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.
From the books that I have read, there is a lot of importance in knowing every nook and cranny of your hunting territory as well as the animal that you are hunting. So scouting as much as possible, just walking the land, will give you a good idea of what's around the corner or what's on the other side of a hill. Which can be very beneficial.
Making your own maps of human and deer trails, and different types of foliage such as group of pines,...