Venison safe to eat from a wounded deer?

Asked November 20, 2013, 2:39 PM EST

We just had a call at the office asking if the hind quarters of his deer would still be good to keep. He shot the deer, and when he got up to it he noticed it had been wounded by an arrow across the back. Would it be safe to eat even where the wound was? What should he do?

Isabella County Michigan

1 Response

As with any of these types of questions, "it depends" is usually included in the answer! In general, the meat from the animal should still be safe to eat with the exception of the area around both the previous wound and the gunshot wound. If there were no other signs of disease, including but not limited to foul smell or odor coming from the meat, then it should be ok to consume. The area from the previous wound would likely have bruising and possibly other contaminants in and around it. I would suggest cutting the meat from that area away and properly disposing of it and not consuming it. That is also suggested for the area around the gunshot wound, as that could have contamination from the bullet.

It is important to make sure that the meat is handled in an appropriate manner. The carcass should be cooled as quickly as possible and kept at a temperature below 40 degrees F and out of direct sunlight. It does not need to hang and should be processed as quickly as possible. Also, preparation of the venison should be done properly and make sure to cook the meat to at least 160 degrees F internal temperature.

There are several articles on the MSUE website related to properly processing and preparing venison.

I hope this information is helpful.