Hunting Contractor: Guy Swart, HC 77/2018/EC

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Venison Meat preparation in the field

Not only in the field of taxidermy is it important to begin the process at the moment the shot is taken – this also applies to the meat if you intend to eat your trophy.

Here are some guidelines for from the South African Government Gazette relating to Game Meat Regulations

1) Shot Placement

Its best to avoid thoracic and abdominal shots if possible. If the animal is shot as a trophy and head and neck shots are obviously not an option, a thoracic shot to the heart Is acceptable


2) Bleeding

Ideally game should be bled within 10 minutes of being shot dead. - bleeding should be done by severing the jugular vein and carotid artery on either side of the neck (throat slitting) with a clean and sterilised knife. Trophy game animals can be bled by sticking a clean and sterilised knife through the heart from the lowest ventral point of the thorax.

Different animals require bleeding in different positions:

• small animals such as springbuck, impala or blesbuck - in a hanging position;

• medium animals such as buffalo, kudu, eland or zebra - in a hanging or downward sloping position of 20° to 30°

• large animals such as giraffe, elephant and hippopotamus - in a lying position


3) Evisceration

Heads, feet and horns with part of the cranium may be removed and stored separately.

Evisceration or removal of the contents of the thoracic and abdominal cavities is best if managed within two hours of bleeding.

Exposed meat must not make contact with the ground and evisceration must occur in the absence of dust. Opening incision lines on a hide or skin must be made from the inside to the outside (spear cuts) with a clean sterilised knife for each carcass. Rough offal must be removed as soon as possible. Lactating udders uteri and reproductive organs must also be removed and disposed of.


4) Carcass care

Contact of the exposed game meat with platforms, slaughter frames, floor, outer surface of the skin or hide and soiled equipment must be avoided at all times.

Partially dressed game carcasses may not be washed, and accidental soiling must be cut off.

Partially dressed game carcasses must be chilled within 12 hours of killing but when the ambient temperature is more than 15 °C, it must be chilled within four hours of being killed. The aim is to achieve a core temperature of 7 °C within 24 hours after chilling commences.

Partially dressed game carcasses must be transported for final processing in a manner which prevents chemical, physical or biological contamination.

Follow all these steps in getting the carcass from the hunting ground to the butcher and you'll be ensured of the best quality meat on your table.