Whew! I never realized, until last night, how labor intensive it is to shoot a deer.
There's some effort and heavy breathing involved in maneuvering the carcass in the field to gut it, then there's some tugging needed to get the guts from the body cavity onto the ground, and the effort of getting the gutted carcass out of the woods.
Then you've got to hang the carcass, rinse it out, and get inside for the backstraps.
Once dry-aging is complete, you begin the extremely physical tasks of skinning and butchering.
It took me three hours last night with a great deal of help and supervision from Dan and Spen to get my deer skinned and butchered into large pieces which I will continue to butcher here at home. I've got four legs, two big loins, two slabs of ribs, a nice neck roast, and lots and lots of future burger and sausage. I've also got a hide to scrape for tanning, four lower legs for something (maybe a dewclaw possibles pouch,) and the head.
This morning I write with sore feet from standing on the concrete while skinning, a sore back from moving around the carcass and lifting, sore arms from reaching up during skinning, and sore hands and fingers from all the pulling that goes on while removing the skin. It's the good kind of sore however--I'm now well aware that I have done something last night.
Today I've got to get the hide stretched, scraped, and salted to prepare it for tanning and I think I'll probably get at least one of the legs butchered into roasts, stir fry chunks, and burger meat.
I made some mistakes along the way but nothing really major. I did cut one of the large leg tendons early on and nearly found the whole hanging carcass on top of me but Spen helped me fix my mistake and we moved forward. There are, however, lessons I will take away from this first attempt that I hope to do better/faster/more efficiently with my next deer.
Yes, there will be many more deer (I hope) in years to come.
Thanks again to Dan and Spen for their guidance, equipment, and for giving me a place to skin and butcher under their watchful eyes. It made the whole process a bit less stressful for me when I could ask a question and receive my answer real time.
Thanks for reading,