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How long to hang a deer?

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  • How long to hang a deer?

    Hubby got a likely year old button buck and a mature doe. Both are hanging in the barn..it's in the 20s/30s today so all is well temp wise. One year we had to butcher immediately and that was some of the worst tasting venison ever. I'm guessing the little guy only needs a day or two but what about momma? a week? What do you do?
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  • #2
    As far as I know, as long as your temps stay below 45 degrees. You should be able to hang the deer for 5-7 days with no problem.

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    • #3
      to age the meat, you mean?

      with temps in the 20s/30s, i typically butcher within 2-3 days. i like to get it done as soon as possibly anyway. i don't really see any difference in flavor in letting it hang any longer. its not like dry aging something for 30 days, etc... as far as i can tell, the real flavor of the meat has to do with the age of the deer, the sex of the deer (was it a buck killed during the rut), what it had been feeding on, and how much fat it had on it

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      • #4
        Here's an alternative: cut up the deer and pack it in ice for a week. Be sure to keep the water (melted ice) drained off. I got this from a friend who processes his own deer. The advantage, I think, is that the meet doesn't dry out and some of the blood will be drained off with the melting ice. It seems to get ride of any "gamey" tastes.
        Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by not on the rug View Post
          to age the meat, you mean?

          with temps in the 20s/30s, i typically butcher within 2-3 days. i like to get it done as soon as possibly anyway. i don't really see any difference in flavor in letting it hang any longer. its not like dry aging something for 30 days, etc... as far as i can tell, the real flavor of the meat has to do with the age of the deer, the sex of the deer (was it a buck killed during the rut), what it had been feeding on, and how much fat it had on it
          Yeah, nothing nastier tasting than a fattened buck feeding on live oak acorns.
          Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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          • #6
            right def. dont want the meat to dry out too much either. Bucks taste gamier to me...but this little button buck might be lovely! We are in a wooded area but there is surrounding farmland.
            Check out my blog on nature and nurture!
            http://thewoodsygal.com/

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            • #7
              i hang mine till the meat goes a darker red. in the case of the last one i hung it overnight and the next day. then we cut it up into quarters as it isnt winter here. put it in a fridge for 3 days and then cut it all up. it was about a 3 yr old hind for reference. not huge amounts of fat as it was a fallow deer.

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              • #8
                I have never heard of purposely letting a deer hang. I've heard of leaving one out overnight because you didn't want to butcher it in the dark but just to let it age? Never have I ever.
                If I just said LOL, I lied. Do or do not. There is no try.

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                • #9
                  With Beef, the ideal is 10 days. Some people actually leave it longer until it starts to get a very slight green sheen - makes it taste exceptionally good.
                  No idea what the ideal period for deer is.
                  The best tasting venison is if the deer was run heavily prior to being shot.

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                  • #10
                    If the weather is going to consistently be in that range, I would hang it for a week. Or hang the button buck that long and and the doe a bit longer. If it looks like it's going to get warm, cut them up immediately. In my experience deer butchered too quickly after being killed is on the bland side. So long as the deer was not pushed or otherwise stressed before being shot I wouldn't worry about off flavors resulting from the aging, and so long as the hides are left on they shouldn't dry out too much.

                    Mark linked to a good article about off flavors in hunted meat a little bit ago. In my experience, aging only makes venison more delicious, so long as it doesn't get too warm. Off flavors result from (in order of frequency, according to my totally subjective observation) fecal contamination, poor bleed out, or spoilage. If the deer were shot through the lungs or heart during cold weather you shouldn't have any of these issues.

                    Also, if you're going to grind some of the meat, it's worth it to track down some grass fed beef fat to add to it. The doe will probably have a nice slab on her back, but trust me when I say that deer fat has a distinctly unpleasant texture on the palate.

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                    • #11
                      yes we cut off the deer tallow...rendered some last year for boot waterproofer though!

                      I skinned both deer to cool the meat faster, so hides are off. I quartered little button buck tonight...and took his backstraps so that we could have some filets for dinner tomorrow!
                      Check out my blog on nature and nurture!
                      http://thewoodsygal.com/

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                      • #12
                        The LL Bean game cookbook (which is awesome) says a week to 10 days with proper temps, you can read parts of it on Amazon if you like.
                        You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by twa2w View Post
                          The best tasting venison is if the deer was run heavily prior to being shot.
                          completely and utterly false. in fact, the opposite is true

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by not on the rug View Post
                            completely and utterly false. in fact, the opposite is true
                            I've even heard that's true with beef. My dad and granddad would fatten up a steer for slaughter and dad said they were super careful to not make the catching and loading stressful for the cow. It's something about the adrenaline?

                            I'm amazed at this thread. I guess being in the south with higher temperatures (high of 56* today and a warm front coming tomorrow) we just never hung our deer out for days. The one I killed on Thanksgiving was in the processor's cooler within 2 hours of dying.
                            If I just said LOL, I lied. Do or do not. There is no try.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by justyouraveragecavemen View Post
                              I've even heard that's true with beef. My dad and granddad would fatten up a steer for slaughter and dad said they were super careful to not make the catching and loading stressful for the cow. It's something about the adrenaline?

                              I'm amazed at this thread. I guess being in the south with higher temperatures (high of 56* today and a warm front coming tomorrow) we just never hung our deer out for days. The one I killed on Thanksgiving was in the processor's cooler within 2 hours of dying.
                              i'd say thats dead on. the more relaxed the animal before and during its death, the better. no stress reaction, no adrenaline release, no tension in the meat, etc.

                              from september until about now in nj, i tend to get mine home and butcher them right away. but this time of the year, they can definitely hang overnight or for 2-3 days. my uncle lived in south carolina for 15 years, and he basically shot a deer, gutted it, dragged it out to his truck, and dropped it straight off at the butcher. its just way too warm down there to let it hang.

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