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butchering a bear

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rickwalley
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8/30/09 11:51 PM CST
Guys: Anything different about cutting up a bear vs. a whitetail? I've got a kill tag this year and seeing I've already blown past my budget on everything else involved, I'm thinking of cutting up the bear myself to save some $. Is the idea to basically completely bone it out and cut off all fat you can? Will the bear have the same cuts as a deer, loins tenderloins, roasts, etc., etc. Anything not to do?

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canine_trapper
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9/10/09 10:49 AM CST
My bear last year had 5 inches thick (measured) of fat on his back towards his rump area. There is also fat between every muscle group. I found it very time consuming to butcher the bear compared to a deer. And yes, my bear also had fat in the meat. Kind of like "marbleing" of a good beef steak, only this fat doesn't taste like beef fat.

150class
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9/10/09 6:41 AM CST
Up North - you mention the vast amount of fat within the meat. This is the first time Ive heard of this. I thought it was all/or mostly around the outside..round the outside..

Northwoodsbuckhunter
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9/10/09 12:59 AM CST
Also, it is true that yield is not what you would expect for a bear. In the fall there is usually a thick layer of fat around the whole carcass. If bears were raised commercially, it would be difficult to make it economically viable!

Northwoodsbuckhunter
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9/10/09 12:58 AM CST
If you eat bear when it is fresh, it is very good. We made bear steaks and then let some people try it, letting them guess what it was. Most of them thought it was beef, nobody guessed bear.

We also made snack stix and other sausage items. All of them turned out good.

However, if it sits in the freezer for long it can go rancid pretty badly due to the type of fat. From the same bear described above, I later ate some and it was terrible.

Trichinosis is a problem with bear meat. Actually, it is no longer really much of an issue with pork since commercial hogs are no longer fed garbage. Almost all cases of trichinosis in the U.S. are caused by bear meat, not pork. Therefore, you shouldn't eat bear rare. Cook it to 160 F or higher to be sure. On a side note, freezing pork for over 20 days is well documented to kill the parasites. But for some reason the CDC does not recommend this same procedure for wild game.

up-north
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9/9/09 9:42 PM CST
certified, as in pork...and with bear...cool quickly, remove all fat, cook at no lower than 165 degrees. No rare meat....jerky, smoking and grilling all good, but it has to be cooked slow to remove vast quantities of fat within the meat. slow cooker is a great tool.....don't forget those red potatoes, butter and onions! Smile

GWH
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9/9/09 7:01 PM CST
I`d like to share a very simple recipe with you bear hunters.

Cut your bear meat into bite size pieces , get a package of vegetable soup starter. next place all into a slow cooker ( you can add more vegi`s ,corn etc... ) add enough water so it`s about half an inch or so from the top. Let cook all day on low. Season to taste and enjoy. Now I`m hungry.

Good luck hunters Big Smile

Big Spanker
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9/4/09 11:09 PM CST
Rickwalleye, Since you are over budget already one thing is for sure harvested bears need special care as apposed to a deer. First off the hide goes south faster than the meat. If I were you waited years for a tag and I harvested a bear this is what I would do, and average it out over the 6-10 years it takes to get a tag: Bait, Hunt, Processing, and Mount are what $125.00 per year?

Retrieve and field dress ASAP unless temps in the low 20's will take a bear pelt and meat south in no time. Don't blame the taxi, or processor if the hair falls out, or the sausage tastes like crap, bear meat needs special care.

Find someone with a walk-in cooler to hang your bear for the first 24-72 hours to store your bear, and take it there ASAP. This is better than any ice blocks, or anything you can do on your own. Good air circulation cools down the hide and carcass and protects you from the obvious pitfalls with Black Bears in WI. Most registration stations charge little or nothing, $2.00-$5.00 a day and this will go a long way to preserving your pelt, and cooling the meat to a temperature suitable for butchering. The Heavy fat cuts much better when it is chilled to the right temperature so butchering yourself is easy. Most Taxi's will skin for best measurements and quarter for a small fee, money well spent.

Finally if you have blown your wad before the hunt I might suggest that you wait another year, the difference between a poor hunt and disappointing mount is waiting for enough $$ to do it right. Skimp and you will be disappointed. Take it from one who knows.

Big Spanker

LIEBE
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9/4/09 9:31 PM CST
Sapman, Last year I shot a 306lber dressed out and I would guess you would get the same amount of meat from a 150lb dressed out deer.I was very surprised by the small amount of meat you get.She did however have about 4 inches of fat on her and the hide was also very heavy.As far as butchering it up that night I would have to say you will be up a long time. If you can get the hide off and quarter it up you will be doing good.Just get the quarters in a cooler,that is very important.

Good luck LIEBE

sapman
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9/4/09 3:51 PM CST
I know when I butcher a deer I get 2 grocery bags of meat. If I'm that lucky to get say... a 250 pounder, how much meat do i end up with? Just wondering if I need to line up freezer space at the cabin.

I heard from everyone that's got one. butcher them up that night.

canine_trapper
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9/4/09 3:22 PM CST
I got a 427 pound bear last season and butchered it myself. The taxidermist skinned it out and let me hang it on his hoist to de-bone it. I then put the meat in large coolers with ice to cool the meat.

If I could do it all over again, I would take the bear in to have it processed. It took me forever to completely butcher that whole bear by myself. Theres a butcher shop in Stevens Point that I had some of the meat smoked at, that has a brochure that they charge $55 (last years prices). I would definitely go that route the next time.

dmr2176
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9/4/09 7:30 AM CST
Get rid of ALL the fat, thats where bad taste comes from in any wild game and cool it ASAP

bearplotts
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9/2/09 9:36 AM CST
For brats or breakfast sausage, I would recommend Roscoes in Phillips. They make the best bear sausage I have had.

150class
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9/2/09 9:15 AM CST
I was quoted $2.85 lb to butcher a bear. Can you imagine taking in a 400 lb bear for butchering? That's only $1140.00 for butchering. This is at a butcher shop in the Eagle River area

SHOCKERS
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9/2/09 8:55 AM CST
Can you make it into sausage? How is it?

LIEBE
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9/2/09 8:16 AM CST
I would have to suggest being prepared with plenty of ice, or another system for cooling the bear down is very important.Skinning the bear the evening you get it and getting it into a coolers with ice will certainly help improve the taste of the bear meat.Even if you just quarter it up.I was told bear will spoil quicker then whitetails.(this could have something to do with the warmer temps in early sept)

As far as cutting them up I have cut up plenty of whitetails and would say bear are not the same as a whitetail.However if you have cut up whitetails before and take your time you should have no problem cutting one up.Just begin by boning it out.May not be professional but you can take some pride in doing it yourself.

We made mine into steaks, roasts,hamburger,and jerky. I never had a bear brat that I liked.Most of our meat is done in a slow cooker.As far as the sweetness of the meat that is up to your taste buds,but I can tell you it isn't like having a hand full of jelly beans.

Good luck on your hunt LIEBE

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