Deer carcass safety

Keep a deer carcass safe while at camp or in transport.

Man holding rifle in woods.

With opening day behind us, deer season is here and the excitement is just beginning. After shooting a big buck though, taking the first pictures, and dressing the deer, the work begins. If you have an extended time before you leave camp to head home, there are a few things that need to be considered to keep your carcass safe for consumption.

Hanging the deer can assist in cooling the carcass quickly. When cleaning a carcass, Michigan State University Extension recommends using sanitary utensils to lower the risk of cross contamination. It is important to thoroughly cut away any visible contamination and then rinse the cavity of the deer with cold potable water before storing. These practices will also help clean away debris and bacterial contamination. To safely store the carcass, it must be kept at a temperature below 41 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bacterial growth. It is advised to transport your carcass to a processor as soon as possible. Packing the cavity with ice is another way to help cool the venison carcass quickly or for long distance transport.

Aging the meat is a method of enhancing and tenderizing the meat while dispelling the gamey taste of venison. It is important for a safe method of aging to be used. A safe temperature for aging a carcass is 40 degrees F or lower for two to three days. This will safely assist in allowing the natural aging process take place.

Carcass safety will assist you in bringing safe food to the table for everyone to enjoy. Have a safe hunting season!

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