How long can a deer hang before processing?

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Patriot
 
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How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby Patriot » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:16 pm

Hello folks,
Here's a situation for you to weigh in on........
 
Let's say you shoot a deer, field dress it, skin it, and hang it in a shed.  Temps are below freezing for the near future.....
 
How long can you let it hang before processing?  1 week?  2 weeks?  3 weeks?
 
I have always processed my deer within a day or so of the kill regardless of the temp, so I have no basis to answer this question.
 
Just wondering..........
Paul K. "aim small, miss small"
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JPH
 
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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby JPH » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:26 pm

An often discussed topic and always a lively one.

I should begin by saying that I fall into the "sooner the better" camp on this so I really do not know the answer. I'd rather not eat a deer that spent more than 24-48 hrs. in an uncontrolled environment after being killed. But that's me.

Even in the situation you described, there is going to be a daily swing in temperatures. I suspect there may be some decay going on, even if air temps stay below freezing. While this does not equal anything close to dangerous spoilage, it does not suit my taste.

I donate several deer a year to a family who will let them hang in the barn for days of even weeks in cool weather. They are all quite healthy, so it must not be a problem. 

bowman12
 
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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby bowman12 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:39 pm

In the last few years we let ours hang for at least a few days with the right temps, IMO they taste better and are more tender. We leave the hide on so they don't dry out until they are ready to be butchered.

In MN right now, I think a deer could hang for a month or better, when it's 10 below at night and 10 degrees during the day they are frozen solid and have no chance to get even close to thawed out.

I read an article in Fur Fish and Game a few years back and the author preffered to let his deer hang until a green coat started to appear on the meat. He'd wipe the coat off and start butchering, if I remember right he talked about the meat just about falling off the bone, toooooo long for me.

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Patriot
 
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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby Patriot » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:46 pm

I was having lunch with buckhunter21 today and he was going to butcher up his buck this weekend.  Killed it 3 weeks ago, so I was giving him some good natured grief.
 
I'm sure he'll weigh in later on this thread.
 
Anyone here leave 'em hang for weeks before cutting up?
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kribbz
 
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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby kribbz » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:28 pm

I've never let one hand longer than a week but certainly over a weekend.  It's kind of like aging beef in my opinion....

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SwampLife
 
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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby SwampLife » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:49 am

1 week 3 days 2 hours 48 minutes 13 seconds.

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Jslotter
 
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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby Jslotter » Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:41 pm

A deer carcass will be okay for a few weeks if the temps stay like they are, in the mid teens. If it starts getting in the upper 20's or 30's, then you are risking some possible spoilage. I recommend caping out your deer right away on the same day of the kill because when its cold like it is now and a carcass has been hanging for 3 weeks, that task really sucks. And keep the carcass out of the sun light if possible and keep it hung high so rodents and stray cats and dogs and any other scavenger can't pick at it. My family in years past has had deer hanging for a couple weeks after the kill and the meat tasted just fine.
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Jslotter
 
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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby Jslotter » Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:47 pm

ORIGINAL: bowman12



I read an article in Fur Fish and Game a few years back and the author preffered to let his deer hang until a green coat started to appear on the meat. He'd wipe the coat off and start butchering, if I remember right he talked about the meat just about falling off the bone, toooooo long for me.


I wouldn't follow that guy's advice. That is just wrong.
I only hunt on days that end in ' Y '.

USN_Sam1385
 
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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby USN_Sam1385 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:36 pm

ORIGINAL: bowman12

I read an article in Fur Fish and Game a few years back and the author preffered to let his deer hang until a green coat started to appear on the meat. He'd wipe the coat off and start butchering, if I remember right he talked about the meat just about falling off the bone, toooooo long for me.


WTF?? Grossssss.. that green coat was probably mold.

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RE: How long can a deer hang before processing?

Postby huntinmedic » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:28 pm

Letting a deer hang is perfectly fine under the right conditions. It ages the meat which allows naturally occurring enzymes to break down the tissue which tenderizes the meat and mellows the flavor.  Ideal temperature for aging is approximately 34-42 degrees, if memory serves me right.  At these temperatures, you can let a deer hang for 2-3 weeks. You should leave the skin on when aging as it prevents the meat from drying out.  You can age at higher temps (into the 60's) but the aging process will be sped up and it will age in 2-3 days.

Once the deer freezes, the aging process will stop and there will be no further benefit from leaving it hang any longer.  Also, younger deer will age faster because they are already more tender than an older deer.

I killed a young deer earlier this season and left it hang for 2 weeks before the temp dropped and the deer froze so I took it to the processor. It should be ready any day now and I can't wait to get it home and start eating! Should be really good.

If you want to get the full skinny on aging and processing, go to MyOutdoorTV.com and look for the game care section. There is a series of older videos on there that fully explain every aspect of field care to aging and processing and cooking venison. These are done by a Master Chef who specialized in wild game.  It is really worth watching.

Hope this helps.
"It's not the catch or the kill that makes a day outdoors a success, but the opportunity to spend time with family and friends in God's creation that does so."

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