Backyard deer hunting

Inexpensive food from the outdoors

Skinning and Processing Your First Deer, Hog or Bear

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This small deer is hung on hooks to facilitate skinning.

This small deer is hung on hooks to facilitate skinning.

The thought of skinning and processing your first big game animal is intimidating. It always helps to have a buddy assist you, but if it is a deer, hog or bear you can work it up by yourself. In the archive section of this blog are videos that go through the process, and a step-by-step approach is given  in my book, Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound.

If you don't have wrapping paper handy, use plastic grocery bags.

If you don't have wrapping paper handy, use plastic grocery bags.


Things to keep in mind are: A. It is helpful to take the hide off while the animal is still warm with body heat. B. There is no need to “age” deer or any other game. C. Remove all of the meat from the bones taking out muscle masses, rather than trying to trim nice steaks at this stage. D. Freeze the package meat as quickly as possible in portion sizes that are suitable for a single cooking for your family. E. Small irregular hunks of meat or meat with tendons (such as the lower legs) go into deer burger and sausage. F. Organs, such as the heart and liver are washed wrapped in plastic and paper before freezing. G. Always wear rubber gloves while cleaning hogs or bears, and it is good practice to do this when cleaning any game.  H. Freeze the game as quickly as possible.

 If I shoot a deer in the afternoon, I skin it that day and cut it up. This is kept on ice in a large chest until the next morning. The next day is spent cutting and packaging meat. The following morning I grind the small chunks into burger and make sausage. I add no fat to my burger or sausage. I usually also render the bear fat at this stage. I could, but do not, render the hog fat to lard. The final cutting of the meat into steaks and tenderizing (pounding with a meat mallet) is done when the meat is semi-frozen just before cooking.

 The larger pieces that have been frozen with bones such as the neck roast and ribs are cooked first to get these bulky items out of the freezer as quickly as possible.

 Forget about aging or soaking meat and taking time to trim nice steaks. Clean it, wash it and freeze it as quickly as can be managed. It will turn out just fine. Any meat that cannot be processed at the time should be covered and refrigerated between processing steps.




Written by hoveysmith

October 18, 2009 at 10:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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