Hunters need to work with care to avoid contact with sickly game because human infection is possible. Unfortunately, not every sickly animal presents with obvious signs of illness. Beyond watching for disease, a hunter needs to act with care when removing the meat, avoiding cross-contamination with bodily-fluids. If you are uncertain of the signs to avoid, or unsure of how to protect good meat, then consider the following six-steps.
1. Examine the Kill
After a kill, you will want to inspect the carcass for signs of disease or infection. Look for sunken eyes or emaciation. Check for ticks and scabs. Does the animal have any discharge, like pus or old blood, coming from any orifices? An animal that has aged or infected wounds may also have maggot infestations or abscesses of decaying flesh. Gangrene is a ravenous infection that will also result in a putrid odor.
If the outward appearance of the animal is good, then begin field dressing. Put on a pair of dishwashing or surgical gloves and rub your hands over the body. The fur or hair should not rub off easily. The underside of the skin should be gelatinous and soft. If you find blood or fluid that is not a result of your kill shot, the animal may have other problems. If you find parasites or blood spots in the muscle tissue and it smells terrible, the animal likely has a disease. Unusual discharge from the organs or yellow or tan lumps on the inside of the rib cage means hands-off. You should report infected animals to the fish-and-game office.
2. Keep the Meat Clean
You need to find a clean surface to dress the animal. During the process, be careful not to puncture the intestines or stomach. If you do puncture these organs, make sure you clean the inside of the body with vinegar, antibacterial or alcohol wipes. Never use water because it will only encourage bacteria growth.
3. Avoid Contaminating the Meat
While cutting the meat free of the carcass, it is necessary to maintain a clean knife. It is hard to avoid contact with the bodily fluids of the animal when using a knife, so you will need to wash the blade frequently to avoid contaminating the meat. Also, many diseases are located in the spine and brain of wild animals, so do not consume the brain or cut through the backbone.
4. Quickly Cool the Game
To avoid food-borne illnesses, keep the animal carcass at an internal temperature below 40 degrees. On hot days, stuff the body with bags of ice.
5. Store Meat Correctly
While you do not need to consume game meat the same day as the kill, you want to store it correctly to ensure freshness. All cuts should be sealed in plastic before being wrapped with freezer paper. You should consume the meat within six months to a year.
6. Cook Properly
Properly dressing the animal and storing the meat should reduce the risk of bacteria proliferation. Therefore, when you cook your meat, locate the correct internal temperature for killing average bacterial amounts, making the meat safe for consumption.
Survival skills require hunting and dressing knowledge. If you want more emergency preparation tips, continue reading Black Ops Tac.