How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

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MikeL
 
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How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby MikeL » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:36 pm

Hello,


I'm not the most experienced hunter and going on a much longer hunt much further into the wilderness this year.

Before this, I have always taken my kill straight home as soon as I've gotten it. But given that all of my hunting party will be out for the full 5 days of the season, I am wondering how long a kill can be left out? Everyone has given me a different answer so I thought I'd ask here. Thanks!

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby Woods Walker » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:57 pm

1. If the daily temps are going to be under 50 degrees, and the nights are in the 30's and 40's (or less), then as long as you make sure that you open the deer from where the neck meets the head down to the pelvis and prop it open to get the heat to dissipate then you should be alright. Try to hang the deer in the shade if possible.

2. If the temps are higher than that, then do as above AND skin the deer when you get it back to camp. You should always have a few cheesecloth game bags on hand for this purpose, as it helps to keep the meat clean and insect free.

3. If the temps are summer like, then you will probably have to pack the body cavity with ice to speed the cooling, and if maybe even quarter the deer and keep it in a large cooler, making sure that you keep the water drained off as well as possible.

The most crucial part of making deer meat is the initial care it receives in the field, from the gutting chores to making sure that the body heat can escape as quickly as possible after death. Once a deer carcass is cooled, then it can withstand higher temps than other meat that has a higher fat content.
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MikeL
 
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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby MikeL » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:15 pm

Yeah I'll be hunting where it may hit mid 50's during the day and will most likely freeze at night.

So basically you're saying to gut and field dress it right away and hang it in a game bag and it should be fine for a few days?

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby Woods Walker » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:00 pm

If it get's that cold at night I wouldn't even skin it. Get it cooled out right at first, hang it in the shade, and it'll be fine. I do this all the time and never have had a problem. Leaving the hide on will keep the carcass clean, and if the deer's body heat is gone then the hide on will keep the night's cold IN during the day.
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badtoys
 
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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby badtoys » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:27 pm

woods walker is right
 
 
ORIGINAL: Woods Walker

If it get's that cold at night I wouldn't even skin it. Get it cooled out right at first, hang it in the shade, and it'll be fine. I do this all the time and never have had a problem. Leaving the hide on will keep the carcass clean, and if the deer's body heat is gone then the hide on will keep the night's cold IN during the day.
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JPH
 
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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby JPH » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:13 am

ORIGINAL: badtoys

woods walker is right


ORIGINAL: Woods Walker

If it get's that cold at night I wouldn't even skin it. Get it cooled out right at first, hang it in the shade, and it'll be fine. I do this all the time and never have had a problem. Leaving the hide on will keep the carcass clean, and if the deer's body heat is gone then the hide on will keep the night's cold IN during the day.


 
WW and I respectfully disagree on this topic.
 
It is my opinion that your meat will taste better if you get it off the bone and on ice ASAP. I rarely let a deer hang longer than it takes for me to gather my knives and set up a cutting board on saw horses.
 
My davice is that you pack in as much ice as you can in coolers. As soon as you get your deer into camp, pull the hide off and quarter it. Pack the quarters in bags and put them on ice in the coolers. You can easily age the deer in this way for a week if you need to. I think you will find the meat to be much better tasting this way.
 
Now, I admit that there are still a lot of people who will age their deer in a tree for several days and suffer no ill effects. I used to do it myself. I just think you will enjoy the meat more if you get it cut up and on ice.

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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby woodsalta » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:19 am

I usually go to NY for the early muzzleloader season in mid Oct, and when someone gets a deer and it's warm out the blowflies are on the deer before we can turn the truck off. We will hang the deer and open the cavity and douse it with black pepper. That usually keeps the blowflies away. If its warm we will quarter it up asap, but if it's cool out we will let it hang.
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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby Proline » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:32 am

You'll get difference of opinions on this one but I agree with WW.  If the nite gets down to 30 and you leave the hide ON, the coolness will hold if it only gets to low 50's in the day but I wouldn't push this more than a day or two at 50+. You can also pack the cavity with ice during the day to help. I also agree with JPH in that the faster you get the bone out the better the meat is.  I rarely hang my deer more than a nite.

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby Woods Walker » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:52 am

You certainly would not be wrong to do as JPH does. It's just that IMO it's mega-overkill.

The bottom line is that you get the deer cooled out as fast as possible, and it SHOULD age for at least 3 to 4 days whether it be boned out in a cooler or refrigerator, or hung if the weather conditions permit it.

And one more thing I left out...when you first gut that deer and you slice it right up to where the head meets the neck, make sure you REMOVE the windpipe. If you are planning on getting the deer mounted, the you obviously DO NOT want to do this, and then you'd better get it to a taxidermist ASAP, or immediately skin it when you get back to camp if you know how to skin for a caping job..
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fave
 
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RE: How Long Can a Harvested Deer Be Left Out?

Postby fave » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:23 pm

Hey MikeL, It's obvious that there are many answers to your question. Dry aged beef is typically aged 7-14 days at 30-38 degrees post mortem. Flavor is enhanced with additional days added to the aging process up to a month or more. Some of the finest beef in the world is aged at periodic temps of up to 64 degrees (so I've read). My experience has led me to believe that the best tasting venison is obtained by immediately removing the hide or if that is not feasible, ice the cavity ASAP. Removing the meat from the bone is not necessary as long as meat and bone are cooled to an acceptable aging temperature. I personally like bone in my venison as it adds to the flavor, just like a beef steak. The protective cheese clothe is invaluable if the bugs are out i.e. Alaska in September. You know more then you think. Do what you can when you can and if it's not enough you'll be serving venison tenderloins to the night crawlers. Good luck. 

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