For hunters, a successful hunt is not only about bringing back the animals, but also on how they are used. That’s why deer hanging in garages is such a common sight in many hunting communities. This article aims to guide you through the process, assure safety, efficiency, and proper handling of the deer carcass. By following these steps, you’ll be able to successfully hang a deer in your garage and process it into high-quality venison.
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Why Do Hunters Like Hanging A Deer In The Garage?
Many people will wonder “Why Do Hunters Like Hanging A Deer In The Garage?” but not other sites in the house such as the living room, kitchen or bedroom. Are there any other special benefits of hanging deer in the garage?
There are several reasons why hanging a deer in the garage is so appropriate and popular.
- Space and Accessibility: Garages often have more space compared to other areas of the house. Hanging a deer requires ample room for moving around the deer carcass, and the garage also provides a larger and more open area. It allows hunters to work comfortably and efficiently without obstruction.
- Practicality and Cleanup: Processing a deer can be a messy task, involving blood, fluids, and odors. The garage is better suited for managing the cleanup process. It typically has more durable and easy-to-clean surfaces, such as concrete or tile floors, which can handle the cleaning and sanitization required after processing the deer.
- Ventilation: Proper ventilation is essential when handling a deer carcass. The garage often has better ventilation options, such as windows, vents, or the ability to open the garage door, which helps in dissipating odors and ensuring a fresh working environment. This is particularly important for managing any gamey odors that may be associated with processing wild game.
- Minimizing Household Disruption: Hanging a deer in the garage allows hunters to keep the processing activity separate from the main living areas. This helps minimize disruption to daily routines and reduces the chances of spreading odors or contaminants to areas where people spend most of their time.
- Hygiene and Food Safety: The garage, being a dedicated space for storing vehicles and equipment, generally has fewer potential contaminants compared to areas like the kitchen or bathroom. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination between the deer carcass and areas where food preparation or personal hygiene activities take place.
- Specialized Equipment Customization: The garage often provides hunters with more flexibility to set up specialized equipment for hanging and processing a deer, such as hoists, gambrels, or meat processing stations. These equipment can be tailored to the specific needs of deer processing, allowing for efficient and safe handling of the carcass.
It’s important to consider that hanging a deer in the garage should still comply with local regulations, ensure proper hygiene practices, and maintain food safety standards. Hunters should always prioritize the cleanliness and sanitation of the garage, as well as take necessary precautions to prevent any potential negative impacts on the household environment.
The detailed process of hanging deer in the garage
To hang deer in the garage, hunters need to go through 3 main stages: preparing the garage, hanging the deer and cleaning the garage and preserving the deer after hanging.
Preparing the Garage
Before beginning the hanging process, it’s crucial to prepare your garage properly. This involves assessing the available space, ensuring safety measures are in place, and setting up a sturdy hanging mechanism.
- Assessing the Garage Space and Safety
It should be large enough to accommodate the deer carcass comfortably, allowing you to move around it without any hindrances. Also, consider the height of the garage ceiling to ensure sufficient headroom for hanging the deer.
In terms of safety, carefully check potential hazards in the garage, such as sharp objects or flammable materials. Remove or secure these to prevent accidents during the hanging and processing stages.
- Clearing the Area and Ensuring Proper Ventilation
Clear the designated area in the garage to create an open and clean space. Remove any clutter, tools, or vehicles that might obstruct your work. This will provide ample room for maneuvering and prevent any contamination of the deer meat.
Additionally, ensure proper ventilation in the garage to prevent the accumulation of odors and fumes. Open windows or use fans to maintain a fresh and breathable environment.
- Setting up a Sturdy and Reliable Hanging Mechanism
Choose a robust hanging mechanism that can securely support the weight of the deer carcass. A gambrel, a device with two hooked ends, is commonly used for this purpose. Install the gambrel on a strong beam or overhead support, ensuring it is firmly anchored and capable of bearing the weight of the deer.
Once the garage is prepared, you can proceed with the hanging process. This involves field dressing the deer, transporting it to the garage, and securely hanging it in the designated spot.
Stage 1. Field Dressing the Deer
Field dressing is a vital step to ensure the quality and safety of the meat. Follow these step-by-step instructions:
- Lay the deer on its back and make a shallow incision from the base of the sternum to the anus.
- Carefully cut through the skin and underlying tissues, avoiding puncturing the intestines.
- Remove the internal organs, including the heart, lungs, liver, and intestines, being cautious not to rupture any organs.
- After removing the internal organs, inspect the carcass for any signs of contamination or damage.
- Rinse the carcass thoroughly with cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
- Pat the carcass dry using clean towels or cloths.
Stage 2. Transporting the Deer to the Garage
Transport the field-dressed deer from the hunting site to your garage with care to minimize any damage to the meat. Consider the following tips:
- Use a suitable vehicle, such as a truck or SUV, to transport the deer securely.
- Place the deer in a clean and well-ventilated container, such as a cooler or game bag, to prevent contact with other surfaces.
- Secure the container to prevent any shifting or sliding during transportation.
Stage 3. Hanging the Deer in the Garage
Follow these steps to safely hang the deer carcass in the garage:
- Choose an appropriate height for hanging, ensuring there is enough clearance from the ground to allow easy access for processing.
- Position the gambrel around the deer’s hind legs, making sure it is securely attached.
- Lift the deer using a sturdy hoist or rope system until it hangs freely without touching the ground.
- Double-check the stability of the hanging position, making any necessary adjustments to ensure it remains secure.
After the deer is successfully hung in the garage, you can proceed with post-hanging procedures, which include skinning the deer, butchering and processing the meat, and storage options.
Skinning the Deer
Follow these steps to skin the deer properly:
- Make a shallow incision around the hind legs just above the gambrel hooks.
- Carefully peel the skin away from the carcass using a sharp knife, making precise cuts to avoid meat loss.
- Continue skinning the deer, working from the hindquarters towards the front legs and neck.
- Remove the hide completely, ensuring it remains intact for potential use.
Butchering and Processing the Deer
Butchering and processing the deer into various cuts of meat require skill and precision. Consider the following guidelines:
- Familiarize yourself with deer anatomy to identify different cuts of meat, such as steaks, roasts, and ground meat.
- Use a sharp boning knife or meat saw to separate the different sections of the deer, following the natural muscle separations.
- Trim away any excess fat or connective tissue for leaner and more desirable cuts.
- Package the meat appropriately, considering portion sizes and storage requirements.
Storage and Preservation Options
Explore various storage and preservation methods to prolong the shelf life of the venison:
- Freezing: Package the meat in airtight containers or freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Label and date each package for easy identification.
- Smoking: Consider smoking certain cuts of meat to enhance flavor and aid in preservation. Follow proper smoking techniques and guidelines.
- Curing: Curing involves adding salt and other ingredients to the meat to preserve and enhance its taste. Research different curing methods and recipes for venison.
Read this post: How to Bleach a Deer Skull: The Steps You Need to Follow
Garage Maintenance and Cleanup
Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment in your garage is essential to preserve the quality and safety of the venison.
It is optimal to maintain the temperature in the garage within the range of 32°F (0°C) to 40°F (4°C). This specific temperature range is effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria and ensuring the preservation of the meat’s quality. In the event that the temperature exceeds 40°F (4°C), it is advisable to promptly process the deer or place it in a refrigerated environment to prevent spoilage.
Addressing Hygiene and Sanitation Concerns
Regularly clean and sanitize your garage, paying particular attention to the areas surrounding the hanging deer. Use disinfectants to eliminate any potential bacteria or pathogens.
Managing Odors and Pests
To control odors, consider using odor-neutralizing agents or placing containers with baking soda near the hanging area. This will help absorb any unwanted smells.
Prevent pests, such as flies or rodents, from contaminating the meat by employing measures like installing screens on windows and sealing any potential entry points.
Proper Disposal of Waste Materials
Dispose of waste materials, including the internal organs, in accordance with local regulations. Consult your municipality or waste management services for proper disposal methods.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is it good to hang a deer?
Hunters prefer hanging a deer in the garage over other areas of the house for various reasons.
- The garage provides more space, allowing hunters to move around the carcass comfortably without obstructions.
- The garage’s durable and easy-to-clean surfaces make it practical for managing the mess involved in deer processing.
- The garage also offers better ventilation options, minimizing odors and ensuring a fresh working environment.
- By keeping the processing activity separate from the main living areas, hunters can minimize disruption to daily routines and prevent cross-contamination.
- The garage’s dedicated space for equipment customization allows for efficient and safe handling of the carcass.
2. How long can a deer hang in garage?
Normally, deer can be hung for 2-14 days. However, the length of time a deer can hang in a garage depends on temperature, humidity, carcass condition, and proper handling.
- Ideal temperatures are 32-40°F (0-4°C) to slow bacterial growth.
- A humidity of 70-80% helps prevent excessive drying.
- Aging for 3-7 days can enhance tenderness and flavor.
However, regular inspection for spoilage signs like odors, discoloration, or sliminess is important. Proper field dressing and hygiene also extend hanging time. Hunters should adhere to local regulations, use judgment, and consult experts for region-specific advice.
3. Can the taste of the deer be enhanced when being hung?
Yes, hanging and aging a deer can substantially enhance the taste of the meat. Through the hanging process, natural enzymes work to break down the muscle fibers, resulting in increased tenderness and a more pronounced taste.
Hanging a deer in the garage provides hunters with a convenient and controlled space for efficient meat processing. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and know-how to safely hang a deer, ensuring the preservation of the meat’s quality. Remember to adhere to local regulations and guidelines and maintain strict hygiene practices throughout the process. Enjoy the fruits of your labor by savoring the delicious venison harvested from your successful hunting expedition.