Help with the Process

By Nick Simonson

Whether it’s that big buck or a doe that you’re after this firearms deer season, having the right knives and equipment to get the best quality meat out of your quarry makes the processing procedure so much easier. From cleaning a deer in the field, to hanging and skinning it, to deboning and processing the meat, Runnings has all of the tools, equipment, and materials you’ll need to get the most out of the hunt this year. What follows are some helpful tips and suggestions for getting the best flavor from your deer once the firearms season wraps and the post-hunt activities back at camp get underway.

As with fish or birds, the importance of quick, clean harvest and diligent care of the animal after it expires can’t be understated. Careful field dressing of a deer after the shot and avoiding contamination of the meat starts with two simple tools that need to be at their sharpest to get the job done. First and foremost, a fine-edged field knife is needed to begin the cleaning process. Whether a fixed blade or a foldable, having a blade that fits firmly in hand, is easily controlled and cuts with slight pressure is invaluable after the shot. Runnings has models from many popular brands, such as Gerber and Buck, available in a variety of configurations to fit you preferences and carrying style. Don’t forget to run the blade through a sharpener to make sure to get the cleanest, easiest cut of meat from each part of the deer.

Second, a bone saw with a protective tip is a must-have for working through two bony areas of a deer required in field dressing: the pelvis and the sternum. With a bumper at the end of the saw blade, such an option helps prevent puncturing of the stomach, intestines and colon, and greatly limits contamination from the waste materials contained in the innards underneath the pelvic bones. Its hand-held nature and one-handed operation makes quick work of these areas and opens up the cavity for easy access in the field dressing process and a quick wash out once the guts are removed. Remember to pack a gallon or two of clean water to rinse out any excess blood or other materials, before wrapping the deer’s body in plastic if being transported any distance or along dirt or gravel roads.

Once back at deer camp, having a basic processing kit for hanging, skinning and deboning deer helps make the process go much faster. A gambrel and rope combination will help lift deer off the ground to make the initial phases of processing easier and allow easy access to all sides of the animal for skinning. Runnings offers up a wide variety of processing kits complete with a selection of specialty blades, cleavers and related tools to help with all processing activities from removing the hide to deboning, and removing backstraps, roasts, and hams from a deer. Individual blades are also available for purchase to help round out the tools at hand.

From slicers and grinders to sausage stuffers and jerky guns, Runnings has the processing gear that will turn any garage, shed or man cave into a pop-up butcher’s block. Utilize a food-safe sanitizing spray to prevent contamination of meat from the surfaces where cutting and wrapping will take place, or utilize a plastic or paper sheet to prevent direct contact with those surfaces, making sure to keep the area as clean and tidy as possible throughout the process. A small roll of plastic wrap and butcher paper are also must-haves for preserving the quality of meat and preventing freezer burn after each cut is made and set aside for final trimming, wrapping and labeling.

With spice and seasoning offerings from a variety of companies such as Lem and Wild Game, Runnings has the jerky and sausage accents to help you find your favorite combinations, or come up with your own. A wide selection of smokers and dehydrators help put the finishing touches on those culinary creations you come up with. Whether an electric option from Masterbuilt or a wood-fired model from Traeger, smokers help add a deeper flavor to meats and can be used throughout the year for other cooking options as well. Dehydrators, like those from Nesco make short work of jerky whether it’s whole muscle slices or processed bars of ground venison and fill up those snack bags for a winter’s worth of ice fishing adventures.

Whether you bag the thirty-pointer, or just that “sausage doe” in your deer hunting escapades this autumn, Runnings has everything you need to process your quarry in a safe and tasty manner.  Stop in and check out all the tools, seasonings, and appliances that will make the process easier; the friendly staff will be on hand to help you find the tools you need for a successful and succulent end to your deer season!