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Field Dressing

Old 08-26-2003, 09:44 PM
Giant Nontypical
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Default RE: Field Dressing

wow! i never thought you could hang a deer in 60+..when we shoot them anything over 60 we put ice in the cavity and get them to the butcher asap...when its 40 or below(most rifle seasons except a few odd years) we hand them until we decide to leave camp and head home....then we take them to the butcher come back pack and leave....thats usually a day or 2 of hanging...i didnt notice a diffrence when it went below zero at night and didnt break 30 from the time we took the deer until the time we had them butcherd.....they were just really stiff and hard to fit 3 deer in a short bedded s10....i rather be safe then sorry i took an animals life and wasnt smart enough to keep the meat edible....
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Old 08-27-2003, 06:29 AM
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Default RE: Field Dressing

Obviously the colder the better for hanging. We ususally hang our deer for at least 24 hrs(preferably 2-3 days if possible), unless its real warm (like over 65). Then I just go ahead and butcher and get em on ice. The key is to get it cooled down as quick as possible(throw a bag of ice in the chest cavity if you need to), and hang it in the shade. You have to remember, once it cools down, and the temps drop down to 35-40 at night...that meat is cooled down big time. Even if it gets to 65 the next day...it ain' t gonna spoil. Another thing I do is leave the hide on. Once you get the deer cooled all the way down, the hide will actually act as an insulator and keep the meat cool longer. We' ve hung many a deer over the years in 50 degree weather with no problems at all. Just make sure they are in the shade. If you are at all concerned....go ahead an butcher it. Just my .02
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Old 08-27-2003, 07:32 AM
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Default RE: Field Dressing

I knew this came up last year and someone posted up an experts guidelines, this is thanks to Striper Phil a member I haven' t seen in a while.

Aging Venison In Warm Weather
Publication Date: 11/16/2001
Author:Ken Barnett, Field Crops and Farm Management Agent for Marathon, Lincoln, and Langlade Counties
Reviewer: No Reviewer, None
With the warm weather of the past two days, I have received a number of calls inquiring how long hunters can
safely " age" their bagged deers in the current weather conditions. I wanted to provide you with some perspective on
this in case you get some of these questions.

Aging is very important to improving the tenderness of beef, and may have a similar beneficial effect in deer. During
aging, proteolytic enzymes that are naturally present in the meat breakdown or weaken muscle proteins, making the
meat more tender. In beef, the greatest improvement in tenderness occurs during the first 7 days after slaughter,
but beef is often aged up to 14 days in many of our smaller plants to improve tenderness.

I am not a deer hunter myself, but I work with a lot of small plants that process deer. I find that that some people
believe that aging improves venison quality, and other feel that venison does not need to be aged. I guess it is up
to the individual to decide for themselves, and this decision may be influenced by the weather conditions they face
after the deer is taken.

Aging in a meat plant is done under controlled conditions of 35 to 40 F. In aging venison, hunters are at the mercy
of the prevailing outside temperatures. From my experience, I would offer the following guidelines for aging venison.

1. If the temperature is between 32 and 40 F, deer should be able to be easily aged for 1 week.

2. If the temperature is between 40 and 50 F, aging should be shortened to 3 to 5 days. Since aging involves
chemical reactions that go at a faster rate as the temperature getts higher, 4 days of aging aging at 45 F might be
comparable to 7 days at 35 F. If the meat is frozen for a period of time, little aging takes place at this low
temperature. Remember, it is the temperature within the muscle which determines how rapidly aging proceeds, not
the changing outside air temperature.

3. From a food safety standpoint, lower temperatures are always preferred. I would regard environmental
temperatures above 50F as getting into a higher risk zone. If daytime temperatures get above 50 F for most of the
day, and there are not good prospects for cooler weather coming, the deer should probably be processed as soon
as possible, or taken to a plant where it can be stored under refrigerated conditions.

4. Unfortunately the storage temperatures this time of year can vary from day to day, and cause a person to
wonder how long they should hang the deer. The above advice should help in that decision. Remember that bacterial
growth and spoilage are a function of time and temperature. A chilled carcass can withstand a few hours of
temperatures around 50 F, but maybe not several days of it. Carcasses held at a desirable temperature of under 40
F may develop signs of spoilage if held there too long. Use good common sense, and keep an eye on the carcass for
signs of spoilage, and the changing weather conditions.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind: * Undisturbed carcass muscles are virtually sterile, and bacteria growth
occurs on the outside of the carcass where contamination has occurred through handling. Careful removal of the
viscera and clean up of the abdominal cavity are important. If the hide remains on the deer, bacteria growth can only
occur in the interior of the carcass and other exposed areas. Bacteria need moisture to grow, so as the carcass
surface dries out, bacteria growth slows down.

* Deer will usually get well chilled during the always cool nights, and this will carry over and provide some measure of
temperature control during the warmer days. To help prolong the low temperature in the carcass during daytime
hours, store the deer on the north side of a building, or in a shed that has windows covered to prevent sunlight
from coming in. Check the muscle of the deer with a clean stem thermometer to see what the internal temperature
actually is.

* If a deer is to be processed primarily into ground meat and sausage, there is no reason to age. The fresher the
meat, the better sausage or ground venison it will make.

Good luck to all the hunters, and let' s hope for slightly cooler temperatures for the remainder of the gun season.
The Nov. 15 forecast for Madison is for nightime lows around 30F, and highs around 50 F for the next two days -- a
little warmer than we would like, but not the worst. Hunters choosing to age their deer may want to shorten up
their usual aging period by several days.

Dennis Buege
Extension Meats Specialist

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Old 08-30-2003, 11:41 AM
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Location: Wake Forest NC USA
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Default RE: Field Dressing

Field dress -> butchering -> freezer can' t image the meat cold be any tenderer. Great information posted to consider.
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