Deer left overnight. Spoiled meat?
Contributors to this thread:
gyoung 12-Apr-09
Dan 12-Apr-09
dukkillr 12-Apr-09
Aeronut 13-Apr-09
MisALot 13-Apr-09
Trebarker 14-Apr-09
twodogs 14-Apr-09
Genesis 15-Apr-09
From: gyoung
I have had elk spoil when left overnight without being field dressed. What about deer in Kansas when the weather is warm? Cold? I see on tv where wounded deer are frequently left overnight. What is the real truth about whether the meat is edible?

From: Dan
Depends how warm. . . I have left deer overnight with no meat spoilage. I think elk are more prone due to their size which holds heat longer.

On the other hand, even if meat spoiled for human consumption- NOTHING goes to waste in the wild. Spoilage for humans means a great feast for critters. (Even the anti-hunter has to appreciate all the little rabbits that were saved due to full-bellied coyotes!)

We need to respect the process- but loss meat for human consumption is not the dreadful outcome some seem to make it. Hunting is the best tool for the management of the resource. Whether we eat it or not.

Hunting is always a win-win!! We manage a natural renewable resource and someone gets a great dinner! "Isn't life perfect!!" ~ Ted Nugent. (Just another Nugent quote sense I am laughing here: "You know why that deer was the perfect deer to shoot?" "Because he was broadside!")

From: dukkillr
Spoil is somewhat subjective. The meat may not rot, but may retain a bad flavor. Most every experience I've had with animals recovered the next day resulted in poor meat quality or flavor. I've also had some the animals found first.

From: Aeronut
It was in the low 50's when I shot a deer last December and the temps were falling. I marked my position on GPS while trailing and had to leave the timber because my blood suger level was dropping. I found her early the next morning in 22* weather, frozen stiff.

Half hour trip to the locker and the meat was spoiled.


From: MisALot
I have left several deer overnight in 40 to 50 degree temps and have never had a problem. I only take off the backstraps and the quarters, I don't open up the cavity or take out the tenderloins on one that has been left. I think the shot placement may have more of an effect than temperature. I have had gut shot deer that smelled bad in a few hours.

From: Trebarker
The entralls start decomposing as soon as life ends. I've been fortunate and not had to wait overnight to find out. With the number of coyotes we have here, you usually won't find much left the next day anyhow. I took a friend antlerless hunting on our ground a few years ago who made a bad shot on a doe. We tracked her down after waiting three hours jumping her out of a bed. We waited several hours more knowing she hadn't went far and didn't have long to live. When we went back a total of 6hrs after the shot, we found her dead but she had already been eaten on and stunk to high heaven.

From: twodogs
I make every attempt to recover deer the evening I shot them. I believe that leaving one overnight is a coin flip as to whether the coyotes find them.

I have left four deer overnight in my 31 years of bowhunting and never lost much meat to spoilage. I did loose the hindquarters on a doe to coyotes. I left three because I knew they were gutshot. I avoided the area that was contaminated with gut material and the meat was fine.

The other one I believed to be a liver shot. The weather was very warm even though it was December. I backed out for two hours because of the marginal hit and then attempted to track with a lantern. The blood trail was skimpy and I eventually lost it. So, I left and returned at first light with temperatures bottoming at at about 60. I found a speck or two of blood and nothing else until a grid search found the deer about 1/4 mile from where I shot it. It was a liver shot and had been dead for 10 to 12 hours. The meat was still good, however.

From: Genesis
Skin on, deer size game are very resilient to spoilage under 12 hours,(Mid 60's lows)

I've et deer and hawgs bloated to the gills over the years and though the thought isn't too appetizing the meat was good.

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