The Boning Process
After bringing your game down, you must decide whether or not to bone. Boning simply means removing all the meat from the bones — usually in the field.
Some folks swear by it while others swear at it! Here are some of the pros and cons of boning.
The Downside of Boning
Why would it be a bad idea to bone out your game?
- It dries out the meat,
- The meat can get that ‘gamey taste’ or even spoil,
- Dirt and other contaminants can affect the meat.
- If you are boning, you aren’t hunting.
- State regulations may require you to remove the animal in a particular way, so it can still be identified.*
As you cut the meat away from the bones, it exposes that meat to the air, which dries out the flesh. When you are ready to prepare your game for processing, you may have to throw away overly dried, shriveled meat.
When you are out in the field, sanitation conditions are dicey. The chances of the meat spoiling — or adding that gamey taste — increase the longer the meat is exposed to the elements.
Another issue is the fact that if you are busy boning, you are not hunting! Some hunters see this as a terrible waste of their limited hunting hours.
Finally, nothing else matters if your state requires you to remove game from the field in a certain way, so it can still be identified!
The Advantages of Boning
There are a couple of reasons you might want to bone out your animal in the field:
- You are only moving meat, thus reducing the weight of your pack back to camp.
- If you had to bring ice to keep the meat safe, you won’t need nearly as much to cover the meat, instead of the carcass.
The rule of thumb among seasoned hunters is: Only bone out an animal as a last resort when the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Of course, if your state specifies how an animal is to be transported from the field, all other considerations are immaterial!
* The state of Texas requires that deer be removed from the field in quarters, so the animal can still be identified.
‘Early Snowfall’ Rear Window Graphic used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics.
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com