Aging game taken down in warm weather can present a unique set of challenges for outdoorsmen.

A 65ºF temperature at the time of the kill will result in less toughening and hardening of the muscles due to rigor mortis than will a temperature of 34ºF. In addition, the action of natural enzymes which are responsible for tenderness increases is much faster at 65ºF. Thus, aging at 65ºF for 3 days gives the same amount of tenderization as the more conventional aging temperature of 34ºF for 2 weeks. Therefore, game which is killed when the temperature is near 65ºF and held at this temperature should not be aged.

Game slaughtered in the cold months of November and December should be aged longer than game slaughtered in the warm months of September and October. Alternating temperatures, such 65ºF days and 30°F nights speeds up the aging process. Under these conditions aging game 1 week or less is recommended.

During warm hunting seasons, special care should be taken to keep the carcass cool. It should be kept in the shade and allowed as much air circulation as possible. Transport the carcass to camp and skin it if the temperature is expected to be above freezing the first night after the kill. Cheese cloth or light cotton bags should be used to protect the meat from insects and dirt. Because they hold in heat and cause meat to spoil rapidly, airtight game bags or tarps should not be used.

If you follow this guide you’ll be sure to keep your meat in perfect form so that it will taste whenever you decide to thaw some out for dinner.


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