April 4, 2017

How to Process a Deer in 5 Easy Steps

how to process a deer

Deer hunting not only produces long-lasting memories on the field, it also offers sumptuous meat to eat. Once you have had a successful hunt, it is paramount to take care of your hunt and process it properly and in a timely manner.

With the right conditions, you can age the venison, process and store it to enjoy later. The million dollar that then begs is, how do you process a deer? The how to process a deer question is highly common in the world of hunting. In this primer, I’ll answer the question by guiding you through the process in an easy to follow guide. Read on!

Items Needed

The following are the things you will need in order to successfully process your deer meat.


  • Sharp knife
  • Hack saw
  • Clean water
  • Make sure that the knife and hacksaw blade are extremely sharp.

​How To Do It

1

Field Dressing

After hunting down a deer, and making sure that it’s dead, the next important thing to do is to field dress it. Field dressing entails getting rid of the innards. You should do it on the spot before you transport the deer.

When doing it, use a sharp knife. While at it, be extremely cautious not to puncture any internal organ. Putting a hole inside the bladder or guts can rapidly taint your meat. Actually, it might give it such an awful flavor.

As you field dress, remove the entire windpipe. You should also remove the liver, heart, lungs, and guts. If you’re having difficulties removing the entire windpipe, not to worry; you can remove it after you properly hung the deer.

Check this video to learn more about field dressing.

2

Hanging Your Deer

 process a deer

After transporting your hunt to camp or home, it’s now time to hang it. By hanging it, you’ll have an easy time handling, and skinning it. Proper hanging also allows the hunt to bleed out. Once you hang it up and it’s not touching the ground, use a hacksaw to cut through the rib cage. Part it as much as possible for air to circulate freely.

After that, conduct a preliminary ‘thorough rinse.’ Ensure you rinse the inside parts thoroughly to get rid of hair, debris or blood. At this stage, you can also cool your meat if you can feel some heat remaining in it.

3

Skinning

how to process a deer skinning

The ideal position to skin your deer is when it’s hanging. For safest and best result, use a sharp knife. Again, be extremely careful not to get hair on or in the meat. In case you see any, remove it immediately.

When you’re skinning, you should cut off the tail, head (if you hadn’t removed it),and all four feet. The hacksaw will be handy especially for cutting through joints or bones.

After doing away with the hide, you should rinse the carcass again. This time round, it should be more thorough. Again, be keen to remove any blood or hair because they’ll make the meat have a strong and disagreeable flavor.

To be on the safe side, some folks soak the meat in water. If you have access to plenty of water, it’s fine. Soaking it in water helps it age faster.

4

Aging

If possible, you should age deer meat to a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 1 week. You must keep the meat below or close to 40 degrees F to prevent spoilage. If the region you’re in have temperatures above 40 degrees F and you don’t have a way of keeping the meat cooler, refrain from aging it for long.


  • Important Note: If you notice mold forming on the meat, you shouldn’t panic. It’s not a sign of spoilage but of excess moisture. The solution to such a situation is to wipe your meat with vinegar and then pat it dry completely. After doing that, ensure that no additional moisture gets to the meat. Learn more about how to age a deer here.
5

Piecing And Wrapping

deer meat

After aging your deer, you can now cut, wrap and freeze it. At this stage, you must be having a clean and great smelling carcass to work with. Again, you must make sure that your hacksaw blade and knives are clean and sharp. Definitely, you must clean the tools before cutting the meat.

  • You shouldn’t be surprised by the amount of meat that the deer yields. You should figure on roughly 30% of weight to be in the useable meat. That certainly means that a two-pound buck will yield approximately 60 pounds of meat after its cut and wrapped. That includes some bones which are left inside the meat.

Summarized Tips On How To Process A Deer

  • Always maintain a box containing latex gloves inside your truck. After all, you’re performing surgery. By doing that, you’ll always have an easy time cleaning.
  • Alcohol swabs or disinfectant wipes should always be handy in helping you clean your tools as you work. It goes miles in preventing contamination as well as enabling you to handle your cuts with precision.​
  • ​Always get the intestines out soonest. Avoid nicking them with your knife. Your harvest will most definitely be cleaner if you remove the intestines whole.
  • ​Always clean and dry all the inside parts of your hunt as quickly as you can. Employ this trick to spread the entire chest cavity so that air can effortlessly circulate and assist the drying process. Use plenty of water to rinse the chest cavity.
  • During warm weather, always carry some cheesecloth and ground black pepper. If your files get bad, ensure that the surfaces are clean. After that, sprinkle some ground pepper and then cover it up with cheesecloth. By doing that, flies will not disturb you in any way.​
  • Always place clean bags of ice packs, frozen jugs of water and ice inside the carcass. The rule of thumb is always to keep the hunt not only cool but covered.​

As we wrap up …

the big deer

There you go, that is how you should go about processing a deer after hunting it down. As you have noticed, some specifics belong to more in-depth articles. Nevertheless, the above should be enough to help you in the right direction and necessary steps.

If you do everything as highlighted above, you stand to enjoy the sumptuous deer meat when the feast is ready. There is no doubt that venison stands out as one of the leanest and tastiest meats that you can consume. While that might be my humble opinion, most deer hunters are highly likely to agree. That is for sure.


Conclusion

A majority of hunters normally leave the processing part to ‘experts.’ However, I believe with the right guideline, you can effortlessly process the deer for yourself. While it can be intimidating and challenging at first, it’s not impossible. All you need to do is to adhere to everything highlighted above and you’ll be good to go.

Ever handled processing your deer? Is it an experience you’d love to share? Feel free to let us know how your experience was like in the comments section below. Did you love this guide? I really hope you did. Kindly share with your friends, family, or fellow hunters. You never know who might be in need of the information contained here.


Alex Ramsey

Work hard & live to hunt! Countryman Hunter , Archery, shooter, Freelance outdoor writer and Love USA. founder of thebigdeer.com where I share my hunting experiences and gear reviews to help you become more prepared. Knowledge will save you, but great gear will help! Let Get Out & Go Hunting

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