A successful hunt doesn’t end once you kill a deer. In fact, the real work is only just beginning! After killing your deer, now is the time to prepare it for the freezer. After gathering the proper tools, you are ready to follow ten basic steps to butcher your deer for many future meals.
- Skinning: The first step is to hang your deer by its hind legs and get all of the skin off. The best way to do this is to make a cut at the rear legs where the white undercoat meets the brown hide. Run the knife towards the spine and through the tail when you reach it. Pull the hide down, and use your knife to release the skin from the meat. Continue peeling the hide until you are down to the neck where you can now remove the head.
- Prepare and Organize: Once you start butchering, you will want to keep all of the meat organized. Get separate containers, label them, and make sure that you have plenty of space to work with after the skin is removed and you are ready to start cutting meat.
- Backstraps: The first cut that I like to get is the backstraps. These are the most popular and they are very easy to remove. These run along the spine, and to remove them, you simply run your knife along the spin and peel them away using your fingers, using your knife as needed.
- Take Off Quarters: After the backstraps, you can now quarter your deer into the front and rear quarters. This makes them much easier to handle, and they are easily boned out from a tabletop than hanging up.
- Hind Quarters: Debone the hindquarters, and disassemble the different muscle groups found within it. This can be done by finding the divisions in the meat and simply cutting with them, not against them.
- Front Quarters: The front quarters are much easier to debone than the hindquarters, and make great roasts. Cut the meat into smaller sections and remove any excess for ground burger or trimmings.
- Take the Ribs: Most hunters forget about the rib meat, but they can be excellent and shouldn’t be overlooked. Make sure to cut them off into small sections and use them for your next barbeque!
- Trimmings and Grind: Trimmings from the quarters and other parts of the deer can be used for stews and tacos, and everything left can be ground up for burger. Any excess meat can be used to grind up as well.
- Freezer Preparation: Use butcher paper or a vacuum sealer to properly wrap and protect your meat before being placed in a freezer. The last thing that you want is for your hard-earned meat to get freezer burnt!
- Dispose of Carcass: Once you are done, wrap up the remaining carcass and bones in some plastic bags and properly dispose of them. Some states have specific guidelines for how this is to be done, so make sure you follow all local and state laws.
For more expert hunting and fishing tips & tricks, read our articles on the Bradley Smoker Blog.