Missourian's new book provides key information for deer

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Missourian's new book provides key information for deer processing.

By Tim Renken Of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

11/10/2001

If you can dress a rabbit, you can dress a deer.

All you need is a few knives, a butcher saw, a place to hang the carcass and a new book by Missourian Monte Burch.

Most Missouri and Illinois deer hunters probably skin and butcher their own deer. Most of the rest of us, probably a little less than half, take our deer to meat lockers for skinning and processing.

That's fine, but it costs money. The price for the typical job here is $60 to $80, depending on the size of the deer and the way it is processed. Extra processing, such as making sausage or jerky, costs significantly more.

People who do their own, of course, save that. Plus they get their venison the way they want it. They also can be sure their venison is treated right at every step and all of it, even the sausage, is from their deer.

If you've never handled a deer from field to the freezer, you might get Burch's book, "Field Dressing and Butchering Deer," just to see if you want to undertake it. The publisher is The Lyons Press, the price is $19.95 in hardcover.

Burch, a professional outdoors writer from Humansville, north of Springfield, knows about deer hunting in Missouri, where deer season weather can be Manitoba cold or Texas hot. With good text and illustrations, he takes the novice through the process from the time the hunter takes aim to the first bite of cooked venison.

One of the most interesting parts of the book is the preface, which deals with issues preceding and right after the killing shot.

Burch warns that a deer that has been running, or wounded, or otherwise stressed, won't provide meat that is nearly as good as a deer that was bagged with a killing shot while standing or walking at peace.

The difference is lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles of an adrenaline-fired animal.

Burch cites a study by Texas A&M to determine the effects of stress, type of field dress, aging, time of skinning and sex on the quality of the venison. The results pointed to the importance of choosing the right deer, then killing it, field-dressing it, aging it and butchering it right if venison is to be the best table fare it can be.

He recommends aging, but emphasizes this must be done properly, in cold storage. He also notes the obvious, that big-horned bucks might be the most thrilling to shoot but don't provide the best meat. The best, he said, are yearling does. Second-best are yearling bucks.

Burch not only tells what equipment you'll need for proper butchering -- naming the brands he's used and where to get the items -- he differentiates between items you must have and items that are nice to have. The latter include power slicer and grinder, vaccum packager and a commercial smoker.

Like many of today's outdoor writers, Burch is heavy on equipment endorsements. Some of these can be useful. Some, though, tend to make the reader suspicious.

This book is at its best when taking a reader step-by-step through a process, such as caping for the trophy mount or separating the various cuts. Excellent line drawings illustrate every step.

There are chapters on cooking tips and safety, smoke cooking and barbecuing and many venison recipes.
 



spectr17

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69,528
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Missourian's new book provides key information for deer processing.

By Tim Renken Of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

11/10/2001

If you can dress a rabbit, you can dress a deer.

All you need is a few knives, a butcher saw, a place to hang the carcass and a new book by Missourian Monte Burch.

Most Missouri and Illinois deer hunters probably skin and butcher their own deer. Most of the rest of us, probably a little less than half, take our deer to meat lockers for skinning and processing.

That's fine, but it costs money. The price for the typical job here is $60 to $80, depending on the size of the deer and the way it is processed. Extra processing, such as making sausage or jerky, costs significantly more.

People who do their own, of course, save that. Plus they get their venison the way they want it. They also can be sure their venison is treated right at every step and all of it, even the sausage, is from their deer.

If you've never handled a deer from field to the freezer, you might get Burch's book, "Field Dressing and Butchering Deer," just to see if you want to undertake it. The publisher is The Lyons Press, the price is $19.95 in hardcover.

Burch, a professional outdoors writer from Humansville, north of Springfield, knows about deer hunting in Missouri, where deer season weather can be Manitoba cold or Texas hot. With good text and illustrations, he takes the novice through the process from the time the hunter takes aim to the first bite of cooked venison.

One of the most interesting parts of the book is the preface, which deals with issues preceding and right after the killing shot.

Burch warns that a deer that has been running, or wounded, or otherwise stressed, won't provide meat that is nearly as good as a deer that was bagged with a killing shot while standing or walking at peace.

The difference is lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles of an adrenaline-fired animal.

Burch cites a study by Texas A&M to determine the effects of stress, type of field dress, aging, time of skinning and sex on the quality of the venison. The results pointed to the importance of choosing the right deer, then killing it, field-dressing it, aging it and butchering it right if venison is to be the best table fare it can be.

He recommends aging, but emphasizes this must be done properly, in cold storage. He also notes the obvious, that big-horned bucks might be the most thrilling to shoot but don't provide the best meat. The best, he said, are yearling does. Second-best are yearling bucks.

Burch not only tells what equipment you'll need for proper butchering -- naming the brands he's used and where to get the items -- he differentiates between items you must have and items that are nice to have. The latter include power slicer and grinder, vaccum packager and a commercial smoker.

Like many of today's outdoor writers, Burch is heavy on equipment endorsements. Some of these can be useful. Some, though, tend to make the reader suspicious.

This book is at its best when taking a reader step-by-step through a process, such as caping for the trophy mount or separating the various cuts. Excellent line drawings illustrate every step.

There are chapters on cooking tips and safety, smoke cooking and barbecuing and many venison recipes.
 

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