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northern_hunting_mom

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northern_hunting_mom

Butchering is the smallest part of how well that meat is on the palette.

The shot is done, you've found it shortly after its been killed (I am assuming it was not a shot lost and found that next day) and the pics have been taken.

Now what? What do you do in that first crucial 2 hours? Do you drag it out before gutting? Do you even wait to gut until the next day? If you hang it for a few days, do you hang it with skin on or off? If you hang it, is it in a temp controlled cooler? Do you do anything different if you do have access to a temp controlled cooler? Does anybody do something different if they are camping for a day or 3 or 6 before getting home?

I am a firm believer that butchering affects (to some extent but very little to be honest) the grain of the meat ie: toughness, but that what is done in that first 2 hours is all about the flavour of the meat.

For near a decade I refused to eat moose. It was always gifted meat and all I got was some frozen hunks. They all smelled and tasted and like urine or worse. One year, I decided that I cannot make an informed opinion on how good or bad moose meat is until I was the one to handle it from kill to table.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!! Now, its my favorite, even above beef, venison and elk (albeit, elk is very close). Its still obvious its wild game on my plate but that difference is to revered, not dreaded. I come to believe that whether a buck/bull is dropped in rut or not, the flavour is not much different when handled right. Sometimes, the flavour is stronger but never to the point that its not cooked and eaten with great appreciation.

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I have no experience with moose but take a fair number of deer. Any deer I shoot is field dressed within minutes of the time I get to it. I make a point of removing the glands from inside the back legs although some folks feel that is unnecessary. I don't cut the throat to bleed them out, mostly because I believe all the blood is drained in the field dressing process anyway.

My day's hunting is rarely done just because a deer has been taken so I don't take time to skin them out until evening comes. That said, I do generally like to skin them out the same day. If the deer is still sightly warm it is a whole lot easier to skin and I think skinning allows them to cool out better. I also like to hang a deer temporarily as soon as possible after it has been killed so as to allow the blood to drain.

We don't have a refrigerated place to keep them so the weather usually dictates how soon they are butchered. I'd prefer to let them hang and age for a few days and will do that when the weather permits. Many times it is too warm and I have to butcher the same day the deer is taken.

I agree with you that any deer that is shot should be eaten but I wouldn't say they are all equal. IMO the very best venison will come from a doe or button buck shot soon after is comes out from being bedded down, then properly handled and allowed to age for a few days. With many of the more mature bucks, especially when taken during the rut, I take the prime steaks and grind the remanider into burgers, trail bologna or sausage.

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I treat all wild game the same. Once on the ground I go to work on getting hide off and meat boned & bagged. This years elk went down at 6:30pm was boned out by 8pm and was back at the truck by 11pm. To assist in cooling it was left on top of the truck topper over night. Then put in coolers for the day[kept in the shade. The elk was shot on Friday night and came home on Sunday to be butchered. Once dark I put the meat back on top of the topper to let the cool night air keep it as cool as I could get it. As a norm I would have taken the meat home on Friday night or Saturday morning and butchered but I was helping a friend try to get his elk. I want the meat in the freezer as soon as possible since I don't have a good place[temp control] to hang it. To age it I pull it out of the freezer and let it age in the refrigerator. Granted a moose is more work bout I would do the same thing. I wrap my meat in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil as apposed to butcher paper.
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The moment I get to the downed deer I tag it and then start to work on gutting it out.  Under no circumstance do i let it keep the guts in it more than 1/2 hour after I get to it.  If its warmer its butchered that night, if colder the next day after it freezes up.
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I field dress when deer is recovered.  Then packed with a 20lb bag of ice at the first gass station (during early season), then hung by hind legs overnight until I'm ready to skin and butcher the next day.  I've never had meat that didn't taste right but that could be just lucky, diligent trimming at the butchering table or never having the deer go unrefridgerated for mor than a day.  I age meat in the refridgerator meat draw by letting it thaw out slowly for a week or more when I take it out of the freezer, rather than hanging it for days before butchering.
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I have shot a lot of deer at last light. So have learned to unzip one and field dress in a few minutes by flashlight and moon light. I do it immediately regardless of where or when I shot it.

(I have only let one deer lie overnite after shooting it late in afternoon, a doe I shot w/bow that left no blood trail. I found it early the next morning and it had already started to bloat up a bit. I was worried about meat. Turns out the back straps were tainted unfortunately and inedible but the steaks etc were the best I ever had. Maybe because it was a very early, Sept doe.)

Then I always hang deer by back legs and clean out the rest of cavity and wipe down with salted water. And prop open the cavity w/ a length of wood.

If its cool out I'll leave it hanging in back yard for a couple days with skin/hair on. If too warm I bring it to a butcher I use who skins it (and capes it if its a good buck) while I am there and hangs the meat in a walk in cooler. He usually has a backlog of deer so it hangs for several + days before he cuts it to my specs; burger, 1"+ steaks, a few roasts etc.

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I always dress right away and have even allowed others to do it for me when a group comes up to see what I have and one of the party has never done it before :D

Dress, I have a cart so I dont drag out anymore, Check station and then the butcher to hang for a week or so in a cooler

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I noticed that several of you recommend hanging from the back legs. I've always hung them from the neck, thinking the body cavity drains better. What's the reasoning for hanging them from the back legs?

BTW, I will hang a buck by the back legs if there is any chance it is headed for the taxidermist.

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I noticed that several of you recommend hanging from the back legs. I've always hung them from the neck, thinking the body cavity drains better. What's the reasoning for hanging them from the back legs?

BTW, I will hang a buck by the back legs if there is any chance it is headed for the taxidermist.

Honestly. I find it disrespectful and ugly when I see a deer hung by the neck rather than by the back legs. Probably doesn't make sense--a visceral reaction I suppose. And as you said I wouldnt if it was gonna be mounted unless hung by antlers.

I find hanging by back legs with gambrel makes it easy to clean out and wash out body cavity and once that's done very little blood pools in cavity.

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Michael Stenstrom
Same as Brad, leaving out the butcher portion, as I do my own.  I leave he hair on as I think it protects the meat from flies and drying out if I let it hang for a week, if temps are right.  I will check with one of the local processors if I get one this month to see if I can rent a space in their cooler to hang.
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Gutted immediately, then hung from a pole and finally skinned.  All done asap to cool the meat.  If the temps are cool enough, we'll let them hang for a day or two.  If too warm, we quarter and put in the fridge until we're ready to cut.

We always hang our deer by the head and then use a quad or truck to pull the hide off.

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When I let them dry out after shooting them they are hung by their necks but this is cause of convenience and usually we have a few to hang up.  Its been the system for 45+ years so i'm not changing it.
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Quarter (gutless method), hang and then pack out.  

Same here. I'll go after elk tenderloins, but rarely mess with tenderloins of a deer or speed goat.

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I noticed that several of you recommend hanging from the back legs. I've always hung them from the neck, thinking the body cavity drains better. What's the reasoning for hanging them from the back legs?

BTW, I will hang a buck by the back legs if there is any chance it is headed for the taxidermist.

Honestly. I find it disrespectful and ugly when I see a deer hung by the neck rather than by the back legs. Probably doesn't make sense--a visceral reaction I suppose. And as you said I wouldnt if it was gonna be mounted unless hung by antlers.

I find hanging by back legs with gambrel makes it easy to clean out and wash out body cavity and once that's done very little blood pools in cavity.

I see what you're saying - sort of like me refusing to take a picture of a deer with it's tongue hanging out - but I hang mine in the garage where nobody but me sees them. It probably wouldn't make a difference (as far as draining the blood is concerned) to me if I split the rib cage open but I've never done that.

BTW, I do switch them over and hang by the back legs when it is time to begin skinning. Keeps hair off the meat better.

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