Been doing it for years. Usually sit around the fire in the evening with a lantern and cut up meat. Put it in plastic bags, label it and freeze it. You have to remember to leave evidence of sex on an edible piece of meat with your tag attached. You don't need to run them 24/7 either. 6 or 8 hours is more than enough, less if the weathers cold.
Thanks for the tips cc! Never thought of taking a freezer either. What does it cost for a basic setup to process your meat? Do you vacuum seal or Butcher paper?
It really depends how you want to process your meat. I did mine growing up with a knife and ziplock freezer bags! Now I have a grinder, smoker, mixer, sausage stuffer, vacuum sealer, dehydrator, burger press, jerkey gun, big cutting boards, slicer, I think thats most of it. lol. You dont necessarily need alot of that but it makes it alot easier. I would definitely recommend atleast getting a vacuum sealer, and a grinder would be very helpful. I have a 1hp cabelas grinder that i really like but Im sure a smaller grinder would work fine too. It kinda depends on how much you plan on doing and how patient you are. Since I got the grinder I cut some nice steaks and grind the rest. I make alot of pre formed burger patties and sausage out of what I grind. I used to use the grinder to stuff sausage but it doesnt work all that well and I got a stuffer last year and it is much easier and faster. I smoke some sausage and some I package fresh. processing your own meat can be very addictive once you get started and its well worth it IMO!! Plus you know its YOUR meat in your freezer!! What do you usually pay to get a deer processed? Feel free to PM me if you have more questions!
Also, I have a vacuum pack food saver. It does an absolutely wonderful job at maintaining meat. If you can find the budget, I highly recommend getting one. Its amazing how long it can keep meat and fish.
I bought an all steel grinder that hooks up to my wifes kitchen aide grinder. it does the job and didn't break the bank.
I have a commercial grinder that I bought at an auction when a butcher shop closed. I also have a sausage/brat stuffer. I usually take a big chopping block with me to work on. Bone all the meat, cut steaks/chops, jerky meat and burger meat. I use ziplok bags in the field. When I get home I repackage the steaks & chops with my vacuum packer. I thaw & grind the burger, make the sausage, etc all at home, then vacuum pack it all them. I smoke my brats before I freeze them and also make breakfast sausage. All my trimmings are pressure cooked, packaged, frozen and fed to my lab, great protein to supplement commercial dog food.
One nice thing about hunting by my self is once i fill my tag I can head for home. I just take a cooler and cool out my animal and put it in the cooler and throw a block or 2 of dry ice on it as as soon as I get to a town and its fine till I get home. If its fairly cold I dont even bother with the dry ice and if it its freezing at night it works pretty well to open the cooler at night and let it get cold and then close it in the morning. I bet if you kept an eye on ebay you could find some used processing equipment pretty reasonable