Hunting is often deemed a sport, but the primary purpose of hunting at all is to harvest meat. If you are like most hunters, nabbing that big buck or doe in the woods will be quickly followed up with a stop at the local butcher shop so you can have the deer processed. While this is the most viable option (and definitely a lot easier on you), some hunters make the choice to process their game on their own at home.

It is definitely possible to process your own whitetail deer, but this is one task that leaves a lot a room for error if you don't know what you're doing. Here is a look at a few of the biggest mistakes to avoid when processing your own whitetail deer after a harvest. 

Mistake: Failure to keep the meat cold before processing

Why? If you don't properly chill your deer after taking it home, you are allowing the perfect opportunity for bacteria to grow. Once you harvest a doe or buck, the immediate thing to do is to field dress the deer by removing the internal organs. Doing this automatically lowers the core body temperature of the deer, but your next action must be to take the deer home and put it on ice, even if you plan to process the deer right away. During the colder months when the temperatures are below freezing, you will not necessarily have to put the deer on ice, but it is a good idea to get the meat processed quickly just the same. 

Mistake: Using a handsaw or electric knife to cut the meat

Why? When you are making cuts around leg joints and the tougher cuts of meat, you may be tempted to grab a heavy saw of some sort or electric knife to help you cut through the dense connective tissue and bone. However, doing this can actually shred bone and marrow in such a way that it tarnishes the rest of your good meat. It is always best to use a sharp blade to make your cuts, even if this means taking a little longer to make the cuts. 

Mistake: Leaving fatty tissue in place on the meat cuts

Why? If you go pick out a beef steak at the store, a healthy marble of fat is actually a good thing, but this is not the same when it comes to venison. The fat and connective tissue on a deer does not have a pleasant taste and will not melt away to add moisture as the meat cooks. Therefore, taking the time to trim away the fatty tissue is an absolute must. 

For more information, contact a local butcher shop.