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How long can a deer stay in the field before it spoils?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Sharker, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. I have never had a deer that I either didnt find right away, or didnt find all together. My buddy shot one yesterday and lost the trail at dark, so he called me to help look for it. Well we found her this morning about 10ish ,and she was stiff with rigor. Last nite it was a low of about 55 and when we found her it was about 65 degrees. I skinned it, and parted it out for him now its on ice to season a bit (to warm here to hang)... The meat smelled fine, but the guts were rather potent... so I was wondering if there was anything to worry about. In Maine I have help butcher deer that sat in the field for a couple days, but the temps were much lower...

    This guy has 5 kids and doesnt want to get any of them sick.
    Unless I hear otherwise I am just gonna "smell check" it on Monday when we butcher it into steaks.
  2. MD Mountain Man

    MD Mountain Man 2A Supporter

    Jul 14, 2006
    East Coast
    Where was it shot? If the guts were allowed to touch the meat ie. it was gut shot, then I wouldn't eat it. If the guts were still contained then the meat will probably be fine for your smell check. If you don't need the meat and can get another deer then you might want to consider giving the meat to everybody you know that has dogs. They have different guts than we do and they don't mind spoied meat at all. They really like venison too.
    Overall it is a tough call. How much time did you really spend looking the night he shot it? As hunters I think we owe it to the critters we shoot to give it a very long and hard look. I have spent many hours crawling around with a flashlight looking for blood.

  3. MD Mountain Man

    MD Mountain Man 2A Supporter

    Jul 14, 2006
    East Coast
    Sorry double post.
  4. It was shot in the neck.... (probably not on purpose) so guts were intact. It then skittered off into some palmettos. Very little blood really.

    He looked until 1130 last nite (was horrified that she didnt fall in her tracks), and then called me. We started looking about 8 and had a hard time due to how much he disturbed the trail. Its his first deer so hes really wanting to eat the prize. I have shot about 15 in my life, and none ever sat that long. But like I said, the meat smells fine...
    I guess its going to all depend on how it smells on Monday.
  5. Why wait until Monday?

    I'd cut it into steaks now and put them in the freezer.

    Just be sure to cook them throughly before eating (well done, not medium rare)
  6. If you dress the animal out and skinned it got it on ice and it didn't smell bad or had maggots on it, then you should be okay.

    What I would do is , cut a small sample like some meat of the back lion and soak it in some water with vinegar for about 2-4hrs and then cook it and sample it. But if you got the meat cooled as what you stated I wouldn't be to overly concern.

    Qs:I'm assuming the animal was shot and found over a 12plus hour period ?

    You say it was shot in the neck, and you had trouble finding it? How far away did it run from the location it was shot at? and what did your buddy use as round ?

    fwiw: My dad use to kill deer before sunset and "field dress them" immediately and then skinned/quarter them the next morning at bright and early 0800 ;) This was in central texas with the temps about what you stated or somewhere in that range and the deer was hanged in a garage on a hook. Over nights temps where probably in 45-50ish range.

    If you get the hot organs out and cavity open up, the meat has less things to go wrong or bacteria to grow and can be okay for the most part. Hotter climate are more prone for spoilage vrs cooler climates. Remvoing the skin also expose more meat to air for cooling also.
  7. I've had 2 deer run after neck shots.

    One the bullet was a little high and just skimmed the top of vertebrae, you could actually see the white of it inthe bottom of the wound. 1/4" lower would have snapped his neck. He ran towards me after the shot and I hit him once through the chest and once more solid in the neck. He dropped at the second shot right underneath my stand.

    Second one was hit low in the neck, took out the thorax and both jugular veins. He dropped in his tracks, then jumped up as I reloaded the Contender and ran off. He ran 110 yards. Easiest tracking I've ever done. There was an inch or two of snow on the ground and every time he exhaled there was a 3' wide spray of red in the snow.

    Neck shots, like head shots, aren't always instant kills, but they do usually drop in their tracks.
  8. G36's Rule

    G36's Rule Senior Member

    Dec 1, 2001
    Spring, TX.
  9. Correct. It was shot at sunset, and then took us till 10ish to find.
    It ran about 100 yards, but it ran down hill into thick palmettos... we did find a nice blood spot where it stopped for a bit, but then one more drop giving us a general direction. Blood was really sparse, honestly he didnt hit it with enough whoop (.223) and the bullet barely hit anything important.
  10. MD Mountain Man

    MD Mountain Man 2A Supporter

    Jul 14, 2006
    East Coast
    Is is legal to hunt deer with a .223? Deer with a varmint gun isn't a good idea, in my opinion.
  11. Palmettos is a moth'er ****er to deal with ;) Been their and done that and lost a few animals to them. Palmettos are great for concealing animals alive or wounded ;)

    Blood was really sparse, honestly he didnt hit it with enough whoop (.223) and the bullet barely hit anything important

    Next time we get a "is a 223 a good hunting round? " thread, I would like permission to quote you in my reply ;)

    This is a good argument for NOT to using 223 for deer. Florida or Anyehere else.
  12. cav_pilot


    Jan 8, 2007
    My pheasant hunting uncle (lives in England) would hang his birds in the house storeroom for a couple of days before cooking them. Different climate and different animal, just an interesting aside.
  13. You have it.

    Personally, I think a bad shot is worse than too small a caliber... but a bigger caliber would have covered over any errors (or done more to increase sudden death)

    Per the Palmettos.... indeed they are a mother!
  14. Cooking throughly kills the bad stuff. Ever see that warning on restaurant menu's that says "eating raw or undercooked food can lead to illness"
  15. hmm.........................

    I would agreed with that if the animal was a consumer of raw meat like hog or something. With welldoneness but,

    vension doesn't pick up the same parasites like that of hog/bear/humans etc ... Nor need the same preparation as that of beer/pork/chicken. But as with anything, cross contamination should be kept in check. Nor does it need the high heat/temp to kill the parasites.

    Also cooking most of any vension to well done leads to a dry, tuff peiece of meat. In reality most cooks of wildgame, cookbooks and experience cookers cooker of non marbled-meats ( goat/vension/lamb /etc... ) cooks to medium done maybe medium-well done over a low heat and slooooooooooow cooking process.

    This includes any of the vensions to include

    wt/blk tail deer

    btw; Noway cooks all his vension to medium done with a slight reddishpink internals maybe if I get in a rush it will be medium well-done but never welldone. All of my vension cuts easily with a knife btw.

    Also if the meat is "actually" spoiled it wil make on difference if you cook it well done or not. Either way it's spoiled. ( figure I would throw that in ). THe damage from the lack of cooling that causes the bacteria is already did it works. It will not increase it flavor, but even tho aged meats is from bacteria and breakdown ;)

    As long as you don't eat it raw and cook it to a temp that kills the comon bacteria ( i.e salmonella etc.. ) than the meat shoudld be edible.

    You palate would tell you veyr quick if it'spoiled and not consumable for humans ;)
  16. G36's Rule

    G36's Rule Senior Member

    Dec 1, 2001
    Spring, TX.
    Oh sure. But that has nothing to do with deer meat.

    Cooking deer meat "well done" is basically destroying it, as it has very little fat in it.

    All my deer meat is done medium rare to medium. Been eating it that way for 30+ years and will have it no other way.
  17. G36's Rule

    G36's Rule Senior Member

    Dec 1, 2001
    Spring, TX.
    Wouldn't it be a better arguement for proper shot placement?

  18. We all want proper shot placement but in the field , with fatigue, adrenaline and other factors it's not 100% guranteed. Heck you can kill a deer with a 22LR with proper shot placement under the idea situation.

    That's why we need the right caliber to get'iter done and not cuasing excessive stress, pain, suffer, and other sillyness when "WE" uses inferior calibers and/or projectile for the games we are hunting. This is what gives PRO-PETA like groups their ammo ( pun not intended )

    As hunters, we need to respect the animal ;)