Meat safety on wounded animal

Joined
Sep 24, 2017
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88
Location
Kalispell, Montana
Hey everyone, I have a meat safety question. I got a small doe tonight with my B tag. When I got up to it, I found that the deer had previously been attacked, probably by a coyote. The entire butt area was mutilated, brown, dried up meat (oozing in spots) and it was pretty stinky. I would estimate the wound to be about 3-4 weeks old. The anus was not even identifiable. I’m sure the animal was suffering immensely.

Anyway, I quickly tried to do the gutless method and retrieve as much meat as I could without cutting into the nasty wounded area with my knife. As I was hurrying to finish with low light, I have no photos.

The other meat looked normal and had no smell. But the wounded part was really gross. (I’ve dressed a lot of animals, and I’m not squeamish about that.)

Do you think the rest of the meat is safe to eat?
 
If the wound is that necrotic, the animal likely has some level of sepsis or systemic bacterial infection. Some of these pathogens can infect humans. I personally wouldn’t consume it. If you do eat it, cooking it well to kill any pathogens would be recommended.

In the future, if you can get the carcass inspected by the warden, you could possibly get a replacement tag.
 
I’ve pitched all but the rear quarters of a deer that had a large abscess on his shoulder externally, and a large pocket of pus in his thoracic chamber. I had removed his rear quarters as they seemed distant enough that there shouldn’t have been direct contamination from the old arrow wound (muzzy 4 blade in the center of his chest). After letting the quarters hang in my freezing garage, I came to the conclusion that Pa Engels (Little House on the Prairie) would have eaten that deer. And I realized that I’m not Pa Engels. I pitched the rest of the possibly ok meat, and I’m fine with that in the end.
 
I would probably pitch it if you are not in dire need of meat. Contacting the warden may or may not work to get your tag replaced. I've had a few similar experiences with deer, and so far I've been 1-3 on tags getting replaced. Two were visibly sick/ wounded so I put them down and called it in. Warden shows up tells me I have to tag them regardless, I shouldn't shoot something I know is sick. Third one i didn't know at the shot that something was wrong with it, old broadhead stuck in its back, completely full of infection/fever. Warden took one sniff and told me to pull my tag off and find a healthy deer. .
 
Yeahhh I'm pitching that. Good on you for putting her out of her misery, albeit unknowingly. I don't think anyone's going to fault you for discarding that meat.

I am on a page where a woman posted a photo of her first "ducks", a pair of mergansers. One of her questions was regarding cooking the meat fully because apparently one of the mergansers was so infected with worms that they were crawling out of the mouth. I replied something along the lines of, "while noble of you, no one's going to hold it against you for just throwing that away." She was pretty adamant about eating that little sucker so I don't know. I've never been that hard up for meat to eat something borderline (in that case PAST borderline) so I consider myself fortunate.
 
I don’t know the science behind whether or not it would be safe, but if I wasn’t starving I would err on the side of caution. I killed a turkey that looked like he had been hit by an arrow several days earlier. He was some kinda messed up. I can’t smell to save my life, but I could smell this guy. I initially tried to salvage him, but decided against it. I put him in a spot for the scavengers - I try not to commit stuff like that to a landfill if possible.
 
I wouldn't eat it. You can usually get a replacement tag for the animal like that, call fish and game.

The sheep in my avatar had a small wound on his nose that was mostly healed and scabbed over. He was under weight by about 20%, and I assumed due to the wound. The wound didn't look that bad to me, and I couldn't have imagined it was the cause of his weight loss. He looked healthy otherwise. I killed that ram early the morning I flew out. The meat was cooled out well, and in my refrigerator within 18hrs of shooting him. I anticipated the best tasting sheep meat of my career. It turned out to be absolutely terrible and basically inedible. I've had rutted up mule deer that tasted better. Not sure if the wound was related or if it was something else. No other signs of sepsis or infection were found when cutting him up, other than his light weight. I watched him for a long time before I shot him, and he didn't act any different than the other sheep he was with, or any different than the other 1000 sheep I've watched over the years.
 
I opened my wife’s first deer up and found puss inside the whole thing. I could hardly separate guts from the mustard that oozed all around it. I chucked the worst of it and proceeded to “cam Haynes” that whole deer on my shoulders… had coyotes following yipping all the way to the truck.
Next morning in the garage i realized how bad it really was. I think I still got a couple steaks off the hinds but ultimately most of it turned out a waste. My wife just thought that’s what a deer smelled like 😅.
I haven’t worn that jacket since..

🤢


WTS…..
matching his and hers set of fleece camo! 😂😂🤪🤪
 
If the wound is that necrotic, the animal likely has some level of sepsis or systemic bacterial infection. Some of these pathogens can infect humans. I personally wouldn’t consume it. If you do eat it, cooking it well to kill any pathogens would be recommended.

In the future, if you can get the carcass inspected by the warden, you could possibly get a replacement tag.
Thanks so much for your input. I hunt for meat (family of 5 kids), so I really hate to waste anything. But your comment helped me remember that wasting a game animal is not as bad as seeing my family infected with something.

I was able to talk to one of our wildlife biologists here in Northwest Montana, and he’s working on getting me a replacement tag!
 
I’ve pitched all but the rear quarters of a deer that had a large abscess on his shoulder externally, and a large pocket of pus in his thoracic chamber. I had removed his rear quarters as they seemed distant enough that there shouldn’t have been direct contamination from the old arrow wound (muzzy 4 blade in the center of his chest). After letting the quarters hang in my freezing garage, I came to the conclusion that Pa Engels (Little House on the Prairie) would have eaten that deer. And I realized that I’m not Pa Engels. I pitched the rest of the possibly ok meat, and I’m fine with that in the end.
Haha, I love the Little House on the Prairie reference. My kids are reading the books and started watching the old TV series. We just moved into an old log cabin in the mountains this year, and my kids are just ecstatic that “it’s just like Laura Ingalls.”
 
Yeahhh I'm pitching that. Good on you for putting her out of her misery, albeit unknowingly. I don't think anyone's going to fault you for discarding that meat.

I am on a page where a woman posted a photo of her first "ducks", a pair of mergansers. One of her questions was regarding cooking the meat fully because apparently one of the mergansers was so infected with worms that they were crawling out of the mouth. I replied something along the lines of, "while noble of you, no one's going to hold it against you for just throwing that away." She was pretty adamant about eating that little sucker so I don't know. I've never been that hard up for meat to eat something borderline (in that case PAST borderline) so I consider myself fortunate.
I think sometimes it’s harder to give up your first “success” in hunting. When I was younger, my first duck success was also with Mergansers, and I was determined to make a feast out of them. That experience taught me not to shoot any of those again unless I’m starving. Haha.
 
Find a good spot and use it for coyote bait
I definitely thought about that. Unfortunately, unless it’s on private property, I believe this is now illegal here in Montana where I live. (Not trying to start an argument, just trying to help us all avoid trouble.) For sure, the head on spinal column must be left at the kill site or taken to a landfill, but it seems that they are expanding things to “any part” of the animal.
 

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I wouldn't eat it. You can usually get a replacement tag for the animal like that, call fish and game.

The sheep in my avatar had a small wound on his nose that was mostly healed and scabbed over. He was under weight by about 20%, and I assumed due to the wound. The wound didn't look that bad to me, and I couldn't have imagined it was the cause of his weight loss. He looked healthy otherwise. I killed that ram early the morning I flew out. The meat was cooled out well, and in my refrigerator within 18hrs of shooting him. I anticipated the best tasting sheep meat of my career. It turned out to be absolutely terrible and basically inedible. I've had rutted up mule deer that tasted better. Not sure if the wound was related or if it was something else. No other signs of sepsis or infection were found when cutting him up, other than his light weight. I watched him for a long time before I shot him, and he didn't act any different than the other sheep he was with, or any different than the other 1000 sheep I've watched over the years.
That must’ve been heartbreaking. This was just a doe on an easy hunt and I’m already so frustrated. I cannot imagine the disappointment on a big hunt like that.
 
If Department rules allow for tag replacement regarding the taking of a sick big game animal, I’m sure most Wardens would do so. I always took the spoiled animal, signed the tag, and gave it back to the hunter. Don’t punish a hunter for doing the right thing !!!
 
I officially have a replacement tag in my hands. I spoke with our area wildlife biologist here in NW Montana, and he was extremely understanding and helpful. He asked me to the FWP headquarters with the meat, head, hide (whatever I had in my possession) to surrender in exchange for a new tag. I did bring it all in, and they issued me a new tag. For what it's worth, I use the new e-Tag system, and they are not able (in 2023) to reissue an e-Tag. So my replacement is a paper tag. I'm just very grateful for the opportunity to try again. I have a family with 5 kids, so every tag I can fill helps keep food on the table.
 

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