Field-Dressing Made Simple

A step-by-step field guide for the best-tasting venison ever

Venison is one of the finest meats gathered by hunters,

but it can taste simply awful if you don't use proper dressing and field care. When you come right down to it, a hunter 'must literally become a meat pro cessor in the woods, rapidly trans forming a large, warm animal that may weigh in excess of 300 pounds to a cool, clean carcass. Two key words that you must abide by are "cool" and "clean." Cool is absolutely mandatory; clean is always a good idea to avoid localized meat waste.

Once your prize has expired, bac teria immediately starts to decom pose it, so speed is of the utmost importance. Attach your tag to the animal, quickly take photos if you intend to do so, roll up your sleeves and get to work. You should have the entrails out of the carcass within an hour after the animal hits the ground. Any longer and it will begin to bloat, even during cold weather.

The following technique has done

the job for me for 40 years, on every thing from antelope to moose.

1. If possible, drag the carcass into the shade to keep direct sunlight away from it. Position the animal so that the hindquarters are downhill.

2. Cut around the anus, preferably with a long-bladed knife that will adequately penetrate. The idea is to completely free the intestine from the connective tissue in the anal wall.
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118 I OCTOBER 2000