Hunter’s Bounty: Preserving Your Game in the Wild

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Hunter man with his prey and dog.

The thrill of the hunt is unparalleled, and the reward of fresh game is a testament to a hunter’s skill. However, ensuring that your hard-earned game doesn’t spoil is crucial. Not only does it honor the animal you’ve taken, but in a survival scenario, it also ensures you have sustenance for days, even weeks to come. Let’s dive into the methods to make sure your catch remains fresh and safe to eat.

72 Hour Food survival Kit

Field Dressing

A deer hunter holding a knife prepares to skin, dress and process the shot deer while in the field
This is the first and most crucial step. As soon as the game is harvested, it’s essential to remove its entrails, which can accelerate spoilage. By doing so, you’re also allowing the body to cool down faster.

Air Circulation 

Fresh Deer Kill Being Hung and Prepped for Dressing

Keeping the game in a position where there’s adequate air circulation will significantly slow down the spoiling process. If possible, hang the game by its hind legs.

72 Hour Food survival Kit

Cooling the Meat

closeup butchering carcasses of elk in the snow on the hunt in the winter

Cooling the meat as soon as possible will prevent bacterial growth. In colder climates, nature does the job for you. However, in warmer conditions, consider packing the body cavities with bags of ice. This will keep the meat cooler and prevent spoilage.

Smoking

smokehouse for smoking fresh caught bonga fish
Smoking is an age-old preservation method. It involves cooking the meat at a low temperature over a wood-fueled fire, allowing it to absorb the smoke. This not only flavors the meat but also dries it out, making it harder for bacteria to thrive.

72 Hour Food survival Kit

Salting

Fresh salt water Sardines preserved in salt
Salting draws moisture out of the meat, creating an environment where bacteria find it hard to survive. After salting the game generously, leave it in a cool, dry place to dry out further.

Drying or Making Jerky

Homemade beef jerky

Drying is one of the oldest food preservation methods. Cut the meat into thin strips, salt them, and then let them dry in the sun or over a slow fire. Once dried, these strips, or jerky, can last for months if kept in a cool, dry place.

72 Hour Food survival Kit

Canning

Canned meat in a glass jar
While a bit more complex and equipment-heavy, canning is a great way to preserve meat. It involves sealing the meat in airtight containers and then boiling them to kill off any bacteria. Once cooled and sealed, canned game can last for years.

Safety Precautions

– Always ensure your hands and equipment are clean before handling game.

– If you’re uncertain about the freshness of the meat, it’s better to err on the side of caution and discard it.

– While drying or smoking meat, ensure it’s adequately protected from insects and scavengers.

Hunting is not just about the pursuit but also about respecting the game and ensuring nothing goes to waste. Proper preservation is both an art and a necessity. It guarantees that the fruits of your labor provide nourishment for an extended period, cementing the role of the hunter as a provider and guardian of survival. Remember, nature rewards those who respect its bounty and rhythms.

 

 

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