Of course, the first thing that must be decided is weather or not to process at all. There is a place across town, 45 min away, that will process your deer or hog. They will even make sausage and package it up nice. It costs about 65 to 100 dollars considering the size of the animal. I have purchased a side of beef from this place and it was very good. I do have some concerns though. How do I know I am getting my deer back? I have a feeling that I am going to take care of my kill better than some.
About the same time I was studying geometry and processing deer, I also took a food handlers class so that I could work at a food stand at our local rodeo. There I learned horrible, horrible things about food that haunt me to this day. One thing that has stuck with me is that food left at room temperature for more that four hours begins to grow bacteria (or something bad) and can kill you. For this reason, I am very careful to quickly gut and cool my kills (so far a squirrel and a dove). I can't stand the idea of letting meat hang for hours or days in warm weather.
Another factor is my wife. She has said that I have to get it processed. She does not want a "dead animal" hanging in her garage. I have explained to her that it is dead and can't hurt anything, but she wont budge. I believe she will see the light eventually. What if I kill a deer on Saturday morning and can't get it to the butcher until Monday? It's going to be hanging in the garage anyway. I might as well take care of it myself.
To slowly acclimate her to the idea I bought a book on processing deer and placed it on the cookbook rack. As if to say "Its just part of fixing dinner, like opening a can of tuna or ordering a pizza." The book is called Gut It Cut It Cook It. It is the most graphic book I have ever read. Every page has a picture of a deer partially dismantled. I don't let my daughter look at it. It's totally cool.
|There it is, right between Rachel Ray and Better Homes|
When (if) I kill a deer this year I plan to be ready. I'm actually looking forward to processing it.