Author Topic: Letting a deer hang...  (Read 8900 times)

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Offline DavOh

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Letting a deer hang...
« on: April 05, 2006, 12:04:24 pm »
I'm wondering, in regard to meat quality, how long should you let a deer hang before quartering and putting on ice. When I was a kid, we would let the deer hang for days in the "meathouse", as long as the weather was cold.

How long is too long to let the deer hang(field dressed and rinsed out, but not skinned)?

How warm is too warm to let the deer hang? I know the "official" guidelines for meat safety say 40 degF, but seems like it wasn't always that warm when we would let it hang. My mom was a stickler for preserving every little bit of meat, so it wasn't like we just didn't care like some folks do(which is an entirely separate soap box entirely).
-Davoh

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Letting a deer hang...
« on: April 05, 2006, 12:04:24 pm »

Offline beemanbeme

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Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2006, 01:21:14 pm »
I've hung them a week (or a little more) on the back porch which faces north when it would get freezing or slightly below at night and mid-forties during the day.  It didn't get that warm on the back porch.
In a meat locker with controlled temps --and fans-- I've hung them 10 days.  
I'm talking about full bodied, fairly large deer.  Small deer, does, button bucks only get a couple of days.

Offline Redhawk1

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Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2006, 02:33:36 pm »
Mine go to he butcher right after I shoot them, they are skinned and washed right away and usually hang one or two days in a cooler before butchered.  :D
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Offline cattleskinner

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Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2006, 03:04:44 pm »
It depends on the age/sex/size of the deer.  I've done them straight after skinning them, bone them, and put in the freezer for yearlings(fawns), or let them hang in a cooler for up to about a week or so for older deer.  Majority of the time you only need to let them hang for a day or two so that the carcass is completely cooled, but if you want to age them for longer, that's perfectly alright too....do a little controlled rotting(which in essence is what hanging is).  The problem I've found with letting them go for much more than 5-7 days is that you tend to dry out more of the meat, and more goes to waste rather than processing it a day or three after skinned.  Of course if you plan on making it entirely into burger, then it doesn't really matter anyhow.

When you get much above 40-45 degrees, you really increase the chances for mold to grow on the carcass.  I've seen it happen with beef...the compressor in a cooler might shut down or break and the temperature raises to 50ish, but by the time it's noticed and turned back on, it was at that temp. for a couple hours.  Granted, the carcass is still just as cool, but the outside of the carcasses warmed up...then you have mold in a few days.  The same effect will be had if you let a deer hang during a fall/warm winter day(night-day temperatures).  Get them done within a couple days, and you will be fine.  Just my two cents.

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Offline Adkhunter

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Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2006, 03:29:24 pm »
I asked my dad about this when he was a kid. He lived on a farm here in NY and had 9 other brothers and sisters. There was no refrigerator or running water. That was many moons ago when he was a kid might I add.
They only butchered cows during the winter and then left it to hang until it was consumed. That could take weeks. They left it with the hide on as a protector of the meat from the air. I guess it worked. No one died.

I have hund deer overnight and had them freeze solid. Freeze so hard you needed a chainsaw to cut them!  :shock:
In order to cut them they had to be brought inside to thaw.
I have had deer hanging for 3 weeks frozen. Frozen is frozen. At -20 to-30 not much bacteria will thrive.
If your daytime temps are near that magical 40 mark I would not go any longer than a few days. It's those nighttime temps that are going to help to keep it well as long as the hide is left on and it's not in direct sunlight.

Offline WylieKy

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Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2006, 03:58:14 pm »
We alway let ours hang as long as weather would allow.  That include both heat and cold, we would cut one up same day if it was well below freezing, Grandpa always said to avoid letting any meat freeze more than 1 time.  I saw something at the grocery store that got me to thinking.  They have a constat stream of CO2 over their "prime" cuts.  The butcher said it keeps the color of the meat good and decreases external bacterial growth.  I was wondering if you could use a small amount of dry ice on a rack in a cooler similar to regular ice, but without worrying about keeping the meat out of the water and keeping the ice from dripping on the meat.  What do you guys think??

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Offline Don Fischer

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Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2006, 03:15:38 pm »
First get the hide off as soon as possible. It slows down the process of getting the body heat out of the carcus. Next, if it's 25 degrees or below, try to keep it warm, between 28 and 40 degrees. Beef and lamb carcases are shipped, suspended, at 28 to 34 degrees. Don't let the carcus freeze befor the body heatis out, that will trap in body heat, not good.

I like to get the skin off and hang the carcus overnight. Then I bone it out and put the meat in a refridgerator in the barn for five days to a week befor cutting and wrapping. The cold meat cut's real nice!
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Offline smoky

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Re: Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2006, 12:35:11 pm »
I agree with Don.  I have been processing my own deer for over 20 years and also have a degree in Animal Science and have worked in a large scale meat processing facility while in college, so I feel as though I have been exposed to a lot of different ways to handle and process meat.

If at all possible, I like to hang the skinned and gutted carcass by the hind legs until the outside of the carcass "glazes over".  I like to wash the inside out without wetting the outside and let it drip for 12 hours or as long as ambient temperatures allow.  I also make sure to go ahead and cut away any badly bloodshot meat.  By hanging from the rear hocks blood will gravitate away from the best cuts on the deer.  Also, later when I cutand wrap, I can take my boning knife and "filet off" the glazed over portion of the cuts (approximately the outer 1/8 of the roast,etc), thereby removing any hair,dirt,etc that may have gotten on the carcass.  Finally, as Don has said, cold meat really cuts up nice.

I find it dangerous and messy to try to cut and wrap slimy, wet venison that has been soaking in ice water.  I much prefer to soak the blood out after cutting.  By exposing more surface area, the blood soaks out better after cutting anyway.

I am fortunate to hunt in a camp that I have been affiliated with for 35 years, first as a kid hunting with my dad and now as a member hunting with most of those same guys who are now the "old timers" of the bunch.  They learned and taught by trial and error but have pretty much been doing it the same way for a long, long time.  We actually have a walk in cooler that will accomodate about 15 whole deer hanging, which allows for real good draining and aging.

As most of you will agree, venison tastes great, and when I hear someone say how undesiralbe a cut of wild game is, I can just about blame that bad experience on two things.  1.Not processed properly 2. Not prepared properly.

My two cents,

Smoky
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Offline TCBrian

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Re: Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2006, 02:11:41 pm »
Here is CA, especially during bow season, we have to bone out the meat as soon as possible. Where we hunt  the temps  are well above freezing at night and often in the 90s during the day, a deer will spoil fast. We are also usually miles from a road and have to hike or mountain bike out the meat. Can't do that with a whole deer. Once boned out, I let the meet sit in the frig for a day or two then cut it up into steaks or what ever. If we can get it to a vehicle quickly, then through traffic to a butcher, then we will take it whole, but that is a rare occurance out here. Getting the skin off the meat and the meat off the bones, it will keep just in a back back for hours even in the hot temps. I am looking forward to hunting in some colder climates, where I can let the deer hang and age.

Good hunting,
Brian

Offline dw06

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Re: Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2006, 04:57:09 am »
I'm glad TCBrian posted before I did,as it shows that everybody has different circumstances to contend with depending on location and time of year.We always hang deer and wash out inside,then prop open and place a fan to blow cool air in.This does two things,dries it to keep bacteria from growing and cools meat out much faster.I've doen it by leaving hide on and by skining,and with how well it cools prefer to leave hide on to keep it clean.Also much less trimming required when cutting it up.Give it a try on the next deer you do,sure makes some fine eating.
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Offline wolfsong

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Re: Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2006, 10:58:04 pm »
I, too,  live and hunt primarily in California, and rarely does the weather cooperate to allow hanging without a walk-in cooler, which I don't have.  I also don't have an extra fridge,  so I quarter it out in the field or back at camp. I then store it in two marine Coleman coolers (you know, the big white ones that for some reason are more expensive 'cause they say marine on them). I have blocks of ice on the bottom and lay wet burlap over the ice, then place the meat on top of the burlap. I leave the block ice in it's plastic bag, and I leave the drain plug open so the melt runs out. This way the meat never touches water. I'll leave it like this for three or four days, replacing the ice as needed. Then I butcher it myself, wrap in butcher paper and seal the cuts with a seal-a-meal machine, then freeze it. Works for me, saves me money, I'm my own quality control "expert", and I know I'm getting my deer, instead of just the wieght of the deer that most processors give back to you. I don't want someone else's gut-shot deer. Peace and God bless, Wolfsong.   
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Offline James B

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Re: Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2006, 03:50:23 pm »
Here in the Dakotas, season is in November and later. Deer wil usually freeze the first night hanging. I like to wash them and get it cut into cghunks that will fit in gallon freezer bags before it gets a chance to freeze to hard to cut. I have seen temps from 70 degrees to 15 below zero on opening day. By the end of season you are going to see temps below zore for sure. One good thing, there are no bugs in the Dakotas by deer season. ;D
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Offline hillbill

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Re: Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2006, 07:31:06 pm »
the reason for letting a carcass hang(in the proper temps)is that after a certain amount of time the fibers of the meat tend to start to break down and loosen causeing the meat to become more tender. this is why a meat locker will let a beef hang for usually 5 to 8 days.with deer they may or may not do that depending on the huge influx of meat dureing hunting season.around here they usually cut deer as fast as they can to get them out and make room for the next ones. for home processing the hang time is governed by the outside temps. here in MO it is usually warm enough that we must cut the same night the kill is made.

Offline joshco84

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Re: Letting a deer hang...
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2006, 07:13:28 pm »
we gut and wash them out really really good hanging from the bale bed in the drive way, and cutting out any bloodshot meat right away, and then hang them in the garage.  we usually skin them right away and if it is warm we will bone them out right away if needed. if not we let them hang 24-48 hours (depending on temperature).  we usually wait until the afternoon until they have warmed a little to make it easier to cut the meat.  Last year was the exception since it got sooo cold at the beginning of second season (antlerless only starting jan. 1).  i shot two does first morning out and we skinned and let them hang till the next day since it was nice and cold.  that night it got really really cold and the two deer froze solid. and i do mean solid, we tried to get a knife in them the next afternoon and it was like trying to cut a chunk of steel.  we kept trying for a week and finally had to take them to the locker and have them thaw them out and cut them for us.
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