I’m getting bruising and meat damage on my deer carcasses, what’s the best way to minimise meat damage? Dom Holtam replies...

Q: I’ve noticed that I am getting a fair bit of meat damage on my deer carcasses, lots of ‘jelly’ and bruising. What is the best way to reduce this?

DOM HOLTAM replies: A slow, heavy bullet will generally do less damage than a fast, light bullet. Frangible bullets travelling very fast will fragment more on impact. A traditional soft-nose that delivers controlled expansion and is designed to exit the animal will most likely break up less.

However, there are a few other things to consider: hitting heavy bone (shoulder/spine) can change the result considerably and correct shot placement can really help to minimise the damage to the carcass. Rib to rib behind the shoulder on a sideways beast should do little damage to the main ‘meat’ areas but will deliver a fast, humane kill.

And, for me, that is the really big one: meat damage is entirely secondary to a clean kill. If you lose a little venison but your animal is dispatched swiftly, does it really matter? Trim out the bruising and be pleased with a job well done. I know some people make good money from their carcasses but profit should never come at the expense of deer welfare.