Regardless of one's opinion on the subject, my guys, and our little girl, are hunters. Even our older boys, who now live in big cities and are married to vegetarians or city girls, grew up learning how to hunt wild game. Albeit that when the "bigs" were youngin's and we lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Mr.B had to drive them quite a distance to find the wild game. One of the best aspects of living on the Montana Prairie, is that hunters do not have to travel because the wild game comes to us.
This autumn, our Farmer Boy turned 15 and was allowed to go on an independent hunt. After obtaining permission, I drove him a couple miles over to a neighbor's ranch and dropped him off. After finding a nice resting spot on a small bluff and enjoying the scenery while the warm sun shone on his back, Farmer Boy eyed a nice Buck. In less than two hours he was phoning me to pick him up. I was proud to find that upon my arrival, he had already field dressed the buck and was dragging it up toward the gate, about 3/4 mile from where he harvested it. When we arrived home, he skinned, quartered and iced the meat all on his own, as Mr.B was working out of town that week. I am proud of how grown up our "little caboose" is becoming. Yes, Little Caboose, is my nickname for him, although he's not so little anymore.
|Farmer Boy proudly displaying his provision for our family.|
|As you can see this buck is quite large. And at the bottom of the photo is our late, and beloved farm dog, Sam, anxiously awaiting one of those legs.|
When most folks eat venison from our home, they never know it's venison because their pallets do not detect a "gamey taste" that is typical in wild game. We process our venison in a manner that removes nearly all that "gamey" flavor. What do we do? After quartering the deer we age the meat in ice for 10 days (we drain the water off daily) before we butcher and wrap it in food saver bags for freezing.
This year, I did not have the time nor energy to butcher the harvest myself. So, after our 10 day aging period, we paid a local butcher to process it into breakfast sausage, ground meat and stew meat. This one buck yielded 123 lbs. of meat for our freezer. That's about 1/2 our family's annual meat consumption. Add that to the lamb and hog we butchered after fair last summer, and we have enough meat to last more than a year.
Which begs another question: How does one prevent freezer burn if needing to freeze meat for more than six months? A Food Saver System, of course. It draws the excess air out of the packaging, preventing freezer burn. My darling Sister-Friend, Mrs.A, blessed us with one a few years ago and, I must say, it is one of the best appliances we own. The butcher we used this autumn uses a commercial type food saver and our meat will keep for more than a year, as his commercial version works as well as our home Food Saver appliance.
Is anyone in your family a hunter? Do you have any tips for processing or storing wild game that you'd like to share in the comments sections?