You got a deer early in the season, awesome. But when mild temperatures are in the forecast, how can you hang your deer for an appropriate amount of time? The answer lies within a box of Chateau de Cardboard.

We all know how unpredictable Maine weather can be, especially during deer season. Some years it can be bone-chilling on the opening day of archery season, then 70 degrees for the opening of rifle season. Warm temps and freshly harvested deer don't mix. A balmy stretch of weather can be a hunter's worst nightmare when trying to hang a deer for a couple of days.

Hanging a deer allows for the animal carcass to go through the stages of rigor mortis. After death, the muscles and joints of the animal begin to stiffen. If one was to butcher the meat from the carcass, except for tenderloins, the end result would be very tough meat. Rigor will reverse after a couple of days. The trick is keeping the carcass dry and cool, between 32 and 42 degrees, for the period of hang time.

Paul Wolfe, Townsquare Media
Paul Wolfe, Townsquare Media

One hunting hack that can help on mild days requires only the bladder in a box of wine. Once empty, refill the bladder with water, and freeze. The bigger boxes of wine have perfect-sized reservoirs to fit within the ribcage of a deer. They tend to be made of thicker plastic, making them more resistant to puncture. They're also easily stackable, allowing for room to put two or three of the frozen bladders within the carcass.

Tying the hind legs of the deer together will ensure the bladders don't fall out of the ribcage. If you hang your deer by the hind legs, tie together the front legs if needed. Depending on size, this may not be necessary.

Frozen milk jugs can also do the trick, however, it can be more difficult to place multiple inside the carcass. Blocks of ice also work but do not allow water to pool on the meat. Pooled water can promote bacteria growth.

The 2021 Maine deer season is underway. Recently, archery season opened. Rifle season will begin November 1, with Maine Resident Day set for October 30.

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