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Avoiding Bacteria Growth

The growth of bacteria is the cause of spoiled meat. 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 around the hip joint in the ham (rear leg) spoils the quickest.
  • The warmer the weather, the more urgent this becomes.
    • In weather warmer than 40° Fahrenheit, cool the meat as quickly as possible.
    • If possible, place squirrels, hares, doves, and grouse in a cooler after dressing.

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.

  • Place the meat in good-quality, breathable cloth game bags, which also protects from insects. You also can cover the meat with cheesecloth.
  • If you have to drag the game to camp, keep dirt out of the chest cavity.