Field Care and Transportation
You’ve made the kill. Now begins the work of tagging the game, field dressing it, and transporting it to your home or camp.
Meat quality is greatly influenced by how an animal is hunted and how the meat is cared for. Obtaining top-quality meat begins before the hunt and continues right through to the choice of cooking recipes. Everything you do or don’t do influences how the meat tastes at the dinner table.
An animal should not be chased before it is killed. A running, stressed, or wounded animal yields meat strongly flavored by the accumulation of waste products in the muscle—all the more reason to work hard for one-shot kills. Remember: The hunter, not the cook, is responsible for the flavor of the meat!
Tagging and Evidence of Sex
Your first step after the kill is to tag the animal. Tagging an animal means you are claiming the animal as yours by properly notching your tag and attaching it to the animal’s carcass. See the Montana Big Game Hunting Regulations for the proper tagging procedure. Make sure you keep proper evidence of sex and species naturally attached to the carcass. The Montana Big Game Hunting Regulations also clearly explains this procedure.
Read about field dressing in detail on the following pages.
When transporting game in a vehicle, make sure that the carcass remains clean and that it receives enough air circulation. One or two hunters can drag most deer out of the woods: just pull it along, stopping to rest as needed. If there is snow on the ground, you can use a plastic sled or cart to move the carcass. Never carry a deer on your shoulders. This can be extremely dangerous because you might look like a deer to another hunter. In dry conditions, a larger animal usually must be cut up into halves or quarters and then packed out by backpack or horse. In remote locations, this can sometimes take several days.