4 Things You Can Do To Make Sure Your Wild Game Is Safe To Eat
It's hunting season -- finally. And it seems every year the fear mongers come out from under their rocks to tell you why you'll die if you eat wild game. Just to dispel the myths, wild game is safe to eat. In many cases, it's probably more healthy for you than the meat you buy in the supermarket. Of course, the quality of your wild game meat can be compromised by how you treat it, so here are four things you can do to ensure your wild game is safe (and frankly, to ensure the best possible eating experience.) Inspect your kill The first thing you're going to want to do is inspect your kill. What you're looking for is any sign that the animal was sick, wounded, or just generally not healthy. What usually happens with sick and unhealthy animals is the wolves and the bears have them for dinner, so it's uncommon to kill a sick one. But a quick survey of the animal will confirm that it's healthy. Obviously, if it's not healthy, you're going to proceed with extreme caution. Shouldn't that go without saying? Keep it cool Keeping your meat cool will do more for a good eating experience than just about anything else you can do. That means getting the hide off as quickly as is reasonably possible. Meat that is cooled properly always fares better -- and tastes better -- than meat that isn't. This is especially true with antelope. I know people who hunt antelope with a cooler full of ice in the back of the truck, and they get the skin off, the carcass broken down and put into the cooler all within just a very few minutes. Antelope that is cared for like that tastes great. Try some that sat in the back of the truck all day without being skinned. Keep it clean Keeping your animal clean is of paramount importance. That's especially true if the bullet (or your knife) nicked the bowel. Body fluids are not good to eat. If you nicked the bowel hose the carcass out. In fact, you should hose the carcass inside and out before putting it in a breathable game bag. You don't want to hang your animal out in the open where flies and other unsavory insects can have their way with it. Rinse off all the dirt, body fluids, etc. and get it in a bag to protect it while it ages. Cook it properly Meat that is thoroughly cooked is sterilized from the cooking. The closer to raw you eat it, the higher your risk of contamination. That's true with any meat. But it's a fact that the vast majority of bacteria live on the surface of the meat. Unless there is a puncture or something, there's no way for the bacteria to get inside. So when you put the meat on a hot grill or in a hot pan, you're going to kill whatever bacteria may be on the surface. The only real exception is ground meat. Ground meat should always be cooked all the way through. With steaks and roasts your risk is minimal. Eat them as rare as you dare. Conclusion If you care for your wild game there is no reason why it should not be good for food. If it's not contaminated when you kill it -- and you take care of it afterward -- there's no reason your wild game won't be every bit as safe and healthy as what you buy in the supermarket. You have no reason to be concerned about eating wild game. So sit back and enjoy! Let us know your experience eating wild game. We'd love to hear how you care for your kill.