Paul W. from New Jersey writes to ask about getting venison into the freezer. “Often we get warmer weather in bow season. I butcher my own deer, and have been told that deer need to age to taste good, but how do you do that in your own home if it is warm weather?”
Dr. Dave Samuel
That Paul, is a very good question and one that I’ve faced often over the years. Here is what I do, and the venison I get is very tasty. I think there are several critical factors to getting tasty venison. First, cool the meat as rapidly as possible. That means, gut it immediately, and open it all the way. I always wash out the inside, and if you do, you MUST dry the deer with a clean cloth. You do not want any water on the deer while it is hanging because that promotes bacterial growth.
I let the deer hang overnight if possible. But if it is really hot weather, I will skin it immediately, and bone out the meat for the freezer. Remove all fat and hair from the meat as it imparts a bad taste. Do not cut through the bone with a saw, as the bone marrow will impart a bad taste to venison.
Once ready to be packaged, I double wrap the meat using freezer bags sealed with as little air inside as possible. Then a second wrap with butcher paper.
To review, the keys are; get the meat cool right away, wash off all blood and hair, dry the meat after you wash the deer, bone it out, remove all fat and gristle, remove any loose hairs on the meat, and double wrap the meat with as little air inside the package as possible.
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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of www.sportsmansguide.com‘s content at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.