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Do you process your deer or take it to the butcher?

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Do you process your deer or take it to the butcher?

Old 10-08-2013, 07:15 PM
Boone660's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 19

After harvesting my deer I immediately gut it get it back to camp and skin it. Make sure I have the pee bag, anus and esoughogus. Trim any excess that doesn't look good, and rinse it out with clean water. I Cut the head off and I cut the legs off right bellow their knees. Then get my giant igloo cooler, we call it a deer coffin. Stuff the body cavity full of ice and all around it. Then I take it to the proccesor. Add 10% beef fat to the ground meat. He does a great job for a great price. But that's just how I do it, there are many ways to skin a deer.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 41

Originally Posted by Murby
I must be an idiot then... I've processed about 20 of them myself and still can't figure out where to cut most of the time. I pretty much got the shoulders, backstraps, tenderloins and can remove the ribs and head..
Still can figure out where to cut to get the rears off clean..
Sounds like you're doing a decent job to me. Maybe you're being too hard on yourself.

For what it's worth, I found/find boning out the hams cleanly to be the biggest challenge, too. But I still find the results I get on my own to be far superior to virtually any commercial job I've seen.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:30 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: North Central Illinois
Posts: 848

I typically butcher my own, but I have a processor lined-up, just in case I don't have time, it's hot, etc. Butchering is not a hard skill to learn. Read a book, watch some Youtube videos on the subject, and take a stab at it. Trial and error is a fine approach. Worst case, you do a less-that-ideal job on some of the loins and you have more grind/sausage/jerky and less steaks/roasts.

I do my jerky in a dehydrator, both ground and strips. If you want to cut strips by hand, stick the meat in a freezer for half an hour to firm it up, then cut it carefully with a good knife. If its too thick, press it with the palm of your hand on a cutting board.

As for spices, in addition to what's been mentioned, I've used: teriyaki sauce, whiskey, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, sesame oil (gives a smoky taste), wine vinegar (a little), chili powder, cumin, bbq sauce, Heinz 57, and oregano (didn't like it myself, but my wife did). Next time, I'm going to add Zataran's Blackening Seasoning. I don't use a recipe, just whatever strikes me as I'm putting it together.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:50 AM
BlueGrass Man's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Payneville, KY
Posts: 90

I live in Kentucky and we are lucky enough to have a program here called Kentucky Afield. You can go to their web site and purchase a cd on how to process your deer. It is done very well with a professional butcher, I think. He explains and shows how to skin it and take the meat off the bone.
I do not work for KY Afield but it is a wonderful video at a reasonable price.
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: East Central Illinois
Posts: 70

As it so happens I am a meatcutter by trade so it is a no brainer for me can do this stuff in my sleep. I do take my misc ground stuff to a friend who makes the beef sticks but the rest I do and my jerky is done by me. Just part of the overall hunting experience it is satisfying to make the harvest into something that tastes great.
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Old 10-12-2013, 06:08 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: MICHIGAN
Posts: 2,568

I've been doing my own since 1965 when My mom taught me how it is done.
Here is a link to a fourm I belong to that has a step by step with pictures.


Since Michigan has a cottage honey house law I have the stainless sink for clean up and a nice clean place to do the work. I don't have my own grinder any more so I've been taking it to a meat store who grind it for me at a resonable cost usally while I wait.

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Old 10-12-2013, 06:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 47

I have a friend that doesn't deer hunt, but who's hobby is making sausage. Once we realized that he had all of the stuff (commercial grinder, etc...) we started skinning and quartering up north, then boning out and vacuum sealing and grinding/making sausage at home.

It is actually pretty easy to do, and it saves a lot of money. I could buy one of those Savage Axis package rifles with what I save processing my two deer each year.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:18 AM
Nontypical Buck
FlDeerman's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DeFuniak Spr.Florida
Posts: 4,329

I do my own,I grind a lot of it and keep the back straps and part of the hams for my wife to cut up and cook.Country girl who knows how to make it good.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:22 AM
Nontypical Buck
fastetti's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,462

I skin and quarter them myself. I'll pull the backloins and tenderloins out and wrap those myself. The quarters take to my butcher where he either makes sticks, jerky or grinds it. We get enough steaks out of the back loins and I really like the ground. Plus, its pretty simple for me to skin and quarter it, especially if I have someone helping me/keeping me company/holding my victory beer. Bringing in just the quarters to my butcher also saves me about $50 a deer too and when I'm at camp, I don't mind skinning and quartering them myself.
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:48 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: May 2010
Location: South East Pa.
Posts: 526

I always cut my own, even when a kid (Pop helped and showed how). In later years I got lazy and started to drop them off. Then about 25 years ago I started hunting out of state. I don't know for sure, but people tell me the average butcher charges over $100 just to cut up a deer now. Multiply that times 3 or 4 deer! We camp for the week and sometimes it gets warm (70's once). We take coolers and 2 gallon zip lock bags to rough cut. We hang the deer and cut everything off the bone and stick the meat in the bags, and then pack in ice in the cooler. If it is really hot, we drain the melted ice every day and make sure we put more ice in. I have taken meat home after 6 days and it made my hands numb trimming and grinding it. We don't get fancy cutting when we take it off the deer. I have plenty of time to trim the meat once it is in coolers. I don't like soggy meat so I use the zip lock bags. I do have a heavy duty electric grinder, but for years we used a hand grinder I bought at a yard sale. To freeze the meat, I double wrap in Saran Wrap and then put it in big zip lock bags. Never had freezer burn that way. I tried a vacuum seal machine someone bought me, but we do a couple deer and it would overheat and shut off all the time. Look up LEM Products on line.

Last edited by Gunplummer; 10-12-2013 at 01:51 PM.
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