From Field to Table: A Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game
July 6, 2023

Hunting is an age-old tradition that has provided food for people for thousands of years. If you’re a hunter, you know the thrill of tracking and taking down game, and the satisfaction of turning that game into a delicious meal. However, preparing game can be intimidating for beginners. Here’s a guide on how to prepare the game you have caught:


Field Dressing

The first step in preparing game is field dressing. This is the process of removing the internal organs and other unwanted parts of the animal. Field dressing should be done as soon as possible to prevent the meat from spoiling. To field dress an animal, start by making a cut from the anus to the base of the rib cage. Then, carefully remove the internal organs, being careful not to puncture the stomach or intestines.


After field dressing, the next step is skinning the animal. Skinning is important to remove any hair, dirt, or debris from the animal’s skin. To skin the animal, make a cut from the base of the neck to the tail. Then, carefully remove the skin from the animal’s body using a knife. Be careful not to cut into the meat as you do this.


Once the animal is skinned, the next step is butchering. This is the process of cutting the meat into manageable pieces. Butchering can be done in the field or at home. To start butchering, remove the legs and shoulders of the animal by cutting through the joints. Then, remove the backstraps by cutting along the spine. Finally, remove the tenderloins from the inside of the animal’s rib cage.


Aging is an important step in preparing game that is often overlooked. Aging allows the meat to become more tender and flavorful. To age the meat, hang it in a cool, dry place for several days. This process allows the enzymes in the meat to break down, making it more tender.


After aging, it’s time to cook the game. There are countless ways to cook game, but one of the simplest is grilling. Start by marinating the meat in your favorite marinade for several hours. Then, heat up the grill and cook the meat over medium heat until it’s cooked to your desired level of doneness.

Another popular way to cook game is to slow cook it in a crockpot. This method is great for tougher cuts of meat. Start by searing the meat in a hot pan to create a crust. Then, place the meat in a crockpot with your favorite vegetables and seasoning. Cook on low for 8-10 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.


In conclusion, preparing game that you have caught yourself can be a rewarding and delicious experience. Follow these steps to field dress, skin, butcher, age, and cook your game to perfection. Remember to always handle game meat with care to ensure it’s safe to eat.