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Leaving deer overnight #8445933 11/12/21 01:02 AM
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I keep watching all these hunting videos on YouTube and noticed a really high percentage of them leave the deer for 12 hours or more overnight. I’ve never done that and would think that all the meat would be spoiled. Does anyone know from experience how long a deer will still be good for to clean in say 40-50 degree temps?

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8445940 11/12/21 01:13 AM
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I don't think the main point for all of the hunting show and video yahoos is hunting for meat but hunting for horns and selling the products that sponsor their shows. The bigger their name, the bigger their income from products they shill. So meat spoiling is probably not too high on their concerns but recovering the head and horns is. But that is just my opinion....

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8445946 11/12/21 01:19 AM
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A couple other things- if they were concerned about what the folks that watch their shows are concerned about and write to them about this they would address it on at least one of the shows. Also, if they were shooting a decent caliber weapon or their shot placement was better we wouldn't see so many deer react to a shot by humping their back and run off- probably 98-99% of the deer I have shot over the last 40+ years have dropped in their tracks.

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8445954 11/12/21 01:28 AM
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I have a flashlight. I would NEVER leave meat on the ground for a whole night.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446011 11/12/21 02:39 AM
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It will spoil unless it’s cold….dumb practice and advertisement of that practice, I’ve noticed too.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446029 11/12/21 03:03 AM
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The only time I’ve seen it was on MeatEater. The guy is in the wilderness and if he does leave it, he guts it and It’s usually cold. He packs it out the next morning. I can’t see doing that unless you are extremely remote.

If it’s cold, the meat will be fine. I think he is more worried about being ambushed by a bear at night where he hunts trying to pack it out in the dark.





Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446041 11/12/21 03:17 AM
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Our yotes will leave nothing but the spine if we do that. Seen it happen.

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446043 11/12/21 03:20 AM
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Meat wouldn't spoil regardless the temperature where I am. Coyotes would make sure of that. There is ZERO chance a dead/dying deer would make it unconsumed (to some degree) in my area.

The options here are: Search for the animal until you find it (OK to wait a few hours, but can not leave overnight). Prepare to find a completely or mostly consumed carcass the next day.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446064 11/12/21 04:10 AM
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I could see if it's cold out where it might be okay, BUT, I can see the predators getting to it before you.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446195 11/12/21 01:01 PM
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I think there are a lot of variables at play, but I have left deer out before on four occasions and never had issues with the meat when recovered. All four of these times, overnight temps were dropping into the 20s/30s.

Shot placement, area you’re hunting, predators. Temperature is obviously huge and in the cases of hunting shows, most are in the Midwest where it is significantly colder than Texas. On our ranch, there are multiple areas that are frankly too dangerous to go into at night if a deer is wounded. We are very rocky and one misstep in the dark and you have a broken ankle or have fallen off a rock face and you don’t have cell service.

Our typical procedure for an evening hunt is if a deer runs and you don’t see it fall give it an hour. Once you find blood, if it looks like a muscle hit (watery, bright red but not lung red, coming in steady but light drops typically after 50yds or more on the trail) either track with a dog or give 3 hours. If found and still alive or jumped, continue with dog or let it go overnight. We’ve had coyotes get to it before we did once. But hunter safety is ultimately more important than recovering the same night when it comes down to it. But again, I can only think of four or five occasions we have had to do this.

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446214 11/12/21 01:16 PM
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I have only left 1 overnight because of thick brush and dead light, Yep, nothing left but antlers and bones by morning. I shoot them in the neck now.


Sometimes it's hard being me! But somebody has to do it.
Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: hook_n_line] #8446246 11/12/21 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by hook_n_line
I have only left 1 overnight because of thick brush and dead light, Yep, nothing left but antlers and bones by morning. I shoot them in the neck now.

Same thing for us in Webb County, one left overnight due to thick brush, prickly pear and rain washing away blood trail and picked clean to head and legs.

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446263 11/12/21 01:59 PM
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Now a big azz pig might be another story.

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446322 11/12/21 02:40 PM
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I shot a bull elk before in the last 15 minutes of light and I made the decision to leave him overnight. I watched him go down near the edge of very thick timber. I could not make a finishing shot on him because his body was mostly blocked by trees. If I pursued him to get a better shooting angle and he jumped up to move going uphill in very thick steep timber, I would never be able to find and recover him. So, I came back at first light and he was within 40 yards of where I last saw him. My buddy and I field dressed him and quartered him and the meat was perfect. This is obviously different in terms of Texas temperatures, as the overnight low got into the teens that night.

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446341 11/12/21 02:57 PM
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I think it all depends on the temp out


Last edited by ILUVBIGBUCKS; 11/12/21 02:58 PM.

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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446352 11/12/21 03:03 PM
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my dad used to field dress them and hang in in a tree all time growing up when it was cold enough..

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446357 11/12/21 03:05 PM
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I dont think I have ever shot a deer that I would be comfortable leaving over night and still eating. Undoubtedly to me the meat would be at least tainted if not spoiled. And like others have said with our coyote population likely all you would find is the head/spine.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446358 11/12/21 03:05 PM
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I field dressed a doe that was left over night in below freezing weather. Nope, I wouldn't keep the meat if she were mine. She was still warm inside, and had a funky smell.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: ccoker] #8446359 11/12/21 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ccoker
my dad used to field dress them and hang in in a tree all time growing up when it was cold enough..

We did also and still do. I was taught that if the temp was 55 or less it was ok to hang them over night. Have done it for years and never had a bad experience from it.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446381 11/12/21 03:29 PM
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Shot a doe with a bow in Val Verde County a few weeks back. I gave her an hour and a half. I started tracking her and looked up to see about 40 buzzards on the ground about 75 yds ahead. Tracking job was over and I hustled to the spot where the eyes and butt were already being consumed by the buzzards. Guessing overnight like on TV is not a good idea in Texas!

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: redchevy] #8446409 11/12/21 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by ccoker
my dad used to field dress them and hang in in a tree all time growing up when it was cold enough..

We did also and still do. I was taught that if the temp was 55 or less it was ok to hang them over night. Have done it for years and never had a bad experience from it.

Field dressing and hanging for a day or two in cool temps is done quiet regularly by many with no problems. The guts being in them and the coyotes on the overnight is the big difference, imo.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446417 11/12/21 04:17 PM
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I've never left one overnight on purpose that was mortally wounded. As posted above, I've waited 1-2 hours and then started searching.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446424 11/12/21 04:20 PM
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Agree with the statement, it depends on how cold it is. I think we have left a gutted deer outside hanging if it was in the 40 degree area. We had a hunter shoot a deer one evening that he was unable to find. The deer was found the next morning after a night with temps in the 20 degree range. The deer was fine no problem with the meat.

Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446429 11/12/21 04:22 PM
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The TV, "backing out till morning," is such BS. Meat hunters don't do that. They track until they find the deer.
And in Texas, the meat will be ruined by heat, coyotes, buzzards by morning.


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Re: Leaving deer overnight [Re: Augustus1994] #8446440 11/12/21 04:30 PM
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It's not much different than someone shooting a deer in 60+ degrees at 4:30 waiting until after dark maybe 2 hours then dressing it 1 hour for some If the deer ran, this time is longer. They hang it in the cooler then the next day throw the whole deer in the back if a truck and drive 6 hours to a processor that may or not be open then hang it in that cooler. That's 9+ hours un-refrigerated. Processor still processed it but probably don't know the details.


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