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Posts Tagged ‘water fowler’


On one of my day trips into the wetlands, I met a fellow waterfowler and we exchanged stories during a brief conversation. He had told me about a time when he was out in the marsh and another hunter had shot a Canada goose. He saw the bird fall on the other side of the pond but the shooter failed to retrieve the bird, because it was too difficult but not impossible to reach. The shooter said that it was a great shot but he did not see any reason why he should retrieve it. He was convinced nature would take its course and the coyotes would get to it in the evening. In most provinces this is illegal to abandon game or allow it to spoil.

Unknown to this careless hunter, the other fellow I met sent in his dog after the goose and he soon assisted in tackling the goose and finally harvesting it in knee deep water. This could have been considered spoiled game but because some of us actually respect nature the bird was spared and a family benefited from a nice evening meal.

Spoiled game is very similar to spoiled meat that you may encounter in the local grocery store if the dates are entered incorrectly. The meat will have a strong odor and bacteria will grow, the meat may become slimy in texture; the meat may also become sticky. Depending on where the animal is hit, it is important to properly field dress and remove all its internal organs with the use of latex gloves. It is also a good idea to carry plastic bags, cheese bags, a bottle of water, a good cutting knife and small axe if needed. Some hunters even use small chain saws to break the chest cavity of the moose or large elk. These are all steps to ensure that the game remain fresh and avoid spoiling the meat after the shot has been taken.

During our hunters’ education course, we are all taught where to aim in one specific place normally just around the shoulder blade in order to minimize the suffering, hitting vital organs such as the lungs or heart. This also minimizes the damage done to the game in order to be able to enjoy a nice meal as well as the trophy. Time is of the essence when retrieving the game and if you do not get an accurate shot the first time you will have to take a second one and this might hit an area where spoiling the game may be the outcome. This is a great way to avoid spoiling the game meat and stress to the animal. A great example of this was depicted in the show “Safari Hunters Journal” hosted by Steve Scott on Wild TV hunting and fishing network. On one of his brilliant hunts they harvested an elephant that was harassing the local corn fields and once the elephant trophy was taken, the meat was then distributed throughout the local village. The trophy was achieved but the meat was not wasted.

Lead poisoning, what about it? Extensive research has been conducted in the US and other countries in order to prove that bullets with lead can potentially poison wildlife and humans. In the UK, there has been talk of attempting to ban bullets containing lead which are used in stalking rifles for deer. My aim is not to focus on this debate; I would rather not use ammunition with lead if at all preventable. Does it spoil the meat? I would think it depends on the levels of lead in the game after the shot is taken.

When any large or small game is shot, it is a good idea to field dress it right away in order to avoid any type of bacteria or contamination to take place. Many websites and field dressing manuals encourage the bleeding out of the animal and keeping it cool as well as removing all its internal organs, this is good practice to avoid spoiling the meat. Sometimes ice is added to the chest cavity and the rest of the carcass to preserve the meat during transport. Field dressing game is a whole blog entry on its own. Cooler bags are brilliant for large game.

Any game that has been hit by traffic would be considered spoiled game as the bones and damage done to the intestines or other organs could cause bacterial and toxic poisoning. The same applies to game that has been hit in the intestines by a bullet or other organs containing fluids that could become hazardous.

Be a good hunter, respect and follow the laws concerning abandoning game. Try to use environmentally friendly ammunition if possible such as steel instead of lead and spend some time at the range working on the accuracy of your shots. Review the types of ammunition and ballistics used for the type of game you are attempting to harvest. Do not spoil the sport but spoil yourself!

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