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BuckBuster26's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 10/19/2011
Posts: 48
curious...field care for meat

I have kind of a dumb question. How do all of you hang/care for your meat back at camp?? I have always been tought to hang the animal by hawks upside down and skin right away.....This past year hunting in 3/301 i saw A LOT of people doing the complete oppisite hanging by the head and not skinning at all.......i thought this was kind of weird and most of them were out of staters...... Is their a right or wrong way to do this or is it just preference. I know skinning aids in cooling down the meat which is very important. Also their has been a lot of debate on my next question around my work with hunting buddies does taking off the scent glad on the rear legs as SOON as possible really help with taking some of the gamey taste?????

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3988
As for skinning vrs not

As for skinning vrs not skinning a deer it is all in personal preference and if you have the means to keep the meat clean if you skin it.  I'll skin it in the field at camp but I also have good game bags that will cover the whole deer or elk.  My dad never skinned a deer until he was ready to butcher it and he always told me that it wasn't ready to be butchered until there was mold on the ribs.  He would wrap it up in blankets early in the morning if it was warm and unwrap it at night to let it cool and I don't ever remember him loosing any meat that way.  Even the ribs got eaten after my mom would remove the mold.  As for a elk you need to get the skin off as soon as possible.  That skin is thick and will hold the heat in and the meat will start to spoil quite fast even in snow. 

As for when to butcher the meat, it all depends.  If you don't have a area to hang it for a while do it when you get home or soon afterward.  Also forget taking the sent glands off of a deer, they come right off when you skin it.  I have never done it and have seen where hunters have done it with their hunting knife and then went to cutting on the meat and then they wonder why their meat taste funny.

Others will have different ways of doing these things but this is the way that I have done it for 40 years and I haven't had a bad piece of meat off of a deer, elk, or any other animal that I have shot to eat.   

BuckBuster26's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 10/19/2011
Posts: 48
I agree with everything you said

Thats almost excatly how my grandfather does things or did things! I Usually skin my deer right away once hung back at camp since the skin comes off nice and easy when fresh. I also use high quality game bags that cover the whole animal. My brother and I dont bother with the scent glads either since as you stated they come of when skinning, my uncle always does it right after the kill before he guts....... i guess its just preference..

SGM
SGM's picture
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Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 943
There are a lot of old wives

There are a lot of old wives tails and personal preference out there about how to care and butcher a game animal. None are necessarily wrong, just how you grew up or what you prefer. Like Critter I have been doing this a few years, over 30 and this is what works for me and my family.

 

I am a firm believer in skinning the animal as soon as you can to get the heat out of the meat. For deer I usually do this at camp just before I bag it and hang it. For elk I usually skin it out in the field as I have to quarter it out anyways. To me keeping the animal clean is just as important as getting it cooled down. I always carry 6 game bags with me just to cover the meat even if I plan to change then to another bag at camp.

 

For hanging the animal from its rear legs or the neck I do it from the neck for the simple reason it is easier and a lot easier to do the final clean out at camp. Only time I will not do this is in the case of a buck I want to mount as the head/cape will be separated and I do not want the cape messed up.

 

Another important fact to me that is sometimes missed or over looked it to cut away all blood shocked meat and if you hit a bone to clean all that area very well to the point of de-boning the area to stop bone sour.

 

My rule on how long to hang a critter is no less than 3 days but no more than 7 and always out of any direct sunlight. The weather and season you hunt will have an impact on this also. It could be in the 70's or 80's during archery and muzzle loader seasons but in the 20's or colder during 2nd or third rifle. Getting a whole deer frozen like a brick is not a good idea nor is letting it hang for 5 days in 80 degree temps. I generally hunt muzzle loader season or first rifle as a reference. Several folks will tell you to keep it at XX temperature for so many days but in reality few of us have a temperature controlled area to be able to do this.

 

On the legs and sent glands, I cut them off when I gut the critter in the woods. Not sure if leaving them on is a bad thing but I just cut the legs off as it is less weight and makes for an easier carry for my back or on the game cart.

 

BuckBuster26's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 10/19/2011
Posts: 48
good info

yes i agree 100% with the removing of the blood shot meat!!! never thought about the bone sour! that definately something i will do from now on!

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