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Small Game Field Dressing question?

Old 08-11-2008, 08:30 PM
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Default Small Game Field Dressing question?

Just had a question for you folks and need some information or opinions. I know this may sound like a weird question but I ran across some information the other day in regards to field dressing small game. This would include small game birds such as grouse, pheasant and of course rabbit and squirrell. I picked up some videos as I like to keep them around for refference in regards to field dressing, butchering etc the various animals us hunters harvest. In the video, the guide says it is recommended NOT to field dress these animals unless they are in pretty bad shape. It said the skin and fur of these creatures act as a natural preservative and it is best to keep them whole to prevent bacteria, spoiling etc. Of course the guide is instructing on again slightly and perhaps this is why. Now I was always taught to field dress immediately after an animal is taken as the meat can be tainted by the inards. Now of course naturally if your going to butcher the animal right away you would be field dressing right away or soon after an animal is harvested, but as for aging a few days I suppose that is what I'm looking forward to. I've never aged anything except for deer but I feel it has a positive effect on the whitetails and was thinking of trying this method for small game. Just looking for some thoughts and opinions on this issue and I would like to give a pre-emptive thanks in advance.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:18 AM
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Default RE: Small Game Field Dressing question?

I used to do alot of small game hunting and always dressed out my game no matter what it was, however i didnt always take the hide off right away. The ones that I did take the hide off, I placed in a plasticbag and made sure it was tied shut so dirt and what else woudl not get onto the meat, as soonas I got the game home I soaked in a pail of salt water or brine for 24 hours before freezing.
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:06 PM
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Default RE: Small Game Field Dressing question?

About the only time I ever field dress any thing while still in the field, is if I have plastic bags and an ice chest with ice in it, then I'll go ahead and dress them down to the point that they are ready for the freezer. The primary reason that big game is "field" dressed is for cooling, BUT they are much larger compared to small game, which will cool quicker because of the small body mass.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:04 PM
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Default RE: Small Game Field Dressing question?

I have never dressed squirrels in the field.I have saw fellows who would squeeze a rabbit's stomach and hold it by the head and sling it's gut's out the other end,but this was just to lighten the weight of your game vest and give the dogs a treat.Squirrels are smaller and probably arent going to get hot enough to ruin or taint the meat before I get to hot and thirsty to head home anyhow!
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:48 PM
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Default RE: Small Game Field Dressing question?

Thank you all for your responses. I understand the cooling process for field dressing but in response to a few of these post the main reason for the smaller game I thought was that the inards spoiled the meat somehow, or at least that's what I was told. And/or the bacteria etc in the inards could continate the meat if left in to long. I suppose I'm just trying to see if that is hogwash so to speak because if it's a cooler day or the game is in the shade for a bit (most of this hunting time for me is in Wisconsin so it's plenty cold enough during the hunting seasons regardless for that issue). It would help though to wait until the hunt is over that way you don't have to stop in the middle, field dress, then resume hunting. But I do understand the importance of field care and if you want your game to be delectable it starts in the field. I guess I'm just trying to debunk possible rumors and also make things a little easier, but I will not do such things if I will possibly ruin the game. I do agree with having baggies and ice on hand, just wanted to throw that in there lol :P. Thanks all and good hunting.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:53 PM
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Default RE: Small Game Field Dressing question?

-This depends on how the animal is taken. A small animal taken at close range with a 12 guage should be field dressed. A squirrel head shot with a 22 is another matter entirely.
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