Editor’s Note: This article on reasons to butcher deer is excerpted from the Fall 2013 issue of Living Ready magazine. Click here to download this excellent survival magazine issue.
In the absence of experience or a willing instructor, most hunters take their deer to a local processor to have it butchered for a fee. In most cases, however, even the novice ends up with better quality venison when he butchers his deer himself.
Several reasons apply. They could apply to venison or any wild game processing.
Butcher Deer Yourself: You’re Actually Getting YOUR Deer
For one thing, when you butcher deer that you harvested, you know the venison comes from your animal. There’s an unspoken rule about using professional processors. Although you may get your money’s worth in venison, you may wind up with venison from a number of animals you didn’t kill. There may be safety concerns about this, but for purity’s sake, it’s most satisfying to know what you’re eating is the deer you killed.
Butcher Deer Yourself: Take Your Time
Also, you can take as much time as you like to remove hair, blood, gristle and fat to make the finished product more enjoyable.
Further, you can debone the deer as much as you wish, saving valuable freezer space. Completely removing all bones represents the easiest way to butcher deer.
Butcher Deer Yourself: It Doesn’t Take Much
Surprisingly, it takes very little practice to become proficient at butchering deer, and you don’t need any special tools other than a sharp, stiff knife and a steel to keep it sharp. With the deer hung, remove the front legs and shoulders first. Then remove the loin, or backstrap. Next, cut off rib meat for grinding. Finally, remove the hind quarters, and cut them into round steaks and rump roasts.
Butcher Deer Yourself: Feed Your Ego
When you butcher deer you harvest, it provides personal satisfaction. As the completion of an age-old ritual, when the venison steaks are sizzling or the stew is bubbling, you will know exactly where that meat came from. That’s a feeling you can’t buy.
Butcher Deer Yourself: It’s a Learning Opportunity
As a side benefit, the butchering process also offers an opportunity for you to become familiar with deer physiology. This knowledge naturally translates into better understanding of shot placement – thus ensuring future clean kills.