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Three factors contribute to bacteria growth: heat, moisture, and dirt.

  • Heat is the greatest threat to game meat.
    • To cool the meat and fight spoilage:
      • Use available shade.
      • Remove the hide as quickly as possible.
      • Get the meat away from internal organs. Meat that spoils the quickest will be around the hip joint in the ham (rear leg).
  • The warmer the weather, the more urgent this becomes. In weather warmer than 60°, cool the meat as quickly as possible.
    • In certain Game Management Units in Alaska, the front quarters, hind quarters, and ribs must remain naturally attached to the bone until transported from the field or processed for human consumption.
    • If necessary, place the meat in cool water for 30-45 minutes to reduce the heat. A nearby creek, river, or lake will do the job. Be sure to dry the meat immediately after removing it from the water.
  • Moisture also encourages the growth of bacteria. Don't use excessive amounts of water to wash the cavity. Allow it to dry.
  • Dirt can introduce bacteria.
    • Cover with cheesecloth, which also protects from insects.
    • If you have to drag the game to camp, keep dirt out of the chest cavity.