View Full Version : Deer Processing costs

February 27, 2008, 03:11 PM
How much do you get charged to procees your deer and what do you get done to for that price?

Thank you,

February 27, 2008, 03:17 PM
65.00 to 85.00 depending on what you want - I tend to get a lot of linked sausage which gets pork mixed in and drives the cost up to 80-85.00 range. I think its a good deal still!

February 27, 2008, 04:45 PM
12 pack of beer. :D A friend and I do it ourselves. He brings the grinder, I bring the beer.

February 27, 2008, 06:08 PM
Use to spend on average about $80-$100 per animal, that included boned out, a little sausage, ground meat and roasts.

When the kids started hunting it nearly sent me to the poor house....we were averaging about 10-12 head a year @ $100. Went out and bought all the meat processing equipment and began doing our own....paid for the equipment the first year. Bought slicer, grinder, vac sealer, knives, how-to-books, video tapes, butcher paper dispenser, cutting boards, aprons, seasonings, stuffer, and smoker...money well spent.

February 27, 2008, 06:41 PM
$60. I keep the backstraps and have the rest ground. This year's doe is outstanding!

February 27, 2008, 06:47 PM
Bought a good butcher's saw and a grinder a few years ago and do my own. No big deal! Part of the fun.

February 27, 2008, 07:45 PM
65 cents a pound at least that was the cost I heard 2 years ago.

It really isn't difficult to butcher it yourself, just time consuming.

February 27, 2008, 08:01 PM
I do my own.

February 27, 2008, 08:09 PM
It really isn't difficult to butcher it yourself, just time consuming.

Yes, and there are enough websites devoted to the topic that one can easily learn on their own.

You need a good knife set and at least a couple of different sized ziplock bags. I eventually got a grinder and a foodvac.

February 27, 2008, 08:15 PM
I can take the deer to a local processor who will gut the animal, grind or cut for $50. He's close enough to hear my shot. Does an excellent job. I have done my own for 30 years. If somebody wants to do it for $50, I'll never clean another one.

February 27, 2008, 08:19 PM
$50 but I take them in with the skin still on and seldom even field-dress them. I could save $18 per animal if I skinned and gutted them. I don't mind gutting them but sometimes I don't have time or it's not really worth it since we usually go from live to processor in 30 min. The only one I've ever seen skinned (without the right equipment) ended up with hair all over it.

February 27, 2008, 08:24 PM
$50 is a pretty good deal. I'd probably opt to go with a "pro" for that reasonable amount of scratch. It typically starts at a $100 'round here and goes up if sausage and jerky get thrown into the mix. If I were to grind the whole lot aside from the tenders and straps I could probably go from quarters to freezer in less than 2 hours with a hand crank grinder. Since I use the hindquarters for chicken fry it almost doubles that time frame. I'm slow though. I'd blame the beer, but it's really probably the whiskey.

February 27, 2008, 08:25 PM
Do it myself. It really isn't hard and you'll quickly learn. Deer aren't really big enough to justify the really diffucult cuts like steaks and chops. Take the backstraps and tenderloins whole. Cut the ham into a couple of few large roasts. The rest gets either ground into sausage or chunked into stew meat.

I don't need a fancy grinder either. I bought a little attachment that goes onto my wife's mixer and it works just fine. It isn't super fast, but I can do a whole wild hog in one evening.

February 27, 2008, 08:53 PM
Do it myself. We use a lot of what we shoot as jerkey and there is just no way I can see, considering the time it takes to seperate the mussels and strip it correctly, that I could justify paying someone to do it.

Got a old electric grinder for the trimmings and save some of the best cuts to be sliced thin and fried.

Same with hogs, except we don't make jerky out of any of them. The grinder makes short work of the trimmings and if you ask the local butcher he'll usually have a package of sausage seasoning that you can add.....very inexpensive.

And I second the comment about it being part of the satisfaction of the hunt, just a little more of the old do it yourself.

February 27, 2008, 09:05 PM
10 bucks for a meat cleaver and 20 bucks for a buck 110... 30 bucks will process hunerts of deer and hunert hogs...

Wild Bill Bucks
February 28, 2008, 09:56 AM
If you have a good place to hang it up, you can skin one with a rock and a rope in about 5 mintues, take the back strap, and grind the rest into burger, and use a seal-a-meal mahine, wrap in 1 lb. packages, and into the freezer in about 2 hours.

Processor charges $65.00 for the same thing. That's about $32.50 per hour, and I just can't see paying anyone that kind of money for something I can do myself.

February 28, 2008, 10:56 AM
It's a terrible fortune in Illinois. I paid $300 for 2 small deer and a little bit of sausage.

Up where I go in Wisconsin, the going rate is $60 per deer, regardless of size, more if you want sausage/jerky/whatever. I think that's a good price.

February 28, 2008, 11:25 AM
Sounds like some are confusing back straps & chops. I know its not a really big deal, but form what i have seen over the years is most people don't save the back straps. If they aren't removed the 1st day, then they are probably not worth saving in a Deer. (dry out very fast)
When I bone out an Elk(packing it out) the backstrap/tenderloin is the last cut i take and the only time i enter the abdominal cavity. the animal isn't "Gutted"

Take a porter house steak. The Chop is the New York strip part, and the Back strap is the Filet Mignon or Tenderloin.
I remove the backstraps at camp and they go with pancakes(butterfly cut) the next morning.

February 28, 2008, 12:13 PM
I usually pay the butcher between $40 and $50. It depends on how big the deer is and what I'm getting done. I usually get most of it ground and some steaks and sliced for jerky. I keep the backstraps and the tenderloins and grill them.

February 28, 2008, 12:57 PM
At the club I used to hunt with we did it ourselves. Couple people skinning, couple butchering, it was over in a few minutes.

I didn't even know you pay someone to do it for a long time.

February 28, 2008, 01:32 PM
Most of the guys around here do it for $0.60 a lb or $60 which ever is more. That is without doing any kind of sausage which will cost more. I usually process everything myself up to deer sized animals, but elk I usually pay to have done as they are a pretty big animal to do by myself.

February 28, 2008, 01:39 PM
Last fall I responded to a meat grinder accident. The vic was on the last couple of pounds of sausage when the grinder got him.

This is a picture of what his hand will now do.

February 28, 2008, 03:58 PM

Around these parts and from what I've read here, what we call the tenderloins are on the two strips inside along the spine. What we call the backstrap is the loin or chop, it is the two strips or cuts that lie on the outside of the deer along the spine. If you cut the ribs and spine the backstrap would be the meat on the venison chop.

February 28, 2008, 04:43 PM

I do believe you got me there.
I have always referred to chops as chops and the tenders as backstraps. But I did differentiate, and I still stand by my statement that the tenderloin goes to waist in most cases.
I never liked it years ago when all the Deer were processed together(equal sharing). Deer were hung to long.
My hunting camp is like a one way highway. (just insert "or" in proper place)
You shoot it you take it, and if you want to share, we like it cut and wrapped.

Here is a link i found, although I would put down a ground cloth.

Niagara Shooter
February 28, 2008, 06:16 PM
$35 cut wrapped and frozen, plus the butcher will hang the deer in his freezer with the beef until he has time to get around to dealing with them. Sausage is a extra but sooo worth it from the place we get our deer done at, he does 125+ a year.

February 28, 2008, 06:20 PM
Anyone who wastes either the backstraps or the tenderloins is a complete idiot!!!!!!!!!!

I wish 100% of the deer was made of those 2 muscles. I eat all of it, but the packs of backstrap and tenderloin are gone first.

For small tenderloins, we butterfly them to make them a little bigger.

February 28, 2008, 07:31 PM
Been so long I can't remember. I cut up my own deer meat and know exactly what I am eating.

February 29, 2008, 10:41 AM
Those of you that have your Deer commercially processed, How is this done?
Are you getting your venison "Boned out", or are you getting it "Sawed into steaks".
I know the old way was to use the band saw, as that was our procedure for many years.
Little story here;
One of my friends was given a Deer and I went with him to pick it up. (The licenses holder had used all his out of state bonus tags and had more than he could use).
This guy asked if he wanted it cut up and said he has a band saw and it wouldn't take but a few minuets. I had a band saw for years and this guy asked if i wanted to see it, I interjected that it was much more of a hassle to clean the saw than just bone out the deer. He matter of fact told me that this was no problem at all. After using the saw, He would just open the access door on the bottom and his "pooch" would just clean it right up,:eek: Then next time you use it just run a few blocks of wood through and she is ready to go.:barf:
And now get this,
He advertises deer processing!
Just thought you should know.
And this is a factual story, sorry.
But today with the CWD concerns I wouldn't want my animal processed with other animals. In fact, just being on the butcher block is a problem with me.

I enjoy my old copy of Bull Cook and.... By George Leonard Herter
I was reading "HIS" NO "B.S." technique of butchering a Deer.
He states to "NOT" remove the tenderloins, but that they should stay on the Chop. Only exception is if it is a very large deer. Maybe that is why so many do not remove the tenderloin.
Is there anyone who makes "Corned willy" from there venison?

February 29, 2008, 01:20 PM
Like I said earlier - deer really aren't big enough to justify trying to cut it up like you would a steer. Yes, a good butcher can get some small sized steaks, chops, etc. However, just boning it out is so much easier.

February 29, 2008, 07:42 PM
Free, unless I'm out of town hunting with a friend and it's too warm to get it home, then it's about $60.



March 1, 2008, 02:00 PM
My venison started tasting way better when I quit using a processor and started doing it myself.

March 2, 2008, 07:19 AM
I agree with GBRO on the CWD concern. If and when there is any confirmed cases in NC I'll probably quit eating venison period.

My processor is a retired farmer with a large walk in cooler attached to a tobacco barn. He hangs the deer under the shed and guts them, takes a water hose and washes the blood down in to the side ditch, throws the skeleton on to a trailer. Usually has some hides burning in a barrel.

I laughed as one of the good ol boys spit some tobacco juice and said "hey, is this USDA approved?"

Doesn't bother me a bit. You should have seen it when we used to kill hogs.

March 2, 2008, 09:53 AM
Back in SD/NE it was going for around 50-75 depending onthe deer (some of them muleys get huge).

Now, down here in southern AZ, the deer I shot was "big" for their standards, but tiny for my northern standards, so I butchered him myself. Now the trick was my wife love to eat venison, but said she didn't want to see the dead animal. Well, after the shot and I field dressed him, then got him to the truck and just cut him up right there in the back of the truck.

March 2, 2008, 09:06 PM
then got him to the truck and just cut him up right there in the back of the truck.

Same here,
If they get hung at all its 1 night at camp. Next day processed on the tailgate. Then when mussel groups are separated they get ziplocked.
Steaks are easy to cut just before the steak/roast is fully thawed out.

March 3, 2008, 05:04 AM
I did four myself this year in about 6 hours, all boned out, ready to wrap. I have an old "beer fridge" at my mother in laws and I use that store the cuts in as I bone it out, I have a big folding table and set it up on concrete blocks to get the cutting height up where my back likes it.

Good knives kept sharp and care of handling makes it go well. Once we get the deer hung up in camp, we use a garden sprayer that is NEVER used for anything but pure water or salt water, and its marked that way. The deer is propped open the garden sprayer with almost brine in it sprays out and cleans all the remaining slop out of the gut cavity. If we had a hose, I would use that, but the shack does not have running water. The inner backstraps are cut out for supper. The deer is allowed to dry, then we skin them on the meat pole after pictures. The deer are wrapped in a clean old bed sheet and put on a clean tarp in the trailer, then covered and wrapped up completely except for the necessary one hoof showing.

Usually when we get home, we just back the trailer to "Mom's" garage and do the production line thing. This year I had to do it myself due to work travel by the others. But the are hung, we use a big pruning shear to remove the forearms, the neck is cleaned up for meat, then the head is removed. The fore quarters are split off, the backstrap is removed from neck to tail. Rest of the meat is primarily deboned as it comes off the carcass. WE take the big cuts and the good cuts and place them in plastic butcher tubs we bought at a restaurant supply house into the beer fridge. The lesser cuts are then worked on, we have two piles, one for good trimmings and one for dog food.

I buy a five gallon bucket of beef lard at the market and use that to turn the trimmings into 80% or so ground meat. If you do not add lard, the resulting ground meat will not patty up or likes to sear too fast on the stove.

We used to use butcher paper to wrap up everything, but two years ago my brother bought a vacuum bagger, we buy bags as tubes, and can make them as long as needed. Every thing gets bagged and sealed, then frozen. If you keep every thing clean, The stuff will last two years in the freezer.

My great Grandfather worked for a long time as meat cutter. He would tell me when I was little and they would cut up animals 100 pounds of beef mixed one pound of ****, makes one hundred and one pounds of ****. He was adamant about being clean when cutting meat, and it rubbed off. If you keep it clean, it will stay good.

March 3, 2008, 06:45 AM
Call me an idiot. When I make up my own I skin the animal down to the shoulder, de-bone the hams, cut out the loins and discard the rest. I do not even gut the animal. That gives me 90% of the useable meat IMO. Takes ten minutes and it's free.

The vast majority of deer I kill are within a mile of my house. None over 20 miles away. We can kill six and if you want apply and they will give you more tags.

I could kill more than that if I just shot the ones that are pissing me off by eating something that I was planning on eating.

March 3, 2008, 07:33 AM
Processing the kill is part of hunting to me.
I do my own. Having been in processing plants, I wouldn't take my food there or eat meat from one. :barf:

March 4, 2008, 08:01 PM
It is illegal in the state of Texas to debone the deer prior to it being transported to its "final destination". You may quarter it, but the ham meat must remain on the bone.

Kind of silly if you ask me.

March 10, 2008, 10:44 AM
We always handle the entire process ourselves. Over the years I have purchased the equiptment one piece at a time. It is my opinion that every hunter should have the butchering experience at least one time. The perspective is more valuable than the expense saved, plus you are sure to not end up with someone else's meat.

March 10, 2008, 03:25 PM
I've only done one and it didn't cost me anything...not even the cost of a knife. It was for an anthropology class and we made our own stone tools and used those. Obsidian is a wonderful thing.

March 10, 2008, 03:54 PM
Vermont, That is cool stuff! I never got to try a stone tool. I did shoot a "summer bunny" once and i had a cousin over and I told him we were gonna eat it "right here and now" but forgot mt knife. So I lifted the skin at the belly and had him shoot a round thru it. I then skinned it bare handed and opened the gut with a shot. Walked it to the creek to wash while he got the fire started. He had just returned from military service and said "DEEEAMMMM many soldiers woulda gone hungry or ate hair before figuring that out..."

March 15, 2008, 12:27 PM
$55.00 a deer. i get the backstraps butterflied into steaks, the tenderloins are left alone and the rest is cubed. whatever can't be cubed is mixed with a little wild hawg fat and ground into burger. all the meat is individually packaged and marked for freezer storage.

i would do my own but i can't afford the equipment right now. i usually harvest 4-6 deer a year so it can get expensive.

W. C. Quantrill
March 15, 2008, 03:30 PM
I go to a lot of pains to produce good meat from a kill. I used to take it to a local processing plant, he'd say come back in a couple weeks and I'll have your meat ready.....I sez to myself, "Self. What kind of flipping deal is this?". I already hung this sucker 3 days. Why two more weeks?

I said, you got quite a few, huh? He just motioned, and I went over and looked thru the door and there was a pile of carcasses probably six feet high and 20 feet long. My God, the stench. There was no identity to those carcasses. What he did was wait until the weekend, and then they would process the whole bunch at one time. All the meat went together, clean, dirty, spoiled---101# of $$$$.

I said, no thanks. I took it home and had it done in a couple hours. The guy I was hunting with left his there. I tasted some of his meat and it was like road kill. Figured that I made a good move there.

Once in a while I would take my rear quarters to a processor that did a lot of hogs and have him put the two hams in with a batch of his hog hams and make venison ham. He charged me like $20 each to do that. I thought that was expensive and quit that. It is good though. They come out cooked, smoked, and cured. I could have purchased ham at that time for that price.