The Importance of Field Dressing

Hunting is one of the oldest activities performed by humankind. Today, many of us hunt for sport, but a lot of us still hunt for its original purpose – food. Hunting your own meat allows you to have that accomplished feeling that you really earned your meal, and each bite tastes all that much better for it. To ensure that your catch can be eaten safely, though, it is important that you know how to properly field dress an animal.

Field dressing is the process of removing the entrails of the animal that you have just hunted. If this is not done properly and quickly after you’ve made your kill, you could run the risk of ingesting meat with pathogen contamination. Harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli may develop in meat that has not been dressed correctly or stored at improper temperatures. Taking care to field dress your animal quickly will ensure you have a delicious dinner and not an unpleasant visit to the emergency room.

The quicker you field dress your animal, the better. To start, position the animal so that you have a clear access to the underside of the animal – some hunters may also tie the animal’s leg to a tree to spread its body and make accessing entrails easier. Make sure you use gloves and practice cleanliness when eviscerating an animal carcass, as well. When field dressing a deer, use a sharp knife to cut the animal from above the anus and straight across the belly to the breast bone. This allows you to access the body cavity to remove the insides.

Remove the internal organs, taking extra care to avoid cutting through the bladder, intestines or stomach as the waste contained inside is loaded with harmful bacteria that can contaminate and spoil the meat. PennState Extension offers a great guide with illustrations and detail for deer as well as other small animals, fish and fowl.

Once you’ve dressed your animal, it’s important to get the temperature down as soon as possible to preserve the meat. At Tioga Boar Hunting, we can help with this part of the process with our skinning and butchering services for game that you have hunted at a very affordable price. Plan your next big game hunt with us and schedule your trip today by calling 570-835-5341.