Warm weather hunting / how do you handle the meat?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by winchester62, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. winchester62

    winchester62

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    As many of you Texas hunters know, opening weekend was a warm one. How do you guys get the meat from the freshly shot deer to the freezer with the best results when the temps are so high? Is it better to butcher and put the meat in the cooler right away, or is that always a bad idea? I was afraid of letting the meat stand out in the heat for very long so I went ahead and put it on ice right away and finished butchering it about 12 hours later when I got home. Will there be too much blood in the meat? How will this affect the taste?

    This was my first hunt of my adult life and as I'm originally from up north, I just never thought about hunting when it is 80 degrees out, and since my prior experience was from when I was a kid, I just did it all by the seat of my pants.

    BTW, I shot a medium sized (for the hill country) 4 point buck from 30-40 yards with a 240 grain hornady load out of a 7.5 inch S&W 629 Classic Hunter w/ iron sights. He ran after the shot and went behind the trees. I was afraid I might have missed since he didn't go down right away but I've shot this position (sitting using my knees as a rest) at 50 yards and put 5 shots in 2 inches before and I didn't rush the shot, so... After 20 minutes or so to let the deer cool his heels, my friend and I went looking for him. After a few minutes of searching down a few trails, I saw him beyond a tree trying to get up at the site of me. Another shot from 1o yards ended it for him. The first shot was a bit low in the lungs, but would have killed him given a few more minutes. All in all a good time even if it did feel like summer in the mountains.
     
  2. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    Haven't hunted in weather that warm. The warmest gun season I can remember was in the low 60's during November. Basically went like this: shoot, gut, truck, butcher, freezer/fridge. I shot my deer and gutted it. Put it in the truck and went back to camp to butcher it, then put it in the freezer and some in the fridge for later that night.

    When the deer is down, the faster you get it gutted and butchered and cooled, the better off it is. Not some ER mad rush STAT life/death panic, just in a timely manner. Some of my hunting partners gutted theirs and ran to the gas station and got bags of ice. They washed out the body cavity as best they could with buckets of water, letting it run out and drain for about 10 minutes. Then they threw the bags of ice in the cavity and put the deer in a "deer bag" (body bag) and put ice inside of that yet. That might have been a bit excessive but the meat stayed cool and everything was alright. They butchered it about 10 hours later and it was fine. Never had blood collect in the meat.

    If you put it on ice right away it should be fine. I wouldn't worry about it. If a lot of blood collected in the meat, it might be a little gamier taste than normal. I don't really know. Never had that happen.
     

  3. noway

    noway

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    Will I'm a few hundred miles south of TX or at the fartherest south you can get in the United Estados and we don't do all of that ;)
    To keep meat from spoling do the following;


    1> Field dress immediately. 90% of the heat inside of a deer and even us humans, is in the organs. Yeap heart, blood,guts,stomach and liver are where the heat is at. That's why on CSI you see them taking the corpse body temp from the liver ;) Seperate the internals from the meat and you taketh away the heat.

    2> Skin the animal as soon as it is reasonable

    3> Don't wash carcass inside with water. This is a no-no no no! Water provide mositure for bacteria and spoilage. If you must clean the inside or outside of the animal, paper towelettes works just as good or better.

    4> ASAP As possible get deer in a cooler or ice chest. If you must leave deer out hanging, place it in the shade.

    You follow those 4 steps, you will have no problems with handling your deer or any game animal ;)
     
  4. f1b32oPTic

    f1b32oPTic R4d104c71v3

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    the heat and the flies will ruin meat quick.

    its been warm where i have been hunting as well...90+ degrees during bowseason and high 70's low 80's right now.

    the best advice i can give is to gut your animal and hang it in the shade for a few hours. do not cape it out because you will expose good meat to the flies.

    even with the outside temps being 70-80 degrees your carcass will still be cooling off. i like to take a break for a few hours so usually let them hang for a bit even in warm weather.

    i get my coolers with ice ready and get everything i need to butcher and bring it all to the gambrel where my deer is hanging.

    at this point i usually hose the animal down real good to scatter the flies and the remaining blood from inside the chest cavity. i put 3 bags of ice as a base layer in the bottom of my cooler and now im ready to start butchering.

    first i cape it out and then i just cut the major muscle groups out and put them cut-side down on the ice to drain.
    a layer of meat and a layer of ice. i like to leave the shoulers whole with the leg cut off right below the shank and put these large sturdy cuts on the bottom of the ice. then i cut off the sirloins, hams, and rear shanks and but them in next on top of the shoulders with a layer of ice on top. my next and last layer is the delicate meat. i put the tenderloins, backstrap and liver in next and cover with 2 bags of ice. i then age the meat on the ice for about a week. make sure that your cooler is well drained and add about a bag of ice or two on the top layer every day. the base layer of 3 bags of ice will usually suspend your meat off the bottom of the cooler for about 5-6 days. after that and in the comfort of my own kitchen i trim and break the cuts down even further for freezing or marinating.

    oh and a note about deer liver...that organ is FULL of blood and youll want to throw it in a bucket of cold water and ice for about an hour before putting it in your cooler. the soak will allow it to bleed out.
     
  5. winchester62

    winchester62

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    Thanks for all the responces fellas!

    Is this to get the blood out of the meat? Or does it tender up a bit this way? Is the meat directly on the ice? This seemed to make the meat leathery where it was directly on the ice.

    Is it best to cut off as much of the white stuff on the side of the muscle? As in the white shiny side of the backstrap. This seems really tough and doesn't cook off in the oven/frying pan. Sorry about the stupid questions. What is this material? It doesn't seem this tough on beef. Is it just so tough because it is a lean game animal?

    Anyway, mine is in the freezer. I thought I better ask all these questions for next time though. Thanks!
     
  6. f1b32oPTic

    f1b32oPTic R4d104c71v3

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    the meat tenderizes because the muscle protein starts to break down. it also removes blood from the meat. i leave the silver skin on all my cuts in the cooler because it protects the meat. when you are doing your final butchering you then remove the silver skin. as far as the backstraps go, you can fillet that silver skin right of of them like a fish. i actually use my fillet knive alot during final processing. it is important that the cooler remain drained at all times because there will be blood in the runoff. as long as the meat is suspended off the bottom of the cooler by a thick layer of ice and completey encased in ice, one week works well for aging. ive never had a complaint about any of my deer dinners being gamey. infact someone usually coments on how not gamey it is and how they have eaten gamey meat before.

    from the time the animal is killed and how it is processed will determine the taste of the meat.
     
  7. winchester62

    winchester62

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  8. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

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    You have already got a lot of good advice here, but i will add to the list.

    Being fom NW OKLA. i can tell you that we rarely had to worry about this problem. But, since weather is now weird everywhere, here is a trick we learned about 20 some years ago... ONLY if your wife will allow this! :)


    We had a problem one season with warm weather, so, we field dressed immediately, then skined, then cleaned everything up, and got to the butchering table pronto.

    In the refrigerator, (in your house), make mucho room, and "remove the cover" from the potato tub at the bottom, (you know, the pull out big plastic whatever tub), when you have cut up the hind quarters, and backstrap,(into steaks), simply lay them on the frig racks. TRUST ME, "not more than one cup" of blood will go in the potato tub.

    We always let our deer cure for at least 5/7 days, (outside), hanging from a tree, or windmill, hide off, and cleaned, wrapped with cheese cloth, or and old, (clean) sheet, and in weather that "stays' below 30 degrees the entire time. This has NEVER been a problem.

    BUT, Hoss, we are now in W. Texas, and weather does not permit this, and we do have access to a meat locker for storage, BUT, again, i can assure you, that the information i shared WILL/DOES work. My wife and i have done this procedure, (the frig thing), and if you are married, and your wife will let ya do this, you have spared your venison, PLUS, you are curing it, (at least some), for "about three days," then wrap the meat in whatever fashion you are acustom to, and put in the deep freeze. there wont be any blood in it, and again, there is really no mess in that potato tub, less than a cup of blood.

    It really is not as messy as it sounds, "not at all!" and it gets that meat off of ice which is not real good for it, and simply gets in a "cooler" and gives a better(minor) curing process for a "few days" no more. Worked for us in a pinch, and the meat was tender as could be. ;)


    Congrats on your pistol buck!

    good eating!

    CanyonMan
     
  9. winchester62

    winchester62

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    Thanks for more great advice CanyonMan.;c
     
  10. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

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    I know what you mean by hot. I'm leaving for the Ozarks tomorrow morning for opening day Saturday. Its not expected to drop below 30 all weekend with highes in the 60-70s! UGH! Normally, If its no more than 40-50 degrees or so in the DAY time, we just 1) field dress in the field and then 2) hang dressed deer from tree for several days (until we go back to civilization) where we 3) process it there.

    Being that its relatively warm out this weekend, I'm not sure what we'll do... I'll leave that to the "old people", the experts... :) I learn a lot every year.

    One thing that hasn't been said yet is that, when hanging a dressed deer, regardless of temperature, a good idea is to sprinkle black pepper in the carcass of the deer.... it acts like fly repellent.

    Oh yea...one more thing...

    I CANT WAIT ;f SIX DAYS IN THE DEER WOODS, NO PHONES, NO SHOWER, ONLY FOREST, DEER AND BEER!
     
  11. PARAGON

    PARAGON .

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    I am pretty far south and we take animals during warm weather quite often and have to agree with the above. To reiterate one thing he said, keep water away from the meat. Water should never contact the meat unless it is just too hairy or dirty.

    Here is an article written a few years ago on the subject:
    • by Mike Porter

      All venison is not equal. Venison can be consistently excellent table fare, or, with poor handling and preparation, can be about the quality of a boot sole. Many people who do not like to eat venison had bad experiences with improperly handled or prepared meat. Many factors affect the quality of venison, including deer species, deer age, stress prior to harvest, field dressing, contamination of meat, cold storage temperature, excessive moisture during storage, aging of carcass, butchering and packaging.

      To keep things simple, these comments focus on the meat of wild, free-ranging white-tailed deer and mule deer. Some of these details would be different for large deer species such as moose, elk and caribou or non-native deer such as fallow, axis and red deer.

      Meat from mature bucks more than four years old that are harvested during rut sometimes can have a little off-flavor and be a little tougher than female deer and young bucks. Nevertheless, mature bucks are usually very edible when handled, aged and butchered properly. Genetics most likely impact tenderness of venison, because I have encountered some old does that were more tender than some young does. However, I do not know how a hunter can recognize a deer with the genetics for tenderness.

      A clean, quick kill of an undisturbed deer probably provides the best-quality venison. Meat quality usually declines in animals that are stressed or run extensively immediately before death. A deer should be eviscerated (field dressed) immediately after death, but this can be postponed up to a couple hours during mild weather and even longer during cold weather. The combination of evisceration and the bullet or arrow wound usually adequately bleed a deer—there is no need to cut a dead deer’s throat. Also, contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to remove the metatarsal glands because they do not affect the meat after death. However, avoid rubbing the glands on the meat and avoid handling the glands and then handling the meat without washing well.

      Soon after evisceration, the carcass or quartered meat should be cooled and stored at 34-38 degrees Fahrenheit. The carcass is easiest to skin soon postmortem, but skinning can be postponed for a few days as long as the carcass is quickly and thoroughly cooled. Tenderness is generally improved when the carcass or quartered meat is aged at least a week at 34 to 38 F with good air circulation around any exposed meat. Air circulation around exposed meat causes its surface to dry—the dry layer should be trimmed off during butchering. Tenderness continues to improve during the cold storage aging process until about 16 to 21 days. The meat that will be ground and the tenderloins do not need to be aged. Freezing should be avoided during the aging process because it inhibits aging and speeds spoilage after thawing. However, meat does not go bad when it freezes during the aging process. The meat should be kept clean and dry throughout field dressing, cold storage and aging processes. Soiling and excessive moisture increase the likelihood of spoilage.

      After the aging process, fat, cartilage, bruised meat, dried outer meat and non-muscle material should be removed from the muscles using a sharp filet or boning knife while working on a clean, cool cutting surface. I believe fat is the most common source of off-flavor in venison. Several chemicals that cause off-flavor are stored in fat. Venison fat usually leaves an aftertaste or residue in the mouth and is less palatable than beef, pork or chicken fat. Cartilage, such as tendons, ligaments and fascia, are responsible for much of the toughness in meat.

      For most of my venison recipes, I prefer to separate each muscle and cut slices or chunks across the grain of the muscle. The muscles from the tenderloins, back straps and hindquarters are the best choices for frying, grilling and roasting (these muscles are ranked in order of decreasing tenderness, but all are good quality). These muscles, as well as the neck, shoulder and flank muscles, can be used in other recipes such as stews, fajitas, chilies, smoked meats, sausages and hamburgers. Some recipes that work well with beef or pork may not work well with white-tailed or mule deer because these deer meats tend to be “dry,” lacking intramuscular marbling. Avoid undercooking and overcooking venison when frying, grilling, roasting, smoking or microwaving, because undercooked venison might provide a health risk, and overcooked venison becomes tough and dry.

      Unless cooking the meat fresh, it should be quickly frozen after butchering. Meal-sized quantities of meat should be placed into plastic bags. Most of the air should be removed from the plastic bags before sealing. When the meat will be stored in the freezer for more than a few days, the plastic bags should be wrapped in freezer paper; the freezer paper should be sealed with tape; and the packages should be labeled appropriately. Meat prepared and stored in this manner maintains good quality for more than a year. Vacuum-sealed bags probably improve the storage process, and vacuum-sealed bags may not require a second layer of freezer paper.

     
  12. noway

    noway

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    Vaccum sealing is a plus for long storage

    Good post.
     
  13. towershot

    towershot

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    i always soak my venison in milk starting the night before i am going to cook it, it brings any excess blood out of the meat and tenderizes the meat some, it works very well.

    TS