Field care of Antelope

tteel

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Just curious how everybody addresses field care of antelope meat. I have heard the meat is some of the best wild game in North America, but it was also referenced to land carp in a podcast. I am assuming poor field care equals poor meat. I already plan on wearing nitrile gloves and using two knives for field dressing and meat processing. I am not sure if I am going to quarter or use a wheeled cart to remove the animal from the field. Do most people debone and into a cooler or use a local commercial processor. We are hunting the Newcastle area. Does anyone have any tips on areas to avoid or dealing with scent glands? I know I am still a week out from the trip but the weather looks like it will be high 60 low in 40s.
 

sbhooper

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Do a search. First thing that should be used, when considering any common question. Having gotten the head shaking out of the way, here is my advice, for what it's worth. KILL THE ANTELOPE.
Do the gutless dressing method. ( If you don't know, then check any number of sources).
Bone the meat out and put it in your pack.
Return to truck, where you WILL HAVE a cooler full of ice waiting.
Rinse the meat off well, using the five-gallon jugs of water that you WILL HAVE IN YOUR TRUCK.
Don't worry about a little hair, here and there. It DOES NOT affect the taste of the great meat, unless you are dumb enough to cook it on the meat. Irrelevant. Too many people worry about this trivial bs.
You only need one good, SHARP knife. Do the gutless method, bone the meat out, rinse it, put it on ice. GO HOME AND ENJOY THE GREATEST MEAT AVAILABLE!
 

tteel

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I just did a search and found the info I needed. Even scrolled through all the bickering back and forth of information of who is right and wrong. I guess that is the internet for you. I have done plenty of field dressing of deer and elk. I know its not much different but I want to take the best possible care I can to put the best product on the table. I know whitetails have glands within the meat that need to be removed when processing but have not heard much about antelope other than it can go south if not done properly. So if anyone has the ability close the thread so others don't get to butt hurt.
 

HiMtnHntr

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Quarter on site and put in game bags. Keep a cooler with ice in your truck. Get the meat in there asap and keep it from getting wet. Cook it like you would deer or elk meat and you're in good shape, unless you don't cook either one of those much, then you maybe needin some advice on that ...
 

mtmuley

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I just did a search and found the info I needed. Even scrolled through all the bickering back and forth of information of who is right and wrong. I guess that is the internet for you. I have done plenty of field dressing of deer and elk. I know its not much different but I want to take the best possible care I can to put the best product on the table. I know whitetails have glands within the meat that need to be removed when processing but have not heard much about antelope other than it can go south if not done properly. So if anyone has the ability close the thread so others don't get to butt hurt.
Nobody here is butt hurt.. yet. The antelope care threads are right up there with pickups, and bullets. Just use common sense and cool the animal. Believe it or not, you don't have to use gutless, immediately pack the meat on ice or bone one out. Same as deer or elk, just get the meat cool. mtmuley
 
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WyoDoug

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Just curious how everybody addresses field care of antelope meat. I have heard the meat is some of the best wild game in North America, but it was also referenced to land carp in a podcast. I am assuming poor field care equals poor meat. I already plan on wearing nitrile gloves and using two knives for field dressing and meat processing. I am not sure if I am going to quarter or use a wheeled cart to remove the animal from the field. Do most people debone and into a cooler or use a local commercial processor. We are hunting the Newcastle area. Does anyone have any tips on areas to avoid or dealing with scent glands? I know I am still a week out from the trip but the weather looks like it will be high 60 low in 40s.
There are people who will dissagree with me, but I skin and quarter my antelope immediately and leave the spinal column and viscera at the kill site. I put the meat on ice immediately as in my eperience, the sooner you get the hide and the meat cooled, the better off it tastes. Again, other factors affect that like the amount of adrenalin that is pumped into the blood stream I prefer to shoot relaxed antelope, never a running one. I also like the heart and liver so the gutless method does not work for me. I also take the ribs with the backbone and brisket bones cut off. What is left is called St Louis ribs in pork. I then cut each side in half lengthwise to give me two sets of short ribs. Perfect for grilling and while I do trip some of the excess fat off along with any silver skin, I leave the meat attached to the rib bones. Perfect smoked and grilled.
 

tteel

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There are people who will dissagree with me, but I skin and quarter my antelope immediately and leave the spinal column and viscera at the kill site. I put the meat on ice immediately as in my eperience, the sooner you get the hide and the meat cooled, the better off it tastes. Again, other factors affect that like the amount of adrenalin that is pumped into the blood stream I prefer to shoot relaxed antelope, never a running one. I also like the heart and liver so the gutless method does not work for me. I also take the ribs with the backbone and brisket bones cut off. What is left is called St Louis ribs in pork. I then cut each side in half lengthwise to give me two sets of short ribs. Perfect for grilling and while I do trip some of the excess fat off along with any silver skin, I leave the meat attached to the rib bones. Perfect smoked and grilled.
Thanks Doug. I was actually going to take a sawzall to make a bone in chop with the backstrap. I also like to take the heart for dinner that night. I always field dress immediately, but I dont understand why so many people quarter in the field on such a small animal.
 

WyoDoug

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Thanks Doug. I was actually going to take a sawzall to make a bone in chop with the backstrap. I also like to take the heart for dinner that night. I always field dress immediately, but I dont understand why so many people quarter in the field on such a small animal.
I quarter mainly so it fits in the cooler. Some people just pack the chest cavity with frozen milk jugs. That works too but not as well as using the cooler in my opinion. I have one large cooler that can hold an antelope or deer if I quartered it and removed the feet. I like mine iced down really well so the main reason I quarter it.
 

BrianID

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I've done boneless, quartered or just gutted. The important thing is that you cool the meat just like you would deer or elk. The problem is that it isn't uncommon for someone to shoot a pronghorn when it is 90 degrees outside and drive around with it in the back of their truck the rest of the day. If it is hot outside, I bring a cooler with ice and get it in their immediately. Since they are small, they are much easier to deal with than an elk or even a big mule deer. The one I killed this past week was about 800 yards from a road and I had the meat in a cooler full of ice within 45 minutes of shooting it. An elk would have taken me at least a couple hours.
 

WyoDoug

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Also the statement that Wyoming wind is enough to cool the carcass is partially true and need some more context. I have hunted antelope for the past 16 years almost strictly in Wyoming. The Wyoming wind is enough to cool the carcass depending on the time of the year you hunt. It don't start getting cold enough to do that until rifle season opens up and even then it might not be cold enough. I hunt antelope almost strictly archery so I am hunting from opening day in August for archery when it is in the mid 90s down to lower 80s. You also might experience drying out of the meat if you depend on Wyoming wind to cool it as Wyoming is semi-arid so the dry wind draws the moisture out, sometimes to an excess, sometimes not noticeable.

Even if I hunted rifle, I would still quarter mine and put it in coolers just because of my own experience with it. I found that cooling the meat immediately and getting it as cold as possible really enhances the quality of the meat. Aside from that though, when the highs are below 60 and lows right at or just above freezing, you can dry age your antelope and that tenderizes the meat and also gives it great flavor and quality of the mean also increases. I don't age my antelope just because I don't have a cool place to hang it without getting feral cats and stray dogs attacking the meat.
 
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LopeHunter

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If caping, try to keep blood off the hair as is hollow and do not drag the front of the animal while on the ground for even a few feet. Do not pull on the hide as cape. Har will pull out in tufts. Be very careful to not let bacteria build up on the cape as pronghorn seems to experience hair slip faster and more often that deer, elk, moose, goat and sheep. A wet cape will have bacteria grow water than a dry cape.
 

Bigjay73

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Try both gutless and gutted methods. I've gone back and forth between the 2, but have gone back to gutting. Peace of mind for me when removing back hams and tenderloins. Only takes 5 mins to gut medium sized animals, only time I wont is if the digestive tract has been damaged by the projectile, then its gutless. Find what works for you.
 

Straight Arrow

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There is much good information in the above-linked thread from last summer regarding care of the wild game akin to the giraffe.
 
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Focus

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Try both gutless and gutted methods. I've gone back and forth between the 2, but have gone back to gutting. Peace of mind for me when removing back hams and tenderloins. Only takes 5 mins to gut medium sized animals, only time I wont is if the digestive tract has been damaged by the projectile, then its gutless. Find what works for you.
I’m not fast enough to avoid the headache of having the stomach compartment bloat, especially in warmer weather, so gutting is my choice prior to breaking the animal down. If I don’t gut, getting the tenderloins out is dang near impossible without somehow deflating the stomach compartment which is always an iffy proposition (at least for me......I picture poking it and having guts blow up all over me).
 

Focus

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The Wyoming wind is enough to cool the carcass depending on the time of the year you hunt.
My son shot two does last week inside about a minute. This was last Thursday when the wind kicked up to 35-40 mph around noon. We thought we were being really smart by laying the quarters over those stunted sagebrush stalks to cool them. I wish we had put them in game bags first because the crust that formed on them made us trim a lot of meat and the yield was terrible on his critters.

The next day wasn’t nearly as windy and the quarters off the doe I shot were laid out on the tailgate for about 30 minutes and in plastic trash bags and on ice within an hour. I got nearly as much meat off my one as we did off of his two.
 
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