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 learned this the hard way last year. If you're hunting in an area with lots of bear activity, it's a great idea to stash your food and water up in a tree. I like to wrap everything in a tarp and tie it between two trees. Don't just tie it up in one tree but tie it in between two trees at least 15 feet in the air. I thought I had my backpacking camp's food supply stashed pretty well last year. I returned to camp during the first weekend of archery to find all my food destroyed. Make sure...