The Challenges of Harvesting Venison
Here is a typical example of harvesting venison: You shoot the deer and it bolts, dying anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 hours later. You sit and wait, making sure the animal has plenty of time to expire so the deer doesn’t “jump” and run off again. You quickly field dress the deer in the woods and then drag it to the vehicle for transport home. Since most hunters don’t have walk in coolers available to them, you either hang the deer outside if it’s cool enough or take it to a processor. If it is late in the evening you may have to wait until the next day when the processor reopens. If the processor is closed on Sunday, it may be a two-day wait. In this scenario, the deer may go through 10â€“30 degree temperature change while waiting to be butchered. The deer is then butchered and wrapped in paper and put into the home freezer.
Challenges for hunters in this scenario are numerous. We don’t have climate controlled harvesting conditions, commercial freezers or butchers willing to stay open late as we get the deer out of the woods and to them. All of these factors impact how well the meat tastes.
Trophy Bucks and Good Eating
Also, many hunters are looking for that trophy buck. When they get a chance to shoot one, they let the animal sit for an extended time to make sure it expires—nothing is worse than the thought of losing that trophy. We are taught that it’s better to come back the next day if we’re unsure about the shot and find the deer then. That works out fine if all you want from the deer are antlers, but it doesn’t work out well for the quality of the meat.