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Game Prep and Handling Safety Tips

10 Top Tips

  1. Cook All Meat
    • Thoroughly cook game meat and fish to the recommended temperature of 165°F
    • Never eat raw or undercooked meat
    • CAUTION: Freezing, microwaving or smoking MAY NOT KILL all bacteria, viruses or parasites
  2. Wash Your Hands With Warm Water
    • Use soap and warm water:
      • After handling game and fish
      • After using the bathroom
      • Before eating or handling food
  3. Drink Safe Water
    • Pack it in, or
    • Boil it first, or
    • Use an approved water purifier or filter
  4. Safe Field Dressing
    • Keep it CLEAN, COOL AND SAFE
      • Protect meat from intestinal contents
      • Follow safe meat-handling practices
  5. Outdoor Toilet
    • Bury waste away from water
    • Don’t touch animal waste
  6. Not Your Kill? Leave It Alone!
    • Stay away from sick or dead animals AND contact The North Dakota Game and Fish Department or the State Department of Health (numbers listed on back cover). Avoid rodents where possible and use caution if trapping beavers or muskrats
  7. Keep Bugs Off
    • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts
    • Wear light colored clothing
    • Use insect repellents (with DEET)
  8. First Aid
    • Clean cuts or wounds with soap and warm water
    • Consult your doctor, and explain that you had contact with wildlife
  9. Play It Safe
    • Wear reflective clothing
    • Don’t mix guns and alcohol
    • Drive safely
    • Use sunscreen
  10. Not Feeling Well?
    • Consult your doctor if you are ill and have recently eaten, or had contact with, wild animals or fish
    • Tell your doctor about your recent activities with wildlife

Safe Field Dressing

Things that spoil meat

  • Poor shot or arrow placement
  • Improper field-dressing or careless butchering
  • Dragging a dressed carcass
  • Hanging or aging the carcass for too long
  • High temperatures during aging

Why prevent meat spoilage?

  • To reduce the risk of illness
  • Properly dressed and aged meat tastes better

Keep it CLEAN – Prevent bacterial contamination

  • Water, mud, soil and leaves carry bacteria
    • Butcher the animal in cleanest area possible
    • Keep the carcass covered when transporting
  • Prevent bacterial-related spoilage:
    • Wash your hands with warm water
    • Always use clean equipment and knives
    • Avoid contact between clothes and carcass
      • Clothes can carry bacteria
      • Wash clothes when you get home
    • Wear disposable gloves
  • Wash equipment that cuts into intestines or abscesses before continuing to butcher
  • Before you butcher the carcass, clean off hair, dirt and other debris

Keep it COOL – Prevent bacterial growth

  • Spoilage results from bacterial growth
  • Spoilage and disease are affected by TIME AND TEMPERATURE
  • Field dress and skin the animal as soon as possible – fur may protect the carcass, but can also prevent proper cooling!
  • The warmer the temperature, the faster the bacterial growth

Keep it SAFE

  • Protect meat from intestinal contents; they contain bacteria and parasites
  • Wash knives frequently
    • Trim contaminated meat
    • Cook well
  • Label meat packages with the date to:
    • Select specific cuts for cooking
    • Freeze for up to 12 months for best quality
  • When in the kitchen or campsite:
    • Clean hands, cooking utensils and surfaces
    • Separate raw meat from ready-to-eat foods
    • Cook to recommended temperatures to kill bacteria, viruses and parasites
    • Refrigerate promptly to slow bacterial growth