Hang & Age Your Deer

Boltman

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Hi everyone, very new here, but not to new to deer hunting, both bow & centerfire, but I'm far from being an expert.

Had an ok season so far, one doe and a spike buck for me and one late day big boy 8 pointer for my hunting buddy, got him deep in the swamp, never again!

We've been taking great care of what we harvest, with careful field dressing, cleaning and icing them down. Ate one back strap so far, wow! The best in a long time.

Anyway, the spike buck I got with my bow early today, and we did the usual care, then brought it back to our man cave butcher shop and hung it up to age for 3-4 days. Now usually we, but me in particular I like to hang and leave the skin on during the aging process.
But this time my partner said it's better and/or easier to remove the skin now, then age, then butcher.

What are your thoughts on hanging a clean field dressed deer for 3-4 days...…….. Skin on? ………...or Skin off?
 

Flatlander

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If it's cold enuf ,mid 30's or colder , 5-7 days skin on. Hung an 8 pt. in the barn tonite , but it's supposed to be 40-50's next few days so mite have to go in the cooler.
 

amclimber

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It's true that it's much easier to skin right away, but I wouldn't let it age that way. I think the outside layer of your meat will dry out. Like what happens to the exposed meat in the chest cavity when you let it hang.
 

Boltman

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Thanks guys I appreciate your input,very helpful.

Yes the weather is gonna climb I bit, so I'm gonna keep an eye on things and maybe start butchering it.
I guess Im sold now on skinning first, then hang to age...

Believe it or not was watching on youtube, a DIY walk in cooler using a standard AC and a unit called COOLBOT. Think I may go for it and start building one early spring, then I won't have anything to worry about early on in bow season when temps are warm.
 
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Hi Boltman,
I used to butcher deer for hunters for many years. My opinion(and there are many on here) is to hang the deer, skin it and cover the carcass with cheesecloth. Hang where the temperature is constant, 35-40. Let hang for about 4-5 days. The deer's own weight will stretch the muscles and loosen the tendons and cartilage. Its like ageing a hanger steak.
 

mbVT

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We hang for a week if the weather is right, usually skin on. Take the tenderloins out immediately and eat- they dry out fast.
I think we'd skin early if we had a cool room that could be temp and humidity controlled.
 

longbow

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I take the skin off as soon as I get it home. The hotter it is the easier it comes off. Practically falls off. Then I immediately debone, package and freeze the steak meat. The meat to be ground goes on a board and into the chest freezer to firm up before grinding. (8 hours or so). I do about 10-15 a year for my family and sometimes more for friends.
 
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Boltman

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I do about 10-15 a year for my family and sometimes more for friends.
Wow 10-15, I see your in Jersey, I got a friend down there, If I remember correctly, he said you have lots of deer and no bag limit on one of the sexes ????

AS far as the skinning goes from now on I will hang and skin my harvest as soon as I get it home.



One last thing...……. you all got some good size bucks down there ?
I'm in Ct
 

Flatlander

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The cooler I use belongs to a friend.He uses a 12000 btu air conditioner that has a thermostat modified to lower the temp. Might be the kit that was mentioned. Going to hang the deer in the cooler today.
 

longbow

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Wow 10-15, I see your in Jersey, I got a friend down there, If I remember correctly, he said you have lots of deer and no bag limit on one of the sexes ????

AS far as the skinning goes from now on I will hang and skin my harvest as soon as I get it home.



One last thing...……. you all got some good size bucks down there ?
I'm in Ct
I would skin it right away when it is warm, very easy. Then you can still age the meat for a few days like others have said if you wish.

Limits are basically 6 total bucks and 9 does per season, shotgun, bow etc., which comes out to about 45 does. It used to be unlimited.

There are some nice ones. They don't average as heavy as up in Maine, but some nice racks. Son got this one on youth day, which is about typical for a 2.5 or 3.5 buck.
 

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Boltman

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Very nice deer, congrats to your son, I know your proud of him, I remember when my son shot his first. He wanted to field dress it himself as well, a proud moment.

That's a rather large buck for my area, I hunt on a farm 45 minutes from me, (private land), they almost don't get much bigger then that, usually a bit smaller. However, there are some big old boys running around, and you don't see them often, they didn't get to be that big from being stupid.

How is state land down there for out of state hunters like me?
 

longbow

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Very nice deer, congrats to your son, I know your proud of him, I remember when my son shot his first. He wanted to field dress it himself as well, a proud moment.

That's a rather large buck for my area, I hunt on a farm 45 minutes from me, (private land), they almost don't get much bigger then that, usually a bit smaller. However, there are some big old boys running around, and you don't see them often, they didn't get to be that big from being stupid.

How is state land down there for out of state hunters like me?
Thank you. My son had shoulder surgery last week(football injury) , so I am going out with my daughter(21), tomorrow, which is opening day of our gun season. He is disappointed, but he did get that nice 8 on youth day before the surgery.

I drive by pieces of state land on my way to where I hunt and rarely see any cars parked hunting during bow season. Gun season it gets more crowded, but there are some big ridges that you can get up on to get away from most people.
 

Boltman

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Thanks for all the info, and good luck with your daughters hunt, hunting with your children is the best. My son has blessed me with a beautiful grandson, and I know between my son and me, that kid is gonna grow up having the time of his life hunting, fishing and camping, especially with grandpa (me).
 

Flatlander

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We hung the deer this afternoon. It is a coolbot controler on the a/c unit. The cooler is 6ft. X 10 ft. The owner raises pigs and steers and the 12,000 btu a.c. does the job. He salvaged the box from a small market that was torn down so might be more efficient than a homemade cooler. What part of Ct. are you in ?
 

Boltman

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I'm in Stamford, CT. I've been searching for an old broken unit, one where at least the box is still somewhat good and I can add an AC unit and CoolBOT….no luck yet, but keeping my fingers crossed, you never know what you may find, plus in no hurry.
 

VTHunter08

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So someone correct me if I'm wrong but was always under the impression that hanging and "aging" venison doesn't do anything? The fat in vension is different then beef and doesn't marble or anything, and doesn't effect the taste or quality of meat? That being said when I was a kid if the temps allowed we'd hang them for a week in the garage. Now when I shoot one I check it in, head home, hang it, skin it while its still warm, pull the inners out so they don't dry out, then cut the back straps out. Then after that as I have time I process the rest. I'll try to do a quarter or two/night. I'll keep big Tupperware bowls in the fridge for my "grinder meat", and the cleaner pieces for canning. When the deer is all processed then I'll pull the grinder meat out, make my burger, then I'll start canning the rest.
 

Flatlander

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There are a lot of different opinions. As to marble ing , I've never seen much if any fat in the venison like beef. The fat is already in the beef , hanging doesn't change that. Most people trim the fat from the venison. I like to hang deer to let the excess moisture dry out. You're milage may vary.
 

mbVT

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So someone correct me if I'm wrong but was always under the impression that hanging and "aging" venison doesn't do anything? The fat in vension is different then beef and doesn't marble or anything, and doesn't effect the taste or quality of meat? That being said when I was a kid if the temps allowed we'd hang them for a week in the garage. Now when I shoot one I check it in, head home, hang it, skin it while its still warm, pull the inners out so they don't dry out, then cut the back straps out. Then after that as I have time I process the rest. I'll try to do a quarter or two/night. I'll keep big Tupperware bowls in the fridge for my "grinder meat", and the cleaner pieces for canning. When the deer is all processed then I'll pull the grinder meat out, make my burger, then I'll start canning the rest.
Aging venison (or any meat) allows for enzymes to break down the muscle fibers. The minimum is a day or so to let rigor mortis pass, though I guess it can take 4 days.
This impacts the 'toughness' and the flavor. Already tender pieces like the loins and backstraps don't need much tenderizing, and if you grind/can the rest, I don't think aging is going to add much- the grinder and the heat of the canning do it for you. I would imagine that the time you take to get it done amounts to a fair amount of aging.

Some info here: https://www.themeateater.com/cook/ask-meateater/ask-meateater-is-hanging-meat-worth-it
 

Boltman

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Aging venison (or any meat) allows for enzymes to break down the muscle fibers.
I fully agree with that statement from
(

mbVT), I have also found, and this is just my opinion from experience. The deer seems to be a lot easier to break down (butcher). the meat seems to be easier to handle and/or manage, again just me opinion.

I'd like to add, as I'm sure we all know, that venison is extremely lean meat with no marbling, so aging has nothing to do with that part, but I do think aging makes those loins and football roasts taste better.
 


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