Caribou Gear Tarp

How did you learn/resources for processing your own game.

Ajax2744

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Feb 8, 2018
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Northern Colorado
My dads family growing up didn’t have the luxury of taking game to a processor so they had all the equipment and did it themselves. So when I was old enough to handle a knife (7 or 8) I would join in after hunts and help break everything down and process animals after my dad and brothers got back from hunting. I didn’t know what a game processor was for a long time and I just thought that’s how all people did it. But it was an invaluable lesson to learn how to butcher and take care of wild game.

but if you can find someone to show you the ropes, a case of beer or a few pounds of meat usually is enough to convince someone to show you the ropes. If not then YouTube is a good source
 

WyoDoug

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Apr 8, 2019
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Cheyenne, Wyoming
In my younger days, I got a job at a processor and learned that way. Started out being the master skinner and then went to breaking it down into the primals. I stopped using processors in the 90s because I knew working for one that processors did not really clean the good meat from the bones due to profit margin Plus I know I got my meat back and not someone elses.
 

Bob-WY

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Feb 24, 2020
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Started with an old Dan Fitzgerald video, now I disagree with a couple things he did. From that video and random other ones on YouTube.

Mostly, just doing it. When my wife and I first started it was about 3 hours from "go" to cleaned up. We are much faster now! Only thing I do that she doesn't is I always, for some reason, take the rear quarters apart.

Since moving to WY we also now are doing gutless method in the field. Together we can take apart a cow elk and have it in bags in just over an hour. Antelope we fly through.

We started with a hand cranked grinder and freezer paper. That's been replaced by a power grinder and vaccuum sealer. We've also moved to bagging burger rather thank shrink wrapping that.

We don't do many roasts, a few. We've also stopped doing stew meat as that seems to always be what's left last. Now its mostly steaks (which can be cut into stew if we want one) and burger.

Inner tenderloins are usually eaten in a day or two from the kill and in the fridge right away, backstraps are in steaks, but we left some as "chunks" this year.

We also did osso-buco with elk shanks - AMAZING
 

wolfpup

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Jul 14, 2015
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First hand experience is always best. Don't expect to knock out your first DIY butcher project. With that said, just hop on YouTube and watch Randy's videos, Steve Rinella's videos, and the Bearded Butchers. All have a slightly different technique but also shows you to do what works for you. My family prefers thin cutlets for stir fry and small chunks for stews. I keep as many large roasts as I can from the hind quarters. You can always thaw a roast and slice into whole muscle jerky, cut and grind later, crock pot it up or cut into smaller pieces as necessary.
 

David58

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Oct 13, 2020
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Northern NM
Randy posted a good video from Yellowstone Meat Processing - we looked it over a coupla times to keep ourselves between the ditches. From there, follow the seams. YouTube has a lot of good information beyond what Randy posted.
 

WyoDoug

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Apr 8, 2019
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Cheyenne, Wyoming
Another thing to remember, especially in different areas of the country, everyone has different names for the various cuts. For example, the sirloin tip roast is called a ball roast on GrowingDeer.TV videos. None of them are the wrong or only right way, but a different way of doing it. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it. Bearded Butchers like to call the tenderloins "hip tenders".
 

Flasch89

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Dec 1, 2020
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Rather than hijack another thread on processing game thought I would start a new one. How did you learn and what resources would you recommend to process your deer? Not really talking about field dressing but more on the actual butchering and cutting into serving sizes.

I have been processing my own deer and really enjoy it. My family usually took it to a processor so I have been learning mostly on my own (reading, YouTube and just doing it). I will start with deboning and separating into individual muscle groups but once I get here I’m pretty much winging it. I usually leave most of the rear as roasts then cut steaks out later. Back strap I usually cut in half and freeze whole and grind/jerky the rest of the deer. Well except shanks, those stay together since they are great in the crock pot. Nothing too fancy in my butchering process currently.

I understand there is a lot of personal preference but thought this could be helpful for someone getting started or to pick up some tricks from each other.
I learned with my father and by trial and error. I have recently obtained the Meat Eater cookbook by Steven Rinella and he has pictures and descriptions as well for how to process everything from small game, to birds, to large game such as deer and elk. I would definitely recommend his books on cooking and processing game.
 

243varmint

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Nov 3, 2020
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Search Scott Rea Project on YouTube.
He's based over here in the UK but loads of butchery and recipes on there.
Well worth some time watching it.
We don't tend to pack out meat, we take the whole deer apart from the gralloch.
 

LopeHunter

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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
1968. Oldest brother shot a whitetail buck at age 12. Gutted it. Him and buddy drug to edge of woods and into pickup bed. Chilly day so we lifted the buck from the pickup bed to hang from our basketball backboard on edge of our garage. We had skinned rabbits and squirrels. Father had not small game hunted since we were born and never hunted big game so we had a task in front of us much more involved than a squirrel.

My mother’s mother had butchered pigs as a farm girl but not for 40 years. She arrived for supper, saw our dilemma, then used a whetstone to sharpen the only knife we owned that was remotely suitable for breaking down a deer. An hour later we were picking the last hairs off the butchered meat and starting to butcher wrap.

That lesson was impressive and looking back my two brothers and I have processed over 150 big game animals we harvested including moose, elk, deer, pronghorn, mountain goat and bighorn sheep.
 

TheGreek

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Apr 14, 2017
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Chicago
I learned a lot from watching McClendon Meats’ videos on YouTube, especially on how to cut steaks out of hindquarters.
 

Bob-WY

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Feb 24, 2020
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Someone above said "dont expect to knock out your first" YES TO THAT. My wife and I team up on it now, our first attempt I think took us about 4 hours trying to figure out what to do, what to cut where, how to wrap, etc.

Today, we can take a gutted deer hanging in the garage, to in the freezer and cleaned up in about an hour to hour and a half depending how fast we try to go.

You get a routine, who does what, plus you add tools to help as you go - this year was burger bags and tape machine, MUCH faster than grinding to a pile, sorting into 1lb piles and vacuum sealing. Now just grind into the bag, drop thorugh the tape machine and move to the next.
 

Happy Myles

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Sep 11, 2020
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I grew up on a hard scrabble, do it yourself cattle ranch. along with our cattle we had chickens, Turkeys, hogs, a few sheep and plenty of horses, both cow and team horses. We had a smoke house and a vat to scald hogs for ham and bacon. We caught fish and hunted antelope, deer and small game and birds. We bought no meat. The store was for flour, sugar, salt, spices, coffee, horse collars and whiskey. Never gave learning to butcher a thought. It was part of every day life.
 

SaskHunter

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Aug 7, 2018
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Saskatchewan
I met a guy at work who butchered for 15+ years. He wanted to learn how to hunt and I wanted to learn how to butcher my own meat. We did several animals together and I eventually became good enough to wing it and figure out my own thing. I took him out several times and he managed to fill both his buck tags that year!
 

matechakeric

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Dec 15, 2020
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Youtube is a great resource. I love this channel from Ohio-based butchers. In this video, they show how to completely break down an elk. They have deer videos too. you can do most of these yourself minus what is only possible with the band saw
 

Shangobango

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Aug 5, 2019
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762
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Louisiana
I had no choice. I was told that if I was going to belly up to the dinner table I had to belly up to the butchering table as well. I started out as the wrapper when I was 8 or 9 and learned the ropes from my grandpa from there.

I have developed my own ways of doing things to some degree over the years and I have researched different techniques, cuts, recipes, etc. that have helped me tweak some things but my butchering is all based of the foundation my grandparents gave to me.
 

FlatlanderAZ

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Apr 13, 2020
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129
We had a class in high school where we learned to butcher. People in our community brought us cows, pigs and sheep and we sent wrapped meat home to them. I took that for a couple of years. Definitely a great life skill.
 

wgiles

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Oct 17, 2010
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Location
Central Illinois
Among others, The Bearded Butchers, KY Afield, Scott Rea Project, Hunters Connect, Randy Newberg Hunter channels on Youtube. I started out with a DVD from KY Afield, which is now on Youtube in three parts. I also have friends who process their own, but I review the videos to remind myself what to look for. I used to do all of my deboning while the carcass was hanging, but now cut the spine ahead of the pelvis and debone the hindquarters on a table. This makes it less likely that I will drop a heavy cut while deboning. I have yet to use the gutless method on a carcass and prefer to let the carcass hang whole after skinning.
 

jlcc381

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Joined
Nov 14, 2017
Messages
7
Location
Texas
All of these suggestions are awesome. Even heard of some that I have not seen. One thing I tried this year was to chill the quarters in a fridge prior to breaking them down. Makes the muscle groups come apart better. This maybe common knowledge now that I have written it out, but in North Central Texas we can't leave meat hanging outside to chill.
 
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