Just thought I'd bump this thread up. I had done a search for how long you can hang a deer and this one popped up. We were given our first deer of the season tonight and will start processing it tomorrow morning. It is hanging in our barn for the night and should be chilled nicely for the morning.
ask a dozen hunters and you will get a dozen different answers.
there are a lot of variables as to when to skin and when to butcher. the hide does peel easier when warm. then again, sometimes tallow a=on a fat deer is easier to remove in chunks when it dries a bit. the hide can insulate body heat in or cold or hot weather out. when to skin depends on a lot of things and common sense is the best guide. if the deer was killed and chilled on a cold day, you cannot butcher for another day and it will get up to 70 degrees F, perhaps it is a good idea to leave the hide on. if it is hanging at camp and the sun shines on it, perhaps it is better to leave the hide on. if it is warm enough for flies to be buzzing around, perhaps leaving the hide on is a good idea. if you pick up a road kill in the summer, by all means...get the hide off asap and get the meat away from the flies.
everyone i know in this area has always hung deer by the hind quarters. the only down side i can see is when you try to get a nice, big neck roast and the rest of the hide is in the way. the brisket and neck is the toughest part to skin and it is right at the end with the rest of the hide in your way.
i think the longest i have ever let a deer hang was 6-7 days and only because i had to. there is nothing wrong with aging the meat by letting it hang. it will change the flavor and possibly tenderize the meat, but i don't feel it to be necessary. i normally let the deer hang for a day after i take the hide off (with the head) to let it drain and to let the tallow firm up. since i often can much of my meat, having the tallow and outer membranes firm up makes it much easier to work with as they peel away so much easier when they dry out. it wouldn't really matter if you are cutting steaks or roasts.
as to gamey tastes...IMHO that has more to do with what the animal has eaten and if it has been field dressed properly or gut shot. busted guts and busted bladders ruin the taste of meat more than anything i know of. some folks will tell you to take the hide and glands off of a deer that will hang as the glands can impart a gamey flavor to the meat. that can be difficult if you hang from the hind legs as the glands are right by the tendons that allow you to hang the deer and if you cut the tendons, you cannot hang the deer. those deer "knees" are hard to skin.
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Location: West/Central Texas......Coleman county out in the country
Here in my part of Texas, during deer season, it sometimes wont get very cold. If it does and I shoot a deer in the evening, we gut it, wash it out and hang (in the shade with good air flow & breeze) until the next morning where its skinned and at least put in a cooler with ice. Then we can cut the steaks & grinding meat as we please. We have NEVER taken the hide off then leave it to hang, THAT makes the meat dry out bad and then it toughens it.
I have never heard about hanging related to toughness. That usually relates to the state of the animal when shot or the age.
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The reason to hang meat is to let the fat(marbling) in the meat start to break down. ISU meat lab says the skin deer as soon as posiable and to cut up as soon as cool. Deer do not have marbling in their meat.
Weve done close to 12 deer already since October 1st. Temperature is the big thing and 50 is the cutoff, over 50 and it gets cut up or put in the cooler. Aging will help somewhat with older deer/bucks but most of our antlered bucks are loin and burger now days. Fawns and younger does aging will do nothing for the meat as far as tenderness etc, its already tender. Good clean kill, proper field dressing and gettign the meat skinned and cooled are your biggest players in getting good meat or gamey meat. If we're hunting hard and got deer on the meat pole we'll let them hang til lwe get time to work them up IF it stays below 50 and I prefer 40. Ive hung OLD bucks in the cooler years ago to age them and there is a difference after a week or two but with so many doe tags and younger deer now days we dont worry about it. We just process the old bucks into loin and jerky/summer sausage/snack sticks. If you cancontrol the temp on 2 1/2+ yr old deer then you will see some improvement of meat quality but really its not enough to worry about most times. We debone all our meat too and sometimes it will sit in the meat fridge for a few days to a week till we get time to work it up with no ill effects and the older ones you can tell a differecne in meat texture. Button buck was taken this morning and within 1 hour of field dressing it was cut up and freezing with the burger trim in the meat fridge. Also cut and discard all sinew/silver skin, fat, connective tissue. As a butcher I admire says "if its white it aint right".
We go both ways. Our 'gang' usually uses a local butcher who retired from a local chain store. He and his grown sons do deer at his country shop. After supper we drive the deer down to him and it is skinned and hung in his cooler. He prefers to hang them for 2 - 3 days and we stop in and he cuts our deer in front of us...
When I'm w/ my one former neighbor we've hung deer by lunch @ camp and skinned them that afternoon and started cutting & wrapping saving a few gal zip locks for mom to grind w/ her Kitchen Aid mixer...
Ours are skinned, quartered and put on ice the same day, and I work mine through the night and into the morning, mostly canning but some vacuum packing. Had 3 last year and all the meat is tender and delicious. As for the gamey taste, that has to do with how you cut and prepare the meat in my opinion and I take a long time to make sure it is good.
If the temperature is below freezing you can hang one as long as you like. It will be hard as a rock. When the animal thaws out then you can cut it up. This works well if you are short of freezer space.
Wow! Somebody is digging up some old bones aren't they?
You do not have to age venison, if you don't want to. In my neck of the woods more then likely the weather will be too warm to hang a deer for very long. So most of the time I quarter mine up and stick it in a large ice chest with several bags of Ice placed inside with the meat. As soon as it's cooled down I'll start cutting it up. However, if we do get a fairly long cold spell and I happen to kill one, I will let it hang several days. Letting it age doesn't get rid of the gamey taste but it does tenderize the meat somewhat.
A cuz of mine gave me a huge buck one day, all he wanted was the head & horns and gave me the rest in turn for capping the head out for him. I placed that buck in a walk in cooler and let it hang for 16 days before I finally got around to processing him. After 16 days of hanging in the cooler he was as tender as any young deer I had ever eaten. You could cut the steaks with a fork and he tasted very good.
Depends on the weather. For example, this current hunting season started early October was unseasonably warm with day temps in the 70's and it hasn't gone below freezing or very cold at all at night. So, guys out hunting in camps in the bush have had a rough time keeping their moose and deer meat from spoiling unless bringing it back quick to cool in the locker or cut up within hours for freezer camp. In most 'usual' hunting seasons, hanging deer for about a week if the day temps are cool (below 40 or so) and not hard freezing nights, works well. If you plan to can or process deer or grind for burger, there isn't any need for hanging.
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As far as I know the "gamey" taste comes from the fat combined with bad handling. As far as cutting out the glands that is an old wives tale. Glandular activity stops when something is dead. I worked in a slaughterhouse and the guy who ran it told me that. He said if it makes you feel all manly go for it. My daughter and her husband do deer processing. Her husband worked as a butcher for 20 years. Because of nuisance permits almost all the red meat they eat is venison. They seem to have the prcess knocked. They even got my MIL (animal activest wacko) to Accidently" eat some and she was none the wiser. Some of the best roast beef she ever had.
just my own personal experience talking here...but feed has a lot to do with taste.it seems to me that farm and lowland deer rarely ever taste "gamey". i have only ever had a few of my own deer (those that i knew how they were handled after killed) that have tasted even remotely "gamey". those were taken in areas with no grasses or crops. they were browsing on forest viddles...including sage and such. the fat doe pictured below had access to crops and probably a corn feeder most of the year...and tasted very much like beef.
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There could be some truth to that. Most of the deer I've eaten were taken in heavily farmed areas. My buddy and I often joke that the deer we take out back feed better then most beef animals. I have had "big woods" deer however that had no gamey flavor either. Another factor may be that we each have our own individual tastes. What tastes great to me may turn other people off or visa versa.
I love Iowa Early Seasom Muzzle Loader season. There is something about shooting deer in a t shirt. It is 70 degrees out at 2:10 PM CDT when I shot a spike buck. It will be 5 or 6 hours from standing in the woods to being in the freezer. I would like to leave a deer hang over night to make sure all of the body heet is out but at 70 it is not going to happen.
I have had big bucks taste bad durning the rut. If I am after meat I will not shoot a big buck unless he is real big durning the rut. There are enough deer around here that I just let the mid sized bucks walk. I have a 180 class rack in the barn so why shoot anything less.
yup as soon as I can its gutted, hung skinned (less then an hour field to that point) and let to cool (that depends on temps), some times I help it a bit by quartering and put it in coolers with ice. gives me time to cut on it, also cool meat is easier to cut even semi frozen is ok ,warm meat has a tendency to tear where and when you dont want it.
but the coolers serve a few purposes.
they will also keep it from freezing solid in cold temp and cool in warm weather.
from drying out and geting "blood stained".
but most of all help me make the best use of my time by performing those options.
I try to pull as much membrane,tendon,sinew as possiable as well as debone and that can take me a bit as its only me cutting. If I got a good partner can have a decent deer in the freeze in 3 hours. but I like to spend hunting hours hunting and cut when I cant be shooting. I some times drag it out over a week adding Ice and draining water and blood as nessary. thats real important as the blood will go rank long before the meat doing it that way. when Im done it looks like a yote pack had done it in nothin but bones .
inner loins are always the first thing to go though, they get nasty if you leave them in well the carcass cools and it makes for a nice breakfast the next morning. some mushrooms little onion lots of butter and eggs any way you like (nice runny yolks) toast mmm. best part of the season.
Ive had it both ways, but as pointed out there are factors to consider if its close to a constant 35 but not over 40 and out of direct light you could hang it a week. you need to skin and cool it down though that hide will hold heat awhile.
Ive seen deer consumed like that in the course of a week, just cut off what you need. but I think when it comes to tender its more age and the "stress" effect when killed.
Cf I would never compare my venny to beef its so much better lol....