Field Care Techniques for Big Game Hunting

Quick and effective field care is the best way to prevent meat spoilage after the animal is down. Justin walks us through three primary field care methods that will help keep you safe while you get it home to process. 

The whole-animal method is normally used when you can get the animal to a processing area quickly. This method allows you to transport the animal home, hang it up, skin it, and begin butchering it in a more controlled environment, often yielding more meat than if you began processing in the field. 

Field dressing an animal involves just removing the contents of the body cavity. You leave the skin on the animal and the remainder of the body intact. This method is great when it is hot, but you have a vehicle nearby. Removing the organs and opening the animal up will allow it to cool down faster, reducing the chance of spoilage.

The gutless method is traditionally used when you do not want to disturb the internal organs or if you are choosing to just pack out the majority of the meat. With this method, you skin the animal in the field, remove the quarters, and pack them into game bags to pack out of the field. If you are hunting in a warm climate then it is vital to get the quarters off the animal and into the shade and fresh air to begin cooling. Check your local game laws to ensure you are taking all the required meat off of the animal before leaving the carcass behind. 

In our wild pig camps, we teach the students to butcher with the animal hanging from a gimbal after we bring the animals back from the field whole. This allows us to have a more controlled method of teaching during the butchering process. We encourage them to learn how to complete the other two methods on the other pigs they harvest at camp. 

Check out our Wild Pig Hunting Skills Camp

This segment originally aired on the Sporting Chef on the Outdoor Channel. View new episodes on Mondays at 9:30 PM ET in October and November 2023. 

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