Author Topic: Can deer be THE meat?  (Read 18856 times)

Offline Poppa C.O.B.

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Can deer be THE meat?
« on: September 24, 2011, 10:18:43 AM »
I had heard Jack say something in an old episode that a family could live off of 3 or 4 deer a year. I am currently looking into becoming a hunter and by looking into it i mean i havent even gotten a rifle or a bow. Haven't really got the money to jump in just yet but until then I have been considering the outcomes of bringing home a deer. The biggest thought i have come across is whether or not it replaces beef? Can I just swap out one pound beef for one pound deer in the recipe for a random hamburger helper? And to show off just how little i know about hunting i have to ask what does the average sized deer weigh? Now I am not wanting to completely go on a deer diet, I like chicken way to much for that. I am just curious of how far i could stretch a deer out and supplement my families meals. I really do not have any idea on processing a deer so if you could give me some pointers that would be great. Thanks a bunch everyone.

Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2011, 11:34:09 AM »
First things first you have to figure out exactly how you will legally get four deer in a year..depending on your state you will not be able to get a tag for every season..two elk are more reliable in providing the red meat for a family of four for a year..how much does a deer weigh well depending on the breed sex and age and the time of year you will be allowed to hunt..200-400 lbs an elk 400-600 lbs..once again depending on your state you will hit the higher weight limits with archery tags as they haven't started to starve quite yet..

Yes you can use deer in any beef recipe but it is very lean so when making burger you will need to add fat most people use pork or beef fat I save all the fat when I'm breaking down the kill and add it as I grind the burger..

People on the form can describe and show pictures all day long oh how to strip the kill to bone but really you should find someone who may need a hand wrapping and such and in return you can closely watch how cuts are made and what muscles to following to make what cuts..

Personally we eat very little beef as I am an enrolled native and don't have to play the do I get a tag lottery..and can say that four deer a year is cutting it close if you intend to have meat be the center of two meals a day.. we go through about six white tales easy in a year and about two elk..and we scrape the bones clean and use the bones for stalk and such.. this is all just imo and experience.

So your first task will be learning what your state allows when your season get a hunting licence make sure to put in for every tag you can usually four season in a year buck doe cow and elk but be prepared to only possibly get one tag out of four..or none at all and understand you will not be reimbursed for the cost of a tag you didn't get. Usually about 50$ or so per drawing,you will also need to find out what the unit # is in your county for the sect of land you will be hunting on that is where your tags will be issued so pick your hunting grounds well..most of this info is for the state of Oregon.

Offline Poppa C.O.B.

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2011, 12:00:08 PM »
Thanks a lot for the info. I have 7 kids so i knew 3 or 4 deer probably wasn't going to do it for us for the entire year. I guess for no other reason to get out there and do it in case that is the only way to get food somewhere down the road. I am learning a bit about dressing by watching some youtube vids.

Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 12:35:36 PM »
Well get the wife or (in most states) any kids 16 or older to get a licence and put in for tags as well that way you increase your odds of getting at least three tags..and its a wonderful family bonding experience imho..

Offline Poppa C.O.B.

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 01:31:58 PM »
Awesome idea. Unfortunately all my kids are under 10 but will definitely get the wife involved. She wants to go with me for a little alone quiet time. I have heard that a lot of couples use deer season as a vacation time also.

Offline Truik

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 02:28:02 PM »
The biggest thought i have come across is whether or not it replaces beef?

Last winter, right before Christmas, I was talking to a manager of our local Blockbuster. She said she hadn't seen her family in about fourteen years and was going to PA for two weeks to have a reunion. (Needless to say she was nervous and ecstatic.)

Two weeks later, I saw her again and she said all she did was sit around and talk, eat, sleep and talk and eat some more...and that she actually lost about seven pounds. She said they had tons of venison and used it for everything. It was so lean and delicious, she pigged out and ended up losing weight on a two week vacation.

(I am also looking for a means of securing enough venison each season to market this as the next new delicious weight loss sensation! I'll make a fortune!)


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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2011, 03:14:23 PM »
Deer fat is nasty.  You will want to cut all of it away.  You will need to mix some beef or pork fat for your ground meat and sausage.  If you have feral hogs in your area a few of them will help your freezer too and there are no limits or seasons.  For meat alone, does are much better than bucks.

Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2011, 05:40:01 PM »
Deer fat is nasty.  You will want to cut all of it away.  You will need to mix some beef or pork fat for your ground meat and sausage.  If you have feral hogs in your area a few of them will help your freezer too and there are no limits or seasons.  For meat alone, does are much better than bucks.

Deer fat is nasty? And does are better than bucks? My guess is you may be from a very dry sage brush area...as this can give it a bitter taste(including the meat) and does that have had fawn are usually two things under weight and have a very strong game meat..the key to using deer fat it cut it away and put in fridge before hang time..yes you can use pork and beef fat..but I don't do this for several reasons one eating a med rare burger with pork fat is a good way to get pretty ill or pick up trichnoses(probably spelled that wrong) and beef fat well that's just like buying an organic Apple and spraying it before you feed it to the kids..

}is spoiled with deer and such from the Oregon blue mountain range{
} also is very very gratefully we have been able to keep the feral pigs out of Oregon{

Offline jim124816

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2011, 05:56:31 PM »
I have lived in places with a limit of one per season and up to six per season.  I currently live in a place with six per season because we are over populated.  I have noticed that we have smaller deer (generally speaking) in places that are over populated.  I suspect you cannot on just your limit harvest enough to replace other meats.  It was good advice to seek tags for family in order to increase your yield and increase your family time.  You said your kids are all younger; some states allow for youth tags.  Additionally, you will want to understand that taking your tag limit may not be easy.  Most limits are based on overall population. Even where I am with a high population, the amount of time in the field to harvest all six is dramatically less the than the work hours I would work in order to pay for the equivalent in beef.  If you want to hunt solely for the cost replacement, your are probably off base.  If you want to hunt because the meat is more healthy, your are probably on track, but may not be able to totally supplement your red meat requirement.  If you are looking to replace a hobby with no return (golf), hunting is an excellent replacement; you will likely spend less and actually get some return on your investment.   

If you get your kids involved, you get the opportunity to show them where food comes from.  My oldest is 3 1/2.  My wife takes him out the the shed when I am cleaning animals so he can see for himself.  I can't speak for your kids, but he is not creeped out at all by the experience.  Perhaps we can indoctrinate our kids this way before Disney can show them how animals have relationships the same way we do and that they all speak perfect English. 

Offline Cedar

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2011, 06:10:19 PM »
For me venison is NOT the meat. I hate it.. and only like it one way. I prefer elk or moose 1000-1. That said.. will you get a tag in a draw? Will you get the deer if you get the tag? How much time off work, money to buy equipment, food for the trip, expense for the tag/hunting license etc?

I prefer raising or procuring goat kids which I think are better than venison and are a sure bet. For me this year, llama is the meat as I was given a BUNCH of them. So I will have hundreds of pounds of meat this year, next year and even possibly the year following all for just the time to butcher it and give some back to the lady who has given me all these llama. To me, it is a cross between a really good beef and moose meat.

Cedar

Offline jim124816

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2011, 06:28:00 PM »
For me venison is NOT the meat. I hate it.. and only like it one way. I prefer elk or moose 1000-1. That said.. will you get a tag in a draw? Will you get the deer if you get the tag? How much time off work, money to buy equipment, food for the trip, expense for the tag/hunting license etc?

I prefer raising or procuring goat kids which I think are better than venison and are a sure bet. For me this year, llama is the meat as I was given a BUNCH of them. So I will have hundreds of pounds of meat this year, next year and even possibly the year following all for just the time to butcher it and give some back to the lady who has given me all these llama. To me, it is a cross between a really good beef and moose meat.

Cedar

I though llama were just raised as guardian animals and for their wool.  Thanks for the info, I'll look into it. 

Rich,

I further agree that from a time perspective raising your meat would be more cost effective and with a predictable yield than hunting.  Cedar made another cogent point; different meats taste different and have different textures.  In fact, venison from East Texas tastes different from venison in Virginia; probably due to climate and diet.  It would be good for you and your family taste some local venison before you invest too much into the sport.  You may find that you don't like it...

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2011, 06:54:55 PM »
I guess it all comes down to personal taste.  Trichinosis has been virtually eliminated from pigs in America, so much so that the USDA has recently lowered the recommended cooking temperature.  Chronic Wasting Diseases in deer is far more prevalent, so take your chances as you see fit.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2011, 07:06:51 PM »
I though llama were just raised as guardian animals and for their wool.  Thanks for the info, I'll look into it. 

Only in the USA...

Cedar

Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2011, 07:49:39 PM »
I guess it all comes down to personal taste.  Trichinosis has been virtually eliminated from pigs in America, so much so that the USDA has recently lowered the recommended cooking temperature.  Chronic Wasting Diseases in deer is far more prevalent, so take your chances as you see fit.

So says the pork industries and the usda...wasting diseases are much more prevalent in the southern part of the us and it is quite obvious as their fur is VERY ill looking falling out and such..trichinosis is rampant in the "wild pig" population..it is all risk and choice..for me I would rather make sure I kill a healthy animal versus one that has been pumped full of crap and antibiotics so the usda/pork company can tell us to undercook our pork..IMHO its just them trying to take advantage of the current beef costs being through the roof..

I do agree that one should taste the local deer prior to hunting to replace your red meat..you couldn't pay me to eat a deer from anywhere sage brush is the main diet...but a guinea pig..well that's good eating ;D

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2011, 07:27:52 AM »
We are cursed, or blessed, with a deer population that eats our crops, whichever way you want to look at it. It's a curse to the business, but in Indiana crop damage tags run from May to Sept and you can use a rifle. My husband and his buddies have taken 13 so far this year. We always eat deer, can't imagine the cost of buying all those pounds of protein in a store.

Anyone can hunt this way (at least in Indiana) if the deer population is stable and the farmer requests tags from the DNR. The landowner can request the tags and list up to 10 other people who are legally able to fill those tags.

endurance

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2011, 08:01:15 AM »
Not only are you going to get a lot of variation on the taste of deer based on where they've been feeding, but you're also going to get a lot of variation in the amount of meat you get based on what kind of deer.  I've seen deer in Texas that have less meat on them than my dog, but I'm surrounded by large mule deer here in Colorado that have 50-85+ pounds of meat on them.

Personally, I love deer, elk and even sage eating antelope.  If I were you I'd seek out a hunter in your area willing to take you under his/her wing, let you join them on their scouting trip, join you while hunting, in exchange for helping him/her hump out the animal from the backcountry.  If you live in Colorado, I'd be happy to oblige.  You can probably talk him/her into sharing a steak and a pound of hamburger or sausage for the help, too.

The other thing to consider is hunting is no sure thing.  I hunted most years from 1986-1997 and didn't get a single animal.  I started again in 2009 after listening to Jack and have had success twice out of four hunting seasons (two deer seasons, two antelope seasons = one deer and one antelope).  This year I drove up to Wyoming, spent $150 on gas, $98 on two doe tags, and got nothing to show for it.  That said, I had a very good time with a good friend from work and his family (they got two out of their three tags filled).  I still have a deer and elk tag for later next month, but despite feeling very confident in my knowledge of the area and the patterns of the animals, I place my odds at just over 50/50 each season.  If I strike out, I still have one last chance to get up to Wyoming, but by then it's going to be miserably cold and the road I use to get to the area where we hunt may be impassable with snow or mud.

Personally, hunting has become engrained in my psychology as something I need to do just to know that I could provide for my family if I had to (in addition to gardening/permaculture).  There's also a side of me that has awakened when I came back to hunting, instincts long gone coming back that make me recognize a dry stick where my foot is going next without consciously seeing it, stopping to listen for no conscious reason, stuff that just can't be explained in day to day life.  Oh, and there's the beauty of being awake in an amazingly quiet place well before sunrise and scenes like this:

(That picture was from one of my "unsuccessful" deer seasons)

And back on the prepping theme, this year I put up around 50-75 pounds of potatoes, but the question remains; will I be able to put my own meat and potatoes on my plate this winter?  It's nice to know you could if you had to.

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2011, 08:03:07 AM »
Every year you make it to the woods is a successful season, no matter what you bring out with you.  :)

Offline Poppa C.O.B.

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2011, 08:37:24 AM »
Thanks again for all the advice. Seems like a very spiritual thing after reading all that. Perhaps i need to spend sometime out in the woods learning where the animals are and where they go. Can you recommend any good tracking books or info?

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2011, 09:00:49 AM »
i have a friend with 6 children 9 and under.  they never buy beef.  They use elk, moose and deer all year, and even have enough to donate hamburgers (some, not everyone likes the game burgers) to the annual church BBQ.  I do not know how many they get, but I know she has to help.  hunting is NOT her thing, but hubby gets her a tag every year and makes her go out with him so she can shoot it.  She must enjoy it somewhat though, cuz even though she rolls her eyes when she talks about it, she goes.

endurance

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2011, 09:26:16 AM »
I started out with a mentor, my college girlfriend's father.  I was also working with the forest service in my late teens and early 20s, so I had a lot of observation time on the job that taught me what habitats they preferred.  I read some Tom Brown books around the same time and that helped open my eyes some to different types of vision and listening.  Probably the most important thing is time in the woods and knowing that the best hunting is almost always within 30 minutes of sunrise and sunset.  I've rarely seen an animal close enough to between 9am and 4:30pm.  The more time you spend in the woods, the more you begin to feel what's going on in the animal's minds.  I've spent 12+ hour days outside walking ten or so miles (slowly and quietly) just to figure out movement patterns that led to success the next day or the next year.

A mentor can help you figure out what's important to carry with you and what is wasted weight.  For me, I could not hunt if it weren't for a thermos full of chicken bullion to warm me up and replace my electrolytes.  The first time you field dress an animal it's nothing like the videos.  My first time I started out well, but then got confused when I got to the diaphragm, so I called a friend (I love cell phones!), put the phone on speaker and had him walk me through it.  I always have plenty of ziplock bags (if you want to keep any of the organs), latex/nitryl gloves, two or three sharp knives (I hate trying to sharpen bloody knives in the field), a bone saw, parachute cord and/or rope, a pen (to sign your tag), a 7x9' sil-nylon or coated nylon tarp (emergency shelter and something to help you keep the animal clean or help you drag it out on snow), snack food, water, and a wilderness survival kit... and of course my thermos... and my remote control... And this lamp. - The ashtray, this paddle game, and the remote control, and the lamp, and that's all *I* need.

...sorry, I couldn't resist on that last bit. ;D 

Offline Poppa C.O.B.

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2011, 10:06:03 AM »
Gotta love the jerk. I can see that i have a lot to learn before i even worry about going out and buying a weapon.

endurance

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2011, 10:21:03 AM »
You might want to start with taking a hunter's safety class (most states require it if you're under some age, but everyone could benefit if they've never hunted before) and then getting a small game permit so you can start with squirrels and rabbits.  It's sure easier to dress out a rabbit than a deer or elk.  I dread the thought of killing an elk alone.  That's a huge animal to move around in the process of gutting to do all by yourself.  Deer, not so much, but still, in steep terrain, you won't be cold in the process, I can tell you that.

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2011, 10:23:27 AM »
My husband laughs at me cause I shoot the little ones. I just tell him unless he wants to come get it, 100 pounds to drag out of the woods is my limit!

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2011, 01:54:24 PM »
In my state, each person can legally take two deer a year.  If my son gets two, and I get two, that'd be 4.  Also, there are plenty of feral hogs to supplement that.  Mmmmm, bacon.  And don't forget spring turkey hunting, and fall squirrel hunting.  If you like tree rats.

Offline ccd47203

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2011, 06:35:48 PM »
Most states require a person take a hunter safety course if under a certain age. Jack has several episodes on selecting a first firearm. My suggestion for a first gun is a .22lr bolt action rifle there are several good choices for under $200.00 new. Most importantly safety first regardless of your choice. You may want to check your library for books on deer hunting. Keep in mind they are written to sell books as well as educate and entertain. Go hunting with a buddy who is experienced.
Good luck.

Offline LibertyBelle

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2011, 09:35:00 PM »
Here in Missouri, just by himself, hubby can legally take 10 deer and 4 turkey (of course this includes our landowner tags).  These are for both firearm and archery season, with archery season running from September 15 thru January 15.  And since our kids (ages 13 to 21, and have passed the hunter safety course) also gun and bow hunt, they can EACH legally take 4 deer plus two turkey.  My guys are quit proficient in bow hunting...I have to say even better than most men are with a gun.  I'm the only one in the family that doesn't bow hunt, as I can no longer pull the bow back.  But if everyone else in our family filled their tags, we could legally harvest 30 deer and 14 turkeys each year. 

We aren't trophy hunters, and prefer not to shoot bucks in rut as they taste N-a-s-t-y with a capital "N" (although the dogs don't seem to mind).  I can't even stand to smell a rutty buck cooking <shudder>, much less eating the thing.  The does, on the other hand, are sweet and better than beef, IMHO.  Oh, and we always process them ourselves.  When you take your deer to a processor, you never get your own animal back, as they mix the burger from all the animals from that day together and you almost always end up getting part stinky buck mixed in with your young doe...plus it costs $95 processing fee per deer.  Where as we can process two deer here at home, from start to finish (that means from hanging in a tree to vacuum packed and in the freezer, with the equipment cleaned up!), in less than 90 minutes and we KNOW the meat we have is what we shot, and not from someone else.  We do our own burger, roasts, back strap, etc., and then when winter hits and there is little for me to do outside, I make jerky and summer sausage.  Most years we never buy meat, but when we do, it's from people we know who raise their animals naturally organic.

Offline mobowhunter

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2011, 07:09:09 PM »
Here is another way to get deer meat for free. Contact your local police department and get on the hit deer call list. This is also a good way to get familiar with your local cops. I have gotten 3 deer this way. Each deer I had to throw away one quarter of the animal due to the damage from the car. Since I am new to hunting we have been able to eat deer for months with out me being able to kill one with a bow or gun.

Offline Poppa C.O.B.

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2011, 07:11:47 AM »
How long can a deer sit there before it become inedible? I'm sure it varies from season to season.

endurance

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2011, 07:22:07 AM »
How long can a deer sit there before it become inedible? I'm sure it varies from season to season.
Not long.  Personally, I wouldn't chance it outside a handful of hours.  If there's any breach of the stomach or intestines due to the impact, unless you witnessed the accident, walk away from that one. 

That said, I've seen plenty of deer that only the lower leg was broken and the animal was nearly 100% edible.  It's definitely a viable source of game. 

Here in Colorado there's no call list that I know of, but if you see an animal get hit you just need to call the State Patrol and a Trooper can issue you a permit on the spot to take the animal.  It likely varies by state quite a bit.

Offline Poppa C.O.B.

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Re: Can deer be THE meat?
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2011, 10:40:19 AM »
I didn't think that it would last long. Where I live here in Missouri there is quite a bit of people running into deer (mostly hamburger on I-44). I guess something to keep in mind. Bad idea to hunt along the roads?