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Old November 15th, 2013 #1
Alex Linder
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Default #1 Deer Hunting & Processing/Butchering Thread

Curious if any of you process your own deer. If so, I'd be interested in hearing your experience. Hope to be doing a poor-man's version of this this season. That is, I don't have the space or the tools, but I do have the will and the love of trying new things and getting better at them. Have eaten down all my crap carb stocks, getting ready for a paleo-variant diet, at least for 30 days. Probably 1/4 of all meat I eat is deer. Deer are obviously free range, apart from some on farms. Free range lacks the toxins that you get in the fat of factory meat, if you believe the alt-diet crowd.

I don't hunt, but my friends do, and relatives do, and they generally give me some. This year I'm going to, hopefully, process one myself. Have watched a number of videos, just now was reading up on how to freeze them. I don't have any grinder or fat to mix with ulta-lean venison as the professional processors do, just going to wing it. Anyway, interested in any thoughts people have. Even on sharpening knives. I've tried this and not really seen much success. Kind of makes me feel like an idiot, to be honest. I think I'm doing it the right way with the stone, but don't really see any results. D'oh. My expertise is wholly in cooking stuff, and I can make many good deer recipes, but nothing sophisticated. Deer tacos are and deer spaghetti are my favorite, along with deer chili, which is even better than beef chili when you get it right.

What I've read says you freeze stuff using either vacuum seal bags, or ziploc bags or freezer paper/butcher paper or plastic wrap, or some combination thereof. My freezer isn't huge, so will not be storing more than I can eat within a year. Interesting, although did not take specific note of how much deer I was given, let's say about 50 pounds, it lasted most of a year, from, say, december to about mid-september of next year. Makes me wonder how much meat the average man consumes in a year. Eating deer keeps food bills down, especially if you get it free or by barter, as I do. Processing runs a minimum 75 around here, usually somewhere over 100 to get one average deer processed, but that of course includes jerky and summer sausage and other speciality preparations that most people want. Just like the ground up venison myself, along with the tenderloin. If you process the deer yourself, then the whole cost is the state tag, which isn't much in Missouri, maybe $15-17. We have a lot of deer here, it's one of the top deer and turkey hunting locations in North America.

This is a good thread on wrapping/freezing venison cuts
http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1069944

Last edited by Alex Linder; November 15th, 2013 at 04:00 PM.
 
Old November 15th, 2013 #2
keifer
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IMHO,
I made big advances this year in the quality my harvest when I learned to air dry the meat instead of throwing it right into the freezer. I put the meat in the fridge for a week while the temp gauge was on the warmest setting. Next year I will be able to apply what was learned and come away with an even more productive process. I won't be so inclined to take this process for granted. Don't forget the tallow which is the fat that lays between the skin and muscle. This is useful stuff that is easy to obtain by the process called rendering tallow. I never understood the idea of burger meat when it comes to deer when pressure cooker can deal with even the toughest of antelope. Antelope is Viking grade. I have never been interested in cooking away the gamey taste from the food I produce.
 
Old December 9th, 2013 #3
Alex Linder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keifer View Post
IMHO,
I made big advances this year in the quality my harvest when I learned to air dry the meat instead of throwing it right into the freezer. I put the meat in the fridge for a week while the temp gauge was on the warmest setting. Next year I will be able to apply what was learned and come away with an even more productive process. I won't be so inclined to take this process for granted. Don't forget the tallow which is the fat that lays between the skin and muscle. This is useful stuff that is easy to obtain by the process called rendering tallow. I never understood the idea of burger meat when it comes to deer when pressure cooker can deal with even the toughest of antelope. Antelope is Viking grade. I have never been interested in cooking away the gamey taste from the food I produce.
Well...it's all new to me so I have few comments. I have only cooked to this point. I don't know about processing but I've watched probably three dozen videos. I haven't found deer gamey at all. The steaks can be, but I don't care, I just cook them. I don't mess with marinades and such. Anything too tough I just throw in a crock pot, but that's more for turkey.

This year the harvests were down in Missouri. Too windy. But there was another factor: the reappearance of the boolagong. This is an animal peculiar to NEMO, altho sometimes seen in SE Iowa (we're only 20 mi from the border here). My buddy got on one film. There was some weird weather - they didn't even see any deer for the most part, after getting one the first day. He only saw one other deer the week he was out there, very unusual, and weather/wind/general variance can't account for it. He started shooting some video when it was sleeting. The slanted snow making a hissing noise when it smacks the leaf litter. He got a boolagong on film too. They're not exactly rare, but they're mainly nocturnal, and they SCARE THE PISS out of deer. They're kind of low slung, more black than anything, low to the ground. Deer will NOT move when they're in the area. They smell like skunk cabbages, like all fearsome predators. The main thing, they're not BIG like you'd think. They're small. And they stay low so they don't get beat. And they stay nocturnal like bobcats, so they don't get seen. The acreage my friends hunt is about 120 or so. Normally deer harvest is great and pretty easy, lots around. But occasionally boolagongs come in and mess things up, and this was one of those years. Up till now, only remember one other time. We were finding these fish skeletons up from a small pond. There was an old 18th century cabin, long defunct, nothing but fallen-log boards and weeds grown up around it. Under this stuff a boo'gong had dug out a burrow, maybe 30 yards up from a small pond with fish and frogs. Around the mouth of the burrow were fish bones. We looked all around this thing but were never there when it was, nevertheless that's what it was. Then soon again it was gone. This year it came back. Black and angry. It tends to be crepuscular to nocturnal - you can see it near dusk at the corner of your eye, particularly when the weather is changing for the worse. That's when the boolagong is on the bound, as folks say around here.

So thanks to these creatures I go without deer this year. I'm about to go rent a car, because deer season never ends when you're in a rental car. Me with all my stored up video and book-knowledge and no deer to practice on. The neighborhood cast best step lively or I'll go Korean on their ass. But yeah, that's how it is in the NEMO: wind and boolagongs depressed white-tail hunting this year of our lord 2013.

Last edited by Alex Linder; December 9th, 2013 at 11:27 PM.
 
Old December 12th, 2013 #5
keifer
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I had some steaks in the freezer that were set aside for camp out. I cut them thin so they would cook faster in the field. When I got out to my camp set I realized I had brought the wrong package and now had much more deer than I could eat within the set time frame of an overnighter. Plus I had killed a few rabbits that day. It would kill me to waste game and with no refrigeration so this is what I did. I hung up the game beyond the reach of varmints after having coated the outside of the deer meat with Bay Seasoning, This is fairly common method particularly with ham and air drying them with seasoning. A few days later the deer made a tasty breakfast. Breakfast is anything, anything at all that is accompanied by eggs on a plate. The Bay Seasoning is a one tool option for the field and plate.
Both the liver and heart in a deer are much more milder in taste than that of beef liver/heart. In fact the heart has less flavor than the other most common parts of a deer. The organs have a higher nutritional yield over that of muscle.
 
Old December 12th, 2013 #6
N.B. Forrest
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When it comes to sharpening knives, you can't beat the bottom of a ceramic mug: just hold the blade so that the angle of cutting edge is flat against the unglazed circular portion of the bottom, and get to work. Circular motions, etc. Switch sides, of course, to get the microscopic steel "feathers" to straighten.
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Old December 15th, 2013 #7
Mr A.Anderson
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We only went out 3 days this deer season (ended yesterday), no legal deer to shoot at, though we saw plenty of deer.

Might make some inquiries about nuisance or crop damage deer tags in February. If I can find some tags local, it is a near guarantee that we will have a few deer to cut up. I always cut my own. One of the things that I've learned over the years, the amount of 'gaminess' a deer has depends a lot on how it dies. If the deer is running or scared, the muscles are full of adrenalin - and that makes the meat tougher and overly gamey. I've stopped shooting at running deer because of that. The problem with getting the deer processed around here is not only the price ($100 basic cuts - steaks, chops, roasts, and burger) but also the high chances of getting somebody elses deer meat mixed in with yours - if not outright somebody elses.

If we do get some nuisance tags, I will take step by step pictures and explain how I process the deer (much like I did here for loading ammunition). We are lucky here, usually temperatures during rifle season are below 40 degrees. I have a large garage, so I typically skin the deer right away, and let it hang, air dry, and age for about a week before I cut it up. I have an enclosure specifically for this in my garage (hanging).

Last edited by Mr A.Anderson; December 15th, 2013 at 05:45 PM.
 
Old December 15th, 2013 #8
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If you have any questions about canning (actually jarring) ask away as I been doing for years now. Just finished jarring a turkey.
 
Old December 15th, 2013 #9
Mark Faust
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What exactly do you want to know Alex?

Some pointers......

Bleed it well.....Otherwise the meat is really bloody when you thaw it out later after freezing... I cut the head with a hand saw off before hanging.

Save the brain, and learn how to tan the hide with it (you can find plenty of how to videos online for that). It takes forever but lets you really appreciate what your ancestors went through to have a usable hide.

In college (in Alaska) we ate deer almost every day. We poached them illegaly....... my favorite ways to cook deer is cut the meat into small strips and stir fry it with mixed vegetables, or throw it in a crock pot over small red potatoes with celery, baby carrots and lots of salt and garlic.

I had a friend who made damn good venison jerky in his stove.... I will never know his process as he died 6 years ago.

The heart is large and tasty...... I never ate any other organs of the deer.
 
Old February 9th, 2014 #10
keifer
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For removing the gamey taste, this is what was told to me, although I don't mind gamey taste.
Soak the meat in salt water and this will draw the blood from the meat and remove the gamey taste. When freezing meat put the portions in zip-loc bags with slightly salted water. Freezing the meat in water will assure that no air comes in contact with the meat which would consequently degrade the meat.
 
Old February 11th, 2014 #11
Alex Linder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Faust View Post
What exactly do you want to know Alex?

Some pointers......

Bleed it well.....Otherwise the meat is really bloody when you thaw it out later after freezing... I cut the head with a hand saw off before hanging.

Save the brain, and learn how to tan the hide with it (you can find plenty of how to videos online for that). It takes forever but lets you really appreciate what your ancestors went through to have a usable hide.

In college (in Alaska) we ate deer almost every day. We poached them illegaly....... my favorite ways to cook deer is cut the meat into small strips and stir fry it with mixed vegetables, or throw it in a crock pot over small red potatoes with celery, baby carrots and lots of salt and garlic.

I had a friend who made damn good venison jerky in his stove.... I will never know his process as he died 6 years ago.

The heart is large and tasty...... I never ate any other organs of the deer.
Was just looking for general ideas...since I didn't get a shot this year, don't have any specific questions yet. Will come back to this in the fall.
 
Old February 11th, 2014 #12
Alex Linder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keifer View Post
For removing the gamey taste, this is what was told to me, although I don't mind gamey taste.
Soak the meat in salt water and this will draw the blood from the meat and remove the gamey taste. When freezing meat put the portions in zip-loc bags with slightly salted water. Freezing the meat in water will assure that no air comes in contact with the meat which would consequently degrade the meat.
I've heard you can put it in milk...I don't know...I like to keep things simple, and have only come across one deer steak that was too gamey, and that might have been a freezer thing. If any piece is too tough, I just crock it with some potatoes, carrots and onions.
 
Old November 15th, 2014 #13
Alex Linder
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Two nice ones (2014). Quite cold but no wind, so my buddies scored early and often...

(15 november 2014)
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Old November 17th, 2014 #14
Alex Linder
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Finally got one to work on...spent five straight hours processing my first one on Sunday afternoon, a medium-sized button buck (immature male, horns haven't broken through). Got about 30 lb of meat off it. On a tag that costs $7. Processing starts at 95. Plan to process a lot more over the years, and get better at it.
 
Old November 17th, 2014 #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
This year the harvests were down in Missouri. Too windy. But there was another factor: the reappearance of the boolagong. This is an animal peculiar to NEMO, altho sometimes seen in SE Iowa (we're only 20 mi from the border here).
This thread has the only mention of boolagongs on the web.
 
Old March 11th, 2015 #16
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I wonder what they could be? NEMO seems to have all the cool creatures. Referenced again today on The Learning College - Paul C. Vitz: Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship Ch.9 @ 1:27:24. Fuck 'Finding Bigfoot' on Animal Planet, we've gotta find the rare Boolagong.

Last edited by varg; March 11th, 2015 at 10:35 PM.
 
Old March 12th, 2015 #17
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A friend of mine got caught poaching deer and got an 18 month sentence and a $5000 fine. He lost all his firearms he had with him as well. So decide whether that risk is worth it or not if you think about doing that. It was something I used to do when I was younger, but I never got caught. The mistake my friend made was he went into unfamiliar territory a few counties over.

The best way to poach deer, is drive around during the middle of the night, like 3am, in a VERY secluded area, wait for one to cross in front of you. They'll usually pause and look right at you. The wing man takes the shot with something like a revolver. A Ruger Blackhawk .357 magnum works fine. Go out, grab the deer, throw it in the back of the truck (quickly), pull off to the side somewhere out of sight, wrap it up in a tarp (unless driving a car with big enough trunk, we used an 85 oldsmobile delta 88.) and get the fuck outta here ASAP. You might need a hand saw(or sawzall) to cut the antlers off if you get a big enough buck. You don't want its profile looking anything like a deer. Been there, done that. Had to pass on a really big buck one time because I knew it wouldn't fit in the trunk of the car we were using. Be smart.

Last edited by Crowe; March 12th, 2015 at 08:59 AM.
 
Old March 16th, 2015 #18
Alex Linder
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This thread has the only mention of boolagongs on the web.
Well that's hardly my fault.
 
Old March 16th, 2015 #19
Alex Linder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varg View Post
I wonder what they could be? NEMO seems to have all the cool creatures. Referenced again today on The Learning College - Paul C. Vitz: Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship Ch.9 @ 1:27:24. Fuck 'Finding Bigfoot' on Animal Planet, we've gotta find the rare Boolagong.
The boolagong is out there, no doubt about it. His range may even extend so far as Southeastern Iowa. I don't know. I don't visit those parts. But the boolagong is real as shaving cream. Like I said, we've got him on tape. I'm not going to deny though, you got to bring some heart, some will to it. There has to be a real commitment to seeing the boolagong, or he'll sense it and won't make himself available to your vision resource centers. Rustling of late-fall leaves, a certain pickup in the wind, a more-than-faint presence of something unvaguely reminiscent of imperfectly ripened skunk cabbage...all these are not inconsonant with the presence of the noble but infinitely wary boolagong.

Last edited by Alex Linder; March 16th, 2015 at 01:17 PM.
 
Old March 16th, 2015 #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowe View Post
A friend of mine got caught poaching deer and got an 18 month sentence and a $5000 fine. He lost all his firearms he had with him as well. So decide whether that risk is worth it or not if you think about doing that. It was something I used to do when I was younger, but I never got caught. The mistake my friend made was he went into unfamiliar territory a few counties over.

The best way to poach deer, is drive around during the middle of the night, like 3am, in a VERY secluded area, wait for one to cross in front of you. They'll usually pause and look right at you. The wing man takes the shot with something like a revolver. A Ruger Blackhawk .357 magnum works fine. Go out, grab the deer, throw it in the back of the truck (quickly), pull off to the side somewhere out of sight, wrap it up in a tarp (unless driving a car with big enough trunk, we used an 85 oldsmobile delta 88.) and get the fuck outta here ASAP. You might need a hand saw(or sawzall) to cut the antlers off if you get a big enough buck. You don't want its profile looking anything like a deer. Been there, done that. Had to pass on a really big buck one time because I knew it wouldn't fit in the trunk of the car we were using. Be smart.
Hell, you could drive around here in the summer and just run them over. I've hit four, when I had a car. Sucks repeatedly buying $120 headlight assemblies.

I've spend the winter eating my free-ish deer, 30lb. have it in about 30 freezer bags. The taste is fine. The warning about their fat or "silver" - that doesnt matter. it is a little tough. It probably is worth finding a good way to tenderize the meat a little, that's my conclusion. But if it's ever too tough, I just soup it out. Throw stuff in a pot with potatoes and vegetables, can never go wrong with that, or use a crock pot.
 
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