How Much Meat Can I Expect To Get From A Deer?

whitetailed deer

Experienced hunters are known to pinpoint the exact location to down a deer in their region or far off.

After that, they process it on the spot and carry home what they need. Others have the option of turning to a deer processor to complete the task for them. When it comes to matters of the quantity of venison, many factors play a role in the final outcome. It starts with how skilled a hunter is when taking the shot that downs the deer.

Why? It’s because the area where the bullet pierces the deer matters. Always be careful so that the bullet does not hit the area with most flesh because this means you take home less deer meat. Taking the best shot requires you to remain perfectly still, not to startle the healthy animal and make it aware of your presence in the area.

For this reason, many deer hunting pros strive to master being as quiet as possible because it directly affects how much meat they get to take home. After that, they can expect to carry up to 50% of the carcass with them or from a professional processor.

With that in mind, there are some basic terms each skilled hunter must know because this determines how much meat from a deer they carry. The first is the live body weight, which means the total northern deer live weight before it undergoes any processing.

Then comes the hanging weight in meat, which is the weight of the meat remaining after a deer is processed in the field. Lastly, the deer’s accurate field-dressed weight which is the weight of the meat after removing the internal waste.


How Much Does The Average Deer Weigh?

average deer

Deer vary in weight depending on the size you manage to shoot when hunting. Keep in mind the amount of deer meat you’d like to take with you before taking the shot.

In terms of size, there are three categories of deer that include:


Fawns are the young ones of deer that you can hunt for some bit of meat. On average, the weight differs when it comes to male and female fawns. Male whitetail deer fawns, for example, weigh an average of 85 to 100 pounds, while females weigh 80 to 90 pounds of meat.

However, this is the live weight before any form of field dressing takes place. Once the fawn is field-dressed and all other parts removed, the hanging weight is less. Keep this in mind before you decide to shoot a fawn. If the venison yield is enough, it’s the right choice.

Adult Doe

Unlike fawns, adult deer have more venison and better options if you require more meat. Still, the amount of buck venison from an adult doe differs from that of a buck.

The adult does have a live weight of 140 pounds. Once the processing is complete, you will have more meat left, as compared to that from fawns.

Adult Bucks

If you can bag a buck when hunting, you won’t have to worry about venison for some time. On average, adult bucks weigh 160 pounds field dressed and above in terms of live meat. After processing, you have a considerable amount of hanging weight depending on how efficient the process is.

All in all, the amount of edible meat you carry home is always less than live meat. Processing removes all the internal parts and the excesses on the domestic animal known as non-meat areas. These non-meat areas make up a certain percentage of the total weight.

Also Read: Best Places to Find Deer Sheds

Non-meat Areas Of Deer

deer meat processing

Many parts of a deer are not edible, so processing is a necessary step to take.

Once complete, you can fill your freezer with the edible parts that remain. How much meat you get from a deer, is determined by the removal of the following features below:


Skinning is crucial because the hide of deer isn’t edible and serves other purposes. However, the coat takes away a considerable amount of the deer’s weight but varies with size.

For fawn, the hide weighs about 6.7% of the live weight. The adult doe’s hide, on the other hand, weighs 7.9% of the live weight. Finally, you have the adult buck with a hide that takes up 8.7% to 9% of its live weight, depending on the size.


Before you celebrate a kill, know that bones are another part of the deer requiring subtraction from the live weight in order to get what is called “boneless meat”. They take up 13.8% of a fawn’s live weight.

Next is the adult doe, whose bone density takes up 13% of its live weight. The last one is the adult buck, with a bone density of 12.4% of its live weight.


Blood courses through the veins of each deer from fawns to adults. For fawns, blood takes up 6% of their live weight. Next are the adult does and bucks whose blood content is 5% of their live weight.


All the above factors help determine how much edible meat from a deer you take home. The number is not precise because deer weight varies. For example, an adult doe that weighs 156 pounds gives you 55 pounds of venison after processing.

On the other hand, an adult doe’s live weight is 125 pounds; it gives you 44 pounds of meat. This is why each kill provides a varying amount of edible venison at the end of the day. All the non-meat parts you remove do reflect on the final weight.


Waste constitutes all the internal parts that must be removed from the carcass while processing. This internal waste makes up part of a deer’s live weight and includes guts with food content.

The quantity of waste removal from a kill varies depending on each healthy animal. After extracting all the excess content, take note of the weight to determine the remaining usable meat weight.

With all that taken into account, how much meat can you expect to take home after landing a kill?

How Much Meat from a Deer Carcass?

deer harvest chart

It’s normal for hunters to fret over how much meat they can take home from a kill, especially when living in remote areas. The truth is that the amount is about 40% to 50% of the carcass once correctly processed.

You can tell the amount of meat to expect as an experienced hunter by looking at a deer’s girth. For example, southern fawns give lesser meat content than an adult does. Also, adult does weigh less than adult bucks. Not to mention, adult bucks vary in body size and weight too.

Moreover, the more experienced you are, the more venison for burgers with fat you can take from a carcass. Processing is a huge determining factor of the hanging weight of a deer no matter its age. Emphasis is once more on shooting skills in terms of bullet penetration. By aiming with skill, you can avoid fleshy areas that are easily damaged by bullets. It means approaching the animal with precision and skill and not to alert it of your presence.

Once in range, prepare the shot and take time to pick the right positioning. The best spots to shoot a deer are the head, heart, or neck to avoid any meat wastage. Aiming for other areas will take out up to 10 pounds of flesh from the amount of venison you carry from the kill. After taking the shot comes processing, which determines how much meat from a deer you get.

How To Properly Process Deer To Get More Meat

deer meat

It takes more than just killing a deer to get meat. While hunting requires a lot of skill, so does the processing. Failure to do so can result in more meat being wasted. In case you’re not a skilled butcher, find a meat processor near you who is.

They can either use simple tools or machines to get you more venison. Before you can start butchering the animal, start by cutting off all the inedible parts.

Such parts include the head, hoof areas, and innards. Once that part is complete, you can commence skinning, and remember this is a crucial part of the process and requires utmost precision. Starting from the rear end, use a sharp knife to core out the anus area, and then pull out the carcass rectum.

Why? It’s because the rectum contains fecal matter that can easily contaminate the meat. Also, remember to take as much care when handling the gall bladder and bile to avoid spillage. Meat contaminated with bile is awful.

Remember, the correct way to determine the weight of venison you get is by accurately measuring it in the field. Deer weight differs from one kill to the next, and age is another crucial determining factor.

Final Point

Hunters, over time, can master the art of hunting and processing deer out in the wild.

They learn how much meat from a deer they get depends on several factors, including how they shoot the animal. Moreover, little difference exists between deer that are age mates and of a similar sex.

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