Signs of meat spoilage

JTHOMP

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While out hunting for pigs yesterday I came across a pig that someone had shot and left. About a 100lbs sow. Leaving pigs to rot is common practice in this area as the place is over run with them and a lot of guys don't want to mess with them especially being so far back. Can't say I agree with it, but a dead pig is more food for native wildlife. Since I was there to bring home a pig I figured I might as well take the meat.

It was cold to the touch and still in rigor. The eyes didn't have that glazed over sunk in look yet. The shot was high quartering away. The entry went through the top of the abdomen and exited the opposite front shoulder splitting the shoulder blade into 3 pieces. It died where it was shot. The low that day was 42 with a high of 52 when I found it around 3:00pm. I discarded the entry side back strap as some gut fluids got on it while quartering, and discarded the exit wound shoulder as it was shot up bad plus some gut smell. Didn't bother taking out the tenderloins or heart. All the meat was cool to the touch even around the joints and went into 1 large game bag. At 3:30 it was quarter and I left for the truck.

I got back to the truck at 5:30pm and didn't have ice in the cooler so I put the bag in the bed of the truck and spread the meat out as best as possible and went to the first gas station. After handling the game bag my hands had a tacky feeling that I had to rinse off in the bayou. This is the first time I've used a game bag so I'm not sure if it's normal. Meat on ice at 6:15pm, and when I got home at 8:00pm I put the game bag in a garbage bag and put it in the freezer.

As far as smell goes I don't have a good sense. Many times I been in a group after catching a boar hog with dogs and while others complain of the stink I never smelled anything strong or off putting. In this scenario I could smell gut particularly around the discarded pieces, and a slight gut smell when I opened my pack to remove the game bag. But I've also killed deer that I know where handled properly and if smelled closely still had a slight unpleasant smell. No bad tastes or outcome from eating it.

At some point in the near future I'll sort the meat out and process it properly. Aside from smell are there any other signs of spoilage I should be looking for? Also is the tacky feeling from the game bag normal or a bad sign?
 
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wllm1313

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Sounds fine to me, I mean the percentage of elk and deer that archers recover 12+ hours after the shot and salvage all of the meat off of has to be something like 25%. Smell is the best way to tell although if it's really bad there will be a color change as well. Obviously, use your best judgement and don't get sick because "some guy on the internet says it was fine", but nothing you have described is a huge red flag for me.

As far as the bags what kind were you using... I can see the cheap cheese cloth ones having a tacky texture, but I don't think that has anything to do with the pig.

From the interwebs, spoiled meat...
spoiledmeat.jpg
 

PrairieHunter

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I would need to be pretty hard up to feed my family something I found considering I have over 100 pounds of good meat in the freezer.

I would chalk this up as good practice and feed it to the dogs/cats and hit the field to go find one to kill myself if I was going to feed it to my family.
 

neffa3

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100% use my nose in that case, "gut" smell is no bueno. If you can't smell have someone else do a sniff test on it during processing.
 

Gerald Martin

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Get someone with a good sense of smell to sniff it for you when you bring it out to process. The nose will not lie. Also if it bone sours it will have a greenish tint and a VERY noticealbe disagreeable smell. Be sure to thaw it out in the refridgerator or similar cold spot so the outside doesn't spoil while the inside is still frozen. I bet it is fine. If you didn't take the meat tainted by the gut juice, that shouldn't affect the rest of it.

One of the best tasting elk I have ever eaten was gut shot and not recovered until the following morning after it was shot. Nightime low of 40 and daytime high of 70. Shot it at 4:30 pm and got it into the cooler on ice at 3 pm the following day. It was totally fine. However, I did bone it out completely and did not let any of the gut juice come into contact with the meat as I butchered. I didn't lose any of it.
 

Big Bore

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HUGE difference between venison and fatty pork. Don't get me wrong...wild hogs can be some of the best eating there is. I keep and eat every one I kill here in Texas. But in my opinion this seriously isn't worth the risk.
 

JTHOMP

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Get someone with a good sense of smell to sniff it for you when you bring it out to process. The nose will not lie. Also if it bone sours it will have a greenish tint and a VERY noticealbe disagreeable smell. Be sure to thaw it out in the refridgerator or similar cold spot so the outside doesn't spoil while the inside is still frozen. I bet it is fine. If you didn't take the meat tainted by the gut juice, that shouldn't affect the rest of it.

One of the best tasting elk I have ever eaten was gut shot and not recovered until the following morning after it was shot. Nightime low of 40 and daytime high of 70. Shot it at 4:30 pm and got it into the cooler on ice at 3 pm the following day. It was totally fine. However, I did bone it out completely and did not let any of the gut juice come into contact with the meat as I butchered. I didn't lose any of it.
Good to know. Thanks. Partly why I kept the meat is because I wanted it, but also with this post wanted to learn in the event I find myself in a situation similar to what you described.
 

Gerald Martin

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I forgot to mention the elk was an early season archery kill when the hair was thin. I did see a late October elk that was left overnight and recovered the next day in a 50 degree rainy drizzle start to sour. We were able to salvage about 2/3 of the meat by butchering and freezing it at midnight the night after packing it out several miles.
 

neffa3

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GM that's interesting about your archery elk. We had a similar one, though shot in the morning and not found until the following morning, we didn't bone out immediately, and lost probably 3/4 of it. I will be boning out if I ever have a question about it immediately.
 

Gr8bawana

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While out hunting for pigs yesterday I came across a pig that someone had shot and left. About a 100lbs sow. Leaving pigs to rot is common practice in this area as the place is over run with them and a lot of guys don't want to mess with them especially being so far back.

At some point in the near future I'll sort the meat out and process it properly. Aside from smell are there any other signs of spoilage I should be looking for? Also is the tacky feeling from the game bag normal or a bad sign?
Just me .02 cents worth.I don't know if it's possible for meat to be bad without visible signs or smell but why take the chance? It's not like you won't have the chance to take some fresh meat for yourself since the place is over run with them.
 

Gerald Martin

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GM that's interesting about your archery elk. We had a similar one, though shot in the morning and not found until the following morning, we didn't bone out immediately, and lost probably 3/4 of it. I will be boning out if I ever have a question about it immediately.
I hate to derail the OP's thread, but spoilage aka "bone sour" on elk almost always begins in the muscle seams along the major bones. Plus, getting the meat in smaller chunks helps it cool faster. A butcher friend of mine said the key to keeping meat is to get the body heat out as soon as possible and keep the temperature of the meat on a downward trend. You don't have to get it to 40 degrees right away, but the bacteria grows much faster if it cools and warms, cools and warms.

That bull I referenced that we lost was starting to have a sour smell even while packing it out. We were rain soaked, bone tired and my friends who shot it were talking about taking it to the processor in the morning. They weren't exactly thrilled when I told them if they wanted to salvage any of it we had to butcher and freeze it that night. Each piece of boned meat got the smell and vision test with about 1/3 of the meat not passing and being disposed of. He said the rest of it was delicious.
 
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