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My local processor moved and I am thinking of trying my

hand at doing this myself. How steep is the learning curve? Any recommendations for a book or a DVD to learn the process?

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Wife and I typically do 4-8 deer, antelope, and feral hogs a year, plus the odd elk or bison from time to time. Not a big deal really. Well, OK, bison can be a big deal at times (see pic below, we had 2 of those buggers on the ground in that little adventure!!).  Anyway, seems like it becomes part of the whole hunt process and adds to it really.  I'll post up a link that gives a decent rundown.   Good luck.

http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_circulars/circ508.pdf

IMG_1067.jpg

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Almost Heaven GSP's

We've always done our own Butchering except for one occasion where we had a processor do an entire Deer up for us and it was nowhere near the quality of job that we do ourselves. My personal process has evolved over the years to suit my taste, while using virtually every single bit of meat with the most efficient method for me and leaving a virtually bare skeleton. As a recommendation, buy yourself a VERY GOOD 8-9" Chefs Knife(?), it will be money well spent

I couldn't find the specific one I was looking for, but here is a host of video's on Youtube that would likely help:

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It is not hard at all.  Kind of boring, though, if you don't have good company with you.
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I do 3 to 6 animals a year (deer, elk and antelope).  The gear I use is sharp knives, grinder and food vac.  If you're only doing deer, I'd buy the basic grinder model.  Cut out your steak, roasts and loins and then grind the rest.  It's not hard and you'll have better quality and more meat than a butcher.
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My local processor moved and I am thinking of trying my

hand at doing this myself. How steep is the learning curve? Any recommendations for a book or a DVD to learn the process?

it would probably help to know what big game you're inquiring about.

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My local processor moved and I am thinking of trying my

hand at doing this myself. How steep is the learning curve? Any recommendations for a book or a DVD to learn the process?

it would probably help to know what big game you're inquiring about.

Yes a little brain dead today! My boys and I usually end up with 3 or more deer each year. The processor I used did a nice job with some roasts and strips and lots of sausage and jerky. For what I spent on the jobs in the past I think I will just invest in the tools watch some videos and go seat of the pants.

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Michael Stenstrom
To me it is the completion of the hunt.  When I started I lived on a dead end road.  There were two other guys who hunted.  Whoever got a deer hosted and we went over and butchered their deer.  Everyone who helped took some with them.  I learned to bone and cut up steaks and bits.  Good bits went to stew and bad bits got ground.  I think boning the deer really helps get rid of any "gaminess"  Once the meat is off the bone we would separate the the main muscle groups.  Then cut them into the appropriate sub groups already mentioned.  I have added a vacuum packaging machine to add life to the meat.  I have moved but still extend an invitation to my hunting buddies.  Sometimes it is one other and some times it is 3 or 4.  good luch and enjoy the process.
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two tips have every knife you own sharp so you can keep working

if your doing it by yourself buy an old refrigerator and stick the quarters in there and just do a couple each night cutting up a whole one can be tiring especially down here where its hot and hanging them is not an option

technically its simple but have the patience to trim the silver skin ect and you will have a better product

I do 5-10 I kill every year

also if you vacumm pack and have a old fridge place the meat you cut up on flat cookie sheets in it and let it cool before you vacumm package it that makes it easier to package

the old fridge can be cleaned up and be the beer cooler in the garage all summer

if you shoot a small one take the back straps and cut them thick then cut them again about 80% thru and butterfly them, now you have a larger and coorectly thick delicious piece of meat

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I process my own big game animals (elk, deer, antelope)and would not have it any other way. I'm pretty particular about how it gets done because I am the one who will be eating it.

I bone everything out, separate the meat into individual muscles and trim away all of the connective tissue and any fat, etc. I don't wrap any bone...only meat.

I slice the muscles into steaks and chops, cube some stew meat, grind neck meat, rib meat and parts of the front quarters into burger and make sausage by mixing 50-50 ground game meat and pork sausage and adding some seasoning.

My grinder is an old hand grinder that my Grandmother gave me many years ago. It gets the job done, but I always wish for a modern electric grinder when butchering an elk...it's alot of cranking!

Alone I can butcher and wrap a deer in about 3 hours and an elk in about 6-7 hours if I work hard. It's alot easier if you have some help..especially with the grinding and wrapping.

I enjoy butchering my own game and think I get a much better tasting product than I'd receive from a commercial processor.

O/U

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I did a few deer and wasn't happy w/the result. Since then I use a processor who ages the meat for up to a week in a walk in cooler before cutting to my specs. If he closes shop I'm taking my big game down to a butcher south of me, last name is Stenstrom I think...

If I actually shot more big game I'd start doing it myself again, but in ME you don't exactly stack them up--not due to incompetence but do to low game limits.

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This post has inspired me.   I used to do my own butchering but have come to like my deer ground into hamburg (except the Tenderloins and chops).

This is partially due to my aversion to shooting tender little fawns and partially due to the inefficiency of my chomping apparatus that has come with age.

I noticed last fall, that the price of butchering has gone up quite a bit in the last few years so I suddenly remembered that I had saved a link in my bookmarks that was posted here years ago for an electric meat grinder at a decent price.  

 Northern Tool is the company and the reviews for their meat grinder were overwhelmingly positive.  

It also happens to be on sale for $99.99!! down from $139.99.

So it's on its' way and here's hoping I see a nice, big deer to try it out on.  I can make my own sausage with it as well.

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Lee - I use a similar sized grinder for the past 10+ years.  It's fine for deer but small for elk.  I've been trying to burn it out for the past 5 years to buy a larger but haven't been successful, yet.
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Lee - I use a similar sized grinder for the past 10+ years.  It's fine for deer but small for elk.  I've been trying to burn it out for the past 5 years to buy a larger but haven't been successful, yet.

That's good to know.  All I'll ever use it for is deer so it should do well.

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