I've done both and couldn't tell a difference in either case. Took two does this year so far, and both times felt it was to warm out to let them hang. I butcher my own, so they both went straight to the freezer. The meats is wonderful, tender, great taste. If I'd be so lucky as to get another deer this weekend, I may let it hang now that the temp. has finally dropped.
As a side note, I'd be more willing to let an older deer hang, allowing the outside temp. was cool enough to do that safely.
I used to try to age mine with the hide on for around 5 days because I had read that enzymes in the meat act as natural tenderizers.
A good friend of mine has since read that venison does not have the same enzymes as beef, and it does no good to let it hang for extended periods of time. Now I let it hang as long or short as it takes for me get to it.
If the weather is right (I don't have a cooler) I am a firm believer in letting deer age. All mammals have the enzymes that benefit tenderness if they have a chance to work, many just don't need it. All animal go through rigor mortis just after death and enzyme action proceeds to break down muscle fibers. We all contain the seeds of own destruction.
I once killed a big 11 point and the only vehicle I had at the time was a Dodge Omni. I put in the hatchback trunk and by the time I got home it had stiffed up pretty good and it took quite a bit of pulling and tugging to get out by myself!:biggrin:
I hang them from the rear legs, skin them as quickly as I can, so much easier when they are a bit warm yet.
If it was going to be a matter of time before I could care for the deer, then maybe I'd leave the hide on. If the weather's cool and insects are not a concern, skin it!
I also think there's just no need at all to cut the throat.
There is no reason to cut a deer's throat. If you gut them the majority of the blood is removed from the animal. I just think that this is another one of those old traditional things that has never sufficiently died out. I couldn't tell you if beef and venison have different enzymes or not, but I do know that I let the buck I shot this year hang in a walk-in cooler at 35 degrees for 10 straight days (with hide off). This was a "tough old sausage buck" that dressed at 206 #. The buck sat in my buddy's garage (at real cold temps.) for another 2-3 days after the first 10 days. I've eaten, as well as another friend of mine who I gave a little to, some of the meat since and it is excellent. The reason that I said "old sausage buck" is because, in my opinion, this is another old myth that hasn't completely died out. Sure, a 2 year-old doe will be much more tender, etc. than a 4+year-old buck. The point is, if it is an older animal, let it age so the good bacteria can break down the meat fibers. Preferably at a constant steady temp. from 34-38 degrees.
If you don't have access to the above, and it is cold outside (freezine or lower), letting it hang in a garage and actually freezing won't hurt it at all.
A forum community dedicated to hunting and fishing enthusiasts in the Indiana area. Come join the discussion about safety, gear, tackle, tips, tricks, optics, hunting, gunsmithing, reviews, reports, accessories, classifieds, and more!