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Venison Care: How Long To Hang Your Deer

Bob Humphrey

cleaning deer

Want to start an argument in deer camp? Bring up the topic of how long you should hang your deer. There is no single right answer but there are several that prevail in terms of logic. A Texas camp I once hunted used a technique they called “hot boning.” Guides brought the deer immediately from the field to a skinning shed, skinned and boned them without gutting and then put the meat directly into a freezer. It turned out to be pretty good eating, too.
 
Still, conventional wisdom recommends aging venison. This allows beneficial bacteria to break down muscle fibers and also flavors and tenderizes the meat.

When aging beef, the USDA recommends aging three days for every 100 pounds of carcass weight - under strictly controlled temperature conditions. But they have to say stuff like that. For venison, optimum conditions are above freezing but below 42 degrees. Then, duration depends largely on personal preference, but 5-7 days is not too long. The problem being is it’s difficult to regulate temperature on a carcass hanging off the old oak tree in the back yard. If you do have a cooler where you can hang it, properly aged venison can be compared to any prime beef steak…some even prefer it.

Warmer temperatures will require you to shorten the aging process and temps below freezing do little to help.

Check this video out on how to skin a deer: 



For more tips, read “3 Reasons Why Managing Your Deer Herd Creates Better Hunting Opportunities.” Most of us hunt in areas where the deer density is fairly high and there is no shortage of does to harvest on any given hunt. More people are getting on board with the quality deer philosophy and trying to do their part in managing herd numbers.

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