Like Patriot, I've processed my own deer my whole life. For a while, I took some trimmings to a processor to be made into venison sticks, but that's so expensive I don't do it any more. I bought a dehydrator, and make my own jerky instead.
I've heard this whole issue of how much meat you should get back from the butcher so many times I just about tune it out. So many people think a deer is much bigger than it really is. They'll say, "I took a 140 pound deer in and got only 40 pounds back!" Some people even believe the butcher is skimming the best meat for themselves. I think that's nonsense.
To begin with, most people imagine the weight of a deer to be much more than it really is. Then, the end result of butchering varies a lot, depending on the method the butcher uses. If he is saw-happy, and cuts the chops and steaks with bone in, then obviously you'll get more poundage. It possible also to use a saw on the front quarters and the ribs (if you care for that kind of cut), and up goes the weight again.
I weighed the head and hide of a 120 pound (field-dressed) buck this year, and it came in at 25 pounds. Take the legs off, and there goes a few more pounds. We're down to about 90. The trimmed rib cage leaves another 25 pounds of waste. The remaining bones from the pelvis, back legs, front legs and neck quickly add up. Don't forget to consider the meat that is bloodshot.
Results may vary, but as far as boned-out meat goes, it takes a pretty big deer to get 50 pounds of meat. Venison costs plenty to begin with. I like saving the cost of processing for how little you actually get.
When the Everyday Hunter
isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.