Is slitting the throat of big game necessary?
Should I Slit the Moose Throat?
After a shooting a big game animal such as moose, is it necessary to slit the throat to bleed the animal?
I was told that the meat will spoil if the animal has not been bled out.
You have asked a valid question Aaron. Let's see if I can answer it.
Typically when hunting big game, once an animal has been shot and the hunter approaches, it is already dead. That is to say the heart has stopped beating. Once the heart has stopped beating, cutting the jugular artery will do nothing more than to allow gravity to drain what it can.It is always recommended to approach a downed animal from the rear and ensuring it is dead before you touch it. A very good way to identify if an animal is indeed deceased is to touch the eyeball. If the eye is closed the animal is likely alive and if touching the eye causes any movement... the animal is still alive.The short answer to your question is... no
, slitting the throat is not necessary once the heart has stopped beating.
The big game animal... moose, deer, caribou or what have you once shot will under most circumstances bleed enough internally or through exit wounds to bleed out.
Take example an archers broadhead. If the arrow placement is correct the arrow will penetrate both lungs and possibly the heart and maybe the liver. All these organs will bleed profusely resulting in a bled out animal and a quick death. A rifle hunters bullet will do the same as well as cause collateral damage causing massive hemorrhage and ultimately death.
Let me explain how the idea of throat slitting of big game came about.
In many cultures the slitting of the throat to kill an animal is a ritual of death. The throat of the animal is slit or stuck with a sharp knife while it is still very much alive. The heart beat will then force the blood out of the severed artery and the animal will bleed itself out.
As well as the fact many religious beliefs will not allow the eating of an animal that was not killed in this way.
If we as hunters could get to our game while the heart was still beating, then yes, slitting the throat would be very beneficial. I don't know about you... but if I thought the heart was still beating on a 1400 pound moose, I for one would NOT be reaching over and trying to cut its throat.
I want to be sure it is quite dead before I touch it.
Blood is very quick to spoil and nothing will spoil meat faster than having blood not drained away from or out of the meat. This is one of the reasons I stress so carefully that animals must be field dressed as soon as possible after death.
The field dressing alone will usually drain the blood sufficiently to prevent meat spoilage (bone sour)... provided the meat is cooled soon enough.
Another case in point is that if you plan to drag your animal before hanging the meat, the cut areas around the slit throat are always a good place to trap dirt and other contaminants.
I hope this answers your question.
All the best,"The Moose Man"