There are some things you cannot believe people say out loud and when doing research on this fieldnote, I was shocked and dumbfounded more than once. I wanted to know how long after I shot a duck can I wait to clean it? Simple right? It’s not! It’s like no one wants to commit to giving you an answer. The Department of Health says something about temperature and bacteria. All valid. A lot of smarties working there with their Beakers, Bunson Burners and Petri dishes. Then the old timers start talking about leaving game hanging until the head disconnects from the rest of the body, only then you should start doing something. That's just gross. I even found someone named Gizzard Girl that thinks you can just play it by ear. What does that even mean? Play it by ear?? Maybe by smell, but listening to it??? Nah!

What I needed to find was a couple of reliable sources repeating the same theme. There are variables to almost everything but I found what make sense to me. Understand though, what makes sense to me doesn’t mean it’s correct. It’s just what those who came before me did and now I do. Another thing the old timers said was, “and I haven’t died yet!” What?? What??!!

Two things happen when I harvest a duck. It either gets cleaned on my Orbizorb Cleaning Pad and eaten that day or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t it will sit breast up in my garage for a day or two. I’m not going to sit here and play super conservation guy and mislead you by saying I’ve never wasted a duck, because I have. Most of my harvested ducks get eaten. My kids love them and so do I. We don’t do anything cray-cray, just a little olive oil and some teriyaki and we are good to go.

The biggest variable I found that made the most impact to the most people, excluding Gizzard Girl, was temperature. It seemed the common temp that the smarties said to pay attention to was 40 degrees. At 40 degrees or below you could comfortably go a day or two before cleaning your bird. This sat very well with me because that’s exactly what I do. If I ever wasted a duck it was because the temp in the garage got warm and the duck went bad. I’m guessing that temperature was above 40 degrees. Boom! It all adds up.

41 degrees and above is when bacteria and other little gross things start giving birth on your game. It’s also said that any food left out at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded. This is another part that makes me crazy because I was the guy at the back-yard pig roast wedding last year that was munching on the pasta salad all day! I mean all day and into the night all while dancing away with Gizzard Girl.


Happy Cleaning!