Butchers Journal

Good times were had recently, 3 Sambar deer hinds from the farm, not only are we controlling introduced animals, but providing meat for many families and friends. Taking ownership over the meat that you consume should be high on your priority for a sustainable life.

Sambar deer were introduced into Australia in the 1860s, near kinglake Victoria. Since then they have increased in huge numbers, some say to well over 1 million in the wilds of Victoria, with such huge numbers, hunting alone cannot control the numbers, and farmers are generally too busy farming to deal with pest species. Deer in Victoria are a protected game species, which is an old law but actually provides a lot of revenue for the government to employ officers to protect the species and make sure hunters are doing the right thing.


Many farmers are more worried about hunters rather than the deer species. Mostly they are worried about their own stock being shot or wayward bullets wizzing past their homes. Having a farm to hunt on is a privilege and should be respected. It can form a really great relationship, hunters controlling pest animals on farms when farmers dont have the time and resources and in payment, hunters can take many, many kilos of meat home to share amongst their family, friends and neighbors. This precious meat is from an animal that has grown up without fences, paddocks and penned up, till one day without fear they are shot dead, this death is very quick and painless.

Put this up against the kind of farming that is taking place across the globe, animals that dont see sunlight, that are not cared for, that are penned up and fattened, not knowing freedom, in strak contrast are free roaming deer, that have a life that is carefree till death. Most hunters care very deeply about the animals that they hunt, as do I.

I hunt with respect for the animal that will provide for me and my family. In death its still respected, using all the animal and not wasting it.

I cut deer up completely differently to a beef, pigs or sheep. They are somewhere in between, the structure of the animals is the same but they are more like beef than sheep.

Start with gutting the animal in the field, hang over night in coolroom preferably, but not essential in winter

Whole carcass and two boned sambar in cool room

Pull the front leg back and cut down along the body of the animal

shoulders taken off the carcass

By breaking it down into 3 main primals, its easier to remove the hair and to break it down. This barrel now has most of the hair removed from the front legs. Then its easy to follow the spine and remove the backstrap.

hanging barrel

Boning part 2

boning the backstrap ( scotch, porterhouse and T bone)

The shoulders are tricky and really the most difficult part of the process, removing the shoulder blade and humerous bone are possibly the hardest part. This meat is tender and loves to be slow cooked, roast or casserole.


Boned and rolled shoulder ( the best roast)

When these are hung you may choose to H-bone them or cut them into 2 seperate and bone them out on the bench, I will post videos of this process.

hind legs, cut off at the rump (

Almost boned leg

Round, with top and bottom cap taken off the primal

Round, primal- good for schnitzel

Back leg boned into primals ( note the light colour of the meat) Perfect

Tray of backstrap (porterhouse)

The bullet of choice (30-06)

I love having a skill that others find handy, that I can help others, teach others the skill that is a life skill. I identify with my past, very strongly and have considered to run some butchering classes, possibly, if hunters shoot an animals and bring it over, I can teach them how to cut it up properly, that way less meat will be wasted.
What do you think, would you pay for some lessons?

About franash

A sustainable minded, deep thinking, holistic person, wanting to show people how they can provide for most of their own food
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