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Processing a deer is a crucial step for hunters who want to transform their own game into a tasty dinner. Learn how to process a deer with these simple steps. Don’t be intimidated!
It not only will learning how to process a deer help to preserve the meat, but also helps make sure that you get the most out of your successful deer hunt.
If you’re a beginner hunter, or just haven’t learned how to process a deer yet, it might seem daunting, but there’s really no need to worry. With some proper guidance and the right equipment, anyone can learn how to process a deer for eating.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through each step of the deer processing process, from field dressing right up to storing the meat – so you can savor every bite of your harvest!
How to Process a Deer
Processing a deer is an excellent way to ensure that the meat you consume is fresher and of higher quality. The first step in processing a deer involves field dressing it to remove the internal organs.
Once that is done, you can skin the animal and break down the carcass into manageable pieces using appropriate tools such as knives and saws.
It’s important to follow food safety guidelines during processing, including proper sanitation and storage temperatures.
With care, you can have delicious meals made from fresh venison for months to come! Continue reading for an in-depth guide for processing your own deer.
Deer Processing Equipment
When processing a deer, it is essential to have the right equipment.
The most important items needed include a sharp boning or skinning knife, protective gloves, cutting board or table, saw for removing bones, cooler for storing the meat, and a meat grinder or food processor (if making ground meat).
Additionally, storage bags or containers will be necessary to store the finished product. A vacuum sealer is an ideal piece of equipment to have also.
Having these tools readily available makes the process easier and more enjoyable.
Field Dressing A Deer
When it comes to processing a deer, field dressing is the first step. This involves removing the internal organs and any other matter that could cause spoilage.
To do this, make an incision down the midsection of the animal, being mindful not to puncture intestines. Then, remove the heart, liver, kidneys and diaphragm before carefully cutting away at the lungs.
Lastly, be sure to clean out any remaining debris in the cavity while avoiding cutting the bladder and other organs. Finally carefully remove the intestines and bladder with accurate cuts to avoid puncturing them.
Field dressing is critical for preserving meat quality and preventing bacteria from forming.
Deer processing consists of several stages, including field dressing, skinning, quartering and aging the meat.
Properly aging a deer is essential to make sure you get the best flavor and quality from the meat as well as reaching food safety standards.
How Long to Hang a Deer
Why should you hang a deer after it has been killed? Hanging helps to prevent the meat from becoming tough by allowing the muscle fibers to relax during rigor mortis, which happens in the first 24 hours after death.
By hanging a deer for at least two to four days, you will ensure that the meat stays tender and full of flavor when cooking.
Deer Hanging Temperature
The optimal temperature for deer hanging is between 32°F – 40°F. If the temperature exceeds this range for too long, then the meat may spoil or become susceptible to bacterial growth and should be processed sooner.
If the temperature drops below 32°F for too long, the meat will freeze and not have time to relax.
Skinning A Deer
Skinning a deer is the process of removing the hide from the carcass. Before doing so, it’s important to field dress the deer by cleaning out its organs and hang the deer so the muscles have a chance to relax.
To begin skinning, make a cut down the center of the belly and remove the skin from the legs and back.
Be careful not to cut into any of the meat and keep the skin as intact as possible for easy removal later on.
Move quickly to prevent spoilage and set aside the hide for use or disposal afterwards.
How To Cape A Deer For Taxidermy
If you plan to have your deer head mounted, you’ll need to learn how to cape a deer. Preserving a deer head for taxidermy takes careful and quick steps.
To begin, promptly skin the head and put it in a dry place to slow the rate of decomposition.
Next, spread salt on exposed flesh and inside the skull area to draw moisture out.
After that, tightly wrap the head in plastic and freeze it as quickly as possible.
Finally, find a professional taxidermist with experience in preserving heads for display or decor. Following these steps will allow you to preserve your deer-head for many years to come!
Quartering A Deer
Quartering a deer involves breaking it down into four parts, allowing for easy transportation and storage.
The front and hind legs, the backstrap and the neck can be divided into separate pieces. Check out our article on deer backstrap, too!
To successfully quarter a deer, it is important to make clean cuts between bones and to free any connecting tissue.
Doing so will make it easier to remove the meat from the bones in future steps.
Aging Deer Meat
Proper aging is essential for making sure deer meat tastes, tenderizes and develops the right flavor.
To do this, hang the meat in a cool, dry area (34°F to 37°F) where the air is circulating for anywhere between 24 hours and up to 21 days.
It should also be kept away from insects and pests during that time and kept at a temperature below 40°F, so it’s important to keep an eye on the thermometer.
Aging deer meat helps break down the muscle fibers, resulting in better tasting, more tender cuts of meat!
Cutting and Packing Deer Meat
The last step of learning how to process a deer involves cutting it into desired cuts and packaging it for either refrigeration or cooking.
A sharp knife should be used to make clean cuts through the fibers of the muscles, while vacuum-sealed bags or plastic containers are best for packaging.
This helps protect the meat from spoilage and bacteria while also making it easier to store in either the freezer or refrigerator.
By following these procedures, hunters can produce reliably high-quality deer meat that is safe to eat and ready to store for future use.
How To Process A Deer: Conclusion
In conclusion, processing a deer can be an easy process providing the hunter is taking the correct safety and equipment precautions.
By following the steps outlined above, hunters will have no trouble turning their unskinned harvests into delicious meat that can be enjoyed for months on end.
With care, knowledge and dedication to the craft of processing deer, even first-time hunters can enjoy the reward from their hunting efforts for years to come!
New to hunting deer? Check out this article: How To Hunt Deer
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