How quickly should you gralloch the deer and how should you dispose of it?

If the animal has fallen to a clean heart/lung shot, then it doesn’t really matter how soon you gut it, as long as it is properly bled out. If, however, your bullet has blown gut content into the body cavity, then the sooner the mess is cleaned up, the better.

I always carry out the gralloch on a deer in the field as soon after death as possible.

What should you do with the gralloch?

The gralloch is, of course, a most valuable source of food for all sorts of wildlife, particularly in winter when food may be short, so it is best left in the woods or on the hillside – provided it is not near footpaths or places the public are likely to walk.

Current Government advice is as follows.

For healthy deer, it is recommended that gralloch should be:
• covered with soil, rocks or wood to prevent access by scavengers
• at least 250 metres from any well, spring or borehole used as a source of drinking water
• at least 30m from any other spring or watercourse and at least 10m from any drain
• have at least 1m of subsoil below the bottom of the burial pit, allowing a hole deep enough for at least 1m of soil to cover the carcass
• be free of water at the bottom of the hole, when first dug.

Those are recommendations rather than law so you must decide under your own circumstances exactly how to dispose of healthy gralloch to prevent any risk of offending members of the public.

In areas with no public access, I reckon the stuff is much too valuable to be destroyed or buried and should be left available as a food source for birds of prey, foxes, badgers and all the other members of Mother Nature’s highly efficient refuse disposal team.

In hard weather, when food is scarce, a gralloch can be a real life saver to all sorts of creatures, including endangered and at risk species.