One of the most exciting prospects about hunting is the possibility of reliving the hunt at the dinner table over a wild game feast. So, it pays take all the necessary steps to care for your animal after the shot.
First and Foremost: One-shot Harvests
Proper care starts with the first shot. Responsible hunters strive for clean, one-shot harvests. While this is not always possible, responsible hunters follow their game and if needed, dispatch it quickly. How you hunt an animal and how you immediately care for it affects the taste of the meat.
Once a deer has been harvested, the hunter must immediately attach a field tag to the carcass, with their name, customer ID number or lifetime license number, and date and time of harvest. A field tag can be any item, so long as it contains the required information, and must remain with the carcass to its final destination or through processing and/or storage at commercial processing or storage facilities.
The harvest must also be checked in within 24 hours of leaving the hunt area through the online e-Check system at gooutdoorsoklahoma.com or the Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app. Once checked, the animal will be issued a carcass tag or an online confirmation number. This tag or number must remain with the carcass to its final destination or through processing and/or storage at commercial processing or storage facilities.
Game Meat Care
Once you’ve field tagged the animal, you need to do two things quickly to prevent the meat from spoiling – field dress it and cool the meat.
Field dressing is simply removing the entrails. It prevents the meat from absorbing waste products from the body cavity organs. Three environmental factors affect the taste of your meat: temperature, dirt and moisture. Meat that has been kept cool, dry and clean tastes better than meat that has been allowed to get warm, wet and tainted with dirt.
Meat should be kept cool by keeping it in the shade, keeping it in moving air or a breeze and hanging it from a tree or post. Meat should be kept dry by immediately field dressing and wiping off excess blood or fluids. It should also be kept as dry as possible.
You can find a list of game processors online HERE.