Processing a Deer

| 12/5/2014 9:39:00 AM

Tags: deer, butchering, hunting, Maggie Bonham, Montana,


This year, we decided to process our own game meat. We did it largely because the cost of game processing has gone up and after dealing with one hefty bill, we decided that we would butcher our own deer should we have the chance to get another one this hunting season.

Luck would have it that a rather large buck did wander into our sights and my husband took him with one shot. The shot destroyed the buck’s lungs and broke the spine, so by the time we got there, the buck was dead. So, I had to figure out how to process the deer after we got him home.

Field Dressing and Skinning

We decided to field dress and skin the animal at home since we weren’t that far away. But by the time we got home, we needed to field dress the buck quickly and skin him. The reason is simple: you want to get as much heat out of the animal as possible so as not to ruin the meat. Every minute you leave that heat in there is a chance to spoil the meat.

The good news is that it was fairly cold and we quickly set to work with the field dressing. That requires gutting the animal and removing the organs. It requires you to cut the rib cage and the pelvis with a small saw and remove the organs. There are many good books that cover field dressing, so I won’t go into it here.

Getting the Meat Out and Quartering

Since I never butchered a deer beyond field dressing and taking the tenderloins out, I really wasn’t sure what to do. Oddly enough, I had picked up a book called Making the Most of Your Deer by Dennis Walrod many years ago and it had just the instructions, complete with pictures on how to butcher the meat. So, I took out the tenderloins, backstrap, and neck roasts before having my husband quarter the deer. Basically, we ended up wrapping up each leg separately and the torso before calling it a night and leaving the meat on the freezer in the frigid night.

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