To ensure any meal prepared with wild game will taste it's best the work must start in the field, here are some helpful tips and suggestions to aid you.

If you have any further tips please let me know.

 

Deer, Moose, Elk, Caribou, Antelope:

Get the cleanest kill possible, head or neck is best, heart would be second choice. Bleed carcass immediately after the kill, place on a slope with head facing downhill for best drainage. Keep carcass as cool as possible before, during, and after dressing and skinning. While in the process of dressing be careful not to let the contents of the bladder or intestines come into contact with the meat. If you remove the musk gland from the hind 1/4 don't let the secretion get on your hands, knife, or meat. When skinning don't let the hairs from the musk gland come into contact with the meat. When dressed, wash the inside cavity out thoroughly with clean water and wipe dry. When dressed, clean, and dry, store in a well vented game bag or wrapped well in cheese cloth. When you skin the animal remove any hair from the carcass before it dries. Carcass should be hung in a cold locker at least 10 days to acquire the best taste. If you skin the carcass after it has aged the meat will be moister and will not turn dark. When preparing for the freezer, wrap first in saran wrap, then freezer paper, this will prevent some of the freezer burn after long storage.

Here is some helpful suggestions from Stephen Miles of Massachusetts:

I generally carry tie wraps to either tie off the penis and anus or just the
anus, if a doe, when I score (not too often) and wear latex gloves when
cutting the scent glands before gutting. The gloves are removed before
gutting. A word of caution. Here in the Northeast bow hunting is a very
popular sport and a broken broadhead in the chest cavity healed over can give
a rather nasty cut when probing for the windpipe. Enjoy your recipes and hope
you continue them.

Stephen C. Miles
Massachusetts  

Buffalo:

My family raised buffalo at the White Buffalo Livestock Co. in Hayden Lake,
ID for a number of years, and I wanted to give you some tips on preparation,
and cooking. As far as preperation, treat it exactly as you would a cow.
skin, gut, remove head, etc... cooking gets a little tricky, as buffalo has
litterally NO fat. (as with most game type animals) it needs to be cooked
very slowly (under 300 degrees) to keep from drying out. roasting in a crock
pot or something like that works well, as does oven baking with a lid and
veggies to keep moisture in.. many people will mix beef and buffalo to
maintain moisture, this of course only works in burgers and stews... but I'm
rambling.. I just wanted to let you know that for the most part, you can use
any beef recipe for buffalo, just don't cook too hot or too quickly. BBQ is a
good bet..

Monica

Bear:

Remove all possible fat. Never let the bear's hair come in contact with the meat. Keep carcass as cool as possible, bear has a large amount of fat and fat becomes rancid much faster than meat.

Boar:

Remove the scent gland from the center and toward the rear of the back, be careful not to rupture it, rinse, clean your knife, and wash your hands immediately after.

Sheep:

The sheep should be skinned and hung as quickly as possible. Cover the carcass with a well vented game bag or wrapped well in cheese cloth.

Goat:

Bobcat:

Help!

Raccoon:

As always start with a clean kill to the head. Raccoon are best when taken in the winter months. Cut the jugular vein and hang by tail immediately after the kill. Keep cool until ready to dress. Remove the glands from under the front legs and fleshy part of the rear legs before dressing. Remove as much fat as possible from the carcass. Gut, remove head, tail, and feet, rinse well. In a non metallic container mix 2 gallons water with 5 tablespoons baking soda and 1/2 cup salt. Completely submerge possum in brine, refrigerate overnight before preparing. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Possum:

As always start with a clean kill to the head. Possum are best when taken in the winter months. Cut the jugular vein and hang by tail immediately after the kill. Keep cool until ready to dress. Scald in boiling water with 1/2 cup lime until the hair has loosened, "about 30 seconds." With a trowel or large dull knife, scrape the hair from the carcass. Remove musk glands from under front legs, gut, remove head, tail, and feet, rinse well. In a non metallic container mix 2 gallons water with 5 tablespoons baking soda and 1/2 cup salt. Completely submerge possum in brine, refrigerate overnight. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Armadillo:

Help!

Porcupine:

Help!

Squirrel:

Get a clean head shot or use a light load with size 6-7 shot to avoid deep penetration. Cut the jugular vein and bleed immediately after the kill. Keep the squirrel cool until skinned and dressed, field dress is even better. When dressing, inspect the liver for signs of tularemia. if infected the liver will have white of yellow spots on it. If any signs exist discard the carcass. You can cook squirrel right after dressing but if you intend on cooking it later place in the refrigerator in a non metallic container with a mixture of 1 gallon water, 1/4 cup salt, and 2 tablespoons baking soda. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Groundhog:

Get a clean head shot or use a light load with size 6-7 shot to avoid deep penetration. Cut the jugular vein and bleed immediately after the kill. Keep the squirrel cool until skinned and dressed, field dress is even better. Place in the refrigerator in a non metallic container with a mixture of 1 gallon water, 1/4 cup salt, and 2 tablespoons baking soda. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Rabbit:

Get a clean head shot or use a light load with size 6-7 shot to avoid deep penetration. Only hunt rabbit if the weather has been cool for a month or so. Cut the jugular vein and bleed immediately after the kill. Keep the rabbit cool until skinned and dressed, field dress is even better. When dressing, inspect the liver for signs of tularemia "rabbit fever," if infected the liver will have white of yellow spots on it. If any signs exist discard the carcass. You can cook rabbit right after dressing but if you intend on cooking it later place in the refrigerator in a non metallic container with a mixture of 1 gallon water, 1/4 cup salt, and 2 tablespoons baking soda.Larger, older rabbits should be parboiled to tenderize. Place in a large pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt, cover and boil until tender, be careful not to overcook. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Muskrat:

Remove musk glands from the lower belly. Soak in 1 gallon water with 1/8 cup of salt added for 8 hours. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Snake:

If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Alligator:

Help!

Beaver:

Duck, Goose, Turkey, Pheasant:

Shoot your birds at a distance that will not tear up the meat but obtain a clean kill. Clean and dress your birds as soon as possible after the kill. Some people like to take the easy way out by skinning instead of plucking, the bird will be much more juicy and flavorful if you leave the skin on. For easier removal (not recommended by me) place the bird in scalding water for about 30 seconds, then remove feathers. Pull the feathers out in the direction they grow to prevent the skin from tearing. The smaller pinfeathers can be removed singeing them off with a torch or holding over the flame of your stove. When dressing be careful not to break the gall bag attached to the liver. Save the liver, heart, gizzard, and neck for broth or an extra treat. Soak birds overnight in a non metallic container with a mixture of 1 gallon water, 1/4 cup salt, and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Larger, older birds can be parboiled to tenderize. To parboil place in a large pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt, cover and boil until tender, be careful not to overcook. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to piece the bird out and freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Chuckar,Grouse, Quail, Dove, Partridge, Pigeon

Shoot your birds at a distance that will not tear up the meat but obtain a clean kill. Clean and dress your birds as soon as possible after the kill. Some people like to take the easy way out by skinning instead of plucking, the bird will be much more juicy and flavorful if you leave the skin on. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Crow:

Shoot your birds at a distance that will not tear up the meat but obtain a clean kill. Clean and dress your birds as soon as possible after the kill. Clean, and cut out the breast, discard the rest of the bird. Soak breasts overnight in a non metallic container with a mixture of 1 gallon water, 1/4 cup salt, and 1 teaspoon garlic juice. If you are going to store in the freezer for any length of time it is best to freeze in a plastic container filled with water with a tightly sealed lid.

Frog:

When gigging frogs, stick them in the head or back to preserve the meat on the legs. In warmer temperatures keep your frogs in a ice chest with a chunk of block ice. In cooler temperatures just throw them in a vented container. You can dress them in the field or when you get home, "they will still be alive." Skin and remove the legs. Soak them covered with milk for about 2 hours in a non metallic container before cooking.

Crawfish:

1) Western Style:Keep your crawdads alive until you clean them by keeping them wet. Pinch off the tail and discard the rest, "be careful these critters can pinch." Peel off the shell and legs, slice the top of the meat and remove the intestine. Place the meat in a bowl of ice water or in the fridge until your ready to cook. 2) New Orleans Style: Take your live bugs, rinse them off with fresh water to get all of the mud off of them (you don't want to soak them if you have chlorinated water.) While you're rinsing them you have to put a huge pot of water on the fire to boil. In the water you'll use a few pounds of seafood boil per 10 pounds of crawfish, a lot of cayenne pepper, some small red potatoes, some ears of corn, a few cut up onions and you let these boil for about 5-7 minutes. Then you dump the mudbugs in. Let the water come to a boil again and leave it on the heat for about 4-5 minutes then take it off. Let the crawfish stand in the hot water for another 10-20 minutes (the longer they soak the spicier they get.) Scoop dem bugs out onto a big platter (you better be outside cause these things are messy...) and get at eatin'! Pinch da tails and suck da heads.

Turtle:

Keep your turtle alive until you are ready to dress him out. Pull the head out of the shell with a pair of pliers then cut off with a sharp knife. Hang the turtle by his tail or rear legs to bleed for 45 minutes. Prepare a pot of boiling water large enough to accommodate the turtle, dip turtle and boil for at least 5 minutes, remove and let cool. Remove shell and guts, be careful not to rupture the gall bag. Skin the neck, legs, and tail. Place meat in 1 gallon water with 2 tablespoons baking soda and 4 tablespoons salt, refrigerate overnight before preparing.

Fish:

For premium flavor you should keep your fish alive until they are cleaned. If you fowl hook one and it will not stay alive, clean it. After fish are cleaned immediately throw into a cooler and keep refrigerated until ready for cooking.

 


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Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Dennis Fisher - Revised January 7th, 1999