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Dick Ellis Blog:
6/30/2021
WHO SUPPORTS A WOLF GOAL OF 350 OR LESS IN WISCONSIN? Thirty-six Wisconsin County Boards have passed resolutions supporting a wolf goal of 350 (7) or 350 or less (26), 100 or less (1), 80 or less (1), or 50 or less (1).  The votes: Barron, Burnett, Vilas, Taylor, Florence, Forest, Iron, Jackson, Lincoln, Marinette, Oconto, Oneida, Price, Shawano, Waushara, Waupaca, Grant all passed unanimously, Adams, 16 for, 2 ag...
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So your Deer Is Down….Now What?

Tips for proper venison care

By Professional Butcher Dave Buchholz, Bucky’s Fine Meats & Sausage

So your deer is down and your tag is filled.  Enjoy the moment, but also remember how you care for that deer over the next hour and perhaps days can mean the difference between disappointing table fare and months of fine eating for the entire family.

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First, proper gutting can help the flavor and quality of the meat.  Make clean cuts from the chest to the tail without going too deep so not to cut the stomach or intestines.  It is easier to cut the skin first, but do not peel too much of the skin back off the meat; doing so will dry out the meat. Cutting through the brisket (chest cavity) will make it easier to remove the main organs, but if you plan on having the head mounted, stop at the rib cage.  Then cut the diaphragm and pull the organs out.  After the organs, stomach and intestines (and anus) are removed, try to find a small hill, turn the deer over on its belly to drain the blood.

After you transport the deer back to camp, hanging will help to drain more of the blood.  Depending on when you plan on processing the deer or having it processed, air temperature will determine how long to hang it.  If you want bigger tenderloins, pull them immediately or they will dry and you will lose over half the size.  If you plan on transporting the deer and the temperature is well below freezing, don’t hang it until the carcass is frozen solid or it will be stretched out and make it harder to secure.  If the temperature is right, hanging won’t hurt it.

You can’t always depend on the weather. Temperatures can fluctuate from extremely warm for a Wisconsin fall, to sub-zero, to just right.  When holding your deer for processing the temperature plays a major factor.  When processing, the meat should be firm, but not mushy or frozen.  If the weather is too warm and you have to hold the carcass for a few days, the best way is to pack it with ice, wrap it in a tarp and keep it in the shade.  Never skin it before it is ready for processing. Skinning will dry it out, and if the processer can’t process the deer quickly, it will dry out more.

 The hide works as an insulator. Sometimes when the weather is too warm you can’t control the meat being mushy.  When the weather is too cold, everything may freeze, making it harder to skin and harder to make all the premium cuts the proper way.   The elements can make the job more difficult on the hunter and processor.

If you don’t process your own deer, do you have a respectable processer to do it?  To ensure that your deer provides the delicious meals you hope for well after the season, consider a few things when choosing a processer.  Are they qualified meat cutters? Do they make all boneless cuts or use a meat saw?  With CWD boneless cuts are the best.  Does your processor prepare it lean enough for sausage and is he, or does he know quality sausage makers?  What is their turn-around time?  Finally will your processor guarantee that you get all the meat back from your own deer?

Finally when choosing a processer, find out how the meat it wrapped?  Some processors use freezer wrap, and others use plastic wrap.  The right wrap depends how long you plan on keeping it in the freezer.  Freezer wrap should keep 6 to 8 months, while plastic wrap should keep about 4 to 6 months.  How is it labeled?  If you can’t read the label, you won’t know what is in that package, even a day after it is ready in your freezer.  Then a great meal sits in the freezer and is never used.

If you are having sausage made, tell the processer and they will “chunk” the meat instead of grinding it.  Sausage makers prefer grinding the venison with the pork to give it a better mix.  Some processors make bulk batches up to 200 pounds or more, making the condition of the collective meat questionable and whether or not you are receiving your own venison back questionable too.   Some processors make small batches of 25 pounds. 

Ask the sausage maker important questions; what size batches do they make?  Do I get my own venison back?  Depending how much venison you take in, it might be mixed but won’t necessarily be included in a massive bulk batch.  Most sausage makers will go through all venison the make sure it meets their standards. You don’t want to trust your venison to one of the few who don’t.Ask questions not only to processors and sausage makers you may be considering, but to fellow hunters who will willingly share their post-hunt stories of satisfaction or disappointment.  After all, what you learn can mean the difference between a great hunt ending bad, or months of fine eating for your family…and a great memory of one great hunt.