Florida Hunter Safety Course


Field Dressing

When you return to camp, hang the game animal from a tree or a specially designed rack. This allows the air to circulate, cooling the meat quicker. It also helps you to skin the animal. The best place to hang the game animal is a shed or refrigerator box that is kept at an optimum temperature. If the game animal is to be hung outside, wrap the animal in a game bag or cheese cloth to keep insects from landing on the meat.

Dispose of the entrails in a way that will not offend others. Discarding deer carcasses alongside the road and in waterways is offensive and carries a large littering fine. Place them in a shallow depression and cover with leaves, or in a trash bag for later disposal. Once the animal is skinned, wash any dirt or blood from the meat. Next, dry the meat with paper towels or clean, dry rags. Let it air dry thoroughly. If a game animal is quartered, the meat can be placed in waterproof bags and placed in ice coolers. During hunting seasons, there are butchers that will skin and process game animals for you - all you need to do is field dress and transport it to their premises.

Make sure you wear some type of latex or rubber gloves when handling a downed game animal. This not only keeps your hands cleaner, but also protects you from getting scratched and helps reduce the risk of contracting infections. Although unlikely, there is always a chance of harvesting a diseased animal. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Lyme disease, and Rabies are three examples of infections that can potentially be transmitted to humans from a downed animal. Avoid harvesting an animal that appears sick. When field dressing, skinning or quartering the animal, do not cut through bones, brain tissue or the spinal cord. Always wash your hands, and any instrument used for field dressing.