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Deer processing question...

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by gspn, Dec 1, 2012.

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  1. WYcoyote

    WYcoyote Member

    Jan 12, 2010
    Kane, WY
    I try to hang the deer/elk/game for 5 to 10 days depending on if I can keep it at 32 to 40 degrees or not. They are skinned as soon as possible.
    My theory is if the heart stops beating it's done bleeding, I don't slit throats.
    I believe the previous post about rigor mortis and would avoid cutting loose any meat/ muscle groups until an aging period has taken place. I then complete the processing myself.
    I have used this proceedure for quite some time and I won't give a body count except to say it is substantial. It has worked out well and if it didn't I would have changed it long ago.
  2. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

    Aug 14, 2012
    Johannesburg S.A.
    Could not agree more, we have the same experience except yours is a somewhat more extensive.

    Without being contentious I would like to debate this a little more to get clarity and other opinions.

    1. I understand that the reason for removing as much blood, as quickly as possible, is that while the muscles are still warm and relaxed one is likely to get much more blood removed. As rigor mortis sets in and as the muscles cool the blood retention increases.

    It was also my understanding that blood will begin to decay far quicker than flesh, it is for this reason that we remove as much blood as possible. Also the absence of blood reduces the mass and therefore the meat chills faster.

    2. The reasons for cooling are simply to retard the rate of decay of the flesh and to have control over the rate of decay. So one would want the meat in the chiller as soon as possible. Control of the duration leads to "ageing / maturing" of the meat. A process that is well understood, you know the lazy aged steaks you buy. One can dry age or wet age. I age normal beef steaks, vacuum packed, at normal fridge temperature for two weeks, after that the taste get a little "sour" for me. My BIL likes them at three weeks.

    3. When the animal takes flight post a shot that does not drop it immediately then adrenaline and other stress hormones are secreted and will course through the body as this is a stressful time for the animal. As the stress levels increase so to does the lactic acid content of the meat. Being an acid this changes the pH and the meat becomes more acid affecting the quality. Now most studies refer to the normal slaughter of beef but to me are still relevant as they relate to stress. Game may not be stresses beforehand but a poor shot will result in flight and all the corresponding stress syndromes.

    4. I also think that it is the preference of many to have copious amount of gravy / sauce with their meat which can greatly mask the true flavour of the cut. I like it either way but tenderloins and the likes go onto the BBQ with salt and pepper only and need to be medium rare.

    5. I also think that some of the toughness of meat is due to poor butchering. Here I include myself. I have gotten better through watching very good video's on the web and correct handling of the butchers knife can do wonders. Most of the animals we shoot are for jerky and dried sausauge which we love here.

    6. I also think that African game has a different diet and does tend towards being more gamey. Have eaten locally specially raised Fallow Deer (raised on sweet grasses) and have eaten deer in England, Germany and they are much less gamey than ours, don't know if it was in the preperation though.

    When it is especially bad for us is at the end of the season and one is hunting plains game. The stuff is so spooked and skittish as they can see you from as proverbial mile away that this form of hunting normally involves a lot of flight from the deer before a successful shot is made. This is the extreme I know but that makes meat tough.

    Any further thoughts?
  3. Mike J

    Mike J Member

    Jul 3, 2007
    I do what McGunner posted. I don't have access to a place to hang my deer in a cooler so I quarter & cooler them. I keep the plug pulled on the cooler & let the water from the ice melting wash the blood out of the meat. After three days of this I cut the meat up & put it in the freezer.
  4. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I'm on day three, two hind quarters down, going to start on the rest after my break. :D Meat is good and bleached out and looks WAY tasty.

    There's more'n one way to skin this cat...or deer....I reckon. :D
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