If I shoot pigeon in the field, can I breast them out there or do I need to hang and cool them? If it can be done in the field, what is the best storage container for them? Also, if paunched in the field, for how long must I hang a rabbit before skinning and cooking? Do I have to leave it in the fridge before preparing it?
The extent to which game should be hung is down to personal taste. I always used to hang birds and animals for several days before preparing them, but my tastes have changed and today I only hang them for a day or so. I prepare pigeon, rabbits and duck more or less immediately once they have cooled. There is no reason why you should not prepare game in the field ? indeed, there is some advantage, in that plucking and skinning is much easier when the carcase is fresh. The meat should be cooled once it is prepared, however, and a cool box and supply of pre-frozen gel packs would achieve this.
Remember that while meat is still in the skin it has some protection from contamination by micro-organisms. Maintaining food hygiene in the field without the benefit of running water and the ability to wash hands, scissors, knives and so on could present a difficulty. You may wish to take a box of disposable latex gloves with you, together with a supply of freezer bags and a marker pen, so you can seal and label your meat as soon as it’s prepared. A further refinement would be a folding shovel or entrenching tool to enable you to bury skins, heads and offcuts at the end of your trip.