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northern_hunting_mom

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I clean mine, and head to the check station, where upon checking, I by my ice, fill the body cavity and head to butcher.  Sure I could do it myself but this market and butcher do a fantastic job, and its cheap and well worth it to me to let them do it.  He has everything, and does it all as requested.
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northern_hunting_mom

A doe or young buck or getting a buck out of the rut will have better meat than a big rutty hog. Still, getting that meat dressed, cleaned and cooled fast will make that rutty hog edible, even tasty. I always skin right away, and if it has to be walked out any distance, I use cheesecloth. Lots of water to clean it up and if its to be hanged, I brush or pour on vinegar to get it cooled quick and get the meat to make a dried layer ASAP. It keeps the meat safer from bugs if they are present and keeps the meat inside moist. If bugs are around, I only hang it where bugs can't get to it and where its a lot cooler.

I have no problem with butchering right away even with an older animal if its just too warm to allow hanging. Freezing meat has a tenderizing effect. Its also helpful to let it rest/thaw in the fridge for a day or three before its cooked. If the meat is a steak or roast, I make sure that the grain is excellent to allow for short protein strands once on the plate. Marinade, brining, larding and/or a slow cooker can do wonders for tougher meats. Nothing can be done with skanky meat to make it better. A milk marinade can only go so far.

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Fur and Feathers

All we have here is whitetail so no need to quarter in the field. We always field dress as soon as possible, and wedge a stick in the cavity to get it opened up and cooling. I like to let a deer hang for atleast 3 days when possible out of the sun in a cool place. Early season could go one way or the other. If I dont have time to butcher it myself in warm weather I will take it to a local butcher for processing but usually they dont have the space to let it hang for you.

And sorry guys we always hang by the head, never thought of it as disrespectful, I can see where some would I guess. I was taught it will drain better and not pool this way. Usually a rope around the base of the antlers. We also skin from the neck down, no problems with hair with our method.

I guess if you asked 30 people on their views and methods of field dressing, skinning and hanging you would get 30 different answers. Whatever works best for you.

I believe the ultimate show of respect for the animal is taking the proper steps whatever they may be to not waste any of its great meat, and make the best table fare for your family.

F&F

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  • 1 month later...
If I get lucky, I first offer thanks to the deer for allowing me to kill it. Then it's quickly tagged, dressed, dragged home and hauled to the local butcher as I am too lazy to do the rest of the dirty work!  :D
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Just spent the day de-boning, cutting, wrapping, grinding and canning.  Entire buck is now in freezer and cooling in quart jars right now.  Only minor injury was getting finger stuck in the grinder screw, man does that hurt, its black and blue.

I always dread the butchering but this year I watched this youtube video by willies country meats on deer butchering.  He makes it look easy and his tips and techniques were top notch.  

http://www.youtube.com/user/williescountrymeats#p/a/f/0/uzYGBNDc_xU

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Field dress immediately, then transport out. At the cooler, some detailed work - very important to remove the esophagus as stomach contents can find their way back up. Head and forelegs are removed and the carcass is hung for a minimum of 1 week. Skinning happens just prior to butchering.
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I think the most important thing a hunter can do when he approaches his downed game is to immediately stop thinking of it as a trophy, but rather as a big bag of groceries.  Treat that downed animal as food, starting right now.  You wouldn't roll your groceries and fresh produce around in the dirt and leaves, then leave it in back of the truck all day while driving around showing it off, would you?

Gut on the spot, then drag to the closest location I can get the truck to it.  Get it home, hang by the rear legs and skin the animal.  Butcher and drop cuts in cooler full of ice.  One 48 qt cooler will contain the meat from a average sized deer.  I routinely kill deer in 60 and 70 degree temps, so hanging and aging is almost never an option.

I let the meat age in the ice for at least a few days.  I tilt the cooler so it drains continuously and add ice each morning and evening as needed.  When I'm ready, I cut, trim, and package for the freezer.

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I would only add "proper field dressing", actually hog dressed (all internal organs removed, I know nhm but I do not save the heart or liver). I see so many (smell em usually) that have been fouled in the dressing. Great care must be taken not to spill stomach, intestines and bladder. It can be done very quickly but it must be done right. Sadly I think most people just have never been taught properly. I also wash the body cavity asap with clean/pure water only.
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I would only add "proper field dressing", actually hog dressed (all internal organs removed, I know nhm but I do not save the heart or liver). I see so many (smell em usually) that have been fouled in the dressing. Great care must be taken not to spill stomach, intestines and bladder. It can be done very quickly but it must be done right. Sadly I think most people just have never been taught properly. I also wash the body cavity asap with clean/pure water only.

I agree that most people do not know how to properly gut an animal.  Specifically, removing the anus.

Only on a rare occasion do I gut anymore.  I can skin and quarter a deer in an hour, elk take me two hours using the gutless method.

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Like vabirddog, I too thoroughly wash the body cavity (with a garden hose) as soon as I get my buck home. Did so just today to the fat guy in the photo.  :)  

 

Jay%27s%20Buck%202010%20003.jpg

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northern_hunting_mom

We use the gutless method by taking off the four quarters then cutting off the ribs. Once all the meat is off, then we get into the cavity for the heart, liver and tenderloins. We find it a lot easier to haul out the animal in pieces (we caught chit for skinning and quartering a deer in our yard in the trailer court a few years ago too). No worrying about trying to cut out the anus or nicking the bladder then. Our dressing backpack has garbage bags, cheesecloth and a large bed sheet to lay the meat on.

Skinning right away in the field means having to clean the hair off because no matter how careful, some will get on the meat. We skin whole to prevent having to cut hair as much as possible. A stiff kitchen brush often used to clean muffin tins and running water (I use the kitchen sink and the faucet spray hose) gets hair off easily but grass is a pain hence the bed sheet.

Most places we hunt are within a 30 minute walk of the car so the backpack stays in the car until the deer is down. One of us starts skinning etc and the other walks to get the backpack. Obviously, if we walk in further, the backpack comes with right away.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I've read many books, watched DVD's on game and meat processing, and have watched a good friend who is a commercial butcher/processor, and for these reasons always try to age my deer like they do with any beef/game.  Roaming the streets of Tuscany a few years back many of the butchers have wild game hung for days to weeks, and noboday can argue with food in Tuscany. Anyways, I hang by the rear hocks believing blood drains away from the hams, the largest source of meat.  It is easier to work that way too.  I have a buck shot today (muzzleloader season) and it's about 31 degrees in the barn.  Supposed to be high 20's to mid 30's all week, so in that barn he'll hang until after Christmas, then I'll skin him (not fun) and butcher and bone out.  In warm weather I'll draw, hang overnight, even in warmer weather, then skin and quarter the next morning.  The reason is that if it's 55 degrees outside, it's still going to take hours for that 98 degree deer to reach down in degrees.  Mind you, if it were in the 80's or above I wouldn't hang them but quarter right away.  Up here it's usually cool.  Also I firmly believe that if you butcher a deer too soon there is muscle contraction and toughness that results because rigormortis has not set in and the muscles will contract when cut.  If I do have to quarter quickly, I'll wrap in cheesecloth and place in a spare refrigerator or cooler with ice for up to a week, then butcher and vacuum pack.  I have great success, but a lot of work.
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A lot of hunters I know remove the tenderloins immediately. I tried it once and it was like chewing a tender piece of rubber - it actually squeaked like a piece of curd cheese.
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Kansas Big Dog

Below are instructions that I follow that were published by the Missouri Dept. of Conservation:

Whether you’re a novice looking for a place to start, or an advanced hunter looking to improve your harvest-care skills, following these instructions will produce the best results for both wall and table.

Transporting and cooling

Let’s start with field dressing. Field dressing instructions abound, so I will cover what I believe are the critical areas.

One major mistake I’ve seen is not splitting the pelvic bone. Yes, the lower intestine and fecal material can be removed without opening the pelvic region. However, it is imperative that the major muscles (i.e. hams, shoulders) be allowed to rapidly cool. This can only be accomplished if the legs are able to splay open while transporting the animal. It is best if an animal not lie in a vehicle on its side with legs closed. Instead, the deer should lie on its back with legs open. This allows for better cooling and surface drying of fluids and deprives bacteria the two primary conditions they need to thrive: warmth and moisture.

Often a deer is brought to me to cape. Upon opening the legs to attach the skinning gambrel, my nose reminds me why the pelvic bone should be split and the legs kept open.

Washing the inside of deer

We live in a fastidious society, and are especially careful with food handling practices. But hosing (or washing) the inside of a deer really should be avoided. By definition a body cavity is just that—a cavity—space and air. So what is being washed? There are two very small muscles (commonly referred to as the “catfish”), but other than that there is nothing edible inside the cavity. If stomach or intestine material has accidently spilled into the cavity, simply take some damp rags and wipe it clean.

Introducing water into a warm carcass, especially with the skin still in place, will invite bacteria to throw a party. I would encourage anyone who doubts me to hang around my studio during deer season. You only need to bring one thing—your nose. A hosed-out deer will announce its presence from several feet away.

It has been argued that professional packing houses wash beef carcasses, so why should hunters not wash deer? I once visited such an establishment. First, immediately after being dispatched, the animal is hung on a rail. The body is immediately skinned, hosed off, and while still hanging from the rail, is promptly moved into cold storage. This process is simply not available to the average hunter.

All that is necessary is a split pelvic bone, legs open and allowing air circulation to dry out any remaining fluids.

Aging

The third aspect of good care is aging. I wholeheartedly support hanging a deer for at least a week, assuming the air temperature is reasonably cool. How cool depends on the average hourly temperature within a 24-hour period. For example, I have hung deer when the temperature during the afternoon reached 65 degrees. However, during the night, the temperature declined to the upper 30s. The previously mentioned 65 degrees occurred at 2:30 p.m. and lasted only an hour or so before declining. The internal temperature of the deer never rose above 40 degrees.

http://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/2009/10/trophy-deer-care?page=0,1

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