Well here we are. The ol' "to hang or not to hang" debate. [:D]
Guys, I have too much respect for you (and you have handled too may deer) for me to try to change your mind. I've handled a few myself and I am too happy with the results I am getting to change either. But for the sake of those who are not so set in their ways, I'll offer the case for boning a deer immediately, and I expect nothing less from you. Again, all due respect, and I'd eat at your table any day that you'd have me.
"Tasty Myths" by Richard Wulterkens appeared in the Sept. '96 issue of D&DH, and it can be found on p. 143 of the book "25 Years of D&DH". I consider this to be a landmark article for me. Prior to reading it, I allowed my deer to age outside for several days in cool weather. No more.
While it is an excellent article overall, I will stick to the points that effect the question at hand. He explains that in order for venison to be properly aged it must be stored under a CONSTANT 40 degrees. If it is warmer, the meat will spoil and if it drops below freezing, ice crystals will form in the tissue and burst cells. We cannot produce a constant 40 degrees outside of a walk in fridge.
Furthermore, beyond the article, I have found the issue of toughness to be far more about preparation. Overcooking on the grill, or undercooking in the crock pot, can/will result in toughness.
My system is to hang a deer and pull the hide off ASAP. I have a cooler, ice, and a clean bags standing by. I try to bone with a razor sharp knife. Choice cuts (loins, backstraps, and roasts) go in one bag. Stew and grind meet go in another. From there I can pack these in the cooler where the temp will remain more constant for a few days, until I can get to some serious trimming and packaging.
I am far from a master chef, but I've never had anyone turn their nose up at the venision that I have handled.
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