The hunting season comes and many are after the big buck. While these may keep the taxidermist busy there is another reason to hunt – a nutritious meat for the freezer. There are several mistakes deer hunters make that compromises the quality of the meat before it gets to the processor.
The effort and expense of deer hunting means it just makes sense to make the most of the deer. There are many non-hunters who also enjoy venison and would happily take clean cuts of meat!
In Kentucky John’s Custom Meats is one facility that, like many, is very busy during deer season. Making the most of your deer means also avoiding errors. Here are the five big ones that can be made when bringing a deer in to be processed.
A big one is not calling in the deer. Amy with John’s Custom Meats says “It is illegal to transport a deer without properly checking the deer in first. As a processor, we cannot legally accept any deer that does not have a check in confirmation number.” Making sure your deer is legally tagged and identified is important to having the deer at all.
A second one may surprise many – visiting the taxidermist first. “Many a meat is wasted when checking in with the taxidermist before visiting the processor first. The taxidermist does not have your meat safety or yield in mind when removing the cape.” This comes solely on the view of the deer – the taxidermist is looking at a head mount, not the meat underneath. “Visit the processor first and then go see the taxidermist.”
Because it’s the busy season be sure to call the processor before you hunt. “Check with your processor on what they prefer to receive. In our case, we want a fully intact deer just field dressed. We’ll handle everything from there. The hide keeps the meats sanitary.” Again – this is from the view of making the most of the deer – the meat and the hide as well as the trophy mount makes the maximum use of the deer for the effort of hunting.
Another thing many don’t consider when taking a deer to a processor is field dressing. “Do not cut the back leg tendons. A processor needs those for hanging on the rail system.” This makes a better end product for you in how you want your deer cut as a full sized deer is much easier to process with the modern tools available for professionals.
Finally “Do not make the processor your last stop. The quicker the meat is in a chill cooler the better your meats will taste and the better your meat yield will be.” The point of field dressing is to get the meat cooled as fast as possible. This helps not only the quantity of meat that you get but the quality too. Along with this don’t dump the deer off at the door when they aren’t there. Not only are you at risk of losing your deer or having dogs get in it, but it allows it to set without being chilled.
Make the most of your hunting time this year and get more meat in the freezer.