Because the deer meat you process will not be consumed for several months or longer, it is imperative to carefully mark, date and package the portions. Smaller, serving sized portions are recommended rather than large packages. The smaller portions can be combined to form larger meals if necessary.

Each portion should be clearly marked with the date killed, type of deer killed, and cut of meat. “Codes” and unclear abbreviations should be avoided because they may be forgotten after a few months.

Knowing the type of deer killed may influence how the meat is prepared when the time comes.

These portions are frozen for long-term storage. When freezing meat, we recommend that it be spread out in the freezer to allow it to freeze more quickly. The frozen portions are then re-stacked into similar cuts of meat so that the contents of the freezer can be easily monitored and cuts are not “lost.”

How the deer is packaged will determine how long it will last in the freezer. Double wrapping with a combination of clear plastic wrap and plastic-coated freezer wrap will last the longest, provided all of the air is removed during the packaging. Vacuum packing will also allow for long-term storage, as long as the vacuum seal remains in tact.

Well-packaged deer meat can last up to one-year in your freezer. However, because of its high quality, it is often consumed well before that time.

Sharing venison is a great way to share your success. Check your state regulations regarding transferring game meat to someone who may not have a deer-hunting license. It is a good practice to write a brief note that explains that you are transferring this meat from you (the person who harvested the animal) to a third party to avoid any questions about the meat’s origins.