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Author Topic: How long to let a deer hang?  (Read 8316 times)

Offline New England Native

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How long to let a deer hang?
« on: November 23, 2009, 11:04:39 AM »
I was having a discussion with some guys at work about letting your deer hang.  There was several thoughts on how long to wait to butcher it although some could not give me an answer why. For example one guy says he always lets a deer/elk hang for at least a week but couldn't answer why other than that was what his dad tought him. So instantly I knew where to ask the question next.
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Offline Schmalzfam

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2009, 11:12:50 AM »
We let ours hang over night. Or we get it to a butcher who can't cut/wrap it by the next day or 2. We have let deer hang before and I think it is WAY better cut within 72 hours. Just our opinion. We have had the luxury before to a butcher right behind our cabin, in our favorite hunting town. My son & hubby have got deer there. My son got one in the evening hung it that night and by 5AM in the morning, the butcher had already grabbed it and started cutting it. My hubby got one in the morning, hung it over night and same thing. I have heard that deer don't have that same enzyme that beef have and hanging them doesn't do anything. I believe that the blood gets tainted when hung too long. Just our opinion. I've heard of some guys who put their deer in creeks and let stay there for their trip. Everyone has their own ideas.
The most important thing is hanging it where it is cold and it's best to have air circulation.
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Offline bearpaw

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2009, 11:15:47 AM »
What I have been told is that the extra time allows the meat to begin breaking down and you get more tender meat as a result. We usually try to let meat age. I have had meat that was butchered the same evening it was killed and it was good too though. :dunno:
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Offline turkeydancer

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2009, 12:23:16 PM »
I also heard the same thing about the lack of the enzymes to break the meat down. So in 44 years of hunting, I have always taken it right in as soon as possible after it was dressed out, skinned, and cleaned up.  Never had any bad deer meat as a result.

Offline carpsniperg2

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2009, 12:35:22 PM »
i have always cut mine at 2-3 days it needs at least 24 hours or rigomortis" how ever you spell it" :chuckle: can still be set in and you get very tough meat i have never seen any advantages to hanging them longer it is supposed to make them more tender due to the meat breaking down but with our beef we have never seen much difference between 5-6 days hanging or 7-10 days so it might make a bit of difference but not a whole buch to me :twocents:
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Offline Dadbear

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2009, 12:41:02 PM »
Don't over think it... hang it 5 days and cut it up for the freezer. It'll taste great.  :twocents:

Offline Curly

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2009, 12:47:06 PM »
Hang it as long as it takes to get the hide off.
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Offline bear

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009, 12:55:12 PM »
It depends on the temperature that you can keep it.  If you can keep it below 40 degrees, I'd let it hang for a week or so.  If it's gonna be kept at 60 degrees, then I don't think that I would wait more then a day or so.   :twocents:  Bear

Offline remington300mag

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2009, 01:13:05 PM »
My family and I all hang our deer 6 to 7 days.....makes for a more flavorful meat due to the water leaving (just like aged beef) We also hang our elk no less then 21 days for the same reason! Never had a problem with them spoiling as long as they are hanging in a cooler.
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Offline Houndhunter

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2009, 01:17:39 PM »
we hang ours a few days, usually wait till the outside of the meat is tacky. but when we have to bone out a somethin we butcher it when we get back

Offline HunterJim

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2009, 01:33:06 PM »
In 27 years of hunting I've always butchered the animal myself as soon as possible, or taken it to a butcher to get it done in a day or two.  We've been lucky in that we have a great deer hunting area in Pend Oreille County, running water at our meat pole to wash all of the hair and blood (and occassionally some gut :bash:) off the carcass and then we have a great relationship with a butcher there near Diamond Lake.  We take them in and they are cut, wrapped and frozen ready to go home the next day.  Never had any bad tasting deer meat doing it this way.

I have had some bad deer meat shot by other folks who have let them hang for up to two weeks.  Worst tasting stuff I've ever had.

Long story short: clean butcher as soon as possible and don't let it hang.
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Offline byrdman

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2009, 02:00:48 PM »
Here is an article I just happened across. It is a couple years old, but the author sure sounds like they know what they are talking about.

Offline workstohunt

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2009, 02:04:15 PM »
No need to hang more than a day or two., anything after a day is convenience.
This is not to say I have not let it go longer.

Offline bow4elk

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2009, 02:21:47 PM »
Personally, I don't age or hang my big game and have only enjoyed great tasting, tender meat.  I cut and wrap immediately upon getting home.  It may be on ice for a day or two but I don't purposely hang it to age.

Years ago I heard hunter and master chef, Milos Cihelka, talk about game processing and aging.  In an article he wrote for Bowhunter Magazine, he says you should age a deer up to 2 weeks.

"To cool a deer in warm weather, you may place bags of ice in the body cavity, but do not let the ice or run-off water contact the meat".

"In warm weather, the carcass will attract a lot of flies. An application of "hot oil" will help. To make hot oil, put two cups of vegetable oil into a saucepan on the stove. Add a handful of crushed red pepper. When it begins to sizzle, remove it from the stove to cool, and then store it in a jar".

"To use the hot oil, make sure the deer cavity is dry; otherwise, wipe it dry with paper towels. Spill a little oil on the palm of your hand and smear it over all exposed flesh, including the nose, mouth, vent, and shot holes. Do NOT coat the pelt. The oil will not affect the taste of the venison".

He further states that "Deer and other game, if frozen fresh, will be tough and strong-tasting. The rigor mortis needs to relax. During aging, the enzymes naturally present in all meat gradually breaks down fibers. As in wine, which is not fit to drink when first made, aging also mellows the flavor of game".

"The optimum temperature for aging is 38-40o F. Higher temperature speeds up aging; lower temperature slows it down. Without refrigeration, deer harvested in early bow season are often difficult to keep safely much longer than 3 weeks. On the other hand, we may have a problem keeping a deer shot in December from freezing".

"I age my deer in the garage. It is important to have some ventilation. Hang the deer head down, placing a stack of newspapers under it to collect drainage. Put a stick in the body cavity to keep it open. Note: Check the cavity every day or two to make sure it remains dry. If any slime develops, wipe it off with a towel soaked in vinegar. It should dry again in one day".

"If the daytime temperature rises to 50o F, or drops at night to 28o F, there is nothing to be concerned about. However, if it gets over 50 or below 28, then we have to make some changes. If you see fly eggs on the carcass (in moist places such as the neck opening), you will have to skin and butcher the deer soon. In freezing weather, I have placed a small electric heater close to the deer and wrapped a tarp around it to make a kind of tent".

"During the firearms season, when there is no more problem with flies, I hang a young deer for 3 to 4 weeks. During the second week, small white specks of mold will appear on the exposed surfaces. This is a natural occurence and nothing to be concerned with, as long as the surface stays dry to the touch".
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Offline whacker1

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Re: How long to let a deer hang?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2009, 03:56:25 PM »
great article byrdman - this was a more eloquent way of stating what I intended.  If you can age it, the muscles set up better and steaks are more tender.  Walk In Coolers are worth it if you intend on aging game.  I was spoiled when younger as I have always had access to one.  Now that I don't live in those parts, and have to keep a much more watchful eye on the animal and butchering if the weather changes vs. when I would like to.

Pondering the idea of setting up my one car garage with a window style air conditioner for the earlier seasons to help control the environment


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