Last Edited:
September 9, 2016

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From Field to Freezer

Improper field dressing and failure to keep the animal clean and cool are the biggest problems we see as processors.

Once a deer is on the ground, it's crucial to field dress it as soon as possible.  Most hunters can do a passable job of extracting most of the viscera, but many leave the chore incomplete.  You have to split the pelvis and get everything out.  Also make sure you do not break the bladder and get the contents inside the deer.

If the deer was gut shot or otherwise hit in an area that produced a lot of tissue damage, it's best to trim away any damaged flesh.

If the deer is headed for a commercial processor, it is wise to leave the skin on the animal.  Many hunters think that removing the skin is important in keeping the animal cool; however, it is just as effective to put a stick between the ribs and prop the body cavity open to allow the deer to cool from the inside out.  Also, if a hunter hasn't skinned many deer, he can end up getting a lot of hair on the animal and that's not good.  A processor can usually skin much cleaner than a hunter simply because we have much more experience.

If the temperature is warm as it seems to be most opening weekends and many other weekends here in Missouri, then it is ok to skin the animal as long as you keep it cool.  It needs to either be hanging in a commercial cooler or quartered and placed on ice.

When the successful hunter is heading home during warm weather, keeping the animal cool is very important.  The best tactic is to take the field dressed deer and fill its body cavity with several bags of ice, then wrap it with a tarp and store it in the bed of the truck or trailer for the trip home.  The deer should stay cool for five to six hours this way, which gives most hunters plenty of time to get home.

Remember, for the best tasting venison, proper care is the first and most important step!!!