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Mar 25th, 2012
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Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question #7638352 10/21/19 09:38 PM
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Regulations at Issue:

"A deer and pronghorn may be skinned and quartered (two forequarters, two hindquarters, and two backstraps) for transport, provided the quartered deer or pronghorn
is tagged and proof of sex accompanies the deer or pronghorn. See Cold Storage or Processing Facility, below, for exceptions. The four quarters and two backstraps are the only parts of a deer required by law to be kept in edible condition."


My Practice:


When it comes to hunting, I'm a trekker - I like to go in deep. Now a lot of times this leads to me not wanting drag what I kill out and instead I opt to skin and quarter my kill in the field and carry it out in a pack. For deer, I generally tag them, skin them, slice off the backstraps and tenderloins, quarter them, and then trim up the ribs/other meat. I also pack up the head for proof of sex. Now, I've never thought much about the above regulation - I think just given the vast number of places I've hunted over my lifetime, that I just assumed my practice fell within the regulations. But someone recently made me question whether or not my practice does indeed fall within the regulation. And thus I want to pose the question to THF.

Question:

Is it legal to slice off the tenderloins and trim up the ribs/other meat after quartering your deer?

Question:

What is your general practice for after the kill?

Last edited by Binary; 10/21/19 09:39 PM.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7638361 10/21/19 09:45 PM
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My interpretation you are good if you don't process the 1/4's past that. The quarters and backstraps are the minimum to keep in edible condition.

We commonly do the same and put them on ice, 4 quarters straps tenderloins flank and rib meat.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: redchevy] #7638374 10/21/19 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
My interpretation you are good if you don't process the 1/4's past that. The quarters and backstraps are the minimum to keep in edible condition.

We commonly do the same and put them on ice, 4 quarters straps tenderloins flank and rib meat.


This. They're going to applaud you for going the extra mile on the trash meat, not give you a ticket because you have 4 qtrs, straps, tenders and a bag of misc.


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Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7638431 10/21/19 11:22 PM
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Just don't 'bone out' the quarters.

Sounds like you are doing fine.


Spartans ask not...how many, but where!
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7638492 10/22/19 12:07 AM
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I agree with everything posted above.


Originally Posted By: Chunky Monkey
Never been to a camping world. I prefer Dick's to be honest.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7639258 10/22/19 10:23 PM
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All the responses are much appreciated guys (and gals, if any, and I guess anything else you might identify as LOL) - I have a renewed faith that my methods fall within the regulations smile

Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7639479 10/23/19 01:51 AM
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What is your estimate of the weight of the back straps and four quarters? ill be packing this year and pretty sure I'll use a back pack over the cart.


An unethical shot is one you take, that you know you shouldn't.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: onlysmith&wesson] #7639595 10/23/19 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by onlysmith&wesson
What is your estimate of the weight of the back straps and four quarters? ill be packing this year and pretty sure I'll use a back pack over the cart.

That's a pretty large range really, given the weight differences in Texas Whitetail. You figure field dressing knocks off 20% or so of the starting weight. And a fully processed deer produces meat that is around 40% of the starting weight. You get to lose a lot of skin and bones when quartering but you still have to carry a weighty head. I'd estimate that the pack weight is somewhere around 60% - 65% of the starting weight. Overall, Texas Whitetail is pretty light game for pack weight.

I've never actually used a cart - always packed it out. I actually enjoy packing it out and totally recommend it.

Last edited by Binary; 10/23/19 04:53 AM.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7639742 10/23/19 01:23 PM
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agree with Binary, the range could be huge ... so I think the percentages listed should be fairly close.


"everyone that lives dies but not everyone who dies lived..."

~PMK~
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7639792 10/23/19 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Binary
Originally Posted by onlysmith&wesson
What is your estimate of the weight of the back straps and four quarters? ill be packing this year and pretty sure I'll use a back pack over the cart.

That's a pretty large range really, given the weight differences in Texas Whitetail. You figure field dressing knocks off 20% or so of the starting weight. And a fully processed deer produces meat that is around 40% of the starting weight. You get to lose a lot of skin and bones when quartering but you still have to carry a weighty head. I'd estimate that the pack weight is somewhere around 60% - 65% of the starting weight. Overall, Texas Whitetail is pretty light game for pack weight.

I've never actually used a cart - always packed it out. I actually enjoy packing it out and totally recommend it.

The weight of what you carried, what's your best estimate of packed and live weight?

I have backpacked. Once did 38 miles in the Weminuche Wilderness. I think my pack came in at 45 lbs, was ten years ago but that's what I recall. I had no problem with that weight at elevation for several days. That cart was more trouble and weight on my shoulders and arms than it was worth. I'd rather make two trips if I had to using a frame backpack.


An unethical shot is one you take, that you know you shouldn't.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: onlysmith&wesson] #7639853 10/23/19 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by onlysmith&wesson
Originally Posted by Binary
Originally Posted by onlysmith&wesson
What is your estimate of the weight of the back straps and four quarters? ill be packing this year and pretty sure I'll use a back pack over the cart.

That's a pretty large range really, given the weight differences in Texas Whitetail. You figure field dressing knocks off 20% or so of the starting weight. And a fully processed deer produces meat that is around 40% of the starting weight. You get to lose a lot of skin and bones when quartering but you still have to carry a weighty head. I'd estimate that the pack weight is somewhere around 60% - 65% of the starting weight. Overall, Texas Whitetail is pretty light game for pack weight.

I've never actually used a cart - always packed it out. I actually enjoy packing it out and totally recommend it.

The weight of what you carried, what's your best estimate of packed and live weight?

I have backpacked. Once did 38 miles in the Weminuche Wilderness. I think my pack came in at 45 lbs, was ten years ago but that's what I recall. I had no problem with that weight at elevation for several days. That cart was more trouble and weight on my shoulders and arms than it was worth. I'd rather make two trips if I had to using a frame backpack.

Also, you're right about the head weight. So, I decided a saw capable of removing the rack and skull cap was in the plan. My question to you is just as much about how well you handled the load, as it is the pack weight. I don't think I can pack it out totally in one trip anyway.


An unethical shot is one you take, that you know you shouldn't.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7639874 10/23/19 03:13 PM
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I saw somewhere, don't remember if it was a show or book but in some places you are required to leave a nut attached to one of the quarters as proof of sex. Not Texas BTW...

Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: BassBuster1] #7639899 10/23/19 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BassBuster1
I saw somewhere, don't remember if it was a show or book but in some places you are required to leave a nut attached to one of the quarters as proof of sex. Not Texas BTW...

That works.


An unethical shot is one you take, that you know you shouldn't.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: onlysmith&wesson] #7639930 10/23/19 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by onlysmith&wesson

The weight of what you carried, what's your best estimate of packed and live weight?

I have backpacked. Once did 38 miles in the Weminuche Wilderness. I think my pack came in at 45 lbs, was ten years ago but that's what I recall. I had no problem with that weight at elevation for several days. That cart was more trouble and weight on my shoulders and arms than it was worth. I'd rather make two trips if I had to using a frame backpack.


I don't generally pack much out into the woods with me, to keep the starting pack weight as low as possible. I think they say that for a pack to be comfortable for your back it shouldn't weigh more than 15% of your body weight. Packing out with a deer is going to weigh more ;P

Here is a good "field dressed" weight chart on Texas Whitetail Deer (was taken on 11,000+ whitetails over several years): https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs144p2_002493.pdf

So, if you plan based on the average from the chart - and take into consideration the loss of approximately another 15 - 20% of the weight from skinning/quartering ... on average you would be looking at:

BUCKS
1.5 y.o buck: 57 - 60 lbs
2.5 y.o. buck: 67 - 72 lbs
3.5 y.o. buck: 75 - 80 lbs
4.5 y.o. buck: 84 - 90 lbs
5.5 y.o. buck: 87 - 93 lbs
6.5 y.o. buck: 89 - 95 lbs

DOES
1.5 y.o doe: 46 - 49 lbs
2.5 y.o. doe: 52 - 56 lbs
3.5+ y.o. doe: 55 - 59 lbs

I would guess that my pack generally stays under 100 lbs - but I don't exactly weigh my pack when I get back to the truck, so it's only a guess. I don't recall a time that I've ever not been able to pack a whole whitetail deer out in a single trip - it's heavy but it's not THAT heavy. I've had a few long hikes back where I took the pack off for a break but if my hike is less than 5 miles, I normally tough it out.

Nice frame backpacks these days are designed to disperse the weight so it's not all on your shoulders. I think most of them are designed to be able to hold around 150+lbs - that would be a pretty heavy load though.

Last edited by Binary; 10/23/19 04:26 PM.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7639951 10/23/19 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Binary
Originally Posted by onlysmith&wesson

The weight of what you carried, what's your best estimate of packed and live weight?

I have backpacked. Once did 38 miles in the Weminuche Wilderness. I think my pack came in at 45 lbs, was ten years ago but that's what I recall. I had no problem with that weight at elevation for several days. That cart was more trouble and weight on my shoulders and arms than it was worth. I'd rather make two trips if I had to using a frame backpack.


I don't generally pack much out into the woods with me, to keep the starting pack weight as low as possible. I think they say that for a pack to be comfortable for your back it shouldn't weigh more than 15% of your body weight. Packing out with a deer is going to weigh more ;P

Here is a good "field dressed" weight chart on Texas Whitetail Deer (was taken on 11,000+ whitetails over several years): https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs144p2_002493.pdf

So, if you plan based on the average from the chart - and take into consideration the loss of approximately another 15 - 20% of the weight from skinning/quartering ... on average you would be looking at:

BUCKS
1.5 y.o buck: 57 - 60 lbs
2.5 y.o. buck: 67 - 72 lbs
3.5 y.o. buck: 75 - 80 lbs
4.5 y.o. buck: 84 - 90 lbs
5.5 y.o. buck: 87 - 93 lbs
6.5 y.o. buck: 89 - 95 lbs

DOES
1.5 y.o doe: 46 - 49 lbs
2.5 y.o. doe: 52 - 56 lbs
3.5+ y.o. doe: 55 - 59 lbs

I would guess that my pack generally stays under 100 lbs - but I don't exactly weigh my pack when I get back to the truck, so it's only a guess. I don't recall a time that I've ever not been able to pack a whole whitetail deer out in a single trip - it's heavy but it's not THAT heavy. I've had a few long hikes back where I took the pack off for a break but if my hike is less than 5 miles, I normally tough it out.

Nice frame backpacks these days are designed to disperse the weight so it's not all on your shoulders. I think most of them are designed to be able to hold around 150+lbs - that would be a pretty heavy load though.

That's good information, I appreciate it. I can always try one trip, and break it down if I have to.


An unethical shot is one you take, that you know you shouldn't.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: onlysmith&wesson] #7640527 10/24/19 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by onlysmith&wesson
Originally Posted by Binary
Originally Posted by onlysmith&wesson
What is your estimate of the weight of the back straps and four quarters? ill be packing this year and pretty sure I'll use a back pack over the cart.

That's a pretty large range really, given the weight differences in Texas Whitetail. You figure field dressing knocks off 20% or so of the starting weight. And a fully processed deer produces meat that is around 40% of the starting weight. You get to lose a lot of skin and bones when quartering but you still have to carry a weighty head. I'd estimate that the pack weight is somewhere around 60% - 65% of the starting weight. Overall, Texas Whitetail is pretty light game for pack weight.

I've never actually used a cart - always packed it out. I actually enjoy packing it out and totally recommend it.

The weight of what you carried, what's your best estimate of packed and live weight?

I have backpacked. Once did 38 miles in the Weminuche Wilderness. I think my pack came in at 45 lbs, was ten years ago but that's what I recall. I had no problem with that weight at elevation for several days. That cart was more trouble and weight on my shoulders and arms than it was worth. I'd rather make two trips if I had to using a frame backpack.


I bet I know which trails you took in the Weminuche.

If you get 50lbs of meat in bone in quarters on a Texas deer your doing good. Its not the weight as much as the space. I don't know if you could fit four quarters and backstraps on a pack frame with your other stuff. Still, a cart is cumbersome and noisy and best left at the truck until you need it.


No matter how high a duck flies a hammer still breaks a window.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: jnd59] #7643288 10/27/19 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jnd59
I bet I know which trails you took in the Weminuche.

If you get 50lbs of meat in bone in quarters on a Texas deer your doing good. Its not the weight as much as the space. I don't know if you could fit four quarters and backstraps on a pack frame with your other stuff. Still, a cart is cumbersome and noisy and best left at the truck until you need it.


I've personally never ran into an issue with space but I suppose it depends on what kind of pack you're packing. I use quarter bags, toss those into a larger meat bag and strap that directly on to the frame pack. Would never use a cart - like you said, they're cumbersome and noisy.

Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: Binary] #7645101 10/28/19 08:56 PM
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I've not thought of putting the bags in a bigger bag. keeps it all together. I probably take too much other stuff with me on daily excursions. It was always hard to leave stuff out. That said, I've worked at keeping only multipurpose items except for water filtration and emerg kit.


No matter how high a duck flies a hammer still breaks a window.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: jnd59] #7648113 10/31/19 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jnd59
I've not thought of putting the bags in a bigger bag. keeps it all together. I probably take too much other stuff with me on daily excursions. It was always hard to leave stuff out. That said, I've worked at keeping only multipurpose items except for water filtration and emerg kit.

The tablets, (Katedyn?) worked for me. Then there's was the Jetboil I had with me also. I miss backpacking.


An unethical shot is one you take, that you know you shouldn't.
Re: Skinning and Quartering Deer in the Field - Question [Re: jnd59] #7649295 11/01/19 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jnd59
I've not thought of putting the bags in a bigger bag. keeps it all together. I probably take too much other stuff with me on daily excursions. It was always hard to leave stuff out. That said, I've worked at keeping only multipurpose items except for water filtration and emerg kit.

Oh, a larger meat bag to put all the quarters/backstraps/tenderloins/trimming in is essential - I can't imagine trying to secure a bunch of separate bags to the pack, that would be a pain in the a$$. It definitely won't be easy if you like to pack your house in with you wink

Last edited by Binary; 11/01/19 04:19 PM.
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