How long do you wait to retrieve deer after the shot?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersVenison Processing
Dr. Woods,

I have seen you shoot deer early in the hunt and wait several hours before you retrieve your deer. How long do you normally wait to retrieve your deer? Some of the hunts look like it’s warm. Are you ever afraid of the meat spoiling?



There are several factors, including the air temperature, shot placement, etc.  I’ve asked several of my research buddies and none have a definitive answer.  I based my times on experiences from the coastal counties in South Carolina where deer season opens August 15th.  I’ve seen it 100+ degrees there opening day many years.  I was very concerned when I first hunted there.  However, after years of hunting in that environment and seeing lots of deer harvested and not processed for many hours and never hearing of deer spoiling if recovered in a reasonable time and process correctly.

I’m not aware of any research data on the subject.  If you find any, please share it with me!

Enjoy creation,


February 5, 2016