The plan for this weekend was to get in an afternoon of muzzle loader hunting at an acquaintance’s out west of Richland Center, Wisconsin, and to begin processing the three deer hanging in our garage.
The hunt was a cold one- Saturday never broke 20F, and when we arrived in the evening, our weather apps told us somewhere in the 7-10F range. The drive out was lovely- I’d yet to really go into the Driftless Area. The hills there aren’t glacial drumlins like we get in other parts of the state, and it’s definitely a lot more vertical than anything I was used to growing up on the prairies. Unluckily, the windows of the truck are all cruddy, so snapping pictures was tough.
It would be a wash, though. We saw lots of sign headed in. Matt heard some deer crunching, and we both heard a buck snort. But we didn’t see anything. We hurried back to the truck in the last of the cold, fading light, feeling like our hands and feet had been replaced with clumsy wooden blocks.
Friday afternoon, Matt’s buddy and his fiance came over. He’d hung a deer in our garage opening weekend, and we had our two. It was time to start processing. After this point, there are some gory images. Viewer discretion, and all that.
This same buddy came over last year to watch us skin and quarter our deer- he’d been getting his professionally processed before this. So, the fiance and I let the boys get at it. I recorded the whole process. In order, we skin them, remove the shoulders, the ribs, and then the hindquarters. The DNR advises us to discard the spines due to CWD. The meat went into sanitized coolers. Considering we won’t be breaking above freezing for the week, we can separate muscles at a different date.
Sunday, Matt and I both decided we were burnt out from so much hunting in frigid weather. We opted to get some things done rather than add to the deer pile. We ventured out to the garage in the snow. I scraped the hides and Matt cleaned the skulls to make European style mounts, and skinned the heads to begin his taxidermy practice. While we were out there, the snow piled up. It’s around 5 inches as I write this Sunday evening, and more overnight.
So the garage once again smells like propane and boiling brains. We’ll be getting to packing up the meat within a couple days, and once we pick up a vertical stuffer, we’ll get the sausage done as well. I refuse to relive the last two years with our awful horizontal stuffer. I’ve got a couple new ideas to try in the cured meat department. Like maybe a venison ham.