We process all of our own game meat. I prefer to do it simply because I'm cheap and kind of particular about how it's done. The down side is the time it takes for an elk--about 6 hours from carcass to stacked in the freezer. Deer and antelope aren't near as much time, maybe an 1.5 hours for the whole process.
When it's all finished it makes it taste that much better to know we did it all.
I like to do my own processing also, but I haven't had the opportunity to process my own elk yet. I agree on the financial considerations, and I also get more satisfaction out of doing it myself. It sounds like quite a bit of work for an elk, so we will see how it goes when I finally get to process one. Nice work, and enjoy the meats of your labor.
I've spent countless hours either on my hands and knees or bent over, messing up my back, looking for blood. One such instance I remember most was a hog hunt a few years ago in Mississippi. I had never shot a hog so when I poked a hole in this guy; I was determined to find him. Wearing snake leggings, I crawled on my hands and knees through the briars and the brambles and bushes where a rabbit wouldn't go. I found a spot of blood here and there but never the pig. And lucky for me, I didn't find...