How Much Meat Is on a Deer?

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Have you ever downed a prime buck and wondered how much meat is on a deer? You can get approximately 70 to 75% of a deer’s hanging weight, which is how much it weighs after being field dressed and stripped.

The amount of venison you can harvest from a deer is also determined by its size, which relates to its type and sex. 

Your own or a butcher’s skill or technique of stripping meat from the carcass is also a factor to consider. 

Another contributor to how much meat you can get from a deer includes the area hit by the bullet. Also called bloodshot meat, the quantity of fleshy body meat that’s ruined will also decrease what you take home. 

Estimate How Much Meat a Deer Can Yield Before Taking the Shot

It’s vital when hunting to be able to estimate how much venison you can harvest from a deer. This gives you a better idea of what to expect once you take in your deer carcass for processing.

Factors to Consider 

If you are doing field dressing, a few points to note when estimating deer size for meat quantity include;

  • Each season you’ll only be allowed to kill a certain number of deer according to state laws. If you are hunting to fill your freezer, you must ensure that the deer you down will provide enough for your needs.
  • For those paying to have the deer butchered by a processer, you’ll want to make sure the meat you are getting back equals the cost. 
  • Since time is needed to field dress venison and haul it back home, you also need to make a sure judgment for deer that it’s worth the hassle. 

Having a good idea of how much meat the deer you’re targeting will yield is based on factors of weight and size. Girth or roundness as a symmetrical object at its widest point is the best estimator for meat quantity before killing a deer

It takes quite a bit of practice to have an eye for a deer’s girth, translating that into its overall weight. Once you’ve figured out how much an animal weighs alive, you’ll be able to know how many pounds of venison to expect.

The species of deer you’re after and its state of health will also determine what amount of venison you’ll get from its carcass. A nursing doe will have more fat in their meat, while after the mating season, bucks add on weight. 

Before taking the shot, consider which part of the deer’s body you want to target. It’s important since if you misplace your shot in the meaty dear part, you risk destroying a lot of venison. 

Guessing the Weight of a Deer by Its Girth

Size is a heavy determinant of how much meat you’ll get from a deer. It’s essential therefore to know how to look at a deer’s girth to guess its weight.

The average gallivanting buck will weigh close to 160 pounds, while a mature doe weighs nearly 140 pounds. 

As a hunter, you are looking to maximize your take, and as such we hunt good-sized males. Depending on the type of deer available where you live, weights will vary.

White-tailed deer is by far the most common type of deer hunted in the US. An adult whitetail buck with the girth of around 24 inches will weigh approximately 55 lbs.

This means that for each inch you add to a whitetail deer’s widest point, the weight equivalent increase is about 5 pounds.

However, this is only true until you start getting larger types of deer. With larger girth, the variances in inch versus pounds are nearly double since weight increases more rapidly.

For instance, a deer with a girth of 30 inches weighs 90 pounds at most. A 40-inch girth gives 182 pounds or near on.

When doing a filed weigh estimate, you must consider the sex of the deer. I’ve also heard it said that northern deer weigh more than southern ones, due to natural selection factors.