What to do once you hunt an animal?
For an experienced hunter, this may be obvious but it's not the same for the beginner; in fact, sometimes hunting an animal is just half the work and the heaviest, more complicated part begins once the game is shooted down.
The first thing to do is to reach the carcass, that's obvious but not always easy. In this regard, it's necessary to find the fastest way to reach the body without compromising your safety, especially when hunting on difficult terrain or during heavy weather conditions.
Remember, you need to reach your game in one piece, otherwise, it would be impossible to retrieve it!
During your way to the body and all around the process, be aware of predators in the area, you don't wish to pass from hunter to hunted once big carnivorous in the zone follow the odor towards your hunt.
It's important to remember that predators may smell a dead body from miles away, and if there's something near your hunting area, it may reach the body even before you, so keep your eyes wide open and be ready to defend yourself if necessary.
In the end, if retrieving the body compromises your safety and you don't have the means to face a threat, it's a wise decision to step back, hoping to have better luck next time, especially if you don't need that meet to survive.
Once you reach the body it's time to field dress it. If possible do it just there where the body lays, but in case of abrupt terrain or an insecure area, move the body to a better location as soon as possible; something easy in the case of small animals but a great challenge when we are talking about a big game.
An ideal place to field dress a game, particularly a big one, it's near a water body, but if it's not possible, find flat terrain with some trees around to tie ropes and position the carcass or even hang it for field dressing if possible.
Once again, keep your eyes wide open during all the process, predators may show anytime!
Now it's time to do the magic. The meat is perishable and it's necessary to move the hands fast during field dressing to minimize the chances of ruining it.
First thing to do is to eviscerate the body, this way the odds of contamination with gut bacteria are minimized and it's possible to lower the carcass temperature faster.
The evisceration technique may vary from game to game but there's a common principle to all of them: Avoid puncturing intestines, otherwise, meat may get contaminated by harmful bacteria such as escherichia or salmonella, so proceed with caution all along the process.
Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after the process, keeping your knife as clean as possible all the time. It's important to clean the blade frequently to avoid bacterial translocation from the skin to the inner carcass.
Once eviscerated it's time to skin the body and drop its temperature. Again, the technique will vary depending on the animal size, but keep in mind that skinning a game it's useful not only to drop the carcass temperature but also to save the skin just a trophy or as a secondary earning; after all, some skins are very valuable in the market.
At the end of the process, it's time to pack all the meat and take it home. In the case of a big game, you will need to quarter the body in order to render it easy to carry on.
Keep the meat at the lowest temperature possible, move your hands fast and keep your eyes wide open for predators in the area.
At the end of the day, you will enjoy a very pleasant piece of meat you were able to take from nature with your own hands, an uncommon experience nowadays.