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I am considering going on a guided hunt with an outfitter. This is the first time I've done hunts for game that you can stock your freezer with. I keep coming across the statement that the outfitter will do "game prep but not processing".

What exactly does that mean?

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It means that they will clean and gut/quarter but not turn it into jerky/steak/hamburger for you. In other words they will help you get it out of the field and then it’s up to you to process it from there.

You would need to process it yourself or find a butcher shop that will finish it.

  • So they would give me the entire animal stripped down? Or in quarters? In other words, what exactly am I bringing home? – Unknown Coder Feb 9 at 22:27
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    @UnknownCoder My expectation would be that it's either quartered to the point that you can put the meat into a cooler, or put into game bags or possibly just gutted for small animals like antelope. – Charlie Brumbaugh Feb 9 at 23:37
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    Likely they can also suggest a local butcher or two to do the rest. – Jon Custer Feb 10 at 17:11
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    Or just do it yourself. It's time consuming but butchering game isn't exactly wizardry. Just follow the golden rule of don't pull with a knife in your hand. Of course, it depends if you're traveling far or not. 60 lbs of meat is a lot easier to handle than a 170 lb gutted corpse. – Adonalsium Feb 12 at 16:53
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    @Adonalsium There are also lots of useful video guides to butchery in general and some game specific ones online. Someone I've found particularly useful is Scott Rea. He is UK based, so his game videos might not be entirely on point for the OP, but he will teach general principles. I recently used his vids as a guide to break down lamb legs to joints more suitable for 2 people and have probably never roasted a whole chicken since I learned from him how to break one down. – Spagirl Feb 13 at 12:48
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Processing would be turning the field dressed animal into freezer size portions (e.g. like what you'd find in the grocery store at the butcher counter).

Field prep (aka field dressed) would be just removing the entrails and, if it's a larger animal, quartering into a size you can carry out of the woods.

I don't want to post it here in case anyone is squirmish but I'd suggest Googling or YouTube'ing "field dressed elk" so you can get a general sense of what you'd be left working with. You could also ask the outfitter for recommendations on processors as they've likely worked with others to solve the same problem.

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