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Can you butcher Deer Same Day- Should You?

It’s difficult to have the patience to wait before butchering a deer that you have just killed, especially if you have guests to attend. Butchering a deer on the same day isn’t a very familiar scenario to us. 

That’s why common confusion arises- can you butcher Deer same day?

You can butcher a deer on the same day, but you have to do it right after the shot. Otherwise, the rigor mortis phase will kick in and the meat will start to get stiff. Additionally, gut the deer first to slow the rotting process. The ideal time to butcher a deer is at least 48 hours after the shot.

Wait, there’s more you need to know about the whole thing. Otherwise, there is a chance you may ruin the taste of the venison. So, read this article before getting into the action. 

Can You Butcher Deer the Same Day?

Yes. But it is not recommended. There are some reasons why you should hang the deer. If you hang the deer after hunting, the meat will have time to drain out all the blood.

It has some other purposes as well, like making the meat more soft and flavorful. But you can surely butcher deer the same day you hunt. Many hunters prefer to butcher a deer on the same day or as soon as possible. 

Why Shouldn’t You Butcher Deer the Same Day?

It’s a long-running debate about whether you should butcher deer on the same day or not. Because some people highly prefer to butcher deer after hanging and resting for some days. On the other hand, some want it done right away. 

There are some reasons for not butchering deer the same day you kill them. Maybe after knowing this, it will make sense to you to wait before butchering. 

So, let’s have a look at the reasons why you shouldn’t butcher immediately. 

The Meat Needs to Bleed Out:

Timely bleeding is essential to maintaining the meat’s quality. How long the deer needs to fully bleed out depends on where you have shot it. 

To make the deer fully bleed out, you have to wait around 5 hours to 12 hours. If you shoot the deer in the gut, it may even take 24 hours to bleed out fully. So, that requires waiting.

Rigor Mortis:

This is the most important reason for waiting a day before butchering the deer. Rigor mortis is a natural process that occurs after the death of any animal or human. 

When a deer is dead, its muscles and joints start to get stiffened. And after a period, those muscles again start to loosen up. 

If you butcher the deer while its muscle is going under the stiffening period, you will get tough meat, which won’t be tender enough to make a delicious dish with. To get softer meat, you have to wait at least 24 hours until the muscles are loosened up. 

For the most tender meat, it’s recommended to wait about a week, if you have some patience. 

Cooling and Aging of the Meat:

To increase the tenderness and taste of the venison, it’s important to let the deer cool and age. Letting the meat cool down and age has two advantages. 

First of all, if you keep the deer in the right size freezer and leave the drainage on, the residue of deer blood seeps out with the melted ice. That saves you time cleaning the venison before cooking.

Another advantage is, when the stiffening period of rigor mortis stops, the natural enzyme of the deer body starts to break down its collagen. As a result, the meat starts to get tastier and tender. 

When Is the Ideal Time to Butcher Deer Meat?

The most ideal time to butcher deer meat is 48 hours. Although you will get the tender most venison if you can wait up to 1 week before butchering, it comes with lots of hassle of storing the meat. You can wait for 24 hours too if you are in a hurry. 

What To Do If You Must Butcher Deer the Same day?

If you don’t have any other options and must butcher the deer the same day, you have to butcher the deer right away after killing it. You have to be done with the butchering process before the rigor mortis phase can kick in. 

So, you must be thinking, Can you butcher a deer right away?

Yes, you can butcher a deer right away. To butcher a deer as soon as possible, however, there are a few factors to think about. 

One factor is the weather, and another is how you hunt your deer. For example, is your hunting place warm or cold? And where did you make the shot to hunt the deer? 

If the hunting day is warm and you have shot the deer in the head, then you gut the deer and move it to the freezer as soon as possible. This will help prevent the meat from spoiling. 

If you would like to, you can cut the meat into pieces and then place it in the freezer.

How To Butcher A Deer Like A Pro?

As you have decided to butcher the deer right away, I will share some tips with you to make the process easy. Here are those. 

  1. Get sharp and clean knives to make the butchering process fast and smooth. 
  2. Your first aim should be gutting the deer as quickly as possible to keep the meat from ruining. Bacteria from the intestine are most responsible for ruining the meat quickly. 
  3. After gutting, start skinning the deer. 
  4. Cut the deer in quarters once you are done with removing the legs and the head. 
  5. As you have done the most part, now carefully cut the steak pieces or whatever pieces you need for cooking your special venison meal. 
  6. Quickly take the meat home and start cooking them. If you have to store, do it immediately. 

That’s how hopefully you may be able to avoid the meat getting tough. However, my recommendation would be only doing it if you have emergencies. You have bagged a deer man! Why not enjoy it to the fullest? 

Moreover, don’t forget to hang the deer mount as a trophy you can show off. 

What Are The Precautionary Measures To Take While Butchering?

You are in a hurry to butcher the deer before it gets ruined. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be careful. Accidents happen most when you are in a hurry. Don’t forget to take these precautionary steps before getting into the butchering session. 

  • Sharpened knives are essential for a safe butchering session. If you have blunt knives, there’s a chance that they will slip and you will cut yourself. 
  • Don’t try to cut meat with the sharpened edge of the knife towards you. Always keep it down. 
  • Never ever try to catch a falling knife. 
  • It’s always better to keep another partner with you while butchering a deer. Don’t lift heavy weights alone, especially near the knives.  
  • Keep a first aid box with you. 

Keep these few safety measures in mind while butchering a deer. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is It Safe To Eat Deer Meat In The Summer?

Yes, eating deer meat in summer is safe. It won’t affect your health. However, you shouldn’t, as it’s an illegal time to hunt. 

What Happens If You Don’t Hang A Deer?

Nothing happens if you don’t hang a deer if you store it in the freezer properly. Deer are hanged after killing to make their meat tender. It can be achieved by letting them cool down in the freezer too. 

Can You Leave Guts In A Deer Overnight?

No, you must not leave guts in a deer overnight. The very first thing while butchering the deer you have to do is gutting it. Because the bacteria from the intestines can rot the meat very quickly. 


Now you’ve got the answer to can you butcher deer same day or not. It’s okay once in a while when you have a hurry. But if you don’t move enough, all you may get is tough and bland venison. 

Always be very careful while butchering the meat. 

That’s all from me today. Have a great time!

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