Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gettin’ game? Good. Now learn to cut it like a pro.

By: Grant Alban

It’s mid October.  You’re in shape.  You've hiked ridges and scouted all summer long.  Your rifle is sighted in and your boots fit like a glove.  You've got your tags and you know the country like the back of your hand.  You’re confident you’ll be pulling into the “Hunters With Game” line at the Game Check Station. 

You've literally left no detail unaccounted for in preparation for this year’s hunting season. 

Fast forward a few weeks.  The pressure is off and elk quarters are hanging in your garage.  Your knives are sharp and you just bought a new vacuum sealer.  There is only one more thing to do to close out another successful Montana big game season – butcher your meat. 

But ask yourself this: do you know how to properly butcher an animal?  If you’re like most of us out there, you don’t.  Sure, we've all cut up our game – some of us many times over.  We’ve separated muscle groups and spent hours hunkered over a table, backs aching as we try to remove the last of the stubborn silverskin.  In the end, our freezers are full and we sit back with a grin of contentment.

But wouldn't it be nice to really butcher the animal?  To pull meat off the barbecue for dinner guests and explain to them exactly what cut they are eating that evening?  Imagine yourself saying, “Enjoy this elk T-Bone, my friend,” or “What do you think about that muley’s top sirloin, bro?” 

Learn how to properly butcher an animal, and the lessons will pay dividends for the rest of your hunting life.  Or don’t, and always refer to every cut as a “steak.” 

If you live in or around Missoula, consider coming out next Wednesday October 22 to join local hunters like you and me who are looking to hone their meat cutting skills.  We’ll be gathering for an evening of a live butcher demonstration, complete with hearty specialty off-cut appetizers (can anyone say duck rolls?), and local beer to boot. Only thing – tickets are limited. Get yours today ($12 student, $15 regular) at: http://www.hellgatehuntersandanglers.org/events.


Grant Alban is a member of Hellgate Hunters and Anglers and works as a Development Associate for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Grant lives for hunting season and enjoys elk and antelope hunting. He also finds time to guide his wonderful wife down Montana’s rivers while she casts to rising cutthroat trout. 


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