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Old 01-06-2011, 08:34 PM   #21
bethfit
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Do you guys ever have any problems with other animals(coyotes, raccoons etc.) when you have a deer hanging in camp? It seems like it would attract the like, just like the bear problem and campers?? Just curious. How long will you hang your deer at camp before packing it out. I realize that most of the time the temperatures are below freezing. Although we are not involved in any back country hunting, we find this to be a very interesting and informative thread. You guys are the real deal. Pretty cool stuff.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:49 PM   #22
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I've never had a problem with coyotes and hanging deer at camp. There's usually too much human scent around a camp for them to get too close. But we still hang them high. On the other hand a deer left in the woods over night will most likely be fed on by morning. Yotes are cautious animals and are extremely wary of human scent.

Usually the bears are hibernating by mid-November but we've had a few around camp. If they've been around people they are a little more brazen than the yotes.

Mice are the biggest issue but a bucket trap solves that problem and provides plenty of comedy. They are not very good swimmers...
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:56 PM   #23
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I missed the deer hanging part. It depends completely on temperature. Low 30's is ideal and a week isn't too long if the temps are consistent. Any warmer and we cut them sooner.

A few years ago I shot a deer and then a day or two later it went to 15 below and he froze solid. That year it never got above freezing until late March or early April so I let him hang till then, then thawed him out slowly and cut him up. He was delicious.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:38 AM   #24
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I have been really enjoying this thread. I didn't think that there were many guys doing this anymore. I have been camping and hunting the deep woods since the 70's. In my opinion there is no better way to hunt. It is very true that you don't see many deer but when you do take a nice buck in the big woods the excitement and satisfaction is way beyond what you might feel when shooting a deer in farm country. The peaceful and beautiful country add to the enjoyment of the hunt. You get the whole package when hunting deep in the Adirondacks. I can't wait for November!
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:51 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Limekiln View Post

A few years ago I shot a deer and then a day or two later it went to 15 below and he froze solid. That year it never got above freezing until late March or early April so I let him hang till then, then thawed him out slowly and cut him up. He was delicious.
After you thawed him out and did the butchering- did you refreeze? Is that ok to do after being already frozen for a couple months? I know in many cases the handling of wild game is different from domestically raised meat.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:59 AM   #26
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As a professional taxidermist, I like to add one note regarding hanging deer. If you only plan to eat the animal, hanging it for up to a week in low 30's temps might be ok. However, if you plan to have it mounted or have the hide tanned, you need to think in terms of three days, max, in which to get it to your taxidermist. Bear in mind that the same bacteria that "tenderizes" the meat also works on the hide and will cause un-reversable hair slippage. Another issue to keep in mind is that the longer the ears, nose, etc. are exposed to open air, the more they will dry out, creating headaches for your taxidermist.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:03 AM   #27
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Bethfit,
My understanding of why it is unwise to thaw and refreeze store bought meat is because you don't know how many times that has already taken place in the process of the meat being shipped and stored. When it's game that you have taken, you have control over that. Personally, I wouldn't do it more than once or twice.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:04 AM   #28
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Booger-you are right about hide spoilage.

As for freezing meat that's already been frozen, I don't think it's the preferred way to do it. Every time it goes through the freeze/thaw cycle it looses moisture. In that case the deer was already frozen solid before I could cut him so I didn't really have a choice.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:14 PM   #29
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This is from the USDA site:
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/...g/index.asp#14
"Refreezing
Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. If previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 F.

If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly."

The thought that you can't refreeze meat is an old wives tale, in my mind. I believe the time periods given in the USDA guidance are exceedingly conservative as well. That being said, for those of you who think you can't refreeze meat, provide me with a scientific reason behind why. Of course, one must provide some common sense. If you thaw out some meat and leave it on the counter way too long, you can get sick from eating it whether you refreeze it or not. So if you are going to refreeze, you can't leave it out too long and then when you thaw it out again, you would want to cook it just as soon as it thaws to insure the bacteria counts don't get too high.

I like to let my venison hang for a week if the weather conditions permit and it doesn't have to be at or near freezing. As long as the temp doesn't hit 50 very long during the day and cools off at night, I let it hang a week. By letting it hang, the bacteria begins to break down the fibers in the meat, tenderizing it. Last year my deer hung for almost 2 weeks because of some commitments I had and I was worried about it. As it turned out, it was the best venison I ever had. I will stick with a week though, as it would be a shame to lose a deer because one tried to press their luck. Like many things, how long to hang one's deer is probably based as much upon how one was taught than anything else.

I believe meat packing plants let the sides of beef/pork, etc hang in a cooler for days before they package it. Perhaps this is why refreezing store bought meat can be questioned. Who knows if and for how long it was hung?
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:10 PM   #30
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Thank you all. This is all very interesting and it makes a lot of sense.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:15 PM   #31
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Enzymes, not bacteria

Just FYI, it is enzymes, not bacteria that are responsible for the tenderizing effect of proper aging (and probably the hair slippage). The book "On Food and Cooking" has quite a bit on it (and every other little factoid you ever wanted to know about food).
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:14 PM   #32
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Glad to hear all of this, we had 2 deer hanging for almost 3 weeks, frozen solid from the first night.
They are de-boned and in the freezer now after being defrosted.
I didn't think it would be a problem , but am relived to see the posts.thanks!

Bethfit.. no problems with wild critters, but the neighbors dog ate the ears off one of the deer. We had a discussion about that.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:36 PM   #33
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Quote:
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Bethfit.. no problems with wild critters, but the neighbors dog ate the ears off one of the deer. We had a discussion about that.
That's actually pretty funny Chairrock-
Good thing it wasn't a trophy!! I've seen the rabbit mount with the antlers, but never the deer without ears.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:09 PM   #34
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That's actually pretty funny Chairrock-
Good thing it wasn't a trophy!! I've seen the rabbit mount with the antlers, but never the deer without ears.
We were ,and still are new in the neighborhood, the culprit was the loving son-in-law of the retired sheriff...I am so glad I didn't dispose of the culprit by means of lead poisoning, as it was, the local gossip(postmistress) actually had more to do with leashing the culprit than anyone else... all wound up well, no harm done...and the does ears didn't matter... but boy, was I mad when I saw that dog sulking away with a grin and an ear....
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:22 PM   #35
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I use to work at Plainville turkey farm as a butcher, They use to thaw meat out in water to cut it up and process it to make whatever or just refreeze it again, so what am trying to say is before you even buy your meat from a store it has probably been froze and thawed a couple times or more
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:08 AM   #36
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I try to get the game out as soon as possible. Sometimes it means the end of the hunt, some times it means going home and coming back. In my experience, fischer are more of a problem than coyotes or bear. I've had deer run right in to camp in the middle of the night and stop, while coyotes were chasing them and howling, yip,yappin on the ridge behind camp. It was as if the deer knew the coyotes wouldn't follow them.

That will put your hair on end at 1:00am, loud breaking branches, deer blowing and coyotes fussin!! That, plus the wind at night, is why I wear ear plugs when I turn in LMAO! Back in the Early nineties, there was a big blow that came thru while I was camping on the Clam shell outlet with my brother. We could hear the wind come roaring I swear close to 1/2 mile away, from the SW, and as it was roaring towards us, you could hear HUGE trees snapping and crashing to the ground. It lasted nearly 2 hours. I have never, in more than 30 years up in the backcountry, witnessed anything like it.


I stepped out of the yurt shining the light up into the bows of the big Ponderosa Pines we were near. As I stood there, the quaking ground from the roots of the trees was raising at least an inch or two. I went back into the yurt told my bro " this ain't good " and we layed along a wall of the yurt where I had placed it next to a giant 4-4 1/2 foot downed tree, just for this reason if it would ever come up. WE tucked in as tight as we could and spent the longest couple of hours of sheer terror I have spent in the 'dacks, with trees crashing all around camp.
Later on in the week when we packed out and Got to Saranac Lake, I found out that the winds were estimated to have hit near 90mph, sustained 60.
Anyhow, that's why I wear ear plugs at night in the mtns. If I don't and high winds come up, I can't sleep.

Anyone interested, just figured how to put up some pics from a few of the hunts in my albums. More will follow
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:23 AM   #37
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Post'em. Would love to see those pics from the backwoods.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:59 AM   #38
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Crokit - Enjoyed the photos! Did you build the cart or buy it? I used to have one but started backpacking in more and sold it. My back and legs are getting older now and I have been thinking of getting another cart for this fall.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:46 AM   #39
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Would any of you backwoods hunters care to give the specific location of your hunting grounds? Ok, how about the general area? Not trying to infringe on your hideout, just curious is all. Mine is around Forty Mountain in the Black River State Forest.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:48 AM   #40
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One trick i use for early season deer hanging is I keep a couple gallon jugs of water frozen. I drop them into the chest cavity while the deer hangs if i cant cut it or get it to a butcher soon. It really chills it down fast even when it gets into the low sixties during the day.

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