Field dressing (hunting)

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Deer hunter in the state of Michigan in the United States field dressing a deer

Field dressing is the process of removing the internal organs of hunted game, and is a necessary step in preserving meat from animals harvested in the wild. Field dressing must be done as soon as possible in order to ensure rapid body heat loss, and prevent bacteria from growing on the surface of the carcass. Field dressing helps maintain the overall quality of the meat. It also makes it considerably easier for a hunter to carry larger game from the hunt area.


Fisherman field dressing fish in Los Los Puertos de Altagracia, Venezuela

Most hunters use a sharp knife to accomplish their purpose. Other tools can be used such as axes or saws. However, the fact that harvesting locations are generally in remote areas makes the transporting and use of larger tools impractical.

Using a knife specifically designed for field dressing and the use of surgical gloves can greatly aid in sanitation.

Risk of disease[edit]

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a neurological disease and has been found in a growing percentage of deer and elk in certain geographical areas in Canada and the United States. Although there have been reports in the popular press of humans being affected by CWD, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that "[m]ore epidemiologic and laboratory studies are needed to monitor the possibility of such transmissions."[1] The epidemiological study further concludes that, "[a]s a precaution, hunters should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas where CWD has been identified."[1] Tests have also been developed to check for the presence of CWD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Belay, E.D.; Maddox, R.A.; Williams, E.S.; Miller, M.W.; Gambetti, P.; Schonberger, L.B. (June 2004). "Chronic Wasting Disease and Potential Transmission to Humans" (PDF). Emerging Infectious Diseases. CDC. 10 (6): 977–984. doi:10.3201/eid1006.031082. PMC 3323184. PMID 15207045. Retrieved 2008-04-08.

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