After You Go Hunting: Making The Most Of Your Catches

When many people go out hunting for wild game for the first time, they do not know what to do with their kills after the fact. Without guidance from a seasoned hunter, the meat from their kills may go to waste as a result of inexperience. However, to not let the meat go to waste, you need to learn more about wild game processing. Whether you choose to process the wild game yourself or have it done for you by professionals, understanding the process and the options will help you to better enjoy the fruits (or in this case, meats) of your labor.

Aging Of Wild Game Meat

Wild game meat is normally leaner than meat harvested from domesticated livestock. As such, this also means that the meat can be tougher than store-bought meat harvested on farms. To help tenderize the wild game meat, it usually undergoes an aging process. Aging involves keeping the meat at suitably low temperatures and controlled humidity to prevent bacterial growth and contamination. 

The length of time the meat is left to age varies, but standard practice is 5 to 7 days, though some recommend upwards of 10 days for larger game and only a few days for certain birds. If you do not have a space large enough or the right equipment to control the temperature and humidity (such as a large or walk-in refrigerator), you can work with a local meat locker to age your wild game meat and help you with the entire wild game processing endeavor. 

Wild Game Processing Options

When it comes to wild game, there are several ways that you can process the meat for eating. Depending on the wild game you caught, you may be able to have cuts of meat much like those from a cow, chicken or pig. These can include cuts such as quail breasts and legs, rump or chuck roast, or loins. However, some parts of the body on wild game animals, or the animals themselves, do not lend themselves well to traditional meat cuts.

In these cases, your wild game can be cured and made into summer sausages, sausage links, or other types of sausage. Summer sausage made of venison is a delicious change of pace from standard beef summer sausage, and deer or turkey jerky are also popular choices in wild game processing. If you are an adept cook that can make sausage and jerky, you can attempt this process at home. If not, however, many meat lockers will work with you to create unique sausages and jerky from the wild game you bring in. 

Now that you know a bit more about wild game processing, you can decide for yourself is this is a task you would like to take on at home, or entrust to a local meat locker on your behalf, like Custom Butcher & Smokehouse. So, before your first hunting trip, be sure you have a plan for what to do with your kills so the wild game meat does not go to waste.