Confirmation for taking procedures of deer

J.O.

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Hello all,

I am new to deer hunting and this coming season will be my first. After lurking throughout the threads and doing research, I cannot seem to clarify a few questions. First off, I will be hunting in So Cal Zone D19. For those that may not be aware, this area is constantly in the high 90's or tripple digits for the temp very quickly. Heck it could be in the 80's as early as 8am.

So here are a few questions that I have:

After you take a deer you field dress as it lies to quickly lower the body temp? Once dressed and you haul the deer out to your truck, would it be a good idea to bring ice in a cooler which you could stuff the body cavity with as soon as it gets to the truck? Then once you get the carcass home do you hang the body head up or head down? Seems like head down but I'm not sure what the benifits to either are? Please keep in mind that the temperature will be warm outside most likely at this point. Then while hanging you skin the body and pepper it to prevent flies or bugs from ruining the meat? How long should the body hang and at what temp should I try to keep carcass in while it is hanging? If I hung the body in my garage the temp within there will probably be around 100-120. At the end of the hanging phase I take the carcass to a butcher and have the meat processed?Do I need to keep the body at a certain temp while its hanging and when I transport it to the butcher?

Any clarification on what to do is greatly appreciated. I am confused on what I should do!!!:skeered::smiley_doh:

Thanks,
JO
 

BigDog

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When you harvest a deer in temps like that, you need to immediately field dress (gut) him and then get the hide off as soon as you can. Hang him from a tree by the head and skin him. After that, some people use pepper, some don't but the most important next step is to get him in a game bag. A close knit bag so that the flies can not lay their eggs. If you are not leaving the site immediately, you can dribble water onto the bag so that the evaporation helps to cool down the carcass.
Once out of the woods, if you are planning on using a butcher, get it to the butcher pronto. They will hang it in their cooler and then package it for you. Do not try hanging it in your garage with those temps. You will lose the meat.
 

J.O.

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Thanks for the quick response. What are your thoughts concerning stuffing the body cavity with ice? That would definitely cool the body down fast however I'm not sure if it might be too quick or I could freeze burn the meat and ruin it.

Is there a place that you can recommend to purchase the knit bag (game bag)? Maybe a link to one. I'm not sure what exactly your refering to. This is the first time I've heard to use one.
Maybe this:
Cabela's -- Extra Heavy-Duty Game Bag

When field dressing do I need to use the butt out tool?

Is there a time frame I should adhere to as to how soon I need to get the carcass to the butcher? The reason I ask is most of the butcher's around here are not open on sunday's and a few not on saturdays. So it could potentially be more than 48 hours before I can drop it off. Is there a temp I should try and keep the body at?
 

inchr48

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Try a search on "Gutless skinning method". It allows you to skin half of the deer while on the ground, remove usable meat, flip deer over and repeat. Many people use pillow cases as "Game Bags" for these smaller pieces of the deer. It saves packing out the bones and hide (unless you want the hide for mounting). Easier to ice down in a large cooler also. Good luck in your hunt, and keep asking questions, it's the best way to learn. Oh, welcome to JHO too!
 

BFR

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Hey John,
I hunt about the same temp as you will. The main thing I do after field dressing is get the hide and head off, split the chest and spread it a little to open it for air circulation. I use a cheap plain white sheet, king or queen size to keep the flies off, just make sure all of the carcass is covered and duct tape the openings to seal. You can dampen the sheet to help cool it. Since I camp I just hang it in a shady spot until I'm ready to go home. If you are hunting from home you can keep the bag damp and use an electric fan to keep air moving. Just get it to a butcher early as you can. Unless you get and old mossyhorn you won't need to age the carcass but if you do it needs to be kept at about 40deg or colder. A couple days as I descibed won't hurt it. Head up or down doesn't matter, I hang head down to keep the hindquarters spread, after the head is off all blood drains out thru the neck. Be sure to clean the hair and dirt from all over before covering, I use a propane torch and burn the hair, just keep it moving so you don't burn the meat. As for the bag, most sporting goods or Wal Mart etc will have a game bag, most are too small and I dont care for them thats why I use a sheet so it fits loose. Otherwise I use a full body elk bag like Cabelas or Bass Pro Shop. Good Luck!!!
 

ltdann

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since your in hemet, you can get all the game bag stuff at Bass pro. I hunt southern A-zone and like to have my deer in the chill box/cooler in under 5 hours.

In those temps, need to gut the animal as soon as you get it to place where you can do it cleanly i.e. don't gut and drag 500yds and fill the body cavity with dirt. Any dirt/grass etc, will introduce bacteria and accelerate spoiling.

If your going to be awhile in the field with no access to a chill box/butcher. Its best to quarter the animal/strip the backstraps and tender loins and put in the cooler within 5 hours. I've got 120qt cooler that handles everything except the rib cage. I put the quarters in the game bags and then inside garbage bags and then in the cooler and cover with ice.

Gutting and skinning in the shade will go along way to reducing the body temp quickly. Gutted and skinned, the meat won't spoil as fast as you might think but its important not to let it go too long.

I recommend the buttout tool, makes that nasty bit alot easier. Keep mine in the pack at all times.

I'm assuming you want to hang the deer to skin it? you can do that in the field on the ground just as easily as you can hanging it. I personally like to hang mine head down to skin it. Its easier with a gambrel thru the back legs.
 

Orygun

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Cold from ice is invaluable in preserving meat.
Be careful though,water from melting ice can lead to the formation of bacteria in the carcass and ruin meat.

We have put ice in trash bags and then put them in the carcass. We have then put the carcass and ice in a cloth game bag and then in a couple of sleeping bags. They will help keep in the cold for a long time.

As long as you change out the ice and dry off any wet areas you can keep the deer cold like this for days. Though I would recommend getting them into a meat cutter ASAP if that's the route your going.

incher's got it right on the gutless method. Will save you tons of problems if your only dealing with meat and antlers when you get back to your rig.

Props for bringing this up well before the hunt. You would be surprised how many folks only start thinking about what to after they have downed the animal.
 

J.O.

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Wow you guys bring up alot of very good points that I didn't think about. I can definitely see how bacteria would start to develop.

I will look into the guttless skinning method.

Ya I was planning on hanging and then skinning at my home. In my area there are not trees to hang them by. More like shrubs that are in upwards of 8' with thin branches that could in no way hold up something. I will have to look for shady spots as well. There are few to come by!!! I will probably end up lugging the deer out roughly 2+ miles.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in and helped me out:wavin hello:
 

MJB

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If your doing 2+ miles Gutless is the only way to fly. Alaska game bags are the best they will not tear like the cheaper ones and are machine washable. I use both the quarted bags and the hole animal bags both work.

When you get back to the truck ice the deer down and pull the drain plug. Some people use frozen water jugs so if your not lucky you don't keep wasting your money. But if I was you just have a cooler and drive to the nearest store for ice.

The gutless method is best done on the ground just get comfortable and take your time. It's tough the first time but after a few you will be come good at it. It takes me about 20-30 minutes depending on how steep the hill is, if I can I drag it to the bottom for some shade and/or cooler temps.

Aging the deer is a must in my book even if it's a young doe. I will take the meat from the field and remove any dirt/hair and ALL of the FAT. The fat is what can make the meat taste a little wild. Then I'll dry it off and place it in the fridge uncovered or covered your preference and let it sit for 3-7 days this will drain all of the blood and dry the meat out on the outside so when you cook it on the grill it will sear the juices in, just like they do with aged steak. After the aging is done I'll vacuum seal or use butcher paper or plastic rap the meat then put in a zip lock bag.

If you go to the butcher call ahead of time and make sure of their hours and if they have a problem with meat all ready quartered, some do and some like you to call before you show up and some even like to meet you around the back door.

Good luck!!!!
 

outdoorsman35

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interesting post

This post is interresting because you are a guy that didn't grow up hunting with your dad and wasn't taught how to take and process the meat. I guess that makes you a born hunter. In today's society of grocery stores and instant everything one can argue that you don't need to hunt and it is likely cheaper not to. It is weird that most of us just have to do it.

From my humble experience, you might be surprised over time how your common sense can answer your questions and get you out of any predicament for you.

For example. if you are able to get a deer down cleanly (find it), you are likely to be way far away from your truck. Knowing what parts of the animal are edible will help you take those pieces. I don't think you want to put a tick filled deer on your back for miles. field dressing procedure will likely be more predicated on where the deer ends up. If there aren't any trees around you are not likely going to carry it to one.

Basically, its a primitive endeavor from start to finish. you want to put the animal down as fast as possible as humanely as possible and then you want to get the meat that you need to eat. There are laws against leaving meat in the field so you can't be just taking the tasty parts.

Other than that, you really don't need a lot of expensive or fancy gadgets. you can process a deer with a nail clipper or a rock if you had to. once you get the meat just treat it like any meat you would buy at the grocery store.

Just use your common sense and have fun! Learning in the field through experience is really rewarding! if you don't make a mistake you are not trying.
 

MQ

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I have used the ice-in-the-cavity method to get an antelope home from the NE corner of the state to the Bay Area (about 7 hours away). Gutted the animal immediately after killing, skinned it back in camp and let it hang over night to cool. Crack of dawn covered the skinned carcass with a sheet, then a tarp, then a couple sleeping bags, then found the first store with ice and stuffed 2 or 3 bags in the chest cavity. Had little ice melt and the carcass was quite cool when I got home.
 
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J.O.

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This post is interresting because you are a guy that didn't grow up hunting with your dad and wasn't taught how to take and process the meat. I guess that makes you a born hunter. In today's society of grocery stores and instant everything one can argue that you don't need to hunt and it is likely cheaper not to. It is weird that most of us just have to do it.
Ya I guess you could say that I'm going backwards..:bounce-aqua:My lady is into growing crops (fruit & vegtables) our newest thing were trying is to grow bannana's and alovera plants. We already have corn, chilies, lettace, strawberies, cucumber, tomatos, and so on. We gave up a portion of the yard to enable her to do her thing which is turning out great. I think we might do the whole back yard. We mutually agreed to learn to live off the land incase something ever happened and we were not able to get the items that we need at the grocery store. So I help her with the garden and am trying to learn how to hunt. At some point I'll try and learn to butcher the animals myself as well.
My grandparents lived through the depression and I heard horror stories all the time about the hunger they went through. Since then they have always been growing there own crops just incase it happened again. I guess thats part of my motivation as well as her's. They have tons of fruit trees & vegtables that they grow and we eat them all the time.

Thanks for the motivating comments
 

ltdann

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you can learn to butcher your own very quickly. There a several really excellent vid's on you tube that you can watch. Search this site and you'll come across the links. Its very easy, just need a good boning knife and a little know how. In no time at all, your carcass can look like the attached photo. VERY little waste.
 

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J.O.

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you can learn to butcher your own very quickly. There a several really excellent vid's on you tube that you can watch. Search this site and you'll come across the links. Its very easy, just need a good boning knife and a little know how. In no time at all, your carcass can look like the attached photo. VERY little waste.
:not-worthy:Holy crap!!!! Thats amazing!
 

ltdann

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There's some good info on this website, got the section about recipes, meat care and cooking tips, but I'd recommend the you tube vids first.... Better yet, If you could watch someone do it once.
 

bpenn

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Good responses. The thing I realized last year was that a kill at dawn is better for me. It was cooler and the butcher I had called would only be open till 4pm that day. By the time I had the deer gutted (30min), dragged to a tree to hang/skin/bag/etc (1hr) and packed out (1hr) it was pretty darn warm, but at least the day started nice and cool. I just put the bagged carcass in the back of my landcruiser on a drop cloth and turned up the AC for the 30-40 min drive to the butcher. Worked out ok for my first time.

In the future, I'll be butchering my own though. Save $100 bucks and make sure to not saw through bone and fat, smearing the very gamey flavor everywhere. Maybe in your situation, bag it in the field, pack it out, get it on ice, drive home and hang it in the garage to butcher. Probably only be hanging for an hour tops before you'd be done and have it in the freezer.

Best of luck to you this season
B
 

bpenn

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Ya I guess you could say that I'm going backwards..:bounce-aqua:My lady is into growing crops (fruit & vegtables) our newest thing were trying is to grow bannana's and alovera plants. We already have corn, chilies, lettace, strawberies, cucumber, tomatos, and so on. We gave up a portion of the yard to enable her to do her thing which is turning out great. I think we might do the whole back yard. We mutually agreed to learn to live off the land incase something ever happened and we were not able to get the items that we need at the grocery store. So I help her with the garden and am trying to learn how to hunt. At some point I'll try and learn to butcher the animals myself as well.
My grandparents lived through the depression and I heard horror stories all the time about the hunger they went through. Since then they have always been growing there own crops just incase it happened again. I guess thats part of my motivation as well as her's. They have tons of fruit trees & vegtables that they grow and we eat them all the time.

Thanks for the motivating comments
I commend you sir. That is a great undertaking and I'm sure you have/will develop an incredible respect for the things we all take for granted. It never ceases to amaze me the people who degrade me as a "hunter" and cannot imagine taking the life of an animal, yet they feel perfectly fine about buying 1.5lbs of ground beef at the store. Complete dislocation from reality.

Another idea you may be interested in is raising poultry. They will require feed, but a constant supply of eggs provides a lot of protein to supplement your veggies, fruit and corn. Since they reproduce you can also slaughter them as they outgrow your ability to sustain the increased numbers. Never tasted better chicken than one that was killed 10ft from where it was cooked and eaten...by me:)
 
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J.O.

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I commend you sir. That is a great undertaking and I'm sure you have/will develop an incredible respect for the things we all take for granted. It never ceases to amaze me the people who degrade me as a "hunter" and cannot imagine taking the life of an animal, yet they feel perfectly fine about buying 1.5lbs of ground beef at the store. Complete dislocation from reality.

Another idea you may be interested in is raising poultry. They will require feed, but a constant supply of eggs provides a lot of protein to supplement your veggies, fruit and corn. Since they reproduce you can also slaughter them as they outgrow your ability to sustain the increased numbers. Never tasted better chicken than one that was killed 10ft from where it was cooked and eaten...by me:)
That is a great idea and we have kicked it around a few times. Her idea was to have chickens and a couple pigs but I'm not sure how that would go over with the neighbors. One day though!
 

ltdann

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Check your zoning laws in regards to poultry. I have 10 chickens in the back yard. They keep the bug population down, fertilize the lawn and produce eggs. Two week old chicks (female only) cost me a quarter each.

However, they will decimate your garden if you don't fence it. They love fresh greens and tomatoes.
 
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