monahmat

Frozen Deer, now what?

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This is my second year processing deer myself.  Last year I had to process my deer almost immediately and some cuts were tough.  This year I decided I'd age the deer in hopes of better results.  Unfortunately the weather forecast changed and temps went low and stayed low so now I've got a frozen deer hanging.  Some more info, I shot the deer Wednesday.  It's hanging in my uninsulated, unheated garage.  The hide is still on.  Temps are predicted to be below freezing every night for the next week so I don't see a lot of promise in it thawing on it's own.  I've done some reading up and so far my best option seems to be quarter it with a sawzall and bring it inside to thaw in coolers.  Curious if people have experience dealing with this and can share any tips or tricks?  

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I've only dealt with one frozen deer. My pickup had a cap on the bed and I put an electric space heater in with the critter over night. It was good to go the next day. Certainly not ideal by any means, but I managed to make it work.

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I've dealt with frozen deer more often than I cared to.  I hung the deer in my basement overnight to thaw out. Worked fine.  If you can't do that, how about a heater in the garage? 

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That truck  with the space heater idea sounds pretty great.  Unfortunately, I don't have a truck or cap!  

I think I'm going to follow Mowin's recommendation and try hanging it in the basement this weekend.  Ceiling is a bit low but I think I should be able to make it work.  I did get the rack, head, and front legs off last evening so it is looking a little more manageable now.  

Last year I shot my deer the day before my wife was induced for our first born.  As a result I had to do all the processing in a short amount.  The good news is I can take my time this year.

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59 minutes ago, monahmat said:

For our first born.  As a result I had to do all the processing in a short amount.  The good news is I can take my time this year.

You should find a local processor for times like this. I would like to try processing my own deer, but sometimes after hunting and dragging it's the last thing I want to do. I bring it to a guy who for $80 turns it into a ton of very nicely packaged meat.

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Hand and foot warmers duck taped everywhere to the deer and some inside the cavity!!!!! 

 

Kidding do not try this! 

 

If you have some sort of space heater I would try that in the garage first before bringing it into the basement. If its a small space heater and a big garage perhaps fabricating some sort of tarp wall around the deer with the space heater inside that? I dunno worth a shot. 

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$80?  Around my area their getting $120.  

I enjoy processing my deer. Find it relaxing.  I bone everything out, and can have a deer skinned, cut, and packaged in 3 hrs including grinding. 

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25 minutes ago, Core said:

You should find a local processor for times like this. 

I agree, I had recently moved though and heard a ton of horror stories about the couple local processors.  The one or two reputable ones I could find were backlogged and not accepting new customers.

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22 minutes ago, Moho81 said:

Hand and foot warmers duck taped everywhere to the deer and some inside the cavity!!!!!

You guys will probably get a kick out of this.  Researching this topic on another forum one of the recommendations I saw was wrap it in an electric blanket!  I feel like that's one of those things that sounds good in theory but would end disastrously, but you never know!

Also, I thought about throwing it in an old popup ground blind I have with space heater inside.  Decisions, decisions.  Good news is I'll be grinding almost all of it so I'm not to picky about the outcome.  I'm really just concerned with salvaging the tenderloin and back-straps.  I realize now I should have pulled the tenderloins instantly.  This has already been a great learning experience!.  

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I have cut them up frozen before, its not that bad. The fat takes a little longer to trim, but if you are grinding the whole thing, theres not as much to worry about.

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28 minutes ago, monahmat said:

You guys will probably get a kick out of this.  Researching this topic on another forum one of the recommendations I saw was wrap it in an electric blanket!  I feel like that's one of those things that sounds good in theory but would end disastrously, but you never know!

Also, I thought about throwing it in an old popup ground blind I have with space heater inside.  Decisions, decisions.  Good news is I'll be grinding almost all of it so I'm not to picky about the outcome.  I'm really just concerned with salvaging the tenderloin and back-straps.  I realize now I should have pulled the tenderloins instantly.  This has already been a great learning experience!.  

If most of its going to ground then you will be fine to cut it frozen. Unless its a solid block frozen where the knife wont even cut it. 

 

The tenderloin and back strap should come out with little difficulty. 

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1 hour ago, Core said:

You should find a local processor for times like this. I would like to try processing my own deer, but sometimes after hunting and dragging it's the last thing I want to do. I bring it to a guy who for $80 turns it into a ton of very nicely packaged meat.

Lots of processors won't take frozen deer.

Give it a couple days with it being warm out. You'll likely need to use your vehicle to pull the hide from the deer. I would highly recommend one of those cheese cloths or game bags if you plan on aging your deer. If you age the deer do it with the hide off it's way easier to deal with it when the animal is warm and you don't run the risk of having all the ticks come off and go into your garage. I did that one year on a buck I shot the overnights were low in the teens and left the hide on. After 2 days I had probably 100 ticks all over my garage. I won't be doing that again.

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Sort of off-topic, but I've never understood the concept of allowing deer meat to "age". Beef is aged because the process breaks down the fatty tissue within the muscles/meat, but wild deer don't normally have much fat, if any, in their muscle structures. Hang it head-down to fully bleed it out overnight for sure, but cut it up as soon as you can.

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i always thought aging deer and beef broke down the muscle tissue not the fat,,, i truely think it makes a diffrence in older deer or ones that you had to track... didnt die right off

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1 hour ago, chas0218 said:

Lots of processors won't take frozen deer.

Give it a couple days with it being warm out. You'll likely need to use your vehicle to pull the hide from the deer. I would highly recommend one of those cheese cloths or game bags if you plan on aging your deer. If you age the deer do it with the hide off it's way easier to deal with it when the animal is warm and you don't run the risk of having all the ticks come off and go into your garage. I did that one year on a buck I shot the overnights were low in the teens and left the hide on. After 2 days I had probably 100 ticks all over my garage. I won't be doing that again.

yeah, ticks suck. How much do you lose using a game bag? seems like the meat would dry out and crust and require a bunch of surface trimming. No?


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17 minutes ago, land 1 said:

i always thought aging deer and beef broke down the muscle tissue not the fat,,, i truely think it makes a diffrence in older deer or ones that you had to track... didnt die right off

This is one of those Chevy Vs Ford  (for WNYbuckhunter---Dodges don't even make the list) thread topics and has been hammered here over the years. Personally I have never aged regardless of age and never had a bad cut off one of our deer (that we processed ourselves).  I think guys doing things like trying to cut up front shoulders and get steaks out of it are some of the toughness issues.  for us we take tenderloins and backstraps. roasts from the hind quarters (that later can be used as roasts, cut to steaks when thawed, sliced for jerky or smoked). Everything else is stew or ground. 

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"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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So i dont have a garage and i dont have a truck. My deer hang outside every year. I do let my deer age, of course this only happens between like 35 and 38 degrees not real sure on that but its close.Hide off ageing will develop a crust on the meat, and some mold witch is said to be harmless.When mother nature cooperates it works well to tenderize the meat.Last year i had got 3 deer thanksgiving week in about 3 or 4 days. Frozen deer anyone. OH yes it can be done but your gonna have frozen fingers. By the time you get it quartered up and the backstraps and all in a cooler, you will be able to freeze water just by touching it with your fingers. But honestly once you get that far it comes apart pretty easy as long as you seperate it by muscles.They dont really freeze to each other with the tissues between them.Maybe next year i will have a garage. Doing frozen deer sucks and i usually hunt right through the end of muzzleloader season. BRRR geting cold just thinking about this process. 7 deer last year. It gets kinda tiresome after doing so much. Good luck with your frozen deer.

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28 minutes ago, Culvercreek hunt club said:

 Chevy Vs Ford  (for WNYbuckhunter---Dodges don't even make the list)

They dont need to, theres no debating that they are better than Chevy and Ford.

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1 hour ago, WNYBuckHunter said:

They dont need to, theres no debating that they are better than Chevy and Ford.

ill drag mine home on the back of my Toyota or my other Toyota, but i only have one deer hauler ha-ha

deer rack.jpg

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38 minutes ago, vizslas said:

ill drag mine home on the back of my Toyota or my other Toyota, but i only have one deer hauler ha-ha

deer rack.jpg

I was very thankful that I only had to lift the fat 190 pound field-dressed buck (per the PA chest girth measurement table at a 43" chest girth) that I killed last Friday afternoon up about 8 " to get it onto one of those on the back of my wife's Toyota mini-van last Friday night.   Lifting the front half up, then the back was not too bad.  He is aging comfortably in our insulated garage right now.  The weather is perfect for that.  The temperature has been averaging about 35 F in there per the wall thermometer.  I open the window at night to let in cool air, and close it and cover it by day.  The hide will come off on Saturday night and he will be processed Sunday night.  Ten days of aging is perfect to get the all rigor mortis out of a 2-1/2 year old, but nine should get most of it.  According to that same chart, he should yield 103 pounds of meat, but I usually trim out most of the sinew and fat and he looks to have lots of that so I will be thankful if I end up with about 80 pounds.     I was also thankful to not need the old "deer fridge" (visible on the left side of the photo this year).  My younger daughter named him "taco".  He should keep her well supplied with those for quite a while.     

2017crossbow5.JPG

emmadeer.jpg

Edited by wolc123
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7 minutes ago, wolc123 said:

I was very thankful that I only had to lift the fat 190 pound field-dressed buck (per the PA chest girth measurement table at a 43" chest girth) that I killed last Friday afternoon up about 8 " to get it onto one of those on the back of my wife's Toyota mini-van last Friday night.   Lifting the front half up, then the back was not too bad.  He is aging comfortably in our insulated garage right now.  The weather is perfect for that.  The temperature has been averaging about 35 F in there per the wall thermometer.  I open the window at night to let in cool air, and close it and cover it by day.  The hide will come off on Saturday night and he will be processed Sunday night.  Ten days of aging is perfect to get the all rigor mortis out of a 2-1/2 year old, but nine should get most of it.  According to that same chart, he should yield 103 pounds of meat, but I usually trim out most of the sinew and fat and he looks to have lots of that so I will be thankful if I end up with about 80 pounds.     I was also thankful to not need the old "deer fridge" (visible on the left side of the photo this year).  My younger daughter named him "taco".  He should keep her well supplied with those for quite a while.     

2017crossbow5.JPG

emmadeer.jpg

Right on I like his new name "Taco ":taunt:

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I was very thankful that I only had to lift the fat 190 pound field-dressed buck (per the PA chest girth measurement table at a 43" chest girth) that I killed last Friday afternoon up about 8 " to get it onto one of those on the back of my wife's Toyota mini-van last Friday night.   Lifting the front half up, then the back was not too bad.  He is aging comfortably in our insulated garage right now.  The weather is perfect for that.  The temperature has been averaging about 35 F in there per the wall thermometer.  I open the window at night to let in cool air, and close it and cover it by day.  The hide will come off on Saturday night and he will be processed Sunday night.  Ten days of aging is perfect to get the all rigor mortis out of a 2-1/2 year old, but nine should get most of it.  According to that same chart, he should yield 103 pounds of meat, but I usually trim out most of the sinew and fat and he looks to have lots of that so I will be thankful if I end up with about 80 pounds.     I was also thankful to not need the old "deer fridge" (visible on the left side of the photo this year).  My younger daughter named him "taco".  He should keep her well supplied with those for quite a while.     
2017crossbow5.thumb.JPG.064d3696a7c8ffce9095bae981b6c0aa.JPG
emmadeer.thumb.jpg.ba5284ddf09c26b8abc1823d972a5bfc.jpg


And then you went ahead and hung him upside down...


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30 minutes ago, Belo said:

 


And then you went ahead and hung him upside down...


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

It is easier for me to skin them that way, especially when the hide is cool. I do flip them over and hang from hooks in the tendons after removing the feet, head, and hide.  That little $5 Harbor Freight block and tackle struggled  on this one, I thought the rope was going to break.  It works great on anything under 160 pounds or so.  I may need to invest in one of them electric winches like you have. 

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I've butchered 100's of deer over the past 30 yrs.  All were in our group of hunters. No commercial butchering. 

I've let them hang "age" skin on, skin off, young, old buck and doe. I've also processed the same within a day or two as long as they cooled off.  I've skinned them the same day and packeged the next. 

The ONLY factors I've found affected the tenderness and flavor of venison is the age of the deer, but more importantly,  how quickly it was dispatched and how soon it was recovered and cooled. 

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I've only dealt with one frozen deer. My pickup had a cap on the bed and I put an electric space heater in with the critter over night. It was good to go the next day. Certainly not ideal by any means, but I managed to make it work.

That was a great idea

I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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