November 18, 2020—Posted by: Katie Nichols

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—Hunters and outdoorsmen need to look no further than the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s YouTube channel to brush up on deer processing techniques. The Deer Processing Video Series provides hunters with the techniques and food safety guidelines needed to safely and properly process their deer. While these videos are a good refresher for experienced outdoorsmen, they are also an excellent teaching tool for new hunters.

Deer Processing

Alabama’s hunters harvest more than 200,000 deer per year in the state. While most hunters drop off their deer at a local processor, others may choose to process venison on their own. Alabama Extension forestry, wildlife and natural resources specialist Mark Smith, said the deer processing video series was developed with all outdoorsmen in mind.

“Whether your reason is to save on processing costs or to get the feeling of accomplishment and independence, these videos are a great resource,” he said. “Both new and seasoned hunters interested in making sure their harvest reaches the table can benefit from this series.”

These videos also demonstrate how to get the most meat and best flavor by using proper caring and butchering techniques.

Food Safety Matters

While deer harvesting technique is certainly important, proper storage of venison is also paramount.

Bridgette Brannon, an Alabama Extension regional food safety agent, said the series of deer processing videos is important for Alabama hunters because safe handling of the deer at every step from harvest to consumption will significantly reduce the risk of contamination.

“Venison can become contaminated with E.coli and other harmful micro-organisms that cause food borne illness,” Brannon said. “Therefore, hunters must take care when field dressing a deer.”

These videos show how proper handwashing, sanitizing of equipment and other sanitary methods can decrease the risk of illness. They also include information on freezing, including proper packaging materials, what to put on the label and the storage time.

Deer Processing Video Series

Video topics include

  • Safety guidelines
  • Deer handling
  • Deer skinning
  • Removing meat
  • Processing meat
  • Storage preparation

Interested viewers can find the video series on the Alabama Cooperative Extension System website or on the Alabama Extension YouTube channel.

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As the Bibb County Coordinator for Alabama Extension, Matthew D. Hartzell coordinates the implementation of all Extension programs in Bibb County in many program areas. These program areas include 4-H and Youth Development, Animal Sciences, Food Safety and Quality, Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, Family and Child Development, Family Resource Management and Workforce Development, Commercial Horticulture, Home Grounds, Gardens and Home Pests, Farm and Agribusiness Management, and Community and Economic Development. Hartzell has served in his current position for 12 years and held primary program assignments in Community and Economic Development, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, and Forestry Wildlife and Natural Resources.