Next day if it is warm
One week if it is cold
I did freeze a couple solid one late season. Let them hang to long. Had to drag them into the kitchen over night to thaw enough to cut up. I am a lucky guy to have a real understanding wife. I came down the next morning and there she was making coffee, stradling a 6 point.
After skinning the deer, I quarter it, and take the meat and place it in a cooler (or two if necessary). I keep frozen 2 liter bottles handy and place them in the cooler on the bottom and top, separating the meat from the bottles with butcher paper. Essentially it's like a big deer sandwich where the bottles are the bread, paper is the lettuce and the meat is the meat. I let it sit for app. 6-8 days and then process the meat, wrap and freeze. I have found that letting the meat age inside the cooler works very well. If I still lived in upstate NY I would hang it outside the local tavern like my buddies..
The goal of all hunters is a quick, humane kill where the animal drops in it's tracks and is dead within seconds. But in a pursuit that has as many variables as hunting, sometimes things don't quite go according to plan. However, game can be tracked and recovered with the right skills and with patience.
First of all, you need to wait the right amount of time after the shot before tracking a wounded animal. I've heard estimates of waiting 30 minutes for a hit in the vitals and 5-8 hours for a...