Sunday, September 14, 2008
Deer Season Preparation ( Part 10 ).
Now that you've taken your deer what next? Well most hunters field dress the deer before dragging it to the truck but I prefer to field dress mine either at home or after getting to the truck so as not to leave any evidence of my kill in the field for other hunters or predators to find and move in on my hunting spot. After field dressing the animal then take it to the checking station and either back home to process or to your local meat processing plant. Most of the time I prefer to process the animal myself and thus save myself roughly $60.00 - $125.00 depending on the weight of the animal. Processing the animal yourself is relatively easy and usually takes about 30 - 45 minutes with a good sharp knife and a bone saw. Hang the animal from a sturdy tree limb or hanging pole and begin with the removal of the hide then the back strap ( Tenderloin ),then proceed to the head, neck, ribs, backbone and finally the hind quarters. Be sure when removing the hide that you keep your hands clean and don't touch the musk glands located on the inside of the hind legs then touch the meat as this will taint the meat with a wild gamey taste. Most hunters prefer to remove these after field dressing the animal then thoroughly washing their hands. These musk glands can also be used as scent attractants if kept in a baggy until the next time you hunt. During the processing of your animal a good wash tub full of cold water is very helpful in keeping the meat fresh and aids in the cleaning process as well. After processing your animal your now ready to begin putting it in freezer wrapped packages. Using your knife and bone saw again cut the meat into meal size portions and Wash the meat thoroughly, getting all the hair, blood and excess fat off the meat as possible. Wrap the meat in freezer wrap, label and pack in your freezer. The meat will now keep from 1 - 3 years and your now ready for your next hunt. During cold weather temperatures of 35 degrees or colder the animal can be left to hang for days to tenderize the meat but sometimes makes a harder job of processing. If you leave the animal hanging to tenderize be sure it is up off the ground high enough that dogs and other animals can't get to it.