Caring for Game

Hunting has a lot of elements from the proper care of your chosen weapon to how you practice safety in the woods. Caring for game is yet another important element to successful and ethical hunting. A good sportsperson always shows a healthy respect for wild animals, including the potential game. That means taking care not only to get clean kill shots but also making sure not to waste what you’ve hunted.

Nearly everywhere you hunt there will be guidelines about how to field dress game to decrease waste. It’s important to follow these guidelines and properly tag your catch. Specifically you’ll want to get the organs and intestines out as soon as possible. This improves the flavor of any game meet (but not all game is treated the same when it comes to field dressing regulation).

The next step is to make sure that whatever game you’ve caught has the opportunity to cool. Keep it out of direct sun and try to expose it to a nice breeze. Try to avoid getting any part of the creature wet and keep it as clean as possible considering your setting. Some hunters claim that treating freshly dressed game with pepper helps keep bugs away. Bay leaf and fennel are also options that are easily carried in the woods without adding to your weight significantly.

If you have not done field dressing, but plan to start, it’s good to create a basic kit for yourself. Almost everything you need can be purchase relatively inexpensively at any hunting shop, specifically a folding saw, cloth bags to keep the game meat clean, and rope. Additionally you may want a sharpening stone for your hunting knife. Bear in mind this whole process comes under the “dirty jobs” category. It’s not a process for the faint of heart.

There are some hints to effective field dressing that helps you avoid spoilage. For one thing never cut open a creature’s entrails and avoid all scent glands. Either will make for very nasty and potentially hazardous meat. Once the entrails are removed, you can prop open the creature’s carcass to allow cooling as discussed earlier. This is the time to clean out the body cavity and potentially also skin the animal. Note that those who plan to have any part of a catch mounted this is the best place to stop field dressing. Afterward make sure to dispose the entrails in whatever manner your region requires.

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