How long can you wait to skin a deer?
On average, as mentioned above - five days will do most hunters just fine. This is a suggested amount of time to allow for the cooling and aging process to happen properly. This much time allows the deer meat to move past the rigor mortis stage, to where the collagen will begin to break down in the deer meat.
A shady spot where temperatures stay at or below forty to fifty degrees is best for storing for two to three days. If it is cooler than your refrigerator, your deer may hang for a bit longer. Hanging the deer in a walk-in cooler is ideal, but you may quarter the deer and put it into a chest freezer.
While opinions vary, it's generally accepted that a heart shot deer can be recovered right away, double lung shot deer can be tracked within 30 to 90 minutes, a single lung or liver hit deer should likely be given closer to 4 to 6 hours, and a gut hit deer should be given 8 to 12 or more hours.
A deer can go for about three days without being field dressed, but it's essential to keep the animal calm and dry during this time. If you can capture the deer quickly, there is no need to waste time carrying out the slaughter process.
A dead deer left overnight with the guts inside is probably going to have at least some spoilage, regardless of the weather. It's over 100 degrees inside a deer's chest cavity, and the animal is wearing a fur coat designed to insulate it from winter weather.
You want to field dress a deer as soon as possible, particularly if you punctured the stomach. Field dressing cools the meat down quickly and helps prevent bacterial growth. You can tell when an animal was not dressed quickly because it will have a very strong, gamey flavor.
Stop and Wait — Before climbing down from your treestand or leaving your blind, wait for a while, at least 30 minutes after shooting your deer. If your bullet didn't cause immediate death, waiting for a half-hour can help prevent your wounded animal from being scared and further pushed into the woods.
If you think there's even a chance you may have hit "a little back," sit tight. Most gut-shot deer will lie down within 100 yards.
It is a hunter's ethical responsibility to stop the hunt and search for any wounded animal. You should wait for at least a half-hour to an hour before trailing a deer, unless the downed deer is in sight. Make a practice of carefully observing every movement of a game animal after you shoot it.
According to Dr. Cutter, when temperatures are above 40 degrees F, bacteria grow rapidly once the deer is dead, and the higher the temperature the faster the growth. “If it's cold weather, and it's a clean shot, you might be able to do fine,” she said.
What do you do with deer carcass after field dressing?
Heads, hides, and entrails should be buried at least 2 to 3 feet deep so dogs or other animals won't dig up the remains and drag them around. Alternatively, hunters can take the remains to their local landfill provided the landfill accepts animal carcasses.