After the 'harvest'.....

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buckhunter21
 
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After the 'harvest'.....

Postby buckhunter21 » Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:14 pm

I was curious how all of you take care of your deer after you 'harvest' (I know some of you hate that term) it if it's warm out?  I realize some of you may be lucky to have walk-in coolers to just throw the deer in there, but what if you don't?  What if you don't cut the deer up yourself and it's the weekend and the meat locker isn't open...Just curious how everyone goes about this...! [8|]
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Woods Walker
 
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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby Woods Walker » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:14 pm

Here's my routine.....
 
After I kill a deer (yes...I'm one of those...), I gut it (you "dress" Barbie dolls...[:D] ), and then prop the chest cavity open with a stick as the deer is on it's back so that the body heat can escape. This I do regardless of the weather. If the temps are going to be in the 60's+, I then get the deer out of the woods ASAP (if it were colder weather I'd let it stay until I could get help if it were down a hill or deep in the woods), and get it hung and skinned. I'd then get ice bags to put in the body cavity, taking care that the melted water can drain out of the carcass.
 
If I can get the deer in the shade, and it will cool down into the low 40's that night, I'd then cover the skinned carcass with cheesecloth and let it cool over night, using more ice if needed.
 
If it's going to stay warm all night, then either get it to a locker, or quarter the deer and get it into a refrigerator. If I couldn't do any of these things, then I guess I'd have to butcher it then and there and freeze it, which in that case I probably wouldn't have shot it in the first place. It's just too damn warm.
 
Several years ago for our firearm deer opener, we had daily highs the first two days in the 70's. I was hunting down the bluff overlooking the Illinois River, and had does around me all morning. I must have held the crosshairs on them a half a dozen times, but just wouldn't pull the trigger. I knew that if I did, that I'd have to drag it UP the bluff by myself, which would take the entire morning (VERY steep and THICK), and then go through the routine that I just described. There'd be NO WAY that I could let the gutted deer sit on that east facing bluff until 6 pm when I could get my buddies to help me.
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buckhunter21
 
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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby buckhunter21 » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:08 pm

Good point WW...These are my thoughts exactly.  We have the opener coming up here in WI, and the highs are supposed to be in the mid to upper 70s [X(].  I don't have access to a big enough freezer or fridge to quarter it, so if I was to 'harvest' a deer, I'd prob. have to cut it up then and there...Which isn't the best for the meat versus letting it hang, but you have to run with what you have when it's that warm!
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hunt4fun
 
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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby hunt4fun » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:15 pm

With High temps, if I kill a deer, I will butcher it as soon as possible.  Luckily I usually hunt with either a friend or my dad, so I have someone to help me speed up the process.  I know people who don't have access to freezers and such, but simply buy a big cooler, cut the meat up, and put it in the cooler with ice until they can package and freeze it.  This brings up a question I have.  My friend told me he recently heard that it is not good to wash out the cavity with water arguing that it gets rid of all the good bacteria and makes way for new bacteria that is worse for the meat.  Has anyone else heard about this?

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby Woods Walker » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:59 am

ORIGINAL: hunt4fun

With High temps, if I kill a deer, I will butcher it as soon as possible.  Luckily I usually hunt with either a friend or my dad, so I have someone to help me speed up the process.  I know people who don't have access to freezers and such, but simply buy a big cooler, cut the meat up, and put it in the cooler with ice until they can package and freeze it.  This brings up a question I have.  My friend told me he recently heard that it is not good to wash out the cavity with water arguing that it gets rid of all the good bacteria and makes way for new bacteria that is worse for the meat.  Has anyone else heard about this?

 
I was taught and told that unless you busted the guts/paunch and had stomach contents smeared all over everything, then you don't want to hose it out, but just wipe it out with a damp clean rag or paper towels. The reason that was given was that if you use pressure, and get water trapped in the meat, that it could "sour" it. They didn't say anything about bacteria.
 
Is this true? I really don't know. The practice has worked well for me over the years with no ill effect, so although I would go by, "If it ain't broke, why fix it?", if anyone knows a scientific reason why or why not, I'd like to hear it.
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Woods Walker
 
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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby Woods Walker » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:09 am

Another word on this topic........
 
For me, the planning and preparation that I take for AFTER the deer is on the ground is every bit as important as before. That means having a "battle plan" for the field handling for any temperture conditions I might encounter. If I know that it will be warm enoughso that any animal I kill will have to either get to a cooler whole or cut up to age in a refrigerator that day or cut up right then and there, then if I can't get to a cooler/fridge I wouldn't hunt. For me it's that important.
 
Although our bow season opens the first of October, I usually don't even go until the second or third week anyway, because I ground hunt and it's just too damn thick, so the temp factor is one I don't encounter all that often. If I did, I'd either have arrangements worked out with a locker, or I'd have an old spare refrigerator that I'd use.
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Waste Nothing,

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ranwin33
 
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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby ranwin33 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:09 am

Field dress them ASAP, then take them to the meat processors either at the end of the day or the next morning.
 
If it's warm out we put bags of ice in the chest cavity and tarp them to keep the flies off.
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cutngut85
 
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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby cutngut85 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:15 am

I do the same that most have mentioned....gut asap, spread the cavity, put a bag of ice or two into a plastic bag (to keep the water off the meat) and shove into the cavity, hang for a few hours or next morning and butcher.

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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby stormshooter4 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:27 am

After the shot and the deer is down, if bow or gun, it gets gutted before moving. From there it is transported home to the garage and hung up, head down. Then the skin is removed. If it's cool/cold then I leave it to hang. If it's exceptionally warm then I quarter it, place the 1/4s in bags and put them in our spare reefer in the garage. Which by the way is plugged in before the season starts. I keep a therometer in the garage to watch the inside temps in there.
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JPH
 
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RE: After the 'harvest'.....

Postby JPH » Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:38 am

My personal experience has shown me that the quality of the meat is in direct relation to how fast I can get it off the bone and on ice.
 
I field dress immediately and pack the cavity with ice as soon as I can. I will then get to a place were I can go to work (my back yard tree or my hanging tree at camp). I will bone out everything and get it into a cooler of ice. From there I can slow down. I will often let it sit on ice for a day or two before I get down to trimming fat (very important!) and packaging.

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