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Old April 16, 2001, 07:23 PM   #1
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ok, i am new to deer hunting and i always hear people talking how meat gets ruined if they had bad shot placement, this is probably a really stupid question but how does the meat go bad, and how is it bad
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Old April 16, 2001, 07:43 PM   #2
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I'm not sure I am explaining this right but heregoes. If shot placement is bad and the deer does not die a quick death then adrenaline will flow throughout the deers blood stream causing a flight respones in turn causing the meat to be saturated with adrenaline and tanic acid. It is the adrenalin and tanic acid which cause the "nasty" flavor.

I personally know for a fact that deer meat flavor can go bad without proper shot placement. I wounded a six point two years ago and finally caught up with it and finished it off. The meat was horrid in flavor. I threw out the sausage I had made because it wasn't fit to eat. However I did make an attempt to eat the steaks. My shot placement was good but the bullet just punched through and didn't expand. Now I have started reloading my own ammo in an attempt to avoid such negative situations. I hate to kill something and then not be able to eat it because the meat tastes like crap. Hope this helps.
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Old April 16, 2001, 08:21 PM   #3
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There is an old tale that I hear quite often that always goes like this "if you kill a deer that has been run by dogs (or you can substitute an old buck in rut)the meat is not fit to eat. Well I have killed many that have been run by dogs and many old bucks that had only one thing on their minds , and for the life of me they tasted just fine. Now a wounded one that ran off and took a while to find is not too tasty at all, as solo mentioned. Another way that meat can get ruined by a "bad shot" is a shot in the hams with a rifle. That can blow up and turn many a fine roast into mush flecked with bone and lead and bullet jacket material (sounds like experience talking huh?).
Still another way that meat can be ruined by a bad shot is a gutshot deer. All the fine stuff contained in the stomach and guts gets blown into the good meat and all over it. Besides that it is not the most pleasant job to dress a gutshot one. I have been known to be skinning and dressing and drinking a beer (or 3 or 4) and eating a sandwich all at the same time. I forego the sandwich sometimes on a gutshot one.
Probably the MOST COMMON way that meat gets ruined is by not field dressing it ASAP and cooling the meat ASAP and then getting it cut into at least quarters, and getting that into an ice chest and covered with ice. I always gut em the second they hit the ground, and usually have em cut and in the ice chests within an hour. If its good and cold (temp in the low 40's or lower) you can extend the time that you have to cut em and get em on ice, but you should still gut em the second they hit the ground and try to hang em and take a stick and hold open the gut/chest cavity for quicker cooling. Its probably more critical for me to do that due to the fact that almost all of my hunting is done in South Louisiana. It just don't get that cold down here!
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Old April 16, 2001, 08:25 PM   #4
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The biggest thing with meat preperation is the rapid cooling and quick processing. I've witnessed follks here in the sunny south keep a deer out of a cooler for a morning and wonder why the gamey taste. It's not gamey, it's spoiled/rotten.

My personal standard is gutted on the spot and on ice in two hours. I do debone it myslf and have never had bad meat.

The exact question's answer is that a shot that hits more meat (shoulder) than vitals will damage a lot of meat. The signs are bloodshot meat and torn flesh. The up-side is that you can, in the words of Elmer Keith, eat up to the bad part.

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Old April 16, 2001, 09:09 PM   #5
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Having eaten a few elk/deer that didn't die in their tracks, I've yet to have bad meat from what I'd consider "charged with adrenlin." Yet to see any correlation whatsoever from animals dead in their tracks to those that ran before the shot or after.

I'm with Gizmo99. Absolutely soon as you can, dress it properly & get it into a cool, dry spot. We have hung deer/elk here in CO in the shade for over a week where the daytime temp gets to 50 deg BUT, the critter itself is in the shade, where the air blows free & the carcass doesn't get above 40 deg. Always think cool & dry. Have yet to lose an once of meat. Actually, I'd rather have a critter hang at about 40 deg for a week (in the shade, yada yada) than be frozen right off.

You certainly can get blood-shot meat - no explanations required as rather than the normal meat tint/texture, the meat will be pulpy & way red as it's full of blood - a result of hydrostat-whatever pumping blood into the area surrounding the bullet strike. Bullet striking bone can sure cause bits 'n pieces to be forced into surrounding areas as well.

I'd suspect a majority of "bad meat" was caused by inept "sportsman" neglecting to take proper care of it.
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Old April 16, 2001, 10:44 PM   #6
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After 40-some-odd Bambis, I gotta go along with Gizmo and labgrade.

A gutshot deer is mostly a mess to field dress, but it doesn't seem to hurt the meat. There ain't no magic; once the heart quits beating, there's no circulation of anything to anywhere. Blood, adrenalin, nada.

'Nother f'instance: Folks make a big deal of cutting the glands off the rear hocks. Okay, fine--and then they take their musky little hands and their musky little knife and go to cutting on the rest of the deer. Duh? Why not just cut off the hind legs above the hocks and have done with it? It's throw-away stuff, anyhow...

And so it goes...

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Old April 17, 2001, 05:10 AM   #7
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Good advice, here's some more...

Dress promptly, and get the meat cooled off PDQ. Unless I'm hunting where I can have the deer in a meat locker within an hour or so, I get a coupla bags of ice and place one in the body cavity where the heart and lungs used to be, and one between the hindquarters.

I usually have a water jug along, the cavity gets rinsed off when I'm done dressing, or the critter goes in one of the little creeks abundant where I hunt to wash off any blood and detritus.

The butcher I currently use has a great locker and facilities. I tell him I don't need the meat immediately, and ask him to leave the deer hanging for up to 4 days in the locker. Temp's about 35-38 degrees F.

Big deer are tasty this way, small ones veal like.
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Old April 17, 2001, 07:12 AM   #8
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A simple test you can run.

Hey k77/22rp, I agree completely with most meat getting ruined because it just isn't cleaned "quickly".

In looking through the above posts, they all contain good information. When we kill anything, the goal is to get the outside off and the inside out, as quickly as we can. We try our best to get a Deer hung on the gambrel within 30 minutes of the shot and quicker if at all possible. Then, the actual skinning and gutting doesn't take long at all, maybe 15-20 minutes if everything (knives, gut bucket, chest saw, hose) is pre-lined up and ready to use.

If you are hunting where you can't get the Deer hung quickly, then get the guts out and fill the chest cavity with bags of ice.

As has been said, once the blood stops flowing, there is nothing going on inside the meat to hold the temperature down. So, the meat temperature starts rising immediately and that can ruin it.

By the way, you can do a pre-hunt test since all meat will ruin if not handled properly. Just go to the store and have a butcher cut a fresh piece of Beef for you. Stick an oven thermometer in it and warm it in the oven just until it hits about 120-140deg. (That gets the meat to a temp condition similar to what it will reach after it is shot with the hide still on.) Put it between two styrofoam meat trays and toss it out onto the yard in the sun and let it set as long as you plan to let the Deer set. Or on the hood of the car if that is the plan. Then when you think you would normally be cleaning the Deer, go pick it up, wash the meat off real good, cook it and enjoy it. (If you leave it in the yard too long, be near a toilet and a phone that responds to 911 type calls.)

If you believe "Gut Shooting" is OK, be sure to wipe the above piece of meat with some Dog or Cat prizes from out in the yard prior to tossing it into the sun. And take a stick and poke the prizes "into" the meat. This will simulate the bullet passing through the Guts and impaling the good meat with stuff I prefer to say Clinton is full of.

A simple test like that will show anyone just how important it is to get the meat cleaned quickly and not to "Gut Shoot" the Game.

Good hunting and clean 1-shot kills, Hot Core
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Old April 17, 2001, 07:14 AM   #9
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Agreed, prompt field dressing and cooling are important for tasty venison. I've killed old, young, doe and buck, with and without dogs. They have all been good except one. I managed to shoot a buck through the hams, the bullet burst his bladder, saturating the hams with nasty stuff, yuck. So, don't shoot the hams, promptly field dress/quarter/ice down (I hunt in the south) = tasty venison.
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Old April 17, 2001, 05:24 PM   #10
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Another stupid question, maybe...

Getting the animal gutted, quartered, and on ice within 30 minutes means you pretty much have to have all your ice & coolers (sounds like 4 quarters, 4 coolers) & other gear with you all the time, doesn't it? Or you have to shoot the deer well inside a 30-minute walking distance from the truck. At that, do you drag/carry the deer back to the truck, or do you leave the deer on site while you go for the truck?
Old April 17, 2001, 08:20 PM   #11
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It all depends on so many things Jeff. Where we hunt we always gut em the second they hit the ground and then drag em to the truck. The way the lease is laid out it takes no more than 30 mins. usually to drag em out. Some places a 4 wheel drive or an ATV can make it in just fine. If that is the case its no dragging at all. After the deer is loaded its about a 10 min drive to the camp and the "A" Frame with the winch to hang em and dress em. There are always a bunch of ice chests all over some filled with "beverages" some with just ice. A big deer will take 4 ice chests. hind quarter, hind quarter, front shoulder 1/2 ribs, front shoulder 1/2 ribs, neck roast and backstraps and tenderloins. Thats 4. Some take 3 some even take 2. There was a case where one fit just fine in one ice chest with the head, hide, feet and guts gone . I swear it was not me that shot him , but is sure was tender. If the weather is cold you have a lot longer time. If it is like some deer days here time is critical. I have seen some 80 Degree days during the season. We have some property we own along the coast that opens in Mid Oct. That's still hot here, some times that means 90's. Some times we have some of those big 160 quart ice chests on hand with plenty of ice when its hot like that.
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Old April 17, 2001, 10:12 PM   #12
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I agree with you guys about gutting them as quickly as possible. If I may add a note.

If you buy a set of shoe strings and drop them into your pocket they won't take up much room. Cut around the anus, pull it out a few inches and use one shoe string to tie it closed, cut off the extra string and save. Cut the throat, pull a few inches of the gullet out and tie it shut. Cut around the penis and tie it off.

Now when you gut the animal none of the stomach juices, fetal material or urine can get on your meat while you remove the insides. Proper gutting methods will prevent the internal organs from being cut open.

Now cleaning and cooling the body cavity with snow, if handy, is quick and easy. You can now slip the hide off while the interior is cooling. The second shoe string is used to tie the forlegs together in an X so the carcass can be moved more easily if you are dragging it to the road. If you are not skinning on the spot that is.

Just my 2cents worth!!

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Old April 17, 2001, 10:54 PM   #13
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Thanks for all this great information i now understand how meat goes bad and i can pass the knowledge on to educate more hunters and future hunters.

haha okieGentlemen said penis thats funny
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Old April 18, 2001, 08:30 AM   #14
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Carlyle is right on the nose (as usual).

Hey Jeff CA, Basically what Carlyle said goes for us over here in the Carolinas too. Lots of folks gut them in the fields and drag like wildmen to get the Deer back quickly.

I'm fortunate (blessed by God) with access to a few old, very large Plantations that are just eat-up with Deer. You can pretty much be guaranteed of seeing 20-200 Deer per day if you pick the right spots paying strict attention to the wind, control your scent and sit still. Weather can make the count " 0 " on some days though.

So, we just know to have everything ready, back at the Skinning Barn, prior to going afield. And you are correct about being able to get close to the truck, most of the time. I'd guess the longest drag on the properties I hunt would be 1/2 mile. Many times we just shoot the Deer so they drop onto or better yet, right next to, a road going around a field (or at least that is the plan).

We all carry "Drag Sticks*" in the trucks and use them. The difference between using one to actually pull a Deer out of a field or a swamp, compared to not using one just can't be described properly with mere words. They are even amazing when it it time to pull the Deer into the truck bed.

So, once the shot is taken, the race is on. We don't sit around admiring the scenery or taking flicks of the Deer when the weather is warm. It is time to be wide-open dragging, skinning and gutting. Then get the meat cooled as quick as possible. Having a buddy who knows the drill can save 10-15 minutes if you work together, then discuss the kill AFTER the Deer is in the cooler.

* Drag Stick - Wide as your shoulders and of a size that is comfortable to grip. I prefer an old Double Bit Axe handle if you can find one. Then you need three 8' pieces of rope. Tie two of them 6" from each end of the Drag Stick through a drilled hole. These go to the front legs. The third piece is used to tie the front legs "behind" the antlers or head of the Deer. Then grab the Drag Stick so it is behind you, lean into it and head for the truck.

Once you get to the truck, lay the Drag Stick on the tailgate and step up onto the tailgate. Stoop over and wind the rope up the Drag Stick so the Deer is as high as you can get it. Then stand-up and back-up. The Deer will come right over the tailgate into the bed with you as slick as lies coming from Clinton.

I'd no sooner hunt without a Drag Stick than I'd hunt without wearing a face mask. Two pieces of equipment I always have.

Good hunting and clean 1-shot kills, Hot Core
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Old April 22, 2001, 07:45 AM   #15
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All of the above responses are good ones. Some had me ROTFLOL too. Especially Hot Core's simulated venison.

One more thing to add. You need to take the deer to be processed by a butcher that knows how to process deer the right way. I quiz the butcher before I will let him cut up my hard won venison. If they use a saw in any of their processing that is a point against them. Do they brush off the bone chips if they use a saw (which I don't like in the first place). If they leave any tallow (not even a speck) on the final cuts of meat that is enough to not have them do it. Deer tallow left on the meat is what gives it the gamey taste so often associated with venison. I have processed my own before but there's nothing like watching a trained and experienced professional do something that he does day in and day out compared to what you might only do once a year. The end product will be something you will enjoy if done right.

[Edited by tlt on 04-23-2001 at 07:33 AM]
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Old April 25, 2001, 09:15 PM   #16
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O well i dont have that problem my grandfather is a butcher he butches all my game
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Old April 27, 2001, 12:14 AM   #17
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What TLT said is in my experience absolutely critical to good quality venison. Here in Central Missouri, I have yet to find a butcher shop that will reliably remove all tallow during the processing of deer. Hell, I can't even find one that I trust to get my deer that I shot well and cared for properly in the field back to me! But that's a whole nuther story. So back to tallow. Especially troublesome is tallow in commercial butcher shop deer burger. DEER TALLOW RUINS VENISON, so my son and I have taken to skinning and boning out our own deer, and taking what we want ground to a fellow that has a small private butchering operation to have it made into burger. There is nothing difficult about the skinning/boning/cutting/wrapping process and the results are more than worth the trouble. We will never darken the door of a butcher shop with our deer again.
It's good and good for you.
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Old December 20, 2010, 04:31 AM   #18
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too southla1

what part of the basin do you hunt man? i hunt around the prejean.
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Old December 20, 2010, 07:42 AM   #19
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swamprt, this thread is 9 years might not get a response from southla1....he last logged on in 2003
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Old December 23, 2010, 04:35 PM   #20
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+1 Art you're exactly right, most of that old crud I don't believe in. And Eatmore,Take your deer to the Amish they'll clean it up spick and span!!
Thanks for coming!
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Old December 23, 2010, 05:07 PM   #21
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How poor shot placment contributes to poor meat flavor:

Putting bullets where they blow hair, dirt, intestinal contents (poop) etc. covered in bacteria, into meat that you intend to eat, and at the same time bruising that meat (warm blood makes a fine culture medium -think food and habitat- for growing bacteria). Bacteria grow rapidly at temps over 40 F ...... so unless you get that meat cooled down immediately, you are fixin' to eat a "biology experiment" instead of venison.

Shoulder and neck shots ruin a lot of meat ...... not as bad as shooting them in the butt, but still......

Shoot it where it will kill them and only ruin inedible organs- wash the blood out of the body cavity with cold water and cool the carcass ASAP.....
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Old December 27, 2010, 12:25 PM   #22
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I don't suppose Michigan is warmer than Oregon (much colder most of the time), and we don't mess with ice. Gut them where shot (we are in the wild), get them back to camp, hang them, skin them, cloth bag them to keep the bugs off. We put a tarp over the meat pole for shade, and/or rain protection.

We hang them 3 days then cut 'em up.

If it is Texas bow season, then I would worry about the heat.
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Old December 27, 2010, 11:26 PM   #23
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