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#3108705 - 06/17/09 Regarding Boning Out a Critter...
HuntMeister Offline
Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Indiana
All the talk of boning out a Elk in the "Elk Hunting on Public Land" thread got me to thinking about what a hunting buddy of mine once told me. He told me that the meat would be very tough if the meat was not allowed to get to the rigor stage prior to boning it out. Now understand I have slept a few winks since that conversation more than two years ago so I may have not quoted exactly as he said it. But basically he was of the opinion that for best results the meat should be left on the bone.

My questions for those of you with experience boning out Elk / Deer...

Will the quality, taste, tenderness, ect. of the meat be compromised by boning out the meat and does it matter when a critter is boned out?

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#3108764 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: HuntMeister]
Rock Chuck Offline
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Registered: 01/05/06
Posts: 29744
Loc: Filer, ID
Boning won't affect flavor but tenderness might be an issue. However, I'm not one to pack full quarters a couple miles to the road with all that heavy bone intact. I often leave the leg bones in, depending on conditions, but the ribs, spine, etc. stay where they are.
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#3108814 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Rock Chuck]
exbiologist Online   content
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 02/11/09
Posts: 5194
Loc: Colorado
That sounds kinda strange to me. Allowing the muscles to go through rigor is not the same chemical process as aging. Debone, then age if it matters to you.
Deboning is intimidating for those who have never done it and I understand the hesitancy, but it's totally worth it. If you don't want to do it at night, gut the elk and at least grab some choice cuts, debone one ham, then come back in the morning. It's certainly easier to do with daylight.
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#3108953 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: exbiologist]
Mule Deer Online   content
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Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 37012
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
The problem with boning before the whole rigor process is the way some hunters do it.

If individual muscles are take off the bone before going into rigor, or after going into rigor but before leaving it, they can contract or stay contracted. This makes them tougher, and aging won't help. A similar thing happens when meat freezes before or during rigor.

If you do bone out an animal, keep the chunks of meat as big as possible, instead of stripping off individual muscles as is sometimes suggested. For instance, cut the ham into two big chunks from either side of the femur.
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#3108957 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Rock Chuck]
djs Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 18053
Loc: Virginia
 Originally Posted By: Rock Chuck
Boning won't affect flavor but tenderness might be an issue. However, I'm not one to pack full quarters a couple miles to the road with all that heavy bone intact. I often leave the leg bones in, depending on conditions, but the ribs, spine, etc. stay where they are.


AND, the ribs, spine, and remaining meat feed other critters - they got to eat too.

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#3108962 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: exbiologist]
99guy Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 4620
Loc: SE, PA
In all my years hunting elk and moose I have never heard that.

All of the elk and moose I have ever killed or been with people who have killed, we got the hide off them and then deboned ASAP. It's critical to get the meat cooled quickly. My common sense tells me that deboning would only hasten the cooling process. I have never had any issues with meat immediately deboned being tough. I did see the front shoulder of a non deboned moose spoil once. I suspect if it had been deboned the meat would have cooled more quickly and possibly not spoiled.

Don't confuse deboneing with aging. You can debone it immediately and then still age it under controlled conditons and wind up with very palitable meat.

Randy
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#3108985 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Mule Deer]
HuntMeister Offline
Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Indiana
 Originally Posted By: Mule Deer
If individual muscles are take off the bone before going into rigor, or after going into rigor but before leaving it, they can contract or stay contracted. This makes them tougher, and aging won't help. A similar thing happens when meat freezes before or during rigor.


Mule Deer, I believe that is exactly what my friend said, that is the part about the muscles contracting and staying that way would make the meat tough. His view was if you were going to bone one out to wait a day or so before doing so.

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#3109017 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: djs]
rayporter Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 406
Loc: arkansas
i took a meat cutting course and dont remember anything like that. personally i say cut em up - they are dead and dont know the differance. i have usually cut them up on the spot, while warm. but not always. sometimes they are left overnight and cut up the next morning. never any issues with meat, taste or tenderness. if you are new to cutting one up dont worry -he cant feel a thing!! just make it look like the picture hanging on the wall in the meat market of the cuts and you will be fine. it dont matter if one is a little bigger or smaller than the other. the single biggest bit of advise i would give is dont gut it- just start to take it apart till a pile of bones are left.

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#3109021 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: HuntMeister]
HuntMeister Offline
Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Indiana
99guy, I do not believe I am confusing deboning with aging.

Aging as I understand it is typically the process of "hanging" the meat for a period of time to allow the natural breakdown of the muscles thus making the meat more tender while deboning is the process of separating the meat from the bone.

rayporter, not new to cutting up critters. I process all my game but have never deboned one prior to processing for the freezer. Living in Indiana the law currently doesn't allow one to quarter or debone in the field (hopefully this will soon change) and all of the Elk and Deer that I or my group have killed out west we quartered and had hauled out by horse. This year I hope to draw a Deer tag in WY and plan to hunt far from the roads but will not have the luxury of horses.


Edited by HuntMeister (06/18/09)

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#3109030 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: rayporter]
99guy Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 4620
Loc: SE, PA
That is good advise rayporter. Don't even bother gutting the thing. Pull the hide off it, quarter it, then debone. No reason to make a bigger mess than you have to.
_________________________
"You cannot invade mainland America. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass"
~Admiral Yamamoto~

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. ~Thomas Jefferson~

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#3109075 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: 99guy]
99guy Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 4620
Loc: SE, PA
The places that I have been fortunate enough to kill elk and moose in (and I include moose in the conversation, because their quarters are even bigger than an elk's)...there ain't no way I am carrying them bones x-miles on my back.

If you kill one and it drops dead in the road, I guess you have a few more options.

One of the previous posts suggested to keep the meat in as large a sections as possible. I can see the merit of that arguement as that is what we have always done. Once again, I have always deboned immediately and not had any issues. I'm just sharing my personal experiences. That is all I can tell you.


Edited by 99guy (06/18/09)
_________________________
"You cannot invade mainland America. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass"
~Admiral Yamamoto~

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. ~Thomas Jefferson~

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#3109084 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Rock Chuck]
firstcoueswas80 Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 03/06/06
Posts: 8007
Loc: Arizona
 Originally Posted By: Rock Chuck
Boning won't affect flavor but tenderness might be an issue. However, I'm not one to pack full quarters a couple miles to the road with all that heavy bone intact. I often leave the leg bones in, depending on conditions, but the ribs, spine, etc. stay where they are.


+1

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#3109087 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: 99guy]
HuntMeister Offline
Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Indiana
99guy, your personal experiences is what I am looking for and I appreciate your contribution to this thread.

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#3109174 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Mule Deer]
smokepole Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/30/06
Posts: 15465
Loc: Colorado
 Originally Posted By: Mule Deer
If individual muscles are take off the bone before going into rigor, or after going into rigor but before leaving it, they can contract or stay contracted. This makes them tougher, and aging won't help. A similar thing happens when meat freezes before or during rigor.


Based on my own experience, I think there's something to this. Two years ago I shot a 2 1/2 year-old fat mulie buck right before dartk. I dressed it, sliced out the backstraps within the hour, and hung the hams and shoulders bone-in overnight. I boned the rest out the next morning and hauled it all out. At home I tried the backstrap first and it was tough. So I was kind of dreading chewing on the rest, but the rest of it (besides the backstrap) was tender, just like you'd expect. Same thing with the cow elk I shot last year--shot it right before dark, skinned it, cut out the backstraps, and hung the rest bone-in overnight. Tough backstrap and tender chops from the rest.
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#3109221 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: HuntMeister]
Soulfly Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/14/09
Posts: 4141
Loc: The Buckeye State
I am not entirely sure but I am under the impression that the "aging process" is to evaporate moisture from the muscle and to break down the connetive tissue resulting in more tender meat. I am not sure if boning or rigor has any effect on it? I know that all the deer I have ever shot have never been processsed for at least 24 hours and are never tough. In West Virgina we have to take deer to the checking station first, I just cant imagine the looks I would get trying to check in 4 quarters a head and a rib cage. Maybe elk are different?
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#3109238 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Soulfly]
smokepole Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/30/06
Posts: 15465
Loc: Colorado
Well, just imagine the looks you'd get hauling a whole elk out on your back!!!!
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#3109256 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Soulfly]
taz4570 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 3358
Loc: Colorado
Yea, by about 4 times.

Loss of moisture is dessication and the best way to ruin good cuts. "Aging" is a chemical reaction within the muscle and connective tissue cells that breaks down the cell structure.
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#3109263 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Soulfly]
rosco1 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 03/03/08
Posts: 3424
Loc: utah
I took some meat cutting classes in high school. what Mule Deer said is spot on with what learned.

its been a while, but its a form of bacteria? that grows in 34-40 degree's that "tenderizes" the meat by breaking down fibers. boning or even quartering will allow muscle to contract, I have no proof of this, and the theory wasnt made up for wild game, but for the best beef products, try and go into a bucher shop and cut on a prime beef before it is properly aged, and you will have a knife stuck in your back!

all of this is mute, cause if it has to be boned out, it has to be boned out!

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#3109363 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: rosco1]
cowdoc Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/23/01
Posts: 436
Loc: Iowa
I guess I've never worried too much about elk being tough, but I worry about getting it cooled out quickly. In past years we've done several retrievals of whole elk (gutted) with hide on when we could get it hung to skin in a couple hours. Leave that hide on much longer than that and the neck meat really gets warm. There's a lot to be said for being young and strong.

I'm a little older now, and old guys try to figure ways to do things easier. I've done it every way imaginable and won't get into the gut or no gut arguement. But the elk will have to be really close to a vehicle for me to move the bones from where it fell. If I can't eat it, I ain't gonna carry it...
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#3109962 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: HuntMeister]
Bighorn Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/21/01
Posts: 4989
Loc: Southern Kolorado
I think Mule Deer has it right.
Keep the pieces as big as possible.
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#3110028 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: Bighorn]
175rltw Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 697
Loc: AK
Up here you're not even allowed to bone meat in the field, as there are concerns about wasting meat. And of course leaving it overnight isn't an option either, brown bears and all. If it's too big for two guys to get out in one trip (moose, roosevelt elk) Me and my buddies pack it out in rotation so one dude carries a load while one keeps cuttingand guarding the carcass, and then when the first guy gets back he starts cutting while the other guy packs. plenty of 20 mile days like this, and God knows I'll get smart one day, and float hunt,but for now I like to be stubborn. Like the man said, "Strong like bull, smart like tractor."
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#3110100 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: 175rltw]
99guy Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 4620
Loc: SE, PA
Can't bone it out? Wow! People that dreamed up that law couldn't have been hunters.

That means if I ever get to AK, guess I'll be shooting out the window of the truck! Ooops, probably can't do that either!
_________________________
"You cannot invade mainland America. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass"
~Admiral Yamamoto~

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. ~Thomas Jefferson~

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#3110217 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: taz4570]
Soulfly Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/14/09
Posts: 4141
Loc: The Buckeye State
Dry aging will result in loss of moisture wich will result in a weight loss of the meat but will not ruin it see link

http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/meat_quality/aging_meat.html

I dont know if you could say it is a chemical reaction or not but it has more to do with time and temperature than any thing else.
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#3110226 - 06/18/09 Re: Regarding Boning Out a Critter... [Re: smokepole]
Soulfly Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/14/09
Posts: 4141
Loc: The Buckeye State
Smoke, I think if you could carry a whole elk on your back, most folks wouldnt even look at you and would problably say "yes sir"
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