Hunting is a popular outdoor activity that requires a lot of preparation, patience, and skill. One of the most critical aspects of hunting is dressing the game after the kill. Field dressing involves removing the internal organs, skin, and bones of the animal to prepare it for transport and consumption. While field dressing is an essential part of hunting, it can also expose hunters to various health risks. In this article, we will discuss some precautions that hunters can take to protect themselves when dressing game.
Wear Protective Gear
The first and most crucial step in protecting yourself when dressing game is to wear protective gear. This includes gloves, eye protection, and a face mask. Gloves are essential because they protect your hands from cuts, scrapes, and exposure to bacteria and viruses . Eye protection is necessary because it prevents blood and other fluids from splashing into your eyes, which can cause infections or transmit diseases . A face mask is also recommended to prevent inhaling any harmful airborne particles.
Use Clean Tools
Another essential precaution when dressing game is to use clean tools. Start with a clean knife and sharpen it before use. A dull knife can slip and cause injuries. Avoid using a bone saw to cut through the brain or spinal cord (backbone) as this can expose you to prion diseases . After each use, clean your tools with soap and water or disinfectant wipes to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Minimize Contact with Bodily Fluids
When dressing game, it is essential to minimize contact with bodily fluids. This includes blood, urine, feces, and saliva. Wear gloves and use a plastic bag to remove the internal organs. Avoid puncturing the bladder or intestines as this can release bodily fluids . If you accidentally come into contact with bodily fluids, wash the affected area immediately with soap and water.
Cool the Meat Quickly
After dressing the game, it is crucial to cool the meat quickly. This prevents the growth of bacteria and ensures that the meat stays fresh for consumption. Hang the animal in a shaded area to cool it down . If possible, place bags of ice inside the body cavity to cool it from the inside out. Avoid leaving the animal in direct sunlight as this can cause the meat to spoil quickly.
Dressing game is an essential part of hunting, but it can also expose hunters to various health risks. By following these precautions, hunters can protect themselves from exposure to bacteria, viruses, and bodily fluids. Wear protective gear, use clean tools, minimize contact with bodily fluids, and cool the meat quickly. These simple steps can help ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting experience.