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How many do their own butchering


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I haven't deer hunted in a few years, but I always used to do my own.

I'm going again this year and my plan is to bring a few coolers, a saw, and a backpack in the car, quarter the deer on the spot, and bring home only the quarters.  Seems like it should save a lot of mess at home as well as the drudgery of dragging a deer out.

I'll wrap the chops, steaks, and roasts.  I'll cut out everything else and send it to a local sausage shop for processing.

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Better check to make sure that is legal.  It's not in Maine.

Yeah, I'm going to double check with the DNR before doing it.

But I think it should be okay now since they're doing online deer registration.  My thought is to tag the deer, register it via iPhone, then quarter it.  The regulations don't seem to say anything about transporting the deer whole anymore like they used to.  Even in the old days, though, they didn't get excited about a quartered deer if you told them you shot it way back in the brush and really didn't want to drag it out.

As a slight aside, our DNR seems to have shifted job descriptions about ten years ago.  It used to be that they were out there trying to catch people without a license or otherwise violating game laws.  Now their primary tasks seem to be encouraging people to get out without shooting each other or creating trespass complaints.

Last year I ran into two game wardens in the woods.  Both asked me about hunting, road conditions, bird numbers, etcetera, but neither checked my license or bag.  Weird.

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  • 2 weeks later...
northern_hunting_mom

We've always butchered our own, even moose. That is work but worth it. We bone out. I have a hand crank grinder but I don't grind it then. I leave it in chunks to freeze it in dinner sized portions since burger doesn't keep as well. The meat should be as cold as possible when making sausage so it doesn't get fully thawed. Its perfectly safe to freeze, thaw and refreeze once, actually, it makes for a more tender fare. Its also a lot of work to butcher and grind in the same day.

Deer we bring home whole if we have a truck to bring it home. If its the Aveo, we quarter it obviously. Loren can legally drop 9 deer this year and I can hunt as much as my conscience allows so an electric grinder would be nice when making a large batch of sausage. Although its easier to put the hand model in the freezer to chill it.

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I got away from butchering several years ago because I just couldn't justify the work and mess for the $70 the local shop charged. Last year my son (who hunts with me in OH but lives in FL) wanted to take some home with him but didn't have time to wait for the processor. We ended up butchering three deer.

Earlier this week I made up a processing table top in preparation for this season. The only things I need to operate more efficiently are a meat grinder and a vacuum sealer. The small hand grinder I have is slow and a lot of work, and wrapping paper doesn't preserve the meat nearly as well as a vacuum sealer.

Some tips and thoughts:

Have decent quality knives and a good sharpener.

Chilled meat (firm but not frozen) is much easier to cut than warmer meat.

Keep a bucket of warm water available to clean the sticky meat from your hands.

A cooler of beer makes the process seem faster.

Boned meat takes up much less room in the freezer and makes for better venison too.

Eat some back straps immediately after butchering.

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My wife and I have butchered our own meat for 20 years and I did my own for 10 years before we were married. I did have a moose done here and while the shop did a good job I felt the trim was excessive. They are in the business to process meat in a hurry and cannot take the time to be as particular as the individual can. I also didn't care for the $350 price tag and we didn't have anything special made up.

We have always used saran wrap and freezer paper and have never had any loss due to freezer burn even after a couple of years. The vacuum sealers are great but bags and rolls are expensive, especially when you get into moose sized critters.

There are some good shops but after some of the horror stories I have heard from around here, I am leery to take my meat to any shop. My buddy, very meticulous about his meat care, took his caribou to a local shop. He saved out a few steaks prior to dropping the meat off and they were great. The stuff he got back was most assuredly not off the same animal (it was awful) and the shop even admitted that they wouldn't guarantee the burger to be from the same animal. Another friend had his mountain goat lost at the same shop.

I take too much time and care to make sure I get good meat from the field to my home to risk loosing it. I'll do my own.

mart

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It is not hard at all.  Kind of boring, though, if you don't have good company with you.

That's kind of the way I feel. If a few from our hunting party have taken deer, we'll usually hang them in the garage and have a few beers and do our butchering. I put all the scrap meat in a cooler and bring it to a local meat shop for sausage, sticks, jerky, etc.

There's been a few times where if I've got a deer and everyones still hunting for a few days I'll just bring it in and pay the extra $75 to $100 for them to butcher it.

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I could sure use a tutor. I just do remember butchering here at the ranch when I was a toddler, then we bought a business in town and the butchering stopped.

This year we will likely take four to six bucks during rifle season, then ten to fifteen doe in January. Anyone want to come tutor?

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I could sure use a tutor. I just do remember butchering here at the ranch when I was a toddler, then we bought a business in town and the butchering stopped.

This year we will likely take four to six bucks during rifle season, then ten to fifteen doe in January. Anyone want to come tutor?

Maybe this will help.

http://www.amazon.com/Practic....01LASF0

mart

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I just tried out my new meat grinder from Northern Tool on a 3 lb slab of chuck.  

Can't wait to shoot a deer now.

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A -- The only things I need to operate more efficiently are a meat grinder and a vacuum sealer. The small hand grinder I have is slow and a lot of work, and wrapping paper doesn't preserve the meat nearly as well as a vacuum sealer.

B -- Boned meat takes up much less room in the freezer and makes for better venison too.

A -- Having been around the block a time or 3 on the wrapping vs vac-seal thing, thought I'd toss out a perspective on that.

For irregular-shaped, hard to wrap/seal pieces (bone-in turkey leg, bone-in steaks or chops, whole small fish etc), the vac-seal is simply unbeatable. Just no other way to do it very successfully, at least none that I have found.

On the other hand, for regular shaped pieces with no bone protrusions, including burger and bulk sausage, using commercial film and butcher wrap paper works extremely well.  Faster than vac-seal, easier, near-perfect sealing and better protection against secondary seal breaks in the freezer. Not to mention considerably cheaper, both up front and for supplies on down the road.

The primary "trick" is getting good quality film and butcher wrap paper AND good dispensers for both.  The household "saran" type stuff may be ok for sealing..... but dispensing and handling it is an absolute nightmare if you are working on quantity processing, at least it was for us.  There are a few other little tricks we have found over the years for making the system work quickly and smoothly.  I'd be happy to post up on those, but no need to unless someone is interested in the approach.  Someone holler out if you want to see those.  Otherwise, carry on.

B.  Agreed.  We typically just remove and seperate major muscle tracts, then cut various sized portions (usually 1-2#) sections across the grain.  These are sealed and wrapped whole and cut into steaks if desired after thawing (the fewer cut surfaces the better in long-term storage).

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I did my own deer last year for the first time.  Two people, a big clean table, a couple good knives and cool weather made it a good experience.  I have a DVD from Cabela's Deer and Big Game Procesing Volume 1.  Good video but a video is really not necessary.  just hang it, skin it, cut off the different muscle groups, trim all the silver skin off, cut the groups down to vacume packable sizes, pack and freeze.  I don't grind anything even though I bought a commercial grinder.  I eat stew more than anything else so it gets cut into bite size pieces.
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Lee...you're going to be real pleased with that grinder.  My buddy has a similar model from NT and we grind 3-4 deer and a couple of bears with it most years.  It works great and has held up to lot of use.  A couple years back 3 of us went in on a 20 lb canister driven sausage stuffer.  It really decreased the time to stuff sausage and made making snack sticks and breakfast sausage links a snap.

Old bird, if you are just getting into cutting up your own deer I'd suggest getting a couple DVD's or books on the subject.  The public library in our area has a ton of them.  I basically cut out tenderloins, backstracks, a few choice roasts and steaks off the hinderquarters, and the rest gets turned into snack sticks, jerky, summer sausage, breakfast sausage, italian sausage, jalapeno cheddar brats, burger etc.

All you really need to get started is a some sharp knives, a grinding attachment for your wifes kitchen aid and a food saver off craigslist.

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