Caribou Gear Tarp

Dealing with pooling blood on meat

nuevo_eph

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I helped a friend hunt get a cow in the fall here in NM and quartered it for him. He made a nice lung shot and the elk died quickly but all of the blood pooled up more than I had seen in my one other elk that I've been in on. I paid it no mind and got it in bags and took it to the butcher that very day. I was quite disappointed when I found out the butcher said a bunch of the meat was unusable and I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong.

I know I could have cut it up faster (I did gutless) since I hadn't reviewed the steps prior to the hunt. Should I have squeegeed off the clotting blood before putting large pieces in the game bags?

What do you guys do when you take pieces off that are simply covered in semi-congealed blood?

Many thanks,

Ephraim
 

schmalts

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I am wondering how you got so much blood on the meat with a lung shot. Usually when quartering an animal the only place there is a lot of blood is bloodshot meat from the bullet. The blood should not have been a problem anyway, how warm was it? If it was milder temps the best thing to do is take the quarters or meat chunks and get them in the shade on a rock or tree branch and get the heat out of them before packing the meat into a game bag. Deer of elk there is a lot of meat scattered all over the kill sight as I let it cool before I bag it. NEVER bag it up warm right off the animal if it is warm unless flies are a major problem. Even on hot days the shade is usually cool enough to get the heat out.
 

havgunwilltravel

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Did you bleed the animal immediately after the shot? I am real fussy with the animals i put in the freezer and no matter where i hit them with the bullet, i pretty much run up there and they all get a knife across the throat, and often i cut into the armpit and create another hole from the heart, i then make sure the head is pointing downhill if possible, with the legs or back half of the body up higher in elevation, or on a rock or tree stump to give the blood every chance of draining out the holes you have created. Sometimes i will work the back legs a bit like a pump to get things going as i always like to get rid of as much blood as possible. I am always looking to make sure blood is coming out freely from the cuts i have made.

Sounds a bit anal, but the meat is so much better from any animal that you have bleed properly and then guttered asap in order for the meat temperature to lower then from one that has been lying around without any preparation.
 

devon deer

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Sounds a bit anal, but the meat is so much better from any animal that you have bleed properly and then guttered asap in order for the meat temperature to lower then from one that has been lying around without any preparation.
I bleed the animal as well, slightly different from you but is has the same effect, makes gralloching the deer a whole lot better as well.
Cheers
Richard
 

havgunwilltravel

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I bleed the animal as well, slightly different from you but is has the same effect, makes gralloching the deer a whole lot better as well.
Cheers
Richard

How do you bleed your animals? I know a few guys over your way pull out the wind pipe etc and i can say in the UK i was very impressed with the general knowledge and set ups associated with field care of animals, cool rooms and self butchery. Much more rounded knowledge then the typical aussie or kiwi who just shoots an animal and removes a backleg or two and a couple of backstraps.
 

devon deer

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Sorry i should have said, i lay the animal facing down hill where possible, insert my knife at the base of the throat so blade is vertical, i then twist the blade so it is horizontal with the spine and cut, plenty of blood comes out initially but can get blocked by lung etc so i then put my knee behind the diaphragm and apply pressure.
I then expose the wind pipe and separate the esophagus, strip back the flesh covering the esophagus in 2 places, using a 2 small cable ties about 2'' apart tied around the esophagus to stop food coming from the stomach and from the mouth i then cut in between, i can then remove the stomach etc.
But obviously know what terrain we have in the UK, it's never necessary to joint up the animal onsite as we are never really that far from a road, having said that a big red stag can be a challenge some times:D
Cheers
Richard
 

havgunwilltravel

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Ok thanks for the info, good idea with the pressure behind the diaphragm and the cable ties are a good idea as well. Heck so many guys i know don't even bleed the animal and wonder why their meat is full of blood when they are cooking it. I even get quite fussy now about where i shoot an animal i want to put in the freezer, normally try to head, neck or shoulder shoot it if possible, so it drops right there and doesn't run off like a lung shot that can take a little finding, i obviously do this so that i can get to the animal as quick as possible and bleed it and there is minimal stress to the animal following a shot.
 

hank4elk

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The last 3 elk I've taken with lung heart shots bled out internally,usually do. I open them up and drain them. I rarely lose any meat,ever except bullet damage. I take every piece of meat,and put it in good canvas breathable bags.Legs don't lay in blood,hanging out of sun in bags helps cool instantly.I skin then quick first.
Only time I do gutless on elk is to move them in difficult places.Deer different story.
Seems like I have to open them up anyway to get tenders out and then there's all the rib meat.
I don't remember the last time I slit a throut to bleed an animal......except livestock.
 

Gerald Martin

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My opinion, for what it's worth. :) Any animal shot in the heart or lungs is "bled out" by definition. When you have major trauma to the circulatory system and the heart is still beating, all the blood is getting pumped out of an animals veins, arteries and capillaries before it dies. An exception would be a spine shot or brain shot animal that kills by compromising the nervous system, rather than the circulatory system.
Any bleeding out that you attempt after the heart has stopped beating is just going to vent accumulated blood out of the thorax. This may be beneficial for meat care if you aren't going to butcher the animal gutless, but can also be accomplished easily by washing out an animal after it is
taken out of the field.
Back to the OP's question. My guess is there was coagulated blood between the muscles of the shoulder and rib meat??? I can see that it would sour more quickly than clean meat because of the bacteria that would multiply quickly if not cooled in a timely manner. Coagulated blood can usually be wiped or skinned off the meat when you butcher. Portions of the meat that is actually bloodshot with blood between muscle fibers, you may as well leave it in the field. You aren't going to get it clean anyway.
As far as getting the meat to the butcher the same day... You can be sure it wasn't processed for a couple of days. If you had hide on quarters with significant amounts of blood between the muscles it could have soured even if it was refrigerated that evening. My sister-in-law shot a cow one evening before dark and I quartered it for her and laid the front shoulders, hide down in the snow thinking it would cool overnight and we could pack it out the next morning. Temps were in the upper 20's that night. Imagine my surprise when we found out the next day that the hide and the snow insulated the bottom side of the meat and it was still warm. Unfortunately, we lost some of that meat. Now, I know that in the late season when the hair is thick, it is imperative to get the hide off and hang a quarter to allow air to circulate freely around the meat.
 

sbhooper

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My opinion, for what it's worth. :) Any animal shot in the heart or lungs is "bled out" by definition. When you have major trauma to the circulatory system and the heart is still beating, all the blood is getting pumped out of an animals veins, arteries and capillaries before it dies. An exception would be a spine shot or brain shot animal that kills by compromising the nervous system, rather than the circulatory system.
Any bleeding out that you attempt after the heart has stopped beating is just going to vent accumulated blood out of the thorax. This may be beneficial for meat care if you aren't going to butcher the animal gutless, but can also be accomplished easily by washing out an animal after it is
taken out of the field.
Back to the OP's question. My guess is there was coagulated blood between the muscles of the shoulder and rib meat??? I can see that it would sour more quickly than clean meat because of the bacteria that would multiply quickly if not cooled in a timely manner. Coagulated blood can usually be wiped or skinned off the meat when you butcher. Portions of the meat that is actually bloodshot with blood between muscle fibers, you may as well leave it in the field. You aren't going to get it clean anyway.
As far as getting the meat to the butcher the same day... You can be sure it wasn't processed for a couple of days. If you had hide on quarters with significant amounts of blood between the muscles it could have soured even if it was refrigerated that evening. My sister-in-law shot a cow one evening before dark and I quartered it for her and laid the front shoulders, hide down in the snow thinking it would cool overnight and we could pack it out the next morning. Temps were in the upper 20's that night. Imagine my surprise when we found out the next day that the hide and the snow insulated the bottom side of the meat and it was still warm. Unfortunately, we lost some of that meat. Now, I know that in the late season when the hair is thick, it is imperative to get the hide off and hang a quarter to allow air to circulate freely around the meat.

Right. Bleeding a dead animal is nonsense. If that animal has quit thrashing, the amount of blood you get out of it is minimal and insignificant. Most of the blood will have already been loosed inside the chest on a heart/lung shot. A headshot animal is stone dead and the blood will only leave in minimal amounts. It takes a pumping heart to force blood from the veins and arteries.

I guess I do not understand where this blood was pooling. If you did gutless, then there should have been nowhere to have pooled blood. If there was bloodshot meat, then it should have been discarding when it was butchered. Otherwise, the processor may be blowing smoke.
 

Gr8bawana

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Right. Bleeding a dead animal is nonsense. If that animal has quit thrashing, the amount of blood you get out of it is minimal and insignificant. Most of the blood will have already been loosed inside the chest on a heart/lung shot. A headshot animal is stone dead and the blood will only leave in minimal amounts. It takes a pumping heart to force blood from the veins and arteries.
I agree it's a waste of time. I remenber seeing the old timers doing it back in the 60's. Old habits die hard.
It probably stems from tieing a chicken or turkey upsidedown and slitting the throat, you get most of the blood coming out because the bird is still alive when you do it.
 

havgunwilltravel

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Right. Bleeding a dead animal is nonsense. If that animal has quit thrashing, the amount of blood you get out of it is minimal and insignificant.

Incorrect.

I don't put a knife to any animal that is still alive, it is obviously dead, however done right there is still a lot of blood to be drained from a harvested animal in the field immediately after it has died. A lot comes out of the muscles, veins and arteries.

Gerald the school of thought with lung and heart shooting animal is valid one to drain blood and i know guys that happily do those shots for this reason, only thing to consider is there is a certain level of stress associated with putting a bullet in that animal and have it run off 80-150 yards before falling over. From a personal perspective i prefer to put them down straight away if possible, the ones for the table.

In the meat works i worked in as a young teenager after school the aim was to immobilise the animal with an electric stun gun, then slit its throat straight away and hang to drain blood. Obviously this can't be replicated in the field with wild animals, but i do prefer to create as less stress as possible.
 

TimeOnTarget

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I wont get into the draining or not draining debate....but to me it sounds like your butcher has some of your elk in his freezer.
 

nuevo_eph

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Great responses, thanks all. Quickly, since I'm out on a cell: I do not believe my butcher kept meat but I am more likely to believe that he didn't get to it in a timely manner and it was stored with hide on in the game bags. It sounds like the front shoulder and loose pieces were what was lost.

My takeaway is to skin it there like we did on the first elk and also get as much blood off and the meat cooled (getting that dry skin thing going) before bagging.
 

nuevo_eph

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Gerald was right - the bloody "goop" (my words) was between the shoulder and ribs, on the side in contact with the ground for half of the dressing time.
 

WapitiBob

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Gerald was right - the bloody "goop" (my words) was between the shoulder and ribs, on the side in contact with the ground for half of the dressing time.

Standard procedure for shot animals.
The blood will follow the membranes between the muscles and there is a large amount of them on the front end of an animal as the front "quarters" aren't attached by joints. I just scrape it off or use my havalon to cut the "closest to muscle" membrane free from the quarter and the coagulated blood will go with it.
 

Topgun 30-06

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The OP says he used the gutless method, but later says the meat still had the hide on when it was put in the bags and taken to the processor. I take that to mean that no hide was removed from the 4 quarters and only possibly along the backbone to take the backstraps off. If the meat was taken right in to the processor that same day, I can't imagine why they wouldn't take the meat out of the bags and hang it on meat hooks in the cooler until it was processed. This whole deal really sounds fishy to me and if it was all left in the bags with the hide on it may well have soured and IMHO would be the fault of the processor. The OP also didn't say if the processor said the meat was no good when it was delivered or if the OP found that out at a later date.
 
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