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  #1  
Old 10-26-2012, 02:59 AM
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How long to let deer hang?


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If this isn't an appropriate question for the forum then my apologies.

How long do you let deer hang before processing? I read an article once an the author said it is good to let them hang for as long as a couple of weeks. I have never let them hang for more than 3-4 days. Just wondering what most of you do.

Thanks.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by RifleFan View Post
If this isn't an appropriate question for the forum then my apologies.

How long do you let deer hang before processing? I read an article once an the author said it is good to let them hang for as long as a couple of weeks. I have never let them hang for more than 3-4 days. Just wondering what most of you do.

Thanks.
If the temp. is cold enough (below 40* F.) Remove the hide and let it hang for a couple of days with a fan blowing on it to circulate the air around it. BUT the temp should NOT be over 40*F with 35* being the best for aging. Next, cut up your Deer into larger pieces and place in a proper size Ice Chest and fill with Ice and keep the large pieces cold for two more days. Afterwhich, you can then cut & wrap your venison and freeze.

Last season, I cut and froze my Deer much too early, because it was too warm to hang it, and it was a bit on the tough side.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:28 AM
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I agree with Davers with a couple exceptions. I'll let them hang up to 7 days if it's below 40 degrees. If it's above that I quarter and cut them up as soon as possible. If they go in the cooler I don't set them on ice, prefer frozen jugs of water.
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  #4  
Old 10-26-2012, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by MontyF View Post
I agree with Davers with a couple exceptions. I'll let them hang up to 7 days if it's below 40 degrees. If it's above that I quarter and cut them up as soon as possible. If they go in the cooler I don't set them on ice, prefer frozen jugs of water.
A few water filled & frozen large coffee containers will work fine too.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:59 AM
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If you have a place to let it hang and keep it in the 35-40 degree range, then it's best to leave the hide on for 7-10 days, there are enzymes in the skin that help the meat cure. The only down side to that is, it's a lot tougher to skin them after hanging, than immediately after harvesting, but it's worth it. Also, I like to cut the legs off to make sure that the quarters and hams can bleed out properly. I guarantee you will notice a difference if you can let your meat hang and cure for a while.
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mirage243 View Post
If you have a place to let it hang and keep it in the 35-40 degree range, then it's best to leave the hide on for 7-10 days, there are enzymes in the skin that help the meat cure. The only down side to that is, it's a lot tougher to skin them after hanging, than immediately after harvesting, but it's worth it. Also, I like to cut the legs off to make sure that the quarters and hams can bleed out properly. I guarantee you will notice a difference if you can let your meat hang and cure for a while.
I didn't know that about leaving the hides on. I generally skin them right away since they are a lot easier done.
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:14 AM
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I think I've only been able to hang 3 or 4 deer and maybe a pig or two in many years of hunting in central Texas. Just usually isn't cold enough.

Good info though, keep it coming.
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  #8  
Old 10-26-2012, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mirage243 View Post
If you have a place to let it hang and keep it in the 35-40 degree range, then it's best to leave the hide on for 7-10 days, there are enzymes in the skin that help the meat cure. The only down side to that is, it's a lot tougher to skin them after hanging, than immediately after harvesting, but it's worth it. Also, I like to cut the legs off to make sure that the quarters and hams can bleed out properly. I guarantee you will notice a difference if you can let your meat hang and cure for a while.
Several years ago, Deer Hunting out in Colorado, I got a nice Buck. I let him hang with the hide on since it was cold enough to allow this. Well, after three days; I skinned him, which was a tough job, got him processed, wrapped and frozen when I returned home, this Deer was sort of "Gamey" in flavor. I've since skinned all my harvested Deer while they are still warm but cleaned out the abdominal cavity with a hose, then hang, drain, & skin. MUCH better quality of venison.
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  #9  
Old 10-26-2012, 08:07 AM
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I honestly don't know if 4c relates to 40f unless I go look it up, but the best way in my view is to split the carcase from chin to exit hole and saw theough the what I have always called the Hbone, so that the rear hams can be spread out to cool. Head off, but leave the skin on. put a peg across the ribs as wide as you can go. I always hang my deer from the ham strings. If , as I try to do, the deer has been shot through the lungs/arteries, then the heart will have pumped the carcase dry of blood prior to death. At 4c I like to let the beast hang in an airy place for 7 to 10days. The exposed flesh will take on a dark purple/black colour, which can be skimmed off with a sharp knife before packing and freezing.
Our roe stalking often takes place in mid summer and if a cold room is not available, then my veison has to be skinned quartered and in the freezer as soon as I get home. I have never eaten a piece of tough roe venison in 40yrs .... delicious. I have been told that imediately freezing has an aging effect on meat anyway. I still prefer to let it hang a while also my game birds but not waterfowl. Just hot smoked some mallard breasts after rolling them in brown sugar, black pepper, sea salt and crushed juniper berries.Had to put them into the freezer quick or they would have disappeared. Sliced thin, with a glass of good malt .....mmmmmmmmm!!
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  #10  
Old 10-26-2012, 09:24 AM
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We typically allow our deer to hang 2 or 3 days, if the temperature is around 40 degrees. The problem is that you don't want the meat to freeze and thaw repeatedly and you don't want it to get too warm, so when conditions are not right, we process the deer (ourselves) within a day or so. We then do our "aging" in the refrigerator.

A standard, household refrigerator creates ideal conditions for the aging of game meat. Place a frozen package in the fridge and leave it for the same number of days you would normally age meat while it's hanging. The same enzymatic breakdown of connective tissue occurs and the meat is just as tender and flavorful...it's just that you aged it AFTER processing.
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  #11  
Old 10-26-2012, 02:49 PM
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I just hung an antelope for well over a week, and the temp was up there...70s. It wasn't by choice, I could never get home to get to it. The key....DRY. I didn't lose any meat.

Davers, If a Colorado deer has been eating sage brushes, I don't care what you do to him, he will taste like a sage bush. (he'll taste gamey).
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  #12  
Old 10-26-2012, 04:47 PM
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Wow....great discussion.

I have a chance to get a doe tomorrow on the last day of a three day anterless season. The high tomorrow is supposed to be 49 and the high Sunday around 47. It is supposed to be around 40 and in the 30s the rest of next week. Do you guys think it will be ok to let them hang at that temperature for no more than two days?
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  #13  
Old 10-26-2012, 07:23 PM
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I've tried hanging, and not hanging venison, in many different ways. In my opinion, if you hang deer for a short amount of time, say 2 days, 3 at most, it is best. I have never had good "luck" hanging meat above 40 degrees Farenheit. Leaving skin on one is absolutely not to be done, IMHO. I agree with Stinky that deer eating sage brush are not ideal, and antelope are even worse that way.
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  #14  
Old 10-27-2012, 01:47 AM
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Davers, If a Colorado deer has been eating sage brushes, I don't care what you do to him, he will taste like a sage bush. (he'll taste gamey).
I agree with you that Deer eating sage brush will affect it's flavor. I have never taken a Deer in Colorado that wasn't gamey though. Our Whitetail are much better eating due to the large variety of food available to them.
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  #15  
Old 10-27-2012, 05:49 AM
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I was told by my local meat cutter that while it doesn't hurt to let deer hang for a few days in favorable temperatures, it really does not help flavor/tenderize the meat as much as it does with beef. He said that deer is much leaner, and the fat in beef helps the enzymes break down the meat and produce the well known flavor we love. He said that while the process works the same with any meat, it really does not have the same effect with lean meat animals such as deer. Maybe someone here is a meat cutter and can clarify or dispute what he told me, but now I just let mine hang for convenience until I can work it up. I used to let it hang for 2 or 3 days as well. I have to say that whether he's right or wrong, I can't tell any difference either way when I cook it.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:42 AM
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I was told by my local meat cutter that while it doesn't hurt to let deer hang for a few days in favorable temperatures, it really does not help flavor/tenderize the meat as much as it does with beef. He said that deer is much leaner, and the fat in beef helps the enzymes break down the meat and produce the well known flavor we love. He said that while the process works the same with any meat, it really does not have the same effect with lean meat animals such as deer. Maybe someone here is a meat cutter and can clarify or dispute what he told me, but now I just let mine hang for convenience until I can work it up. I used to let it hang for 2 or 3 days as well. I have to say that whether he's right or wrong, I can't tell any difference either way when I cook it.
There is a very easy way to test this for yourself, in a quasi-scientific way.

Take some venison that has been processed and frozen without any significant aging of the meat. Place one large roast, or several smaller packages in your refrigerator. Leave them in there 3-5 days. Cook the meat from one package, or slice off a portion of the roast. Wait another day or two and prepare the next package. Continue until the meat is all used up or it may even spoil, if you wait long enough.

I am reasonably confident that you will make some interesting discoveries as part of this process. Place the frozen packages on a plate, if they are in freezer paper. When you see fluids leaching through the paper and onto the plate, a certain degree of "aging" has occurred, with connective tissues breaking down through enzymatic action. We trim every bit of fat (tallow) from our venison to avoid the nasty taste it adds, so I know that isn't contributing to the process in our situation.

I would never let venison hang any longer than necessary in temperatures over 45 degrees. Do your best to keep it in full shade, as well.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:50 AM
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Talking I like your thought process here!

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Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
There is a very easy way to test this for yourself, in a quasi-scientific way.

Take some venison that has been processed and frozen without any significant aging of the meat. Place one large roast, or several smaller packages in your refrigerator. Leave them in there 3-5 days. Cook the meat from one package, or slice off a portion of the roast. Wait another day or two and prepare the next package. Continue until the meat is all used up or it may even spoil, if you wait long enough.

I am reasonably confident that you will make some interesting discoveries as part of this process. Place the frozen packages on a plate, if they are in freezer paper. When you see fluids leaching through the paper and onto the plate, a certain degree of "aging" has occurred, with connective tissues breaking down through enzymatic action. We trim every bit of fat (tallow) from our venison to avoid the nasty taste it adds, so I know that isn't contributing to the process in our situation.

I would never let venison hang any longer than necessary in temperatures over 45 degrees. Do your best to keep it in full shade, as well.
Interesting test, it would definitely give me the excuse of eating more venison (my wife doesn't care for it, but she couldn't complain if it was for pure scientific experimentation)
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:12 PM
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Interesting test, it would definitely give me the excuse of eating more venison (my wife doesn't care for it, but she couldn't complain if it was for pure scientific experimentation)
You may find that by processing your deer quickly after harvest and then aging in the fridge, along with some creative recipes, your wife may actually enjoy venison. If her objection is primarily philosophical, there isn't much you can do about that.

If it's the flavor she doesn't like, you can make that all but disappear with proper handling and cooking techniques.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:09 PM
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Killed a buck in Utah once and a buddy of mine who was a cattle surgeon hung it in his cooler and then left for an Idaho deer hunt himself. It was there for 14 days at 36 deg in a deer bag. When we got ready to cut it up and removed the bag there was a fine coat of mold on it. Needless to say I wasn't happy but he said it would be better than any deer I'd ate. We boned it out and then trimmed the mold off as we cut it up. AND IT WAS BY FAR THE BEST I'D EVER HAD. No gamey taste and could cut it with a fork.
As a whole I'm lucky any more to be able to hang one for more than 3 or 4 days.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:31 PM
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A friend of mine that has a walk-in cooler likes to hang his deer and elk for 10 days - 2 weeks. I don't have such a cooler so...

When at 'elk camp', quarters (elk or deer) may be hanging for 7 days to 1 day before we pull out and we start processing, and normally we'll get a solid freeze on them. When I get home, I just want to get them done and in the freezer, regardless of hang time. I don't think I've ever left skin on an animal. That dry film or 'silverskin' on the exterior is actually easier to fillet off with a little dry thickness compared to unexposed flesh.

I suppose it depends on what kind of meat you prefer, also. If you prefer steaks, hang-time - or Jason's refrig-aging method - may produce the best results for steaks. I do like steaks too, but really only the best cuts. Burger, roasts, sausage and jerky are what I'm mainly after, and when you crock-pot the roasts for 8 hrs, they are plenty tender. None of the other stuff benefits from hang-time, IMO
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