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When you go hunting, the thrill and excitement of the hunt constitutes only one part of your hunting trip, even if it is the most important one. When you make a kill, apart from getting a trophy for wall mounting, you also get a substantial quantity of meat for the home kitchen. The animal needs to be gutted and cleaned just after the kill and the meat processed, if it is to be consumed over a period of time.

Effective game management has led to substantial harvesting of game animals, giving rise to a profitable industry by way of game processing companies, which offer excellent cutting and packaging services for game meat.

However, the adventure of hunting is complete, only when you process your game animal yourself. There are a few important things that you must remember, while you butcher and pack your game meat, especially when hunting in predator country. Find out if there are special regulations that apply to the area, where you are hunting, and make sure that you comply with them. While butchering your game meat, gut and pack your meat as quickly as you can, separating the gut pile from the carcass during butchering. Avoid butchering or disposing off the carcass or entrails of your game animal on or close to a road or a trail, as this may put other hunters or recreationists in danger.

Always pack out your meat and avoid dragging it, as this leaves a scent for predators to follow. Also never sleep in the clothes that you wore, while processing your game animal. If leaving your game carcass overnight in the filed is unavoidable, take care to mark the carcass properly and ensure that any unattended meat is left at least fifty yards away from the gut pile. Later, before retrieving your meat, use a pair of binoculars to check and make sure that a bear or some other animal is not feeding on the carcass. If a dangerous animal is feeding on your meat, then it is better to leave the carcass as it is. Vacate the area and report the incident and location to a game warden or other wildlife officer as soon as you can. 

There are excellent tools and kits available to aid you in field dressing and processing your game animal yourself. For cleanliness and protection from viruses, germs, bacteria etc. you must get yourself a field dressing kit that usually consists of two sets of gloves; one pair of thin disposable plastic gloves of shoulder length and another of wrist length made from latex with a textured surface, to give an enhanced grip. The gloves also prevent fat from getting lodged under your fingernails and rings. As a safe field dressing tool, the single knife supplied in a sheath available for hide skinning and meat carving can be of great help. A sharpening file is also supplied along with the knife. These knives are razor sharp and also have a gut hook to easily open the body cavity and slice muscle from bone and can cut through the bone, when required. Small gut hooks 2 to 3 inches in size that can double up as rope and safety belt cutters that can be hung around the belt/neck are also available. As an all in one solution, you can buy a complete butchering kit that includes a hoist, rope (for hoisting the game animal to a convenient height) a butcher blade/ saw, cleaver, utility knife, skinning knife, fillet/boning knife, caping knife, game shears, steel stick spreader (to keep the body cavity of the game animal open for convenient field dressing) knife sharpener, gloves, cutting board and many other tools. The tools allow you to get exact steak thickness and roast size from your game meat. You can even go for an 18v cordless battery operated quartering saw for working on your game animal. There are sprays to prevent bacteria and spoilage of your game meat, if you prefer to use them.

There are many other products that you can choose from, if you decide to process your game animal yourself. In addition to making steaks, roasts etc there are numerous recipes you can use to make jerky/smoked jerky sausages etc from your game meat, to enjoy it over a long period of time.




Posted November 30, -1 by Justin Ott






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