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How much meat from a deer?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by olazul, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. olazul

    olazul Member

    I have been hunting mule deer in Co the last few years and last year I got a "good size" 3 x 4- but only 35lbs of meat from the butcher- about 1/2 of that is sausage cut with beef.

    He seems like a good guy, and says all the meat is from my deer but.......

    I am thinking of butchering it myself this year in the field- not that I'm greedy but I take good care of my kill and don't want someone else's less cared for carcass.


    1)What percentage of the total body weight of a deer should you expect to get in meat?

    2)Any suggestions on butchering in the field? I live in CA so it would be difficult to bring back an entire carcass


  2. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    I have a chart from the PA Game Commission that gives all the figures. To give one example - for a live weight of 156 lbs- hide wt 13.4 - blood wt 8.1 - bone wt 19.5 - edible lean meat 69 . If you want to transport it easily you can remove the meat from the bone in the field ( check state regs ). There are books and videos available if you've never done any butchering. Dressing out immediately is extremely important. After butchering you can transport in a cooler with some ice.
  3. TallPine

    TallPine Well-Known Member

    Sounds a little skimpy to me ...

    The butcher we've been using has a lot of out of state hunters that just take home the steaks and leave him with all the ground meat. So last year we got about 200 pounds of meat from a mid-size whitetail buck. ;)
  4. gun-fucious

    gun-fucious Well-Known Member

    its all about the labor

    we sharpen up the Buck Hunters
    and strip them down to Stew Meat, Roasts & Bones

    Fiddling with neck meat can take awhile
  5. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    Edible meat should be 40% of the live weight of the animal. That just counts muscle, not organ meat, and that figure supposedly works on all ruminants from deer, to caribou, elk and moose.
    That's the figure the AK fish and game people use to determine if you are wasting meat and it's held up in court for many years.

  6. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

    I think you got longed.
    That's like being shorted only a lot worse.

  7. BigG

    BigG Well-Known Member

    Ain't a mule deer small - 100 lbs or less? If so, 35 lbs is about 40% of live weight. Inquiring minds, etc.
  8. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    No, mule deer are quite large. 35 pounds seems kind of ... short... by about half, at least...

    Do it yourself from now on or find another butcher.

  9. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

    Vital Stats:

    Weight: 125-330 lbs.
    Length with tail: 50-85"
    Shoulder Height: 3-3.5"
    Sexual Maturity: 2 years
    Mating Season: Oct.- Nov.
    Gestation Period: 195-212 days
    No. of Young: 1-4, 2 avg.
    Birth Interval: 1 year
    Lifespan: 10 years in the wild
    Typical diet: various vegetation

    from: http://www.desertusa.com/feb97/du_muledeer.html
  10. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Well-Known Member

    butchers have to eat too, you know.
    You either made a donation or the deer was shot up and damaged meat wasted. That's why I do my own killing, cutting, smoking, freezing.
  11. 5ptdeerhunter

    5ptdeerhunter Well-Known Member

    As my butcher tells me for whitetails. If you take the weight of the deer after the vitals are out of it and weight it, you should get just under half back in meat. Now I know that isn't always true but you can kinda guess that if the butcher has a lot to do he isn't going to be real picky about getting every piece of useable meat for burger or sausage. So if you do it yourself and you take your time then you going to get more meat out of the same deer. Then you need to factor in fat and such for the weight but overall I think half of the deer back is pretty good.
  12. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    BigG, a Texas mule deer that's really worth shooting will commonly dress out in the 150 to 200 pound range. Further north in the Rockies, they'll get up toward 250, and I'll let a Colorado guy add on to that if need be. :)

    Hill country whitetails can be quite small, down around 70 to 80 pounds, although in decent habitat they'll get above 130 to 140. South Texas brush country whitetails can push 200; again, field dressed.

  13. olazul

    olazul Member

    thanks so much for the replies gentlemen.

    Yea, I figured I got shorted. It was not shot up- just through the boiler room.

    My only problem is the logistics of butchering in the field. I guess the best way to go is to bone it out and bring it home for final prep. How have you all done this?

    FYI- I did not weigh the deer but figure it was approx 180 lbs

    thanks again for the info

  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Gut the deer in the field. If you have a cheesecloth body bag for the deer, skin him while warm; it's easier.

    Then, just haul him home, hang him in the garage or to a tree in the yard and do the butchering. (In the garage, put an el-cheapo plastic tarp underneath, to catch the dabs of blood that drip...)

    A hacksaw and a decent 3" or 4" blade pocket knife is all that's needed, although obviously better knives make the job easier...

    :), Art
  15. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...the logistics of butchering in the field..." You don't butcher in the field. The carcass needs to hang for a while in a cool place and butchering should only be done in a clean environment.
    Field dressing isn't the same thing as butchering. That's just getting the innards out and the hide off. Boning a whole carcass is a major job and not easy unless you know how. I do think you got beat by the butcher and you can do it yourself, but not in the field. Call your local community college and see if there's a course you can take. It's can be learned from a book too I suppose. There are lots of them around that show how to butcher a deer.
  16. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    Boning a deer in the field takes about twenty minutes. It isn't a major job unless you hang them up and allow them to cool.

  17. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    But, Keith, how long did it take you, the FIRST time you did that boning?

    :D, Art
  18. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

    First took forever, and lucky I didn't bone myself in the process.

  19. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    It didn't take very long the first time, but then I had someone with me who was showing me how to do it "native style".

    I think someone who has previously butchered a deer after hanging would have little problem doing it in the field for the first time. If they have never done it all, well, they'd probably make a mess if they didn't do their homework first.

    I've posted the directions as best I could, and there have been links to other sites - I recall a link to a moose site complete with pictures...

  20. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    There wuz a "Perfectionist" sort of guy in our old deer-camp group, years ago. He wouldn't shoot anything but young six-points. In camp, he'd not only bone out all the meat, he'd disassemble the meat muscle by muscle, and remove every last bit of sinew. Backstraps, inner tenders, all of it. He'd then haul it off to be made into sausage.

    I danged near cried, every time I thought about those backstraps and tenders. :(


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