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After the kill timeline

Old 01-02-2011, 04:38 PM
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Spike
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hey guys this is my first post here, and am looking for a little information. What is your process after you kill a deer? I would imagine that first thing is field dressing. I know temperature plays a role in the amount of time you have, but how soon do you field dress (or more importantly, how late is too late), and what steps do you take after that to get the deer from the woods to the freezer? Is it as simple as field dressing, skinning, and butchering as soon as you can or is there more depth to it? I am new to hunting, and plan on processing my own deer. Temps during hunting season in my area range from the 70's to the low 20's. Thanks for any info you can provide.
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:25 PM
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Well your answers here will subjective opinion of course and this certainly fits that description. The first thing to be aware of always is that as soon as your deer hits the ground it is no longer a deer, it is meat and must be handled as such from the start. The naturally occurring bacteria present in the critter will go to work on it as soon as the heart stops. This starts the natural process of decay that all animals go through. (I know it sounds gross, but that what is happening)

If you are in warmer weather or not, the first thing is to get it field dressed as soon as possible. This removes most of the bodily fluids as well as getting anything “Ruptured” out of the animal that may spoil the meat. If you have a deer with a “gut shot”, a fresh water rinse of the entire insides cavity after dressing is a must and you really need to get this done right away! If a good kill shot, I would say within an hour so is good. Sooner the better and the warmer it is the sooner you need to do it. When dressing, get it all! From the Guzzle pipe to the brown spot, it all goes! Try not to rupture any organs or guts while you do it. If you are leaving any guts in it, you did not do it right. A hatchet will cut through the ribs along one side of the breast bone or garden shears also work well for this. I prefer to use my skinning pole for this and drag them out whole. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes and I catch the yuck and scraps in an old cooler below the deer to be dumped later. (I should video this next year) It is a lot harder to do on the ground but doable.

Now, some folks let them Hang. I don’t. Plus if is warm at all you have Flies to worry about. I have seen maggots in the eyes of a buck I shot only a hour earlier! Get it away from bugs asap! The rest of your cutting is something you will develop for yourself over time. I don’t put bones in my freezer. Hind Quarters are boned while it hangs. Once you’ve skinned it (Also easier if done right away) start by removing the inside tenderloins, up inside the cavity near the hind quarters along the spine. Then remove the backstraps by cutting following the backbones and bibs. Then I cut loose the lower front legs and cut loose the front shoulders. THen I get the neck meat off. (It's really great for grinding or stews adn a shame to waste it.) THe ribs are mostly worthless to me (My opinion) the meat has a lot of membrane in it and it is not that good eating like regular ribs. I feed foxes with them and that is the only part we waste. I would gladly process them too if I could find some takers. You might like it, so try it sometime. The front shoulders go in a sink to be boned later or in the morning. Then I cut the hind quarters off by starting at the back knee and following the bone. If I’m in a hurry, I will cut the forward part off first completely following the bone and then the rear part where the rump is. Just follow the bones. The rear part is great to save for roast and BBQ! When you get to the rear leg shanks, you will cut the part that is holding what is left on the gambrel. Save that muscle group for last and you are done.

At this point, a boned skeleton is in the old cooler with the rest including some fat that I will cleave off from the shoulders and hind quarter while cutting it up. Everything else goes safely into my big sink in the garage for further processing later. If is is warm outside and in the garage, I will pack up any meat I am keeping whole like the tenderloins, backstraps and hindquarter right away and get it froze and vacuumed sealed. I may add ice to the soak for the rest and will cut, clean and bone the rest the next day to prep for grinding. Then it spends the night in the fridge to cool before grinding. My Process is 3 days minimum. It takes me about 6 hours on a deer now total. Is was a high as 10 but I’ve gotten better with practice. Now I have a deer gutted, skinned, cut up and in the sink in less than 1 hour from when it hits the pole. Once this year we did two small deer in just over an hour!

Hint: CHEAT! Rig you up what you need to make the job faster, cleaner and easier!!! 1. I made a boom off a tree in the woods, ran a cable from a hand crank boat winch to a gambrel, put a pad in below it with 14” concrete pavers. I now am building a pole barn type thing around all that. Have a tarp roof on it now with 3 lights wired to a cord for night work. 2. Get an old SS dish table from a kitchen equipment company (They are cheap!) and connect it to a plastic utility sink. Now you have a great place to work even if it is outside.

One more hint: Get rid of all the fat you can (That is where a lot of gamey taste comes from) adn cut out oll the membrane and slimey stuff you can while you are processing. You get better meat.


Sorry for the long post but I figured if you are new it would help. Good hunting!
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:09 PM
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dpv
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If it's cold enough I hang it....if not I butcher it that night or take it to a processor. I prefer hanging it for 7+ days.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:29 AM
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I field dress them within a hour and then hang them. If it's warm weather I let em hang for about a hour or two if cold I let em hang for about 2 days. As soon as I hang em I pour a couple of 5gallon buckets of water into them. When it comes time to skin them I get the hide off put the two hams in a garbage bags then put the backstraps tenderloins and what's left of the front sholders in a garbagebag then put the bags in a cooler with ice for about 6 to 8 hours then I cut up the meat put in gallin ziplock bagys and freez it. That was has worked for me for 14 years.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:02 AM
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Spike
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Thank you Scott, that was a great answer! Backwoods and DPV, is there any reason why you will let it hang if it is cool? does it improve the quality of the meat? I appreciate the great responses. Thanks a lot.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:43 AM
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It ages the meat makeing it taste better,and also bleeds it. I personly field dress it,and pack it up in the car.if your looking for instructions on how to field dress a deer youtube has a lot of instucual videos.After that i go to hardees and get a shake.I weighed the pros of a beer after a hunt,but i want a beverage i only drink after a kill[tradition].then hang it,take pics and sent it to a butcher
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:01 AM
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I hang it to let the blood drain also it makes the meat better and takes some of the gamy taste out
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:47 AM
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I to like to hang my skinned deer to let it age, but the temp is important. IMHO it needs to be 33* to 38*F and I let it hang for 5 to 7 days. If it freezes hanging does not do much good and if it is warmer you run the risk of spoiling.
As mentioned there are alot of different opinions on this subject but I think we will all agree get it gutted, cleaned and cooled down ASAP.

Ron
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:38 PM
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At my hunt camp, myclub has a cooler. I field dress before I put my deer on my ATV. I then bring it in to camp and hang it to finish the dressing and cleaning it. After that I will let it hang in our cooler for at least a week and then take to the processor.

Just about everything the guys have passed on is good info. For a long time I did all my own butchering and did waist a lot of meat. The pros do a great job and get all the meat that will go into my freezer.

And Welcome to the brotherhood of hunting my friend and good luck!
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dpv View Post
If it's cold enough I hang it....if not I butcher it that night or take it to a processor. I prefer hanging it for 7+ days.
Rare that we get 7+ days of hanging weather during hunting season in our neck of the woods!!
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