After the hunt?

mftkoehler

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Hey all.

I'm putting the pieces together to begin hog hunting. Just picked up my rifle (a Weatherby Vanguard in .30-06), license and tags. I'm going to head out to the range this weekend and then try to schedule a trip with one of the recommended guides.

I'm trying to work out when the best time is to go, and one thing I'm not at all clear on is how the meat is handled if I'm successful. I know many of the guides work with a local butcher, but I also have read that they need to hang the meat for a few days before butchering. So do you all typically quarter the carcass and haul it home so you don't have to make a repeat trip? What sort of butchering instructions are usual? How much meat do you convert to sausage and so on?

Thanks in advance,

Mike
 

Speckmisser

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Hey Mike,

Welcome to the fun! Sounds like you're on the right track.

When it comes to taking care of the kill, the first thing I'll tell you is not to mess around with hanging wild pork. Unlike beef or venison, pork doesn't really benefit from aging, not to mention it's not very forgiving and will "turn" pretty fast. Get it cut up and in the freezer.

Butchering isn't rocket science, but it can be a little messy if you've never done it before. The up-side is that even if your cuts don't look quite right, it's still meat! Before butchering, do some searches online for basic guides that describe the key cuts (primals), which make the initial disassembly much easier. There are several great sites out there.

If you choose to take it to a butcher, there's no need to use the guide's recommendation if it's not convenient for you to come back and get your meat. Ask around, either here on JHO or in your community about local processors who'll handle game meat. Jesse used to have a listing on the site here, but I'm not sure where it went.

Finally... best time to go? ANYTIME! There's an ongoing discussion about which time of year is best for hogs, but the bottom line is, every season has its benefits. Winter is good because the ground is wet and the hogs are rooting, plus the weather is more comfortable. Spring can be awesome with the new growth, and the agricultural fields are getting cranked up. Summer is good because hogs tend to stay more active looking for food, and because that's the time to concentrate on water sources (in CA). If any time is not ideal, it's deer season because a lot of folks would rather be deer hunting, and several outfitters stop running hog hunts through the deer season.

Good luck, and make sure you post up your stories and pics!
 

myfriendis410

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I agree with most of what Phil said, but disagree that hanging is of no benefit. I am convinced that allowing the meat to cool down and dry out somewhat produces a more tender finished product. You do not want to cut up a carcass in rigor mortis and freeze it. The reduced moisture content in the meat aids somewhat in the cooking process, according to expert chefs.
 

bux-n-dux

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Hog meat should either be aged "on the hoof", being a whole, dressed animal, or can be aged in primals. A whole dressed animal will age well for about a week. The main thing is that during aging the skin is left on. At my shop we age our hogs whole for no more than a week. If by chance you have to skin your hog and still want to age it a bit, be sure to do so only under refrigeration, ideally no warmer than 38-40 degrees. Pork will turn and spoil much faster than a red meat animal. Aging hogs will help to take a little moisture away, but will not do much for flavor or tenderness. Whatever you do, don't age that pig more than a week if you can help it, and keep it as cool as possible.
 

Duknutz

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Welcome,
There's alot of good info on this site,soak it up,and get ready for the addiction!!!
If your hunting in the heat,get that pig cold as fast as possible.It doesn't take long for them to go bag.We hunt them in 100+ degree weather in August and when you skin them the fat is just melting,but they go straight into the walk-in box to cool.
Just don't do as Iv'e seen people do and 1/4 them up,throw them into an ice chest filled with ice and water and let the bacteria start growing.Cold and dry is the way to fly.....Good Luck.....
 

Huntr Pat

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I agree with phil, the handlling of pork is crucial.Dress it out and if you can put a stick in the rib cage to allow it to cool faster. Like phil mention it will turn if you dont allow it to cool. Get it skinned out and in the cooler. I hunt Ft hunter liggett most of the time they have a game shack where you can skin your pig and put it in the cooler. For me once I get it home if time allows I debone and cut and wrap may it be deer or venison. california weather dont allow for hanging if you do you'll see the resulst or get sick from it. The main factor is washing down the cavity and keeping your meat clean. The tastyness of your meat starts in the field. Big boars for get it thats all sausages. I have harvested a boar this year that weighed out 230lb on the hoof. He has 3 inches of fat and he was really tasty. Didn't have smell strong musky smell. But when you do get a boar and walk up to him and smell it you'll know. Butchering a hog is a piece of cake. If you need help and live near Gilroy,Ca give me a hollar I'll be glad to show you how its done if the timing is right and I'm not busy. . shot placement is the key to a good harvest!!Good luck on your hunt
 

bohunter3

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If your just getting into hog hunting, Id recommend buying a DVD called A Guides, guides to Hunting, Wild hog field care. By Ron Gayer. I've been hunting since I was a kid and I have killed a couple of hogs. I purchased this dvd out of curiosity. Wish I had seen it before my first pig hunt. The simple advise he give along with his instructions are things I had to firgure out as I learned to hunt. Its well worth the $21.
 

vincewarde

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It's just not that hard

As complete newbies the wife and I apparently did it right. With the guide help we gutted, skinned and beheaded our hogs and put them on ice in a big cooler. On the way home, we drained the cooler twice to keep the water level low (and the cooler colder). When we got home they got a quick cleaning and drying and they went into the fridge.

The next day we prepared the kitchen and cut them up. Like someone said, not rocket science. We bought a book on home butchering - and it did help. Since they we both small, the tenderloins and backstraps were made into kabobs. Between the two pigs, we got 7 roasts (which we rolled up in netting or tied up with twine), the kabobs, ribs and 11lbs of ground pork (having an electric meat grinder really helped).

The wife was at first scared of cutting up big game, but isn't the least bit afraid after doing it once!
 

weekender21

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Butchering a hog is not hard. I always handle my game from the field all the way to the table. Deer, elk, hogs, it's all about the same.

I agree with the other guys so far. Pork doesn't benefit from aging like venison but you won't hurt it either if you need to hang it in a cooler for a few days.

First-field dress the animal as soon as possible to begin the cooling process. Don't forget to take your field photographs but as soon as that's over, get to work. Basically you need to open the animal up from the groin to the chest. Remove all organs, the intestines, bladder, etc. Again it's not difficult, just try not to break the bladder or the stomach. If you do, simply rinse off the animal as soon as you can.

I always go one step further and sew the animal up with paracord to prevent dirt entering the cavity during the drag. A pack frame is another great way to get your kill out of the field.

Hanging your hog by the hind quarters with a gambrel is by far the best and easiest way to skin him.

Sharpen your knife and get to work. There is no wrong way to skin your hog but starting high and using gravity to your benefit is how most of us do it.

Once your hog has been skinned I like to cut it down the spine. This will leave you with two halves, a front shoulder, rib cage, and hind quarter on each side.

Personally, I remove the back straps (boneless chops), the tender loins, and the hind quarters(hams). I use the meat from the front shoulder and the ribs for sausage. The hind quarters can be smoked whole or simply separate the muscle groups into roasts. Once separated, the roast can be cut against the grain into steaks.

That's more or less it, enjoy!!!

Do yourself a favor and buy a grinder and a butchering "how to" video. There really isn't much difference between a deer and a hog. Good luck!
 

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