way. Fortunately this progression can be checked with sanitation and temperature control.

Game meat should be handled like any other animal that is butchered for food. That is, keep it clean and reduce the internal temperature of the carcass as quickly as possible.

Some hunters like to load the fresh kill and head for camp or home right away and field dress in a cleaner more convenient setting. This is probably fine if you’re only a few minutes away but the outdoor temperature relates directly to the amount of time you have. If

it’s very warm out or the time/distance is too great you should field dress the animal right away. This allows the majority of the body heat to escape.

When field dressing, try not to bust any guts, watch the bladder. Clean out the anal cavity. Try not to let any fecal matter come into contact with your knife or the meat. It is also my opinion that you should leave the scent glands alone. Cutting around here can contaminate your knife and spread musk all over the place. Keep the body cavity clean.

Next is skinning your animal. The hide is an excellent insulator and unless its single digit weather outside it’s a good idea to get it off.

Start with a clean, sharp knife and clean hands. The hair side of the skin is very dirty and while handling it try not to touch the meat with your hands.

Now that the animal is skinned it’s a good idea to wash it liberally inside and out with cold water. Do a thorough job otherwise you will spread dirt, and bacteria across the entire carcass and end up making matters worse. A clean linen sheet, cotton shroud or game bag put over a wet carcass will help keep it clean and the evaporation will speed up cooling. If you like to age the meat this will help keep the surface from drying out as fast.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 21st, 2009 at 2:30 pm and is filed under Deer Hunting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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