Most butchers like to start their day surrounded by stainless steel in a nice, clean kitchen.
Jason Nauert of the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat likes to find a nice patch of dirt.
“This is my office,” the Woodland Park native said while standing at the base of the mountains just outside Monument. “I love it.”
One of Jason’s main gigs is working with Army Special Forces on how to properly field dress game.
“There’s some ways to preserve it,” Nauert said. “Smoke it over fire. If they have enough salt they can cure some of it. Dig a hole about four and a half or five feet down. Build yourself a shelf and put the meat in there, and cover it up. It’s only going to save you a day or two, but it keeps it from going rancid overnight.”
The Army sought him out because the troops often encounter less than ideal food on deployment.
Nauert teaches them how to get the most use from all parts of an animal, and how to make it last.
Our troops are better prepared when they buy or kill an animal while on a mission because of the skills learned from Nauert.
“The last thing you need is those types of soldiers going down because they’re ill or sick,” he said.
He’s worked with more than 100 troops at Fort Bragg, Fort Carson, and even one trip to Germany.
Nauert's been field dressing game for more than 35 years.
“I think my dad and my brother realized I was probably a better butcher than they were,” Nauert recalled from childhood hunting excursions.
He just had to try out some other jobs before realizing he was destined to be a butcher. He worked in construction, as a sheriff’s deputy, overseas in contract security and landscaping first.
He finally found one worth keeping.