Ever wondered why you seem to be getting less venison than what you’re expecting after the butcher sends the meat back to you? Before you start complaining to your local friendly butcher, you may want to know more about how much venison you can actually get from a mature buck or doe.
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If you’re wondering how much meat do you get from a deer, then this article may just help. Not only will I discuss how to compute your venison yield, I will also give useful tips should you want to try processing your deer at home.
Dealing with Misconceptions
Before we figure out how much venison you can get from one mature buck or doe, let’s set the record straight first. Not all animals are made equal, and some are just way meatier than others. Deer, for instance, don’t really have as much meat in their legs compared to, say, hogs.
Before you feel cheated and start accusing your butcher of shortchanging you, remember that on average, you will only get about 35 to 45 percent of a deer’s field-dressed weight, depending on your catch’s physical condition.
How Do You Compute Your Venison Yield?
While there is no formula to perfectly compute the amount of venison you will get from one buck or doe, it is possible to make accurate estimates, as long as you have the correct data and know how to do the math properly.
I’ve used the following formulas I got from a Deer & Deer Hunting magazine a while back to compute the weight of venison, assuming that the meat is already lean (that is, trimmed of fat) and boneless:
Carcass Weight = Field-dressed weight / 1.331
Boneless Venison Weight (ideal) = Carcass weight x 0.67
Venison Yield (realistic) = Boneless Venison Weight x 0.70
Of course, the final results may vary a bit from the actual yield, but I’m happy to say that this equation has given me more or less accurate results. Just remember to consider wastage as one of the factors why your venison weight might be less than what you expected.
So How Much Meat Do You Get From a Deer?
An adult buck would usually weigh an average of 160 pounds while an adult doe would weight about 140 pounds. Fawns, understandably, weigh less (an average of 100 pounds), but I usually avoid hunting them so I’ll not include them in this computation. Note that we are talking about field-dressed weights here.
Given the above formulas and the weights, a mature 160-pound buck will have a carcass weight of 120.21 pounds, an ideal boneless venison weight of 80.54 pounds, and a realistic venison yield of 56.38 pounds. So that’s around 56 pounds of lean, boneless venison for a mature buck weighing 160 pounds.
On the other hand, a 140-pound doe will have a carcass weight of 105.18 pounds, an ideal boneless venison weight of 70.47 pounds, and 49.33 pounds of realistic venison yield. So that’s almost 50 pounds of meat for an adult doe after taking out the waste from field dressing it.
Now, of course all this meat won’t come in one huge slab that you would then stick in your freezer. Once you send your deer to the butcher, he will take care of quartering and cutting the venison into smaller pieces and send them back to you packed in batches.
Check out this video for a sample of the cuts of meat you will get after the butcher has finished processing your deer:
How Do You Process Your Own Deer?
If you prefer to process your deer on your own instead of sending it over to the butcher, you may actually do this at home. Below are quick instructions that will help you butcher your deer properly, assuming you’ve already done the initial field dressing.
Skinning the deer. I like to hang a deer upside down before skinning it because it’s usually easier to get off the hide that way. Use a sharp and reliable stainless skinning knife to remove the hide off the deer and then start skinning from top to bottom, carefully peeling the membrane away as you work your way down.
Quartering the deer. Take the time to learn the basic parts of a deer, starting from its shoulders, backstraps, neck, then going to its hind quarters, sirloin, and other parts. This will help you know how to properly quarter and slice them into smaller pieces.
If you want more detailed steps, you can also check my previous article on Deer Butchering.
You don’t have to be a math wizard to know how much meat you will get from a mature buck or doe you caught during a hunt. While remembering the formulas are indeed helpful, you can just keep in mind that you’ll get about 35 to 45 percent of your deer’s field-dressed weight for your consumption.
If you want to process your venison at home, try to familiarize yourself with how to properly butcher a deer first, so that you’ll minimize wastage and get the most out of your catch.
Did this article help? How do you compute your venison weight? Let me know in the comments’ section below. Let’s talk about it!