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Hunter Safety Includes Meat Safety

September 30, 2014

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Fall brings cooler weather and soon it will be hunting season. Making the most of the meat from animals killed makes sense, but meat safety is important. When you have an animal professionally killed, it’s done with safety in mind, quickly dressed out and chilled. When you’re hunting, that falls to you.

As a hunter that makes the most of your kill, there are several factors that make a difference in the end result of the meat. You take time to learn and implement safety measures in the field and with firearms. It pays also to learn and implement safety measures that extend further – that of handling what you eat.

Safety in field dressing your deer isn’t just a matter of being careful with the knife. Proper handling of the deer can increase the taste of the meat as well as the safety of the meat. A recent discussion with Amy of John’s Custom Meats in Kentucky brought up safety.

We look at safety in our food supply and take it seriously. For those who make use of the animals they hunt this falls to you and a very personal view of food safety. Even if using a professional processor getting the animal to them properly makes the maximum safety measures possible.

Three big things stand out in field dressing. These make a difference whether you hunt deer or hog or pheasant – whatever you hunt to eat make the most of it!

Have the right tools for the job. Pack these and have them available as well as a way to pack it OUT of the area. Don’t leave trash in the wilderness or private property that let you hunt there. This is poor sportsmanship as well as a poor reflection on other hunters. Four of the tools needed for effective field dressing include: a sharp knife, disposable latex gloves, paper towels and ice.

A sharp knife is the first tool to be needed. You are more apt to get injured with a dull knife under more pressure than a sharp one that slices through efficiently, which allows cleaner dressing as well. Have disposable gloves available because you are in contact with blood and particularly with deer they may harbor diseases which can be passed on. A nick in your hand allows more contamination than you might think.

Amy points out “blood is a bacteria friendly environment. Proper field dressing to minimize the blood pool” is important. “Paper towels are good for removing the excessive blood temporarily until the hunter can make his/her way to a water hose to flush out the cavity.

If possible pack bags of ice into the cavity after field dressing. This helps chill the meat down faster, making the most of the meat available as well as maximizing taste.

Along with the right tools use care to avoid contaminating the meat. “Avoid cutting too deep. You don’t want to nick any organs or intestines that can not only contaminate you but will also contaminate the meat.”

Along with these two points is the big error many make. “Waiting too long to field dress and/or not adequately field dressing” can ruin the meat. “The purpose of field dressing the deer is to release the heat and prevent meat spoilage.” Chilling the meat down may be more difficult if hunting during a warm spell than in cooler weather, but whether you use ice or other means take care to field dress promptly and get the body chilling quickly.

These things not only help with taste but also with your personal food safety. Don’t make mistakes in field dressing that can be costly. Learn proper dressing for food and personal safety.

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