TX Whitetail 0004

A family sits down to a beautifully decorated table celebrating the success of a hunt.  The venison with all the trimmings is the culmination of many hours of scouting, sitting in a tree stand, hours of practice, and a well-placed shot.

Dinner becomes a horror when the guests taste the venison.  It is bitter and not fit for eating.  Is it the recipe?  Or is game meat just not fit to eat?  Should it have been marinated longer?  Perhaps the meat should age longer?

More than likely, it is the way the meat is handled once the deer is down.  Perhaps it is chased immediately after shooting instead of waiting for it to go down on its own.  The adrenaline runs through the deer tainting the meat.

Another possibility is that it is field dressed on the spot, dragged through the dirt to the truck, thrown on the roof, and driven around town to show to friends.  Then it might cool on the truck while the hunter has an adult beverage or two at the local pub.

Once home it is hung in the garage where the neighbor’s cat climbs all over it.  Being too late to get to the butcher shop, it sits over night.  Sound familiar?

Even the best beef will taste awful if it is treated in the same manner.

Successful hunting presents some otherwise overlooked problems.  It is only normal to want to admire a trophy.  The hunter wants to share his success with family and friends.  But, remember that meat spoils especially on warm days.

Early season does not figure in the hours that the meat processor sets for his business.  Responsible hunters are sure they know what hours he is open and will get their meat to him as soon as possible.  Some butchers are available to open up to get your animal in the cooler during off hours.  It is best to check his requirements in advance.

Every year hunters are disappointed by the meat that they have handled improperly.  They just don’t realize how fast meat spoils when the weather is warm or if improperly treated.

Another problem develops when the hunter does not take proper field care of the animal once they get it on the ground.  They just do not know how to open a deer so that it cools properly.

The opening of the body cavity is best done as soon as possible to begin the cooling process.  Special care must be taken to avoid getting any fecal matter, stomach contents, or the bladder contents on any of the meat.  A couple of well-placed sticks will keep the cavity open to aid in cooling and air circulation.

If any of the organs are to be kept they should be placed in separate plastic bags.  Then get everything into a cooler as quickly as possible.  The ideal temperature for a meat cooler is 38-degrees.

If this is too much work, remember that the process of decay begins as soon as the deer dies.

If the butcher is unavailable, then take it home, skin it, cut it up, wash it off and freeze it.  It can later be taken to the meat processor.

If the meat is properly handled chances are that no marinade will be required to conceal the flavor.  If a marinade is still desired there are a number of them to be found in recipe books and on the grocer’s shelves.

A deer properly cared for makes a family dinner to be enjoyed.



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  1. Pingback: HUNTER GET THEE TO THE BUTCHER | Don Gasaway's Blog

  2. Pingback: HUNTER GET THEE TO THE BUTCHER - Average Hunter Online

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