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Hanging your deer - head up or down?


Fishook

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I was wondering if there are any advantages/disadvantages to hanging a deer by the rack/neck versus the hind legs before it is processed? Does the method used impact the quality of the meat in any way? To me, they seem to skin out a lot easier when hung by the hind legs.

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Absolutely the only way in my book is head down and get that hide off as soon as possible. Lots of hunters hang them head up. Have you ever seen a commercially processed animal hanging head up? If you hang a warm deer that hasn't drained completely head up, all the blood left in the veins and arteries ends up in the hind quarters.

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the only time we hang deer is gun season and they only hang for at max an hour or so. then they get butchered quickly

shoot em the morning butcher it before noon. shoot it at night butcher it before dinner and drinks!

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We always hang ours by the head/rack as well. But you guys that hang yours by the hind legs had some interesting points. I will be bringing this topic up at deer camp. Although tradition is hard to change, and I'm sure most of the guys will not want to change the way we have hung deer since Great Grandpa did it back in the 40's.

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I went to the butchering seminar at Gander a week ago. We have always hung our deer by the head. At the seminar, they strongly suggested hanging it from the back legs (head down). Being heat rises, if hanging from the head, all the warmth would stay arund the upper shoulders, head area. It makes sense to me so we are going to start the head down thing.. The guy stated in the seminar that when he gets "green" meat in, it usually starts in the neck/shoulder area. This area holds alot of heat and needs to be cooled down fast....

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I have done it both ways and my opinion is that hanging from the back legs is a much better way to go. Here is another tip, if you plan to have a shoulder mount done, it is much easier to skin the animal while it is hanging from the back legs. Keep the hide complete so you don't have to trim off what you "think" the taxidermist might need. Most guys leave it too short believe it or not! Wipe the blood off the best you can and be sure that the cape is dry before you allow it to freeze! Good luck all!

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My father and I both worked at a slaughter house and come deer season we always hung the deer by the back legs. It is alot easier to skin and you don't have to worry about the heat. If you skin it as soon as you can it is much easier and you hardly have to use your knife! The deer is warm and the skin comes right off. We quarter them up and let them hang for about a day, depending on the weather. We do not let the meat freeze. The sooner the better in the freezer! grin.gif

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We hang them by the head before we bring them home to cut up. Generally we wash them out thoroughly with a hose and the water runs out better when hang by the head right after harvest. Plus this cools them off quickly. I realize this isn't something you can do at a remote deer camp.

We skin them head down. You get WAY less hair in the meat skinning them head down.

Good luck on opening weekend.

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We always hang ours from the hind legs. We have even done it in 90 degree temps in Wyoming and we have never had a problem with meat spoilage. If it is that was we try to butcher it that day, but if the highs are in the 40's or lower, we usually let the deer hang for at least a week. It is just like commercial processors do with beef. A little aging does not cause spoilage, but does break down the rigamortous. Do all you guys butcher your deer ASAP?

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I personally don't age my deer, some people do but the results I've gotten by not aging the meat have been awesome. Head down if I need to hang it. I kill the deer, gut it ASAP, get 2 5 lb. bags of ice, one in the chest, one between the back legs, get it home and skin it ASAP to promote further cooling, then butcher it ASAP. Tenderloins or backstraps for supper that night or the next night. Dee-licious!!

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I also am from the head down school. I've never seen it done the other way. I don't age mine either and I have never had bad meat going into my mouth. When I was a kid my mom and dad always butchered at home so that tradition continues. I enjoy helping others learn who have never done it. To me it's part of the whole hunt. Mom and dad are both 80 and mom still cuts up and packages venison when we or somebody else drops off a hind quarter.

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