Rabbit hunters have long known that wild bunnies can carry diseases such as tularemia. Deer hunters have been hearing about diseases such as chronic wasting disease (CWD) for many years, but more recently hemorrhagic diseases such as bluetongue virus and epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) have been getting a lot of the spotlight. Even though there is no evidence humans can contract CWD or EHD, there are precautions that hunters should take.
|While there’s no evidence that chronic wasting disease (CWD) and epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) can be transmitted to humans, it’s smart to take precautions when field dressing deer.|
Keep Your Hands Clean
Disposable surgical rubber or latex field dressing gloves are essential. Not only do they help to protect against infectious diseases and minor cuts, but they also keep your hands clean. While most just cover the hands, I like the shoulder-length ones that protect the whole arm and shirt sleeves.
Keep Your Hunting Knife Sharp
The old saying is that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, and it’s true because a dull blade makes you press harder and use more strokes than necessary. Make sure your hunting knife is sharp, and always have a knife sharpener handy.
Keep the Inside Clean
Field dressing is always bloody, but it doesn’t have to be dirty. If you can prevent urine and feces from spilling into the body cavity, not only will it make the job cleaner, but it won’t contaminate the meat. There are countless hunting how-to books and DVDs available as well as numerous videos on YouTube that illustrate proper field dressing techniques. There are different ways of doing it right, so pick one you prefer and become familiar with it.
Keep to the Meat
An animal’s organs including heart, liver and kidney tend to concentrate whatever contaminants may be common in certain areas. Many game departments recommend against consuming these organs. Check with wildlife officials for recommendations in your area.
Keep it Cool
Once you’ve taken these precautions to properly clean your game, make sure that you don’t let all that work and the meat go to waste by not storing and cooling it properly. Especially during early bow seasons when temperatures can climb into the 90s, it’s important to cool the carcass. Remove the skin and hang it in a shady area in a game bag made for deer, and get the meat processed as soon as possible. If you do it yourself, there are lots of great game meat processing tools available.
Check out this article for tips on how to make the job of field dressing game even easier 5 Hunting Accessories You Need to Make Field Dressing Deer Easier at Bass Pro Shops 1Source.