Summit Treestands
From the field to the table
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Ucsdryder 10-Aug-19
butcherboy 10-Aug-19
From: Ucsdryder
10-Aug-19
This seems like a good time of year for this topic. How does one ensure his elk, deer, moose, etc makes excellent table fare? Usually, when this question is asked, the response is good field care, which includes getting them cooled quickly, hanging them for 5-7 days at optimal temperatures, and keeping the meat clean throughout the process. The other thing you often see is people promoting shooting cows and does for better table fare.

Here’s my experience over the last couple years. All meat was sent to the same butcher, all meat used gutless method.

2015 - yearling fawn. Lol. Head shot. It might as well been veal. Result: unbelievable meat!

2015 - wet cow 4th season in a blizzard. Rifle killed cow, died immediately in a foot of snow. Temperatures were around zero. I would guess she was a young cow. Result: very tender and delicious

2016 - rutting bull shot in the evening. Bow kill, he died on a dead run about 100 yards from the shot. Quarters hung overnight and it took 2 days to get the meat to the butcher, temps in the low 70s during the day. Meat spent 1.5 days hanging in temps up to 70 degrees, kept in the shade. 3.5 year old bull. Result: very tender and delicious.

2016 - doe, 3rd season. Hit 2x. Processed myself. Seemed like an older doe. Result: shoe leather.

2017 - raghorn shot at end of light. Died in seconds and never knew what happened. Got him out the next morning. Age: most likely 2.5 years old. Result: amazing!

2018 - herd bull. Shot at last light, ran 150 yards or so. Wasn’t sure of the shot and left him overnight. Turned out to be a double lung. Found him the next morning and butchered. Got him to the butcher the next day and lost some meat around the ball joint so obviously wasn’t ideal. Result: tender and delicious. He was a 4.5+ year old bull

2018 - muzzleloader bull died on his feet. Processed at night and was at the butcher the next morning. Likely a 3.5 year old bull. Result: amazing

2018 - 3rd season cow, killed in a snow storm. Went to the butcher the same day. Looked like an older cow. Result - shoe leather, great flavor.

Based off my small sample size with lots of variables, I’d say the biggest factor in table fare was probably age? A doe and cow were the only 2 animals that were hard to eat and it was only due to how tough they were. The flavor on everything was outstanding, even the bull that was left overnight and had a couple small spots of spoilage. In these limited examples, getting them broken down and processed immediately didn’t have a lot to do with the flavor. Age seemed like the deciding factor in tenderness, although flavor was similar across the board.

Am I missing something here?

From: butcherboy
10-Aug-19
You’ve got it figured out. Flavor has nothing to do with how quickly they are broken down and butchered. Age and what they eat are what really affects the flavor. Age of the animal and proper aging will affect the tenderness.

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