For most hunters, landing your next trophy comes with even more tasks after you’ve made the kill. It’s still amazing how many experienced hunters fail to understand the importance of preserving what they just worked so hard to achieve.
You sweat, shiver, and spend hard earned cash on gear that will give you the best chance at scoring a kill. Why put in all this time and effort if you’re not going to properly harvest the meat you so rightfully earned? So before the next big-game hunting season, read and share these top tips.
Ensure you’re prepared to harvest your wild game with the top skinning and packaging tips from Trophy Gulch!
1. Make The Damn Shot!
Pretty self-explanatory, but there’s more reward for a well-placed shot than a quick scope. While gut shots are the most common location for hunters to hit their mark, you risk damaging the primary meat. Ideally, the chest cavity doesn’t contain much meat, which makes it the sweet spot when taking your aim, so remember aim for the chest.
2. Get The Guts OUUUT!
Most agree that the key to keeping meat fresh is timing the removal of the entrails. When it comes to big-game meat, the sooner the better, especially if it was a gut shot. That doesn’t mean precision and being cautious aren’t important, but the longer you wait, the greater chance your meat will be corrupted. An easy trick for removing the guts, hang your carcass from a tree with a Trophy Gulch game bag to allow easy drainage. Although there’s no magic number, most hunters wouldn’t want to wait more than 3-4 hours to skin and harvest a kill.
3. Skin It To Win It
Deer and other large game survive due to their thick protective coats that provide warm insulation. In order to salvage the meat, this coat needs to be removed so the meat can cool. Being steady with your knife is key so you don’t puncture the meat and risk bacteria entering. Once you’ve carefully skinned the beast, it helps to have your Trophy Gulch game bag with you to hang up the skinned carcass and protect it from flies and contaminants.
4. Play It Cool
Skinning and removing the innards are the two most important steps to cooling the meat. The next vital step is getting the meat into a portable cooler so you can cool it further and prevent bacteria from growing. Most bacteria thrive at temperatures between 70-100 degrees. The faster you cool it, the better. YETI coolers are great for cooling meats from all sides so best get yourself one to be prepared.
5. It Gets Better With Age
Most hunters know that meat tastes better when it’s aged to enhance its flavor, but very few are experts at it. It’s widely debated whether dry aging or wet aging is the better method to providing tastier meat. Dry aging allows meat to breathe and lose water weight to give it a more rich, intense flavor. This should normally be done at a constant temperature of 34-37 degrees for 10-14 days. Wet aging, on the other hand, involves placing the meat in a vacuum sealed bag to allow it to soak in its own juices. The natural enzymes break down creating a tender, less gamey, oftentimes sweeter meat. This is how most store-bought beef and other meats are aged. This should also be done in constant temperatures of 34-37 degrees for up to 14 days.
6. Slice It Right
This is where the fun begins! It’s nice to become familiar with identifying different muscle groups on big-game animals. Obviously, come prepared with a sharp knife and a high-quality sharpener in case of need. Decide what cuts you are interested in keeping and what you feel like tossing. A common rule of thumb, the best steaks and cuts come from the backstraps and hindquarters. Use a meat chart to familiarize yourself with identifying major meat groups.
7. Pack and Stack with a Game Bag
This is where we come in. If you haven’t already, get yourself a Trophy Gulch game bag to easily transport and protect your prized meat. Whether you want to pack a full-sized carcass in our large game bag or just sides of meat in our quarter size, a Trophy Gulch game bag is a dependable way to keep your kill clean and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Order the last game bag you’ll ever need and get free shipping and a lifetime warranty. Call (916) 945-9469.