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Help!!! First time deer hunter!

 
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So as the title says. I need help with processing a deer once I harvest one. My boss has kindly allowed me to hunt on his property so I have a few questions.

1. What are some of your favorite things to do with the meat?

2. I want to make to make jerky and sausage with simple ingredients. No premixed stuff involving stuff I can't say/spell please. Have you done it? How did you do it?

3. I would like to make buckskin from the hide. I want to do this completely natural. Brain,egg,smoke tanning etc. have you done this? How? How did it turn out? Thank you!!!
 
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Location: East Tennessee
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My advice, wait for a lung shot. Right behind the front leg in the rib cage. Once you get a solid hit wait, if the deer was able to run or walk away take some time to allow it to die peacefully, if you jump up and go running over to the deer you are probably going to spook it into an adrenaline fueled run.

That leads to gamey flavored meat, better to shoot carefully, and give the animal time to die peacefully.

I prefer to field dress the deer, leaving the intestines and any organs I won't use in the field. They will not be there the next day, most times the raccoons and coyotes will have it cleaned up before it gets time to stink. No waste in nature.

I have grown to like ground venison, I have a hand crank meat grinder and it makes decent burgers, meatballs, chili, spaghetti, etc.

I've halfheartedly tried tanning, not so good. I think I need to spend more time on tanning.

 
steward
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I think for your first deer, I'd suggest just processing it into chunks of meat (steaks, chops, roasts, etc) and ground venison for the rest.  Freeze it properly and you'll be all set.  If you try to do too much on the first deer you might over-complicate the experience.

I agree with Ben on the shooting advice.  I'd add to make sure you're gun is sighted in and you can reliably hit a target that makes sense.  When a deer shows up you'll get less accurate so I'd suggest trying to reliably hit something 4" across (grapefruit sized) at the shooting range.  Then when your adrenaline is pumping you can still ethically shoot at a deer.
 
pollinator
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You will learn what you don’t know the first deer!

Understand field dressing. Eat the organs  immediately. If it’s cool you have lots of time on the rest.

This is a natural and important process- be the predator we have eradicated. Appreciate the bounty and use it thoroughly.

Salted hides last a long time. I’ve done >6 months. I’ve done every tan chrome oak brain. I have been doing fresh water soak and then brain tanning but it’s not waterproof. If not this year then wait and learn the next. This is an epic journey like our ancestors

 
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The biggest pit fall is removing the anus, many people ring it and pull it across the interior cavity taking a chance on fouling the meat
My preference is to carry a small hatchet or better yet, a foldable pruning saw and split the pelvic girdle, I cut the trachea and pull it all out over the haunches.
Hunt through the viscera and find the liver....even if you hate it some benighted soul will value it, some trim out the bile immediately some after they're home, heart is delicious, lungs an acquired taste, kidneys only if your from England! after the introduction of Prions and Mad Cow, (in deer its called Wasting Disease) I no longer indulge in brain.....but to each his own, the tongue is too slight to really be worth the time. (Beef tongue is well worth the effort and Elk not so bad either.)
Once the pelvis is broken the carcass will lie open easier and stay open for cooling, add a prop across the chest cavity and you far along the path to cooling the meat in a hurry. Generally I wait to skin the deer until its home and hanging (but always within 4-5 hrs) as the hair slides well and protects the meat.
I dunno if the Boy Scouts in your area are still in the market for the hide ( they used to take them for free, and get them tanned for leather projects, but that seems to have stopped or at least they are not as public about their desire for them.). Its a damned messy job tanning them if you find you like it there a definite market for a tanner anywhere in the country.
Here is a YouTube video of some proficient butchers explaining choice cuts and tricks of the trade:

 
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That is a great video I've watched it before, to build on that I would add this video link it takes the process a step further and talks about some glands in the front shoulder people over look and hidden bones that are often missed in the butchering process.

 
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Location: Rural North Texas
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You'll definitely want to get those glands out.  Ask you friend if he can help you field dress the deer the first few times since you've not done it before.  Videos are good but having someone on hand is super helpful.  First thing we always pull of is the backstrap.  IMHO, that's the filet mignon of a deer carcass.  If you don't care for the gamey taste, an overnight soak in buttermilk before cooking usually knocks it down quite a bit.  Any bits you don't want to save for cooking whole can be ground up.  Venison makes awesome chilli.  There are zillion recipes on line for sausage seasonings.  All you need is a grinder and stuffer is you want to use casings.

Tanning hides the old way is really smelly process.  So much so that becoming a tanner was one of the few allowable reasons for divorce in medieval times.  
 
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Location: NW Arkansas
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Ben House wrote:
That leads to gamey flavored meat, better to shoot carefully, and give the animal time to die peacefully.



I don't know how true it is, but I've always been told that adrenaline was the culprit for gamey meat. If one chases an animal it keeps pumping into their system. If the animal dies peacefully, that adrenaline burns off pretty quick, they go to sleep and bleed out.
I've heard soaking a piece of gamey meat in milk overnight would remove that flavor.
 
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