Stalking

GEORGE WALLACE says: If you are sure the deer is dead, there is no problem with leaving it where it falls and that may indeed give you a better chance of another shot than would be the case if you climbed down from the seat and galumphed all over the ground, fouling it with your scent and the smell of the gralloch.

How long a deer can be left before gralloching will depend on the time of year or, more precisely, on the temperature. And possibly also on your own queasy stomach if you leave it too long!

In warm weather, at the start of the Fallow stalking season in England and Wales, which is August 1, I would advise leaving a carcass no more than a few minutes. In fact I do not shoot deer at that time of year unless I am in a position to gralloch them immediately and then get them quickly into cold storage. They start to stink very rapidly in warm weather and should never be left longer than 20mins to half an hour. Less is better.

In freezing conditions, of course, you can leave the animal all day or all night if necessary, without it decomposing, though you might lose some or all of it to foxes, badgers or big cats if left too long.

Temperatures in between those extremes are a matter for personal judgement. Hanging always improves the texture and flavour of meat and the delay between shooting and cold store is part of the hanging process. Just don’t overdo it.

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