FAQ

We have traveled across the country to talk with processors and put a few FAQ’s together that cover some commonly-asked questions.   While our information isn’t guaranteed, it should be reasonably accurate and hopefully will address your concerns.   If you have some hints you’d like to have us share on our site, please contact us at inquire@fieldtofreezer.com.   (any information shared becomes the property of Field to Freezer, LLC.)

This is one of the more common questions processors receive from customers, and there are a variety of explanations for not receiving back what you think you should.   With wild game, there are a variety of factors that determine what you get back, including:

        • Where you shot your animal, and what type of weapon you used. Damaged areas are all things that a processor needs to cut out prior to processing, and may also cause you to lose prime cuts depending on your shot placement.  Harvests with head shots and bow-hunters will generally have less wasted meat.
        • Whether some of the meat was spoiled. Properly field-dressing your animal prior to delivery can help prevent this.
        • How quickly you got your animal to a processor and iced or refrigerated it.
        • How did you care for the carcass prior to drop-off? Processors are often faced with animals that are a real mess- skinned animals that have been dragged through the dirt, or animals that have been skinned that have hair all over the meat.   This often needs to be burned off before processing can begin, which can also lead to cleaning charges and other fees.
        • What was the condition of your animal prior to harvesting it? Surprisingly, some animals have already been wounded in the current season or a past season, and will have scar tissue or wounds from bowhunting and other injuries.  Several processors described bucks being wounded from fighting and it becoming infected, all of which needs to be cleaned out and discarded.

One processor we spoke with jokingly said that they process 3,000 deer a season, why would they choose one person’s animal to take meat from if they were going to take it?

The Field to Freezer® system allows a processor to document injuries or issues with an animal at the point of drop-off by taking pictures.   These pictures can accompany an order in our system in case there are questions later on.

Generally speaking, processors strive to get a hunter’s meat back to their direct customer.   This is usually easy for a processor to do with prime cuts from each animal.   However, depending on the game season and processor, meats used for specialty products may be mixed in with other customers’ orders during a process called “batching.”    Batching is usually done because a certain quantity of meat is required just to operate certain machines, and the yield from a single deer may not be enough to run the equipment.   Processors that do batching generally process several orders together with their specialty products in order to operate the equipment.   So, while care is taken to make sure the meat is in a good state prior to processing, it may be partially mixed in with another order.

Depending on the type of meat that you’re having processed, the base meat (such as venison from deer) is a very lean meat, and requires other filler products to be mixed in to prepare the specialty product.  For example, venison alone would not be sufficient to make brats or sausages, so beef or pork or fat is mixed in.  Processors may have different options for percentages and types of fat to use in their products.  The Field to Freezer Express Line allows processors to include their filler ratios into their products so you have a better idea of the total weight of the product that you’re purchasing.

A “gamey”-tasting animal can have a variety of factors leading to why it tastes the way that it does.

Diet is a common variation for flavor of meats, and you may see a big difference, for example, between a deer harvested in Northern Wisconsin versus one harvested in the central part of the state. Northern Whitetail in Wisconsin have a more limited diet, and may be eating bark, grasses, and items they forage for.    Deer in the Central Farmland zone will likely be corn-fed and won’t have as much of the “gamey” influence in their diet.   Big Horn Processing in Buffalo, Wyoming, told us that antelope breakfast sausage is very good because of their heavy diet of sagebrush.  We tried some during one of our #meatings trip with them – and we have to agree!

Another common issue, and perhaps a more unpleasant one, is the care of the carcass before it’s delivered to a processor. Field-dressing an animal, then dragging it through a swamp, isn’t the best recipe for success.  Animals that aren’t rinsed off, refrigerated, have hair or dirt on them, or other issues also tend to make for a less appetizing product.

Did you field dress your animal prior to dropping it off? As we met with processors across the country, we were surprised that some processors we met within the Southeastern United States sometimes included gutting and field dressing as a service with their skinning and processing services.   If there is considerable time (or warm weather) after harvesting an animal but before drop-off, your animal can begin to spoil. Field dressing, and ideally rinsing the carcass out prior to delivery will give you a better result if you don’t expect to get to a processor right-away.

Keep the carcass cool, and pay attention to the temperature when harvested and time to get it to the processor. Depending on where and when you’re hunting, temperatures can vary wildly.   Be sure to rinse and pack your animal with ice to help avoid spoilage, and try to keep the carcass cold prior to delivery.  Needless to say, animals that have begun to spoil will have wasted meat that needs to be discarded.

Keep the animal clean and avoid skinning it or getting dirt or hair on the meat. Often times processors need to do considerable clean-up of the carcass after drop-off, and may charge cleaning fees to clean up the carcass.   Expect that there may be meat that will need to be cut off and wasted in certain situations.

Keep the carcass cool, and pay attention to the temperature when harvested and time to get it to the processor. Depending on where and when you’re hunting, temperatures can vary wildly. Be sure to rinse and pack your animal with ice to help avoid spoilage, and try to keep the carcass cold prior to delivery. Needless to say, animals that have begun to spoil will have wasted meat that needs to be discarded.

Keep the animal clean and avoid skinning it or getting dirt or hair on the meat. Often times processors need to do considerable clean-up of the carcass after drop-off, and may charge cleaning fees to clean up the carcass. Expect that there may be meat that will need to be cut off and wasted in certain situations.

Shots can have a significant effect on your eventual yield.  Shooting a whitetail deer in the hind area with a shotgun or large-caliber gun will damage a lot of your prime cuts, for example.  A broadside chest-shot will generally provide very little damage to your animal, resulting in a greater yield.   A quartering gut-shot can blow internal stomach, intestinal contents, through your prime meats.  If a carcass is riddled with bullets, you can expect much of your prime cuts will be damaged, which might make your animal a better candidate for ground meat or specialty products such as sausage.

Kesly Ellis of Henderson Meat Processing in Urie, Wyoming, reports that they’ve seen a large number of wild game drop-offs coming in with black pepper all of them.  She understood people were doing to keep flies off the carcass, but recommends not doing this as it will all need to be cleaned off upon delivery.