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Extra preparation prevents early season meat spoilage

Idaho’s big game early season hunts have started and while these early hunts have some advantages, hunting during warm weather requires extra preparation and special care to prevent game meat from spoiling.

Hunters should always have a plan for handling the meat should the hunt be successful. Knowing how to quickly get the animal out of the woods and where to take the meat are questions every early season hunter should ask themselves.

“With daytime temperatures reaching the 80-90s, you don’t have time to look for friends to help or call around to multiple cold storage facilities,” said conservation officer David Silcock, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “Always know in advance who can help and where you can take the meat to cool and store it.”

Heat is a menace early season hunters face, and what to do with the meat after a game animal is killed. To prevent game meat from spoiling, hunters need to be prepared and act quickly to speed cooling.

Getting the hide off quickly is imperative, because hides trap heat causing bacteria to flourish.

Breaking the animal down into pieces will help cool the meat. The ground acts as a great insulator, so hanging the pieces off the ground will allow air to circulate around them.

Spoiling usually starts around the leg bone in the hind quarter, especially on an elk.

Some hunters use black pepper or other fly deterrents to coat the meat. This helps as a short-term solution, but heavy-duty, breathable game bags that fit around the quarters or carcass will act as a barrier to flies, dirt and pine needles.

Hunters who bone out their game can leave large ice chests in their vehicles to keep the meat cool and clean when they transport it home.

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Idaho Fish and Game contributed to this report.

Attend the Hunt and Fish Expo Aug. 24-25 in Lewiston

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is playing host to the annual Hunt and Fish Idaho Expo Friday, Aug. 24 from 2-7 p.m. at the Lewis-Clark Wildlife Club Shooting Range, 27007 Tom Beale Road, near Lapwai and Saturday, Aug. 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Idaho Fish and Game regional office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston.

The department encourages regional hunters and anglers, whether novice or experienced, to attend the event.

Idaho Fish and Game and Lewis-Clark range staff will be available on Friday starting at 2 p.m. to mentor participants as they shoot shotgun or try various rifle calibers.

Saturday, Aug. 25 outdoor events will be held all day at the regional IDFG office.

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