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.