I butcher my own meat, because I want to know it was cared for as carefully on the way to the freezer as it was in the field.
But at the end of every butchering session, I’m left with a carcass of bones and an empty hide. Normally I’ll take a drive out into the prairie and dump the carcass in a remote wash, a little gift for the coyotes and other scavengers.
Then I’ll take the hide to our local recycling yard, where I’ll trade the fresh skin for a pair of tanned gloves. It seems like a good bargain; I don’t have to worry about disposing of the hide, I get a decent pair of gloves in the bargain, and someone, somewhere can make better use of the hide than I can.
In some years, I’ll shoot 10 or more deer, so the hides–and the gloves–really stack up. In a recent Billings Gazette, reporter Brett French had an interesting story about the fate of deer and elk hides from hundreds of hunters who, like me, have been accustomed to trading raw skins for finished gloves.
The story made me wonder: what do other hunters do with the carcass and hides of the big-game animals they kill. Chime in. I’d be curious to know how you dispose of your home-butchered carcasses and the hides that once covered them.