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Old November 26, 2007, 08:38 PM   #1
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Hanging Game

I recently read an article where the author does not skin his deer until after it has aged for 10 days or so. He states if the temp is above 40 degrees F. he skins and processes immediately. If below 40 he hangs with skin on for the 10 days. I personally have always skinned ASAP and then hung for 2 or 3 days.
How does everyone else do it?
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Old November 26, 2007, 09:26 PM   #2
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temps here in MI average 30's to 50's during our deer season. I gut and skin my deer ASAP, hang it in a cool outbuilding for one day and then butcher it.
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Old November 26, 2007, 09:33 PM   #3
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Here in Florida "hanging", unless you have a walk-in cooler, is not a option. Accomplish the same thing by skinning and then packing the meat in a ice chest for 2 weeks or so. Just like aging beef.

That said I can not say for sure that it makes it better as we often eat some the same day and it's darn good then.

More than that: we make jerky out of a good portion of our meat and for that, sense it's not actually cooked, I process ASAP........certainly within 3 or 4 days.
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Old November 27, 2007, 12:22 AM   #4
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I promise you if you don't skin it, you will have tons of ticks crawling around looking for a new host. Seen it myself. Definitely not my idea of fun.
To kill something as great as a duck just to smell the gunpowder is a crime against nature. - Alan Liere
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Old November 27, 2007, 12:48 AM   #5
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skin on

I personally always leave the skin on when hanging a deer - usually 7-10 days. It is a natural wrapper and keeps the meat from drying out too much. Here in Illy I have never had a problem with deer ticks, never seen one! Also keeps potential vermin off if you are keeping it hanging in barn etc...,
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Old November 27, 2007, 07:56 AM   #6
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Come to think of it, I've never seen a tick on a deer in Illinois. However, Alabama is a different story. During much of the season we don't even have the luxury of letting a deer lay overnight. Here, we skin 'em quick unless there is access to a walk-in cooler.
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Old November 27, 2007, 11:41 AM   #7
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Aging can do nothing for venison except possibly spoil it. Aging aids only meat that is marbled with fat, such as a cow. Ask a good butcher. Venison has a different type of fat and it is not marbled. Skin immediately and cool.
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Old November 27, 2007, 12:26 PM   #8
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We skin it and hang it for 3 days (in a perfect world), maybe a couple days longer depending on when we tag out and head for home.

I have also heard that if you are going to freeze it for longer than 60 days, it does the same thing as hanging does. I have no proof that works.
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Old November 27, 2007, 10:37 PM   #9
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Aging can do nothing for venison except possibly spoil it. Aging aids only meat that is marbled with fat, such as a cow. Ask a good butcher. Venison has a different type of fat and it is not marbled. Skin immediately and cool.
Very interesting. If true, a LOT of hunters waste a LOT of time hanging deer, under the conventional wisdom that the enzymes break down the meat a bit and make it more tender.
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Old November 28, 2007, 02:12 AM   #10
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Interesting topic, we'll never solve it but it's good to hear some of that lore that floats around out there. We live in Mule Deer country. 80% of the deer I have killed and eaten have been Mulies. Whitetails are OK but let's just say I'm a Mule deer hunter. People tell me all time how awful tasting their Mulie was. That it was bad because it was a Sagebrush deer or that it was a Timber deer or whatever. Same goes for "it was good because it was a hayfield deer". We shoot 4 to 6 of those critters each year between the kids & I. From early season haystack does to last day Rutting bucks they are all just good to eat. I keep waiting for one of those awful tasting ones but they never seem to come along, from the high timber to the sage flats to the riverbottoms, nope not a one.
The point I guess I want to make is that the problem is not the deer but how its cared for after the kill. There are three things that commonly couse meat to spoil, heat , dirt, and moisture. I skin them as soon as practical, sometimes that is a day later if we are traveling. I also never pack the carcass with snow or wash it out with the hose. Then we will butcher it as soon as practical, usually 1 day but sometimes 3 or 4.
I will echo what NRA4life said. Beef is aged for flavor not for tender, they run it through the cuber to do that. ( I actually know a meat cutter who ages his elk though). IMHO age does not benefit the venison but unless it's hot it won't hurt it either.

Good hunting, Ken

PS. now that I posted this I'll get a sour one. LOL
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Old November 28, 2007, 04:47 AM   #11
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Kametec is correct, this is a interesting subject, especially as it directly impacts whether we actually make good use of the animals we harvest.

I'm in the seafood business and one of the things we in the seafood business never do is intentionally "age" our products. I can think of no instance where a fish, shrimp, oyster, whatever......., is made "better" by "aging". Not to say certian techniques of preparation for cooking, such as brining, might not be considered "aging" in some way but it's not like "aging" meat.

I'm also mindful, as one who hunts hogs far more than deer, that it has never occured to me to intentionally "age" pork. Nor have I ever do so with birds etc.

I'm also interested in the statement made by someone that it is the fact of beef being a "marbled" meat that makes "aging" useful for it while a deer is much different in that the meat has no marbeling. That amkes some sense.

I will say this though, again as someone in the food industry who is constantly considering the safety of what we produce, before anyone gets to the "aging" part of venison handeling it is to be remembered that the meat needs to be cooled quickley and kept clean. I've never heard of a instance of ecoli or the like from whild game but it must be possible so we should be careful of basic sanitation practices at all times.
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Old November 28, 2007, 07:49 AM   #12
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I have also heard that it is the marbling in beef that is actually breaking down.
The shop where I had my elk processed this year tells me that leaving the meat on the bone is what gives it a gamey flavor.
My neighbor hangs his deer(from a tree in the yard) with the skin on for more than 2 weeks. He takes his deer late in the season(usually the last two weeks of November) when the temperature is typically below freezing at night and below 45 during the day. His game is generally frozen within 1 day.
One person I hunt with hangs his game in his garage for 2 to 3 weeks regardless of the temperatures (:barf: it can get pretty gamey smelling) Haven't eaten any of either of the afore mentioned game.
To each his own I guess.
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Old November 28, 2007, 07:54 AM   #13
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skin em as soon as i shoot em around here.

its warm all year round we just get cold days here and there
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Old November 28, 2007, 08:33 AM   #14
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I made a sort of walk-in cooler w/wood frame and well insulated. I use an A/C window unit to cool it. in warm weather I use it to hang a dressed but not skinned carcass. cold weather I hang it in there but usually don't have to turn the unit on. this a.m. temp is 28*F. I'm convinced the meat is better hung for 2-3 days some fluid comes out. I always cut the lower forelegs off a lot of fluid comes out. I skin those and give 'em to the dog. I also know for fact that a deer that's been feeding around an agricultural field or orchard is better eating, fatter I think.
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Old November 29, 2007, 06:35 PM   #15
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Actually, there is a little truth to both stories...The aging process does 2 things in beef...protein naturally breaks down in refrigeration, w/out the harmfull bacteria getting a stronghold rotting the meat, thus tenderizing it in the process. If you skin and steak a cow the very day it is sloughtered, it is tough. I speak from experience w/ my personal cattle. The aging process also creates a flavor not from the fat, but from the enzymatic process that breaks the proteins down. (so I'm may be a bacterial process, or both...but you get the picture) Down here in S. Tx, we can't hang deer either, but I get the same results by putting the deer on ice in camp (it's almost always too hot to hang...You really need mid 40's or below to hang w/ out risk of botulism, ecoli, salmonela, & other nasty stuff) and deboning at home. Once the meat is deboned, I seal it in Zipp-loks and let it sit in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. There is definitely a taste difference, and the meat is noticably more tender than if I freeze it immediately. I process all my own meat, and have done so since I started hunting. I've tried numerous different methods, but what I call a short aging process really does affect how tender the meat turns out.
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Old November 29, 2007, 08:31 PM   #16
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I'm in the no hanging camp. I also recommend rinsing the meat off with a mild vinegar solution before its wrapped.
Bring the temp of the meat down to 45f asap. The enzymes will break down in the frig without the danger of bad bacterias growing.
Freeze what you don't plan to use after a day. let the remainder sit for 24 hours and use within 5 days. Slow thawing the frozen meat in the frig should give it enough time to relax.

Oh and save me some chizlick
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Old November 30, 2007, 08:41 PM   #17
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I think it depends on the prevailing weather conditions and game laws where one hunts whether they hang or don't hang their deer and lots of folklore accumulates to reinforce those practices. I skin and dress mine as soon as I can so it cools quickly. Sometimes quickly is rather overstating the case early in the season when it may very well be 80 degrees. No matter, I let it hang until the surface dries, then I cut it down and freeze it. IMO, there are two things that will invariably ruin good venison: gut shooting and leaving the tarsal glands on the carcass. Other than that, it's all good. rr2241tx
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Old December 1, 2007, 12:40 PM   #18
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Well we hang deer because the processor is about 30 minutes down the road, and we try and accumulate a few before we take them. We also donate allot of deer to the hunters feeding the hungry program. We had one in the cooler for about 2 weeks and it looked like it was starting to grow stuff. I will usually kill a doe for meat and gut it and wash it out really good. I'll let it hang till the next weekend and take it to my processor. I make sure and tell them how long it was hanging as well. They take about 3 days after that.

In my opinion the best meat comes from a smaller sized deer that doesn't run allot after the shot. Next is a very clean gutting job, and washing the inside down with a water hose. With that combination I don't really think it matters how long it waits.

I'm sure this is common practice, but every deer I gut I take the inside tenders right after gutting, and carry them home to the grill that night. I'll gut any of my friends deer if they let me get the tenderloin tax.
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Old December 1, 2007, 01:24 PM   #19
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I hunt in Missouri

Sometimes I hunt in Cape Girardeau County which is just across the Mississippi River from Illinois. I guess all those ticks drown in the river because I cannot remember ever killing a deer that did not have a bunch of ticks on it.

I know a lot of hunters and my brother was a meat cutter. We do not hang our deer and we do not wash out the body cavity. My Bro tells me dry is important and wet grows bacteria. Normally, other things being equal, we have the deer we process gutted, skinned, quartered and under refrigeration within 1/2 hour of the kill. I usually cut the round steaks, butterfly the tenderloins, and grind the rest. If the temperature is in the 40's or lower, I don't think hanging for a few days would hurt but I see no reason to do it based on with 100 or more deer over the past 50 years.

I remember when I was a kid, how guys would tie the deer across the hoods of their cars then make every tavern in town. By dark they were usually in no condition to work the deer up so they would leave it until the next day and the poor animal would be bloated by then. I wouldn't give that meat to my neighbors dog.:barf::barf:

Just my$.02.
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Old December 1, 2007, 06:28 PM   #20
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I have a friend with a walk in cooler who let's his deer hang for 15 days.He doesn't hunt but likes the meat, and will have more deer given to him than he can eat. He says it makes a huge difference in the taste and tenderness.I am going to try it out in the next few weeks and see for myself.
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Old December 1, 2007, 07:30 PM   #21
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We do not hang our deer and we do not wash out the body cavity.
I don't hang mine either but it's usually not cold enough long enough to hang. Unless it's really cold when I make the kill I gut it on the spot and skin it as soon as I get home, then wash it out with a hose. After it's washed I butcher it and freeze it.
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Old December 1, 2007, 07:45 PM   #22
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I thought that the hanging thing was to let the deer come out of rigor mortis (sp?) before you break it down?

I've eaten deer that was aged and deer that was not aged and both are damn tasty if you cook it right. I guess I'm neutral in this debate.
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