Albany State University students recently went to the Jones Center at Ichauway in Southern Georgia for a hands-on field dressing and processing workshop on deer. Brandon Rutledge, Conservation Coordinator at the Jones Center, welcomed the students on the property and assisted with having deer donated for the event. Academics Afield teaches students are usually taught about conservation, species biology, firearm safety, and hunting tactics before a hunt. After a successful hunt, the students are also provided a chance to assist with field dressing the harvest. Processing a deer is another useful skill for any hunter and a valuable tool for saving money on processing fees. That’s why this collaboration was so beneficial to the Albany State students.
When we arrived at the Jones Center, the students were able to see how expansive and well kept the land was at Ichauway. A few fox squirrels ran across the street and into the trees and we were all impressed by how large they were. As we unloaded at the processing station, we were introduced to multiple employees and shown the ropes. The facilities for processing and storing deer included a walk-in cooler, a freezer, sinks, and multiple gambrel systems. Brandon walked the students through the importance of field dressing deer and one method for achieving this task. We discussed the research done using the deer’s jaw and teeth and how to tell the age of deer. Then it was time for quartering the deer. The students broke off into groups, each with a mentor, and were walked through how to process the deer, how to tell if the deer was healthy and if the meat is usable. Biology and science were sprinkled throughout the process and the students gained a new skill along with useful knowledge for the future.
Next, Brandon broke down a ham into different cuts and explained the best way to process the ham and what to do with the different types of meat. The other mentors with the Jones Center helped to wrap and label all the meat that was processed.
At the end of the workshop, a cooler was filled with all the meat collected from the deer and sent home with the participants from the workshop. Even if they students are unable to harvest a deer for themselves this year, this workshop is allowing them to enjoy the venison and see what it is like to prepare it for consumption. Again, we are very thankful to everyone at the Jones Center that made this workshop come to fruition, including the hunters that donated deer for the event.
The Georgia R3 Initiative is a cooperative effort between Georgia Wildlife Federation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division, National Wild Turkey Federation, the Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International, and Ducks Unlimited.
Academics Afield is supported by a grant (#F22AP00937) from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funded in part by NSSF.
Academics Afield: gwf.org/academicsafield
Georgia R3 Initiative: https://gwf.org/r3/
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About Georgia Wildlife Federation
Georgia Wildlife Federation was founded as a sportsman’s organization in 1936 and is Georgia’s oldest conservation organization. Today, members include hunters, anglers, bird watchers, hikers, educators, and all Georgians who are interested in preserving our natural resources and outdoor heritage.