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Thread: What can I make with deer?

  1. #1

    Default What can I make with deer?

    I shot a yearling doe and want to utilize it as much as possible.

    So, what parts can I use to make stuff?


  2. #2

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    Pretty much all of it, bone, sinew, the hide, brains.
    I Wonder Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink what ever comes out?"

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    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Seen folk make wistles and bone handles, carve stuff you name it...

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    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 11-19-2010 at 04:37 AM.
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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    skin and brains = clothing
    ulna-radius = hide scraper
    toe bones = arrowheads and fishhooks
    sinew (primarily backstrap)= thread, cordage
    skullcap = scraping tool
    scapula = digging tool
    ribs = saw, scraper
    hoof = decorations
    horns = knapping tools (does don't have horns, tho)
    tail hair = fishing lures
    jaw (with teeth) = saw
    leftover hide and sinew bits = boil into glue
    fat = tallow fuel, soap, grease (cooking and lube)
    bladder, pericardium, and gut = containers

    A deer really is an "all-in-one" package, food, clothing, and tools. I've posted quite a few threads on using different deer parts. Searching for any of the above words should turn up a thread or two.

    I really admire a hunter that wants to use more than just the meat, or only hunts for horns. Dad killed a 6pt buck two weeks ago and showed me the horns. I told him that was more horns than I could eat in a years time (har har har).

    If you would like assistance with any of the projects above, I'm happy to help!
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  5. #5

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    Thanks all!

    YCC I would like assistance.

    I'm processing the deer right now and want to make sure I don't ruin a valuable part in the process.

    I typically cut the legs off at the kneecap without a saw and seperate the legs without saw so I'm thinking this will be good for later removing the tendons, bones, dew claws, etc. etc.


    I want to use the tallow. Is it the hard fat that lies between the skin and flesh? Not the soft fat, right?

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    Senior Member Old GI's Avatar
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    D-i-n-n-e-r!!!!!!
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  7. #7

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    I got the tallow part figured out YCC. Thanks again for the help!

    How do you prepare the bones for use? Specifically, how do you get the remnants off the bones?

    I have all the leg bones, ribs, shoulder blades, hoofs and hocks/ forelegs, skin?, tallow, back sinew, a couple leg tendons, and the head and spine. Not sure what do with the head and spine if anything. The hard part for me is figuring out how to get all the remnants of meat, fat, cartiladge and what have you off the bones. And, I'm not sure about digging in for the brains, but will do it if it's needed for prepping the hide.
    Last edited by rwc1969; 11-19-2010 at 06:44 PM. Reason: Thanks!

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Deer? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl...

    (scene from Airplane)

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    Bend the legs at the "ankle" to make a 90* bend, let dry and screw to a board, Now you have a rifle rack. (obviously not the whole leg but you get my point) Use the tail hair for tying fishing flies, Macerate the skull We used to clean the vertabrae and use them for neckerchief slides while in Boy Scouts. The possibilities are endless...have fun.

  10. #10

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    The pipes are neat WOL, thanks.

    Thanks RCKCRWLR.

    I'm still trying to figure out how to prepare the bones for use, boil them?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ted's Avatar
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    If you boil them,add some baking soda. I don't know why the meat falls off easier, but it does.
    I'm a simple man, of simple means, turned my back on the machines, to follow my dreams.

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Also, look into maceration. You can just drop them in a bucket of water, leave the lid cracked just a litle so bacteria can get in, and wait.
    I would take the skin off the hocks before macerating tho. And the water is going to be stinky! After the meat and tendons have fallen off spread out the bones to dry, then give a good soaking in bleach water to sterilize.
    Ted's method will be faster, and maceration takes the least effort/ resources.

    The tallow I use is the hard fat between the skin and meat. The soft stuff might work, too, I just haven't tried it. grind/ grate/ dice the fat, add water, bring to a boil. When as much fat has melted as possible, pour off the water/fat mix into a bowl, stick it in the fridge to harden. When ready, use a knive to make a small hole in one edge of the "wax" on top, and pour out the water. What's left is your lamp fuel.
    Sorry about being so late getting back to you!
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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Oh yeah.. if you macerate, wear gloves. The bucket will be FULL of flesh eating bacteria.

  14. #14

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    Thanks Ted, I think I'll try that. I just wasn't sure if boiling the bones would damage or weaken them for use.

    YCC, no problem on the delay, thanks. I got a small knick on my knuckle when field dressing the deer and immediately thought of you and your ordeal.

    What do I do with the skin? I pulled it off yesterday and let it hang over a chair for a few hours. I'm thinking that was a mistake because it dried some. But, last night I took and rolled it in on itself fur side out and placed it in a 5 gallon bucket with a loose lid. It has some flesh from around the neck area and some blood from the shot where it pooled. Yes I read yout tut YCC, but tried a new method that failed miserably involving a rock and a rope to pull the skin. I won't be using that method again.

    The thing I'm realizing is time restraints. I have removed and saved many valuable parts, but am running out of time to prepare them in a timely fashion. First priority was getting the meat cut up and on ice, then we're getting into Final time at school and I'm still hunting whenever I get the chance. I planned on doing something with the skin, hocks and such yesterday, but got pulled away from it.

    I will have time, hopefully, tomorrow to skin the hocks and possibly remove the brains and/ or flesh the hide/ soak the hide? But, I still have trim meat to grind, pack and freeze, a liver that needs cooking, and some tallow that needs rendering. Sheesh!

    I thought you had a buckskin tut YCC, but couldn't find it. I'd like to do that or Barktan, but I'm thinking living in the city and not having access to fresh bark the buckskin might be the way to go? or maybe even some rawhide just to get a feel for this?

    With the time limits and such I'm not expecting this skin to turn out great, but would like to get a feel for the process at least with some hands on. Even if the skin doesn't turn out it will not have been a total waste as it will be a learning experience and get me better prepared for the next one. Beats throwing it in the trash IMO, which is what I've always done in the past.

    I need help on fleshing and/ or storing the hide and removing and storing the brains. If there are skull parts that can be used I'd like to save them as well and not damage them getting the brains out.

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    Senior Member Ted's Avatar
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    You may find this of interest, it's a great site!http://www.braintan.com/articles/index.htm
    I'm a simple man, of simple means, turned my back on the machines, to follow my dreams.

  16. #16

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    I appreciate your eagerness to use all there is to use. But the time to prepare is before you shoot the deer, not while it's laying on your butcher table.

    You can salt and freeze the hide for later processing (if you have space in your freezer.)

    Every time someone mentions using maceration my nose hairs curl. It doesn't just stink. It's a stink that sticks. There is nothing worse than floating decomp. When you change the water, don't get it on you. Pour it off into a hole, a deep one, then fill in the hole. And don't let it get away from you. If you get sidetracked with school and forget about it for a couple of weeks you will seriously regret it (though you'll probably remember when the stink wafts through the air.) Hope you don't have any near neighbors.

  17. #17

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    Thanks Ted, I've been checking that out for a while now.

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    No need to salt the hide, really, unless you are going to dry-store it. I just fold them on themselves, roll them up, and freeze them.
    The first step, whether buckskin, bark-tan, or rawhide, is going to be removing the hair. You'll need a 5 gallon bucket, enough sifted ashes (to remove the big charcoal hunks) to fill it about halfway, and about a gallon and a half of water. This will make a lye solution that will cause the hide to swell. Once the solution has settled in the bucket and the brown water is on top, float an egg in it. This is a specific gravity test for pH. It should look like this, with an exposed area about the size of a half-dollar.
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    For rawhide or bark tan, you want to leave it in the lye until the hair rubs off with your fingers. for buckskin, you don't need to wait quite that long.
    You'll need a drawknife and a scraping beam. My beam is a piece of 6" PVC irrigation pipe. Scraping for buckskin can take quite a few hours so if you don't think you'll have time when it's done bucking (the lye step) then freeze it until the schedule will be appropriate. For just rawhide or grain-leather any old gizmo will work as long as you can get to the hair to wipe it off. Do not freeze the hide with lye still in it!

    Once scraped / cleaned, you'll soak it in a clean bucket with the hose in it. Keeping the water running on a trickle will be crucial in keeping bacteria from moving in and setting the hide to decomp (this is the same as maceration!) Once the lye is rinsed out (it won't be "tawny" anymore) you can wring out the excess water, and freeze.

    Keep an eye on that finger. I doubt that the parts have been out so long as to have flesh-eating bacteria yet, but you can never be too safe!!

    I use a sawzall to remove the skullcap and my fingers to extract the brain. It can be frozen with the hide so they'll stay together. The jaw and vertebrae are the only head-bones I would bother saving, tho there are a few small bones in the head that could be used for a few things, I think you'll have enough bones that you won't be wasting anything of real value.

    Buckskin is pretty involved.. I haven't done a buckskin tute simply because it is quite a labor to describe all the processes without being excessively scientific. However, it might be time to do a brief pictorial. I'll work on it as time allows.

    Rawhide and bark tan are by far less labor and time intensive. Rawhide will require a frame.. There's a lot to consider, so I say the first thing is to decide which type of leather you want, and we'll work from there.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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  19. #19

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    Thanks YCC on the salt. I was looking into buying a hide to try my hand at this and they were salt frozen.

  20. #20

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    Thanks ycc, after re-reading your barktan tut that's what I'm going with.

    I'm going to flesh it today and buck it using hydrated lime. I read over at braintan.com that shredded wood mulch from the landscape store will work for making liquor so I'm going to see if they have any, if not I may try using tea.

    Does that sound doable?

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