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Rinsing meat in creek
I was watching Driven tonight. They were hunting in the Yukon. Well Nicole harvested a Goat. Afterwards they show footage of them washing the meat in a creek.
From what I have learned from you guys on here is to never let creek water come in contact with any harvested meat.
Does anyone else do this? I guess I just thought it was odd to see that.
In one of my spots I drink creek water...unfiltered. If the meat is going to be cooked then I think it's a fairly safe bet to wash it in the creek. IMO most "creek water" is healthier than city water anyway. Regardless, there are risks. If I have a creek available after a kill I use it. If I have a creek available before a kill I use it. If I have a creek, I use it.
If I had gutshot an animal or did a bad job of field dressing it and got stomach matter on some of the meat I may consider rinsing just that portion. But otherwise there is no need and all you are doing is exposing it to bacteria for no reason.
I would probably agree with Mule Power that washing meat or even a cape in a creek is likely going to be a breeding ground for bacteria. I usually bone my meat so it is usually fairly clean. It may be worth dabbing super bloody areas on the goat cape with a damp cloth and try to shake and dry off the wet area ASAP. I would also urge NOT to put a cape with any blood into a plastic bag. Unfortunately I did that once with a bloody goat cape once and the blood spread all over the entire cape. I would advise a small mesh game bag or dry cloth bag. With that said, I would try to keep both the meat and cape as cool and dry as possible.
On goat hunt in 1971, my guide washed a bloody cape in the lake. No problem. He let it drip dry then salted it.
I dont think its fear of bacteria from the water , it seems to just change the color and texture of the meat. Any dead animal has bacteria already .
Generally speaking, moisture aids in bacteria growth and adding moisture is not beneficial unless it is for the purpose of washing away material that would otherwise aid in bacteria growth (i.e. digesta).
My 1st bull elk was in 1994 Idaho....A friend who had harvested many elk had me put the skinned quarters in a creek fully submerged...we left it there for 2 days and then took it home wrapped in blankets...it tasted better than any elk I have harvested since?? Any comments on that?? I am not a proponent of this method...just curious of more experienced elk hunter's opinion.
haven't put an elk in the creek - but I've put multiple deer in there as an aid to getting things cool on an early hunt.
No bad results so far. Put it in overnight, dry it in the morning and keep it in an old sleeping bag or a quilt, in the shade, during the day. Open it up at night and close it during the day (in meat sacks for bugs).
Kept it for days and no bad things happened. Tasted fine.
I have wrapped meat in a garbage bag and submerged in a creek to keep it cool. Never have just put the meat in without making sure it can't get water logged.
Depends on the creek and how clean it is...if you can dry out/wipe off the meat afterward....I always wash out the deer I kill with the garden hose when at home, then wipe the inside down with an old CLEAN towel or some old CLEAN rags/t shirts......never had any problems ...
The garbage bag deal for initial cool down sounds like a smart idea but I would likely take it out of the bag once it cools down or bacteria may go wild! If night temps are cool the garbage bad idea may be just the ticket to get the meat cooled down in a hurry with hot daytime temps.
Anything on the outer part of the meat usually has a fairly thick crust once it dries so I really don't see an advantage to putting meat in water unless trying to cool it down? If you are seriously concerned it would be possible to take a damp cloth and run it over the areas of concern?
Someone should contact the Meateater tv show guy and ask his opinion!
Using strong plastic bags to submerge to cool down during warm days works. Then we bring it out at night and hang it.
I have never rinsed boned out meat in a creek. I just don't see the need. We always clean it up with a knife later. Easy to do.
I have been on over 30 Goat kills and all have had to be boned out. I use to rinse hides off in the creek when they were real bloody, but that is really not necessary and don't do that anymore.
I have rinsed whole deer out in a cold creek on the way back to the cabin to be hung, skinned and the inside rib cage wiped down.
My butcher will reject any meat that comes to him in a garbage bag. He claims there are insecticides in garbage bags. No idea if he is right or not but I don't use them any more.
Thanks for the responses guys. I just thought it was odd for bacteria perpuses. On whitetail hunts I have rinsed meat with bottle water then dried just didn't think much of using creek water in this instances.
I love the taste of mountain creek water. Most of the times I just use purifacation tablets on it.
I pack a contactor garbage bag for possible submerging meat in a creek or putting in my pack. No scents on contractor bags like your normal house trash bags would have.
The bacteria you need to watch out for is usually from what is on the outside of the animal from all the nastiness they come in contact with, not clear running cold water.
Also, heat is the environment for bacteria growth. Keeping it clean and getting it cool is the most important thing.
Perhaps I should have said contractor bags, not garbage bags. No funny smells or flavors in the big contractor bags.
you do know that at the processors they skin cattle with a pressure washer right?
I live and hunt in Illinois. Putting an animal I kill in a creek here would be like putting it into a an unflushed toilet that had a permanent colloidial suspension of mud and herbicides/pesticides in it in addition to the other filth!!
On the rare occasion where I had to wash a body cavity out I use a hose or buckets of potable water.
I never drink without a filter even when at a nice cold, mountain stream. If a dead critter or some moose crap is somewhere upstream then you risk a long illness. One risk is gardia. On the plus side gardia takes a few days to kick in so your hunt may be over when the fever hits. If the fever hits while still hunting, your hunting will be over quickly.
My 2 cents.
When we took clients animals to the locker, they pressure washed the meat. I've never done it, but I drink the water most places in AK so I don't think washing the meat would hurt.
Cut a bull moose up in the Sag river and it got plenty of water on it. Hung for about 6 days after and was great.
There is a difference between potable water which has been treated and possibly contains chlorine or fluoride, and any surface water. Obviously animals use streams for a water source which means there is certainly waste in it. Also sick or injured animals gravitate toward water and often die right in it attempting to cool off. In elk country the head of many water sources is where you find wallows. That would be the last place you'd want to rinse meat right?
Also... those "clear cold running" streams are the optimum breeders for giardia. Many people think that because it's not a warm slow running body of water it is safer but that is definitely not the case.
Simply put, there is no reason to rinse meat unless you have contaminated it with digestive matter.
I guess that is what I was getting at. I have rinsed plenty of animals with bottled water, garden hose etc.
But we filter or use some type of water purification to drink the water while we are hunting. So I thought it would not be a wise choice to rinse meat in a creek that we treat to drink.
I have had Giardia and beaver fever. Neither one are any fun.
I was packing an animal(Elk) down a mountain in Colorado with my son-the meat bag with the tenderloins and big backsraps broke open-got dirt on most of the meat. When we got down to camp I washed it all out-it lost a little color on the outside-but the meat was 100% ok. Since that time when I have any deer or bear-I guides so I see alot of animals I have no problem rinsinfg the cavity out with snow or water if thats not available.
I shot a moose in Idaho and it died in a slough of the Snake river. No motorized vehicles and no horses.
All the meat was exposed to the river as we had to dress and butcher in the water.
All meat was salvaged and delicious.
Sample of 1. No problem.
That said, I agree with others as I would rather have the meat clean and rinsed then with other less desirable thinks like stomach matter, etc.
BTW MANY guys are getting confused with the difference between drinking water out of a stream and rinsing an animal off that will be dried, frozen and then cooked at a temperature that will kill most bacteria.
Well, her in MN we hunt bear in early September and the temps can get to 90 easy. We hunt in a very remote area that is hard to get into. We have a bridge going across a small river that is ice cold all the time. We always just gutted out our bear, tied a rope on them and dropped them off the bridge. The bridge is typically only a couple of feet above the water level. It seems the creek chubs really enjoyed helping us clean out the stomach cavity too! We would bring the bear into the local processor and he always commented on how our bears where always in better shape than the rest of the bears that came in. Often times he would have to throw out part or all of other bears brought in but not ours. Yes, the joke around camp when someone new is coming in is how many are on the stringer.
I guess the best question to ask is does ANYONE know someone who got sick after washing their meat in a stream?
I do not.
I do know several people who got sick drinking from a creek.
So those following this thread answer the 2 questions and lets collect some data!
My first bull was killed at 12000 feet and 12 miles from the trailhead. It took me and my buddy 4 days to pack it out and it was over 70 degrees every day. Fortunately there was a creek running all the way to the truck. Where do you think we put the meat? Yup, right in that 45 degree water. Best tasting elk meat I've ever had, kept meat cool, kept the flys off. Bacteria is everywhere. Why do you think a butcher will age meat? To let the bacteria break down the meat and make it more tender. When you cook it the bacteria will be killed. Don't be afraid to store your meat in the creek for a few days.
If the meat is clean, no need to rinse it. But stuff happens.... I've let a chunk or three of meat slip out of my hand and get dirty over the years. If a steam nearby I wouldn't hesitate to rinse it off. Would have to be better than what was on it already.
I'd worry more about the meat being grappled by nasty bloody hands that likely haven't been washed in a week than a clear mountain stream.
Rinse it, wipe it down, bag it and hang it. It's more about soaking the meat in water over a long time IMO. If it doesn't hurt it, it certainly discolors it. But in the dry air it won't be wet long.
In fact if it's hot and the meat is hanging in bags if you get the bags wet and let them evaporate it cools the meat a good deal. Not so much here in the humidity but on the dry mainland air it makes a big difference.
sage Buffalo....i was thinking that same thing. I have never heard of anyone ever getting sick from rinsing meat off in a creek. I often rinse the cavity of a deer out when i'm dragging one out.
I drink out of the springs that come out of the mt here often.
Mule Power's Link
For me it depends on how bloody/messy the meat got [not usually a problem]...and the condition of the creek.
if I had a piece slip and fall in the dirt- sure wash it off and air dry asap- no sweat.
Bacteria is not the key to breaking down tissue when again meat.
Aging of meat--also called seasoning, ripening or conditioning--is defined as the practice of holding carcasses or cuts at temperatures of from 34ºF to 37ºF. Thus enzymes (cateptic or proteolytic) function to break down some of the complex proteins contained in the muscle.
See the link for an extremely good article on aging meat. I saved this from a previous Bowsite thread.
Mule Power is right about the enzymes in the meat breaking it down or aging it. Bacteria just causes a nasty mess on the outside of the meat and can grow down into any openings or crevices in the meat. It's cut off and discarded.
As for skinning cattle with a power washer, I've never seen it done and have never done it myself. We skin everything. Beef can be injected with air between the hide and carcass to make skinning easier.
I wouldn't rinse my meat in creek water. I would use a bottle of water in my daypack or just leave the dirt, sticks, leaves, etc on and then skin it off at the time of processing. Once water hits a dirty carcass it spreads that dirt into all the little crevices and under the membrane that covers most muscles. Trust me, I've seen it all and then some.
I had no idea...guess I'll think twice before rinsing a trout out in a mountain stream before cooking it up.
You're going to cook the meat which will kill the bacteria anyway. I personally don't see any reason to rinse boned out meat but it wouldn't hurt it. You'll only have to worry about giardia if you plan on eating the meat raw...
I've used the contractor bag and submerged meat a few times with great luck. Submerging raw meat without a bag "bleaches" the meat and changes the texture. I'm sure it's still fine to eat but certainly better quality if you can avoid that.
When there is a spring or flowing creek that is clean and cold with no beaver sign I always skin out my quarters(elk) and submerge them in the creek to cool down. Most times I split them to the bone first but have just stuck the quarters in. After cooling I take an old sleeping bag or blankets and soak them in the creek , wrap the quarters in them and take them to the locker. I have taken over thirty elk to the locker that way and the meat is fantastic. Also the locker says I bring in the nicest and cleanest meat of anyone. LOL. It eats good , my family was raised on it and are all very healthy. As to any bacteria. Well I do cook the meat. Also I hang it a minimum of 10 days before having it butchered or butchering it myself.
I learned to do this from a meat processor.
God bless, Steve
Can you imagine all the bacteria from flys when they land on your meat and do their thing!?!?
Afterall, flys are no more than flying maggots...
Stop watching Driven. Problem solved.
It is hard to believe this thread has gotten so long, and that I just added to it.
Sixby, Whenever temps are warm and I have a cold mountain stream or lake available, I've done the same thing for many years.