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Hurteau: The Best Reason To Butcher Your Own Buck

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October 26, 2010

Hurteau: The Best Reason To Butcher Your Own Buck

By Dave Hurteau

I shot my first mule deer a couple years ago in Nebraska, and that buck tasted nasty. It stunk. I had to turn the backstraps into sausage just to choke them down, which is a sad, sad thing to have to do to backstraps.

This weekend, I had bottom-round steaks from the muley I shot a couple weeks ago in Wyoming, and it was excellent. So what made the difference?

You’ve probably heard, like I have, that a buck will taste sour if it was old, rutting, had a prolonged death, or any combination thereof. I’m not so sure. I’ve eaten sweet-tasting older bucks; sweet-tasting rutting bucks; sweet-tasting older, rutting bucks; sweet-tasting rutting bucks whose demise took longer than it should have and so on….

In fact, I can remember choking down only a couple truly awful-tasting bucks. Both of them, including the Nebraska muley, were taken to a processor. I’m not out to malign processors. Some do a great job. But on the other hand, every deer I’ve butchered myself, which is the vast majority, has tasted great—without exception.

If you ask me, the difference between my nasty first muley and my delicious second one is that I butchered the latter myself. Joe Arterburn of Cabelas brought everything I needed to cut the deer up on the tailgate of his truck, and I took the frozen meat home in this Coleman Soft-Side Rolling Cooler (cabelas.com), which worked great.

So what do you think? Does venison always taste better when you butcher it yourself?

Comments (39)

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from gman3186 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

i dont know i have never sent a deer to the butcher i have always done it myself

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from tpbesone wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I do think that either butchering your deer yourself or using a processor that you have a good history with will definitely result in a better finished product. However, even more importantly is how the animal is handled during the 24 hrs after it is killed. I see too many people leaving the hide on an animal while they hang it. The most important thing is to get the meat cool as quickly as possible and no matter what animal we are talking about the hide and fat holds heat in. I skin all my animals immediately when I get them home and open the ribs using a 2x4. Warm meat causes more sour venison than anything else. Plus it's easier to skin the deer warm then after the hide stiffens up.

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from idahooutdoors wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Cool and clean your meat ASAP, then let it hang in a cool place for a few days. When you cut it, make sure and trim it well, a lot of the foul tastses come from meat that someone got lazy with and didn't trim right, get rid of as much fat and other grissle as you can...

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from Pacific Hunter wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

While in college I processed as much deer as I could though had to use a butcher when doe season went especially well. The meat he took care of was good though the deer was skinned and began the cooling process before it was taken to him (I think he charged an extra $25 to skin) The intersting part was that I had a few friends that went to work for him part time and had the opportunity to process some deer we took after they had been trained by the butcher. It amazed me what would be left instead of trimming off like I would do. And his venison tasted okay, I can only imagine what it takes to make it sour. While it might take the wife and I a few hours to prepare meat for the freezer, we have never had anybody complain of poor tasting game. Either our system works or we have very polite friends. Our freezer contained Mule Deer, Whitetail, Bear, and Elk last season. It all was very good, even the 9 year old bull elk which we finished up last night, slightly tougher than the deer but still delicious.

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from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I don't know of there is a taste difference since i've always butchered animals myslef. But I do know it is more satisfying. Plus you can make sure your meat gets the care it deserves.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Great points. I agree. Fast cooling and thorough trimming are both key.

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from Bernie wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I agree with most of what has been said on this subject, except for the hide business. I prefer to keep the hide on the carcass to keep it clean and prevent outer part of the meat from drying out.

If you handled both of those deer in the same manner--killed them quickly, got them cooled down promptly, etc. I suspect the difference was that the Nebraska buck was shot during the rut and the other was not. One of the best-eating mule deer I ever killed was taken in early
September in Wyoming. Bucks shot in Montana in mid-to-late November tend to be strong-tasting. That's been my experience anyway.

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from ejunk wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've only ever butchered my own deer and they are always delicious. I agree with others that the deer needs to cool down fast, but I disagree with the notion that it always needs to be skinned - it's a deer, not a bear, and it you open up the chest cavity sufficiently and spread it open in cool temperatures (40 degrees or colder), it will cool down just fine with the hide on. I hang mine for at least 5 days, longer if I can.

yrs-
Evan!

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from ejunk wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

also - I've never done this, but I know a lot of guys who pack the chest cavity of their deer with bags of ice, in the early season especially. If it's too warm out I just try to get them quartered quickly and put on ice in a cooler or in the refrigerator in a paper bag (with a drip tray, of course). again, I try to keep this up for a few days.

yrs-
Evan!

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from JB101 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I hunt with the local butcher.. so we usually have him do it. He has always done a fantastic job for me. The cow moose I took last week was shot at 8:54am and was skinned, quartered and hung in the cooler by 11:30 that day. We have the luxury of good equipment and close proximity to the processor, I guess.

A co-worker recently came to me complaining that the butcher had screwed him out of some good cuts on a bull moose and threw too much into the grinder. In the guy's defence, I explained to him: first the bull he brought in was a 6 1/2 year old animal weighing over 700lbs-quartered. There weren't going to be many salvageable steaks and roasts in this kind of bull. Knowing this butcher, he would rather give you useful ground meat than some inedbile round steaks you'll need to chanisaw through. Secondly, the reality is that this is, of course, a business. The reason he only charges 100-120 bucks for a cut and wrap is that he does 6-8 moose a day during peak season to break even.

So I guess my point is, and what I told this guy in the end... If you choose to process meat yourself, the advantage is you can afford to put the in time to do the extra trimming and take the cuts exactly the way you want them.

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from Woodstock wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

A long time ago, I learned a simple truth about caring for wild game meat (and fish) of any kind: the quality and taste of the meat is directly related to how fastidious I am with its care.

That said, it's possible a commercial butcher could be as careful as me, but probably not.

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from rock rat wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

JB101's $100 to $120 for a moose is a real good price. An elk at the local place costs $200 here.

I've never had a problem with old bucks in the middle of rut. I do get the hide and legs below the knee off as soon as possible but allow to hang in the fifty degree shop a few days.

A lot of people remark about the lack of gamey taste. I figure there are scent and other hormonal glands in the fatty stuff under the hide and separating it from the meat ASAP helps.

I like cutting up our own stuff because we use the meat different than many, no ground beef at all, and use a lot of the guts, freeze the bones for soup etc.

Kind of related. A friend went to help rescue a large piece of moose that had been stashed in a tree for a couple weeks. Birds had gotten at it a little. After cleaning off the bad looking bits it cooked up just great, very tender.

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from prairieghost wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

i too prefer leaving the hide on and allowing the carcass to hang for 5-7 days. i live where we have a month long season so i try to time my taking of game to the weather forecast (i know, what a crap shoot) so my animals can hang. that said, our antelope season is early october, so those are only hung overnight before i butcher them.

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from jbird wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Absolutely! I've been doing it all myself for 11 years now, will never let a processor touch one of my deer again.
I'll give you guys a tip, if your wife has a Kitchenaid mixer, then you have a great grinder. We got one for our wedding, and I bought a grinder attachment for it immediately. That thing has ground up a truckload of deer over the past decade, without so much as a hiccup.

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from ThomasB wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

My dad has been hanging deer in our garage for as long as I can remember. I think once he sent it off to get it turned into jerky but that never happened again.

I think it is better to do it yourself.

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from Bernie wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

JB101--The last moose I shot was in Montana three years ago. It was September, and temperatures dropped into the 20s the night I shot the bull. We hung the quarters to cool, but by the time I got home (less than 200 miles) the temperature had risen to the 70s. So I cut out the backstraps and tenderloins, took the rest to a processor who charged me something like $265 to cut it up. This was probably a 3-1/2 year old bull, and even at that many of the steaks were tough. So the butcher who put most of that 6-1/2 year old bull into burger probably did the guy a favor!

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

When you take a deer to the processor they throw it in 1 big pile and take out 1 at a time and look at your order and use as many deer as it takes to fill your order.. it is 150% better when you do it yourself.......... mule deer in sand hills and sage grass places taste awful because they live off bad grass and taste like it.

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from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've been cleaning my own deer for 30 years now and I enjoy everyone! No way I'd ever pay some joker to butcher my deer and give me somebody elses back!! Only one thing to remember--get all the white stuff off the meat. The tallow and the silverskin is what makes the meat taste bad. I've had plenty of stressed out deer and guess what, they all taste the same if you clean them right. I take all my deer and quarter them and wrap the quarters and the backstraps up in saran wrap and stick them in my garage fridge, then I clean them one by one, de-bone all the muscles and cut them into steaks a 1/4 in. thick and whatever isn't big enough for a medallion size steak is either jerky meat or cut into stew meat.

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from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

For those of you who have your deer processed, take a good close look at all the little peices of white film and tallow thats ground up in your hamburger and your summer sausage. I don't even feed my dog that crap!

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

You got that right Walt, nobody is going to take the time to do it the way you would, and I sure dont want someone elses gut shot neglected deer.

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from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

We have a professional butcher in camp so that makes it convienient. He wants the hide left on because when the temp gets down to 25 to 35 at night and then up to 50 during the day you can slip your hand under the hide and the meat is so cold it will freeze your hand. We try to leave our deer hang for several days. I skin the deer with my 4-wheeler so it dosen't make any difference how hard it skins. The butcher washes all the blood out of the chest cavity when it is hung up and then he dries the chest cavity out and we use the spreaders you buy in the packs from Outdoor Edge knives to keep the chest cavity open to air out. Make sure to get the windpipe,lungs, large intestine and anus out of the carcuss. You would be surprised how many deer I checked at camps that had all these parts still in the deer hanging on the meat pole. He also uses a wet rag and wipes all the blood off the hams when we hang them up. The inside looks spotless after he cleans them out while hanging on the meat pole. If you have an area that has been shot and is bloodshot cut that affected part out if you can before you skin it. Our meat tastes great and you can tell a professional has has a hand doing it.

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from Bella wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

There ain't no place where you can get a deer butchered round here, so You kinda have to do it yourself, "cause you can't eat it whole. It's no different from any other ruminant, we butcher our own goats and sheep and always have.

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from Cgull wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've heard that you don't always get "your" venison from the processor. I only use a processor when I'm pressed for time or If I'm feeling lazy and want a ham or two cut into jerky.

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from bobhall2 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've always processed my own deer and bear also. It is just more assuring that you are eating the deer you harvested when you do it your self. Also with the cost at the butcher getting very high, it just pays to do it yourself. I found a great site out there for anything you need to process your game, www.thehuntersbutchershop.com. You really only need a couple of good knives, a good quality grinder and a sausage stuffer.

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from buckhunter wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

All of my deer hang five days before I cut them up. It drives my wife crazy but the meat is always good. I keep the skin on until I'm ready to butcher then make sure there is no grisle or fat in the meat. Years ago I invested in a heavy duty meat grinder. It turned out to pay for itself in just one season. Between my family and buddies I butcher about 10 deer a year.

If you let the deer hang long enough to breakdown the muscle they all taste the same... Good.

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from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

In days of yore, one of the first moves upon killing a buck, was to remove the tarsal glands. They supposedly caused strong tasting meat!
You ever touch a tarsal gland?
It stinks and the residue of urinating on it plus the secretions leave an extremely waxy substance.
If you get that stuff on your hands, then gut your deer without washing your hands, I can guarantee your deer will taste just like the gland smells!!!
Gut as quickly as possible!
Skin and refridgerate post haste!
If it's cool enough to hang where you live, that's fine. It doesn't here! So I hide 'em out and they go in the fridge. Processing takes the next two or three days.
Loins first. Then tenderloins. Hams next. Each hind quarter has three muscles that can be steaked. Remainder of hams and shoulders go into "grind" pile.
Grind pile is bagged and frozen. After season is over, wife and I have a "Grind Party", seasoning and making sausages, both breakfast and smoked, always leaving some as just ground meat for burgers, meat loaf, soup and such.
Good hunting!

Bubba

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from Douglas wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I always bone out my own deer. The hide comes off within 24 hours and the meat is in the freezer soon after. I have never had skanky meat either. Even with deer that were chased down after a wounding.
This year I shot a deer with a muzzle loader at last light and could not find it and retrieve it till morning. The night was cool, the coyotes missed the opportunity, and the body cavity was still warm after 12 hours lying there.
The meat came out very high quality.
One thing I learned from my mother is to remove all the connecting tissue (the "fell")that you can before cooking. That is where the gammey flavor lives.

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from Bass2Buck wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

i dont know every derr i shot me and my buddies butchered it

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from 007 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

We used to have deer hams sliced like hog hams and used to have our venison commercially ground. We have since started deboning the hams and bought a grinder so we do all of our own processing. You never know what might happen to your deer when it leaves your sight.

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from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

007

If you like the loin (backstrap), you're missing a good bet by grinding the hams!
There are three muscles in the hams that can be trimmed out and steaked, just like the loin! It cuts down on the amount of total ground, but increases the amount of "steak"!
I remove those three muscles, bone out the remainder to be ground!

BINGO on the "...when it leaves your sight!"

Bubba

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from 007 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Bubba, poor communications on my part, sorry. I meant that we don't have the hams commercially sliced anymore. I use a small knife and debone them, then slice for steaks about like you describe. I sometimes grind the big round one, and always grind the scraps, since it doesn't slice up as nice as the flatter ones. Thanks, good catch.

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from country road wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've been processing my own for the past few years and have enjoyed the results. The processor I used to use did a good job, but I found that I can do better because I'm pickier. I still have him turn a deer into jalapeno and cheese summer sausage.

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from Talons wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Yep!!! I agree with you guys, do your own deer. It is not that hard and plenty of info on the web about how to do it. I have been making my own sausages and bacon as well as steaks and back strap for years. I'm 64 yrs. old and when I started hunting deer there was no processing facilites anywher that did deer. But then again I would not have taken it to them anyway. As a youth we killed and butchered our own hogs and sheep and beef. All the neighbors would get together and have a fall killing. Everybody participated. The knowledge is still out there, go get it and enjoy your harvest and thank GOD for it. (HE provided it)
I was down in my back one year not too long ago and took one to a processor. The deer were stacked up on top of one another and were spoiling, you could smell it. That deer was not fit to eat, I threw it away and wasted my money to boot. "PS Seasonings.com" has some great tips and how to's on processing any meat.
If the weather permitts let it haung for two to three days, man that does the meat good. Watch the temp.don't let it go above 45% and hopefully not below freezing at night. If it does throw it in the fridge. I keep an old fridge in my shop just for that purpose (and others hummmmm) Don't let that presiuos meat spoil.Get the hide off ASAP, that helps the body heat to escape (your worst enemy)
To justify the Processor, some are just great for taking care of your deer, check around and see what locals say. I've got one that I use, when I can't manage it myself(I'm getting old guys)and he makes the best Summer Sausage (Jolopeneo and Cheese). He sees to it ALL deer hit the cooler as soon as he skins it, which is pronto. If you got bad meat, it was not handled properly!!!!!
DO IT YOURSELF !!!!!

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from bookflyer wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

To justify the Processor, some are just great for taking care of your deer, check around and see what locals say. I've got one that I use, when I can't manage it myself(I'm getting old guys)and he makes the best Summer Sausage (Jolopeneo and Cheese). He sees to it ALL deer hit the cooler as soon as he skins it, which is pronto of aion gold. If you got bad meat, it was not handled properly!!!!!

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from ray cummings wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I have ben butchering my own game for nearly 60 years and never had a bad tasting deer. The damage is done long before butchering starts. First of all the blood is the 1st thing to spoil and the second is the fat. Therefore it is imperitive that the carcass be hung HEAD DOWN. Ask any butcher or look in and cooler that has beef or pork hung. Everything is hung this way. The reason being that the excess blood will drain away from the steaks and out the open neck area. Improper hanging causes the majority of spoilage.Combine this with hanging(or carrying it around in the back of a pickup) when it is too warm and you have the perfect recipe for the so called "wild taste" that everyone complains about. As far as trimming all of the fat, I do just the opposite. I save all of the suet and use it in cooking. I even use it when cooking beef steaks. The fat gives venison it`s unique flavor. Properly taken care of fat taste great. Improperly taken care of fat spoils fast and makes the meat taste terrible. If you can`t eat a venison steak without a lot of added spices and sauces to cover the taste, you did not handle it properly.

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from upnorthmn wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've found a simple solution to this problem.. I dont shoot bucks.. what an idea!

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

I have seen many a processor cooler piled high with carcasses that don't cool effecitvely. The result is rotten meat and bad venison.

I've butchered my own since I was a kid and have never had gamey or soured meat. My wife and I grind our own burger and make our own sausages. We began using a one of the Food Saver devices about 5 years ago and we have been impressed with the freshness of our frozen game and fish.

The name of the game is getting your game animal small or large cooled quickly, aged properly and cut up to suit your needs trimming fat and connective tissue completely.

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from LadyArcher wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I have been butchering deer since I was about 8 (no joke, my father taught me, he hated doing it, and I kinda enjoyed it, so hence, it was "my" job). I have had several friends that have worked in butcher shops, and I will pass. I know that this is not the norm everywhere in ever shop, or even the ones I've been in, BUT as has been stated before, you'd be surprised at how ofter carcasses are drug into a walk-in cooler, stacked, and don't cool effectively. You'd be even more surprised at how often it isn't your deer that comes back to you. Now I don't think this is done purposefully, but when rifle season rolls around here, the shops get busy, and things get overlooked (I mean they get REAL busy) and "stuff" happens. I won't pay someone to do something that I can do myself (and that ANYONE can learn to do themselves) and I want the deer that I (or my family/friends) shot. Another plus to cutting up your own, you get to see how healthy that deer really is. May look fine on the outside, but I have cut up several that we had to end up turning over to the warden because of internal infections/injuries/diseases. Trust me, some of the stuff I've come across, you wouldn't want on your plate. SO.... I do it my way :)

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from Talons wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

YOU GO GIRL!!! As my granddaughtr says "Gilr Power" MY granddaughter (s) have learned from me, now I have plenty of help. Not to mention the grandsons. Pass it on don't let it die. You might just have to use it someday soon.

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from Bernie wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I agree with most of what has been said on this subject, except for the hide business. I prefer to keep the hide on the carcass to keep it clean and prevent outer part of the meat from drying out.

If you handled both of those deer in the same manner--killed them quickly, got them cooled down promptly, etc. I suspect the difference was that the Nebraska buck was shot during the rut and the other was not. One of the best-eating mule deer I ever killed was taken in early
September in Wyoming. Bucks shot in Montana in mid-to-late November tend to be strong-tasting. That's been my experience anyway.

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from tpbesone wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I do think that either butchering your deer yourself or using a processor that you have a good history with will definitely result in a better finished product. However, even more importantly is how the animal is handled during the 24 hrs after it is killed. I see too many people leaving the hide on an animal while they hang it. The most important thing is to get the meat cool as quickly as possible and no matter what animal we are talking about the hide and fat holds heat in. I skin all my animals immediately when I get them home and open the ribs using a 2x4. Warm meat causes more sour venison than anything else. Plus it's easier to skin the deer warm then after the hide stiffens up.

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from ejunk wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've only ever butchered my own deer and they are always delicious. I agree with others that the deer needs to cool down fast, but I disagree with the notion that it always needs to be skinned - it's a deer, not a bear, and it you open up the chest cavity sufficiently and spread it open in cool temperatures (40 degrees or colder), it will cool down just fine with the hide on. I hang mine for at least 5 days, longer if I can.

yrs-
Evan!

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from JB101 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I hunt with the local butcher.. so we usually have him do it. He has always done a fantastic job for me. The cow moose I took last week was shot at 8:54am and was skinned, quartered and hung in the cooler by 11:30 that day. We have the luxury of good equipment and close proximity to the processor, I guess.

A co-worker recently came to me complaining that the butcher had screwed him out of some good cuts on a bull moose and threw too much into the grinder. In the guy's defence, I explained to him: first the bull he brought in was a 6 1/2 year old animal weighing over 700lbs-quartered. There weren't going to be many salvageable steaks and roasts in this kind of bull. Knowing this butcher, he would rather give you useful ground meat than some inedbile round steaks you'll need to chanisaw through. Secondly, the reality is that this is, of course, a business. The reason he only charges 100-120 bucks for a cut and wrap is that he does 6-8 moose a day during peak season to break even.

So I guess my point is, and what I told this guy in the end... If you choose to process meat yourself, the advantage is you can afford to put the in time to do the extra trimming and take the cuts exactly the way you want them.

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from Pacific Hunter wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

While in college I processed as much deer as I could though had to use a butcher when doe season went especially well. The meat he took care of was good though the deer was skinned and began the cooling process before it was taken to him (I think he charged an extra $25 to skin) The intersting part was that I had a few friends that went to work for him part time and had the opportunity to process some deer we took after they had been trained by the butcher. It amazed me what would be left instead of trimming off like I would do. And his venison tasted okay, I can only imagine what it takes to make it sour. While it might take the wife and I a few hours to prepare meat for the freezer, we have never had anybody complain of poor tasting game. Either our system works or we have very polite friends. Our freezer contained Mule Deer, Whitetail, Bear, and Elk last season. It all was very good, even the 9 year old bull elk which we finished up last night, slightly tougher than the deer but still delicious.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Great points. I agree. Fast cooling and thorough trimming are both key.

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from ejunk wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

also - I've never done this, but I know a lot of guys who pack the chest cavity of their deer with bags of ice, in the early season especially. If it's too warm out I just try to get them quartered quickly and put on ice in a cooler or in the refrigerator in a paper bag (with a drip tray, of course). again, I try to keep this up for a few days.

yrs-
Evan!

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from Woodstock wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

A long time ago, I learned a simple truth about caring for wild game meat (and fish) of any kind: the quality and taste of the meat is directly related to how fastidious I am with its care.

That said, it's possible a commercial butcher could be as careful as me, but probably not.

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from jbird wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Absolutely! I've been doing it all myself for 11 years now, will never let a processor touch one of my deer again.
I'll give you guys a tip, if your wife has a Kitchenaid mixer, then you have a great grinder. We got one for our wedding, and I bought a grinder attachment for it immediately. That thing has ground up a truckload of deer over the past decade, without so much as a hiccup.

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from Bernie wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

JB101--The last moose I shot was in Montana three years ago. It was September, and temperatures dropped into the 20s the night I shot the bull. We hung the quarters to cool, but by the time I got home (less than 200 miles) the temperature had risen to the 70s. So I cut out the backstraps and tenderloins, took the rest to a processor who charged me something like $265 to cut it up. This was probably a 3-1/2 year old bull, and even at that many of the steaks were tough. So the butcher who put most of that 6-1/2 year old bull into burger probably did the guy a favor!

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from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've been cleaning my own deer for 30 years now and I enjoy everyone! No way I'd ever pay some joker to butcher my deer and give me somebody elses back!! Only one thing to remember--get all the white stuff off the meat. The tallow and the silverskin is what makes the meat taste bad. I've had plenty of stressed out deer and guess what, they all taste the same if you clean them right. I take all my deer and quarter them and wrap the quarters and the backstraps up in saran wrap and stick them in my garage fridge, then I clean them one by one, de-bone all the muscles and cut them into steaks a 1/4 in. thick and whatever isn't big enough for a medallion size steak is either jerky meat or cut into stew meat.

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from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

We have a professional butcher in camp so that makes it convienient. He wants the hide left on because when the temp gets down to 25 to 35 at night and then up to 50 during the day you can slip your hand under the hide and the meat is so cold it will freeze your hand. We try to leave our deer hang for several days. I skin the deer with my 4-wheeler so it dosen't make any difference how hard it skins. The butcher washes all the blood out of the chest cavity when it is hung up and then he dries the chest cavity out and we use the spreaders you buy in the packs from Outdoor Edge knives to keep the chest cavity open to air out. Make sure to get the windpipe,lungs, large intestine and anus out of the carcuss. You would be surprised how many deer I checked at camps that had all these parts still in the deer hanging on the meat pole. He also uses a wet rag and wipes all the blood off the hams when we hang them up. The inside looks spotless after he cleans them out while hanging on the meat pole. If you have an area that has been shot and is bloodshot cut that affected part out if you can before you skin it. Our meat tastes great and you can tell a professional has has a hand doing it.

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from buckhunter wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

All of my deer hang five days before I cut them up. It drives my wife crazy but the meat is always good. I keep the skin on until I'm ready to butcher then make sure there is no grisle or fat in the meat. Years ago I invested in a heavy duty meat grinder. It turned out to pay for itself in just one season. Between my family and buddies I butcher about 10 deer a year.

If you let the deer hang long enough to breakdown the muscle they all taste the same... Good.

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from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

In days of yore, one of the first moves upon killing a buck, was to remove the tarsal glands. They supposedly caused strong tasting meat!
You ever touch a tarsal gland?
It stinks and the residue of urinating on it plus the secretions leave an extremely waxy substance.
If you get that stuff on your hands, then gut your deer without washing your hands, I can guarantee your deer will taste just like the gland smells!!!
Gut as quickly as possible!
Skin and refridgerate post haste!
If it's cool enough to hang where you live, that's fine. It doesn't here! So I hide 'em out and they go in the fridge. Processing takes the next two or three days.
Loins first. Then tenderloins. Hams next. Each hind quarter has three muscles that can be steaked. Remainder of hams and shoulders go into "grind" pile.
Grind pile is bagged and frozen. After season is over, wife and I have a "Grind Party", seasoning and making sausages, both breakfast and smoked, always leaving some as just ground meat for burgers, meat loaf, soup and such.
Good hunting!

Bubba

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from bookflyer wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

To justify the Processor, some are just great for taking care of your deer, check around and see what locals say. I've got one that I use, when I can't manage it myself(I'm getting old guys)and he makes the best Summer Sausage (Jolopeneo and Cheese). He sees to it ALL deer hit the cooler as soon as he skins it, which is pronto of aion gold. If you got bad meat, it was not handled properly!!!!!

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from ray cummings wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I have ben butchering my own game for nearly 60 years and never had a bad tasting deer. The damage is done long before butchering starts. First of all the blood is the 1st thing to spoil and the second is the fat. Therefore it is imperitive that the carcass be hung HEAD DOWN. Ask any butcher or look in and cooler that has beef or pork hung. Everything is hung this way. The reason being that the excess blood will drain away from the steaks and out the open neck area. Improper hanging causes the majority of spoilage.Combine this with hanging(or carrying it around in the back of a pickup) when it is too warm and you have the perfect recipe for the so called "wild taste" that everyone complains about. As far as trimming all of the fat, I do just the opposite. I save all of the suet and use it in cooking. I even use it when cooking beef steaks. The fat gives venison it`s unique flavor. Properly taken care of fat taste great. Improperly taken care of fat spoils fast and makes the meat taste terrible. If you can`t eat a venison steak without a lot of added spices and sauces to cover the taste, you did not handle it properly.

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from LadyArcher wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I have been butchering deer since I was about 8 (no joke, my father taught me, he hated doing it, and I kinda enjoyed it, so hence, it was "my" job). I have had several friends that have worked in butcher shops, and I will pass. I know that this is not the norm everywhere in ever shop, or even the ones I've been in, BUT as has been stated before, you'd be surprised at how ofter carcasses are drug into a walk-in cooler, stacked, and don't cool effectively. You'd be even more surprised at how often it isn't your deer that comes back to you. Now I don't think this is done purposefully, but when rifle season rolls around here, the shops get busy, and things get overlooked (I mean they get REAL busy) and "stuff" happens. I won't pay someone to do something that I can do myself (and that ANYONE can learn to do themselves) and I want the deer that I (or my family/friends) shot. Another plus to cutting up your own, you get to see how healthy that deer really is. May look fine on the outside, but I have cut up several that we had to end up turning over to the warden because of internal infections/injuries/diseases. Trust me, some of the stuff I've come across, you wouldn't want on your plate. SO.... I do it my way :)

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from gman3186 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

i dont know i have never sent a deer to the butcher i have always done it myself

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from idahooutdoors wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Cool and clean your meat ASAP, then let it hang in a cool place for a few days. When you cut it, make sure and trim it well, a lot of the foul tastses come from meat that someone got lazy with and didn't trim right, get rid of as much fat and other grissle as you can...

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from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I don't know of there is a taste difference since i've always butchered animals myslef. But I do know it is more satisfying. Plus you can make sure your meat gets the care it deserves.

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from rock rat wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

JB101's $100 to $120 for a moose is a real good price. An elk at the local place costs $200 here.

I've never had a problem with old bucks in the middle of rut. I do get the hide and legs below the knee off as soon as possible but allow to hang in the fifty degree shop a few days.

A lot of people remark about the lack of gamey taste. I figure there are scent and other hormonal glands in the fatty stuff under the hide and separating it from the meat ASAP helps.

I like cutting up our own stuff because we use the meat different than many, no ground beef at all, and use a lot of the guts, freeze the bones for soup etc.

Kind of related. A friend went to help rescue a large piece of moose that had been stashed in a tree for a couple weeks. Birds had gotten at it a little. After cleaning off the bad looking bits it cooked up just great, very tender.

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from prairieghost wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

i too prefer leaving the hide on and allowing the carcass to hang for 5-7 days. i live where we have a month long season so i try to time my taking of game to the weather forecast (i know, what a crap shoot) so my animals can hang. that said, our antelope season is early october, so those are only hung overnight before i butcher them.

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from ThomasB wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

My dad has been hanging deer in our garage for as long as I can remember. I think once he sent it off to get it turned into jerky but that never happened again.

I think it is better to do it yourself.

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from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

When you take a deer to the processor they throw it in 1 big pile and take out 1 at a time and look at your order and use as many deer as it takes to fill your order.. it is 150% better when you do it yourself.......... mule deer in sand hills and sage grass places taste awful because they live off bad grass and taste like it.

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from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

For those of you who have your deer processed, take a good close look at all the little peices of white film and tallow thats ground up in your hamburger and your summer sausage. I don't even feed my dog that crap!

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

You got that right Walt, nobody is going to take the time to do it the way you would, and I sure dont want someone elses gut shot neglected deer.

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from Bella wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

There ain't no place where you can get a deer butchered round here, so You kinda have to do it yourself, "cause you can't eat it whole. It's no different from any other ruminant, we butcher our own goats and sheep and always have.

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from Cgull wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've heard that you don't always get "your" venison from the processor. I only use a processor when I'm pressed for time or If I'm feeling lazy and want a ham or two cut into jerky.

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from bobhall2 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've always processed my own deer and bear also. It is just more assuring that you are eating the deer you harvested when you do it your self. Also with the cost at the butcher getting very high, it just pays to do it yourself. I found a great site out there for anything you need to process your game, www.thehuntersbutchershop.com. You really only need a couple of good knives, a good quality grinder and a sausage stuffer.

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from Douglas wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I always bone out my own deer. The hide comes off within 24 hours and the meat is in the freezer soon after. I have never had skanky meat either. Even with deer that were chased down after a wounding.
This year I shot a deer with a muzzle loader at last light and could not find it and retrieve it till morning. The night was cool, the coyotes missed the opportunity, and the body cavity was still warm after 12 hours lying there.
The meat came out very high quality.
One thing I learned from my mother is to remove all the connecting tissue (the "fell")that you can before cooking. That is where the gammey flavor lives.

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from Bass2Buck wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

i dont know every derr i shot me and my buddies butchered it

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from 007 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

We used to have deer hams sliced like hog hams and used to have our venison commercially ground. We have since started deboning the hams and bought a grinder so we do all of our own processing. You never know what might happen to your deer when it leaves your sight.

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from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

007

If you like the loin (backstrap), you're missing a good bet by grinding the hams!
There are three muscles in the hams that can be trimmed out and steaked, just like the loin! It cuts down on the amount of total ground, but increases the amount of "steak"!
I remove those three muscles, bone out the remainder to be ground!

BINGO on the "...when it leaves your sight!"

Bubba

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from 007 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Bubba, poor communications on my part, sorry. I meant that we don't have the hams commercially sliced anymore. I use a small knife and debone them, then slice for steaks about like you describe. I sometimes grind the big round one, and always grind the scraps, since it doesn't slice up as nice as the flatter ones. Thanks, good catch.

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from country road wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've been processing my own for the past few years and have enjoyed the results. The processor I used to use did a good job, but I found that I can do better because I'm pickier. I still have him turn a deer into jalapeno and cheese summer sausage.

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from Talons wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Yep!!! I agree with you guys, do your own deer. It is not that hard and plenty of info on the web about how to do it. I have been making my own sausages and bacon as well as steaks and back strap for years. I'm 64 yrs. old and when I started hunting deer there was no processing facilites anywher that did deer. But then again I would not have taken it to them anyway. As a youth we killed and butchered our own hogs and sheep and beef. All the neighbors would get together and have a fall killing. Everybody participated. The knowledge is still out there, go get it and enjoy your harvest and thank GOD for it. (HE provided it)
I was down in my back one year not too long ago and took one to a processor. The deer were stacked up on top of one another and were spoiling, you could smell it. That deer was not fit to eat, I threw it away and wasted my money to boot. "PS Seasonings.com" has some great tips and how to's on processing any meat.
If the weather permitts let it haung for two to three days, man that does the meat good. Watch the temp.don't let it go above 45% and hopefully not below freezing at night. If it does throw it in the fridge. I keep an old fridge in my shop just for that purpose (and others hummmmm) Don't let that presiuos meat spoil.Get the hide off ASAP, that helps the body heat to escape (your worst enemy)
To justify the Processor, some are just great for taking care of your deer, check around and see what locals say. I've got one that I use, when I can't manage it myself(I'm getting old guys)and he makes the best Summer Sausage (Jolopeneo and Cheese). He sees to it ALL deer hit the cooler as soon as he skins it, which is pronto. If you got bad meat, it was not handled properly!!!!!
DO IT YOURSELF !!!!!

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from upnorthmn wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I've found a simple solution to this problem.. I dont shoot bucks.. what an idea!

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

I have seen many a processor cooler piled high with carcasses that don't cool effecitvely. The result is rotten meat and bad venison.

I've butchered my own since I was a kid and have never had gamey or soured meat. My wife and I grind our own burger and make our own sausages. We began using a one of the Food Saver devices about 5 years ago and we have been impressed with the freshness of our frozen game and fish.

The name of the game is getting your game animal small or large cooled quickly, aged properly and cut up to suit your needs trimming fat and connective tissue completely.

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from Talons wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

YOU GO GIRL!!! As my granddaughtr says "Gilr Power" MY granddaughter (s) have learned from me, now I have plenty of help. Not to mention the grandsons. Pass it on don't let it die. You might just have to use it someday soon.

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