After a hunter is sure that the downed game animal has expired, it’s time to tag the animal. At this stage hunters should take their time; their main concern is to cool the game animal down. Otherwise there is a good chance that the meat will spoil.
These three factors can spoil meat and make it unsafe to eat:
Bacteria may start to grow if the meat is not cooled quickly. Start the cooling process by field dressing the game animal as promptly as possible. The warmer the weather, the sooner this step must be done.
When dragging or moving the game animal to a vehicle or a pickup point, keep it as clean as possible. If hunting in an area that has livestock, ensure the game animal is not dragged over manure in the field. Avoid getting dirt or vegetation inside the cleaned-out body cavity as this will lead to spoilage.
Water on exposed meat breeds bacteria. Carry the game animal over small streams or creeks. If the body cavity gets wet, use paper towels or a clean rag to dry it. Protect your harvested game from ice, snow and rain when transporting.