How much meat will I get from my deer?

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Deer season 2017 is almost here, and if you're like me, after every successful hunt you're probably left wondering "How much meat will I get from this deer?". If you butcher your own deer it might not be a number that you really care about. You get all the meat off that you can and that’s that. If you care about the number you can weigh it and find out. But for anyone who drops a deer off at a butcher and picks up a box of wrapped and frozen meat a month or so later it could be of more interest, just for curiosity's sake, and to make sure you are getting an appropriate amount of meat back. 

If your processor prepares each customer’s order separately, then the only question will be how efficient they are in getting meat off the carcass, but some deer processors do what is called batch processing. This means that they get a bunch of deer from a bunch of hunters and then process all of them together, giving each hunter a portion of the resulting meat in proportion to the size of the deer that he brought in. This means that you might get your deer, you might get some of your deer and some of another hunter's deer, or you might get none of your deer at all. I am not a fan of batch processing because if I take my deer to a processor I want to be sure the meat I get is from the deer I killed, not someone else's old, tough deer, or one that wasn't field dressed right away and allowed to cool properly. There are many factors that affect the quality of the meat and I want to know that the meat I am getting is the meat I am responsible for. Batch processing simplifies the job for the butcher but leaves the hunter with an end product of questionable quality.

Unsavory butchering techniques aside, if you want to estimate the meat that you will get from your deer, vCalc has several calculators that can help. There are two deer calculators as well as ones for cows, sheep, hogs, and goats. The two calculators for deer compute the meat on a deer based on live weight and the meat on a deer based on a field dressed weight. They are calculated slightly differently but either can be used to get an approximate value depending on whether you weigh your deer before or after field dressing. The live weight is the weight of the deer as killed before anything is done. An average adult doe in my area might weigh between 120 and 150 pounds before dressing and 80 to 100 pounds after. For the live weight calculator this number is entered into the form and you select the type of deer (buck, doe, fawn) from a list. The approximate weight of the hide, bones, internal organs, and other waste are calculated from the given weight and the amount of boneless meat is returned. The field dressed weight calculator only requires the weight of the carcass after dressing, without going into the gory details, a field dressed deer has been opened up and all of the internal organs have been removed.

For a different way of calculating venison yield see: How much meat on a deer (field dressed)
To try a similar calculator for beef cattle use: Weight of meat on a steer
For pigs use: Weight of meat on a hog
For sheep use: Weight of meat on a sheep
For goats use: Weight of meat on a goat