How much meat off a boned out bull

brsnow

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You can keep it simple. I take tenderloin and back straps, then grind the rest of the elk. I do not add anything to the meat, just straight ground elk. I like knowing I am getting my own elk back.
 

Mule3006Elk

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I mean I realize there is a lot of trimming involved in processing a boned out elk, vs straight from the carcass, as the dried surfaces will have to be trimmed off of most every piece, but only 132 off a whole bull just doesn't seam right to me when I brought him well over 200.

I shot a cow elk. Pretty decent size. Based on weight of boneless meat we estimate her weight at 400 lbs. I did the processing myself. Final weight for the freezer was 131 lbs.
I didn't grab the rib meat. I did get most of the neck meat. No sausage (extra meat) in the final weight. I think 30-33% of live is pretty darn close.
 

Rob5589

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Do your own cutting, only take meat for burger to a processor. You’ll then get an understanding how dying out individual pieces /muscles can really affect finished product.
Or buy a grinder and diy. I have an attachment for the wife's Kitchenaid mixer. Took me about an hour to grind ~15 lbs.
 

JakeSCH

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Or buy a grinder and diy. I have an attachment for the wife's Kitchenaid mixer. Took me about an hour to grind ~15 lbs.

You can use the money you would spend on a butcher to get good equipment. I bought the cabela's 1 HP grinder and that thing is a monster. It really helped when with my 80 lb of grind last fall.

For fun I did 40 lb with 20% pork fat and 40 lb with 10% beef fat. I definitely enjoy them both, but mainly used the pork fat mixture to make sausage and the beef fat for burger.

Before I had the grinder, I had steaks, roasts, and crockpot meat. Shanks breaking down slowly in a crockpot all day is seriously one of my favorite meals.
 

Brendan

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Only bull I've weighed was a small raghorn 5-pt, 175# boned out in game bags. Didn't keep much flank / neck meat because of heat and being solo, so maybe a little more potential I could've gotten out.

I'm a big fan of processing my own. Throw it in coolers, drive it across country, have good gear waiting to take care of it when I get home. A real grinder helps, I just turned a bunch of freezer fossils into grind today that's going into chili and getting dehydrated for dehydrated dinners - my grinder ground it and spit it out as fast as I could feed it in.
 

Finch

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No experience processing or having an elk processed but I typically do all of my whitetail kills. No one cares or will take the time to process your animal as well as you will.
 

5MilesBack

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You can use the money you would spend on a butcher to get good equipment. I bought the cabela's 1 HP grinder and that thing is a monster.

I bought the Cabela's 1hp grinder 15 years ago and it's still going strong. I ground ~270lbs of moose this week and one time through the grinder comes out like "butcher-grade" burger ready for the freezer.
 

willy

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I've always butchered my own elk., except the first one.

I don't recall the #'s from that one but I've averaged a little over 200 pounds trimmed/cleaned up boneless meat when done with the last 5 bulls I've killed. Last year was 202 and the previous was 222. I do not add tallow or any other meat to it.

I find it hard to believe that is the amount you came away with but if it was dried down via hanging perhaps its possible. Ask a butcher you trust the scenario about if meat hangs what is it's weight loss.
 

TraderMike

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The biggest bull I ever tagged yielded just over 250 pounds of boned-out and pretty well trimmed meat. I spent 5 hours processing him on a large piece of Tyvek and kept the meat clean. I had no choice but to drop the meat at a processor; I was obligated to hunt with my buddy for the remaining 6 days of the September hunt. The processor tried to tell me 80 pounds of my bull ended up in the "trash" due to trimming. This explanation occurs while I am looking at their brochure listing prices for various cuts of elk, deer, and antelope that they sell.
The bill I was presented with was paid with a credit card but after fuming over the situation I called them and gave them a few options;
1. refund my credit card in full , or...
2. I will dispute the charge with my bank and jam the process of payment as much as possible
3. I would be happy to meet them in front of a judge and explain the circumstances from my point of view

They refunded my card immediately. I process all my own game now and have a refrigerator sitting in the corner of my garage solely for storing meat until I can deal with it. This event still pisses me off and it happened in 2016.....

To your point, IMO you got screwed.
 

Dos Perros

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Just adding a data point here: I got a nice fat (wet) cow one time and she was 132 pounds in the freezer after some pretty liberal trimming. I'd think a bull would be +30% or more.
 

SIontheHunt

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132 seems light after only a week of aging. I only get the grind from trim meat. My experience is mostly with whitetails but it translates over to elk that if you get whole roasts and back straps you can see if something is missing. I havent had issues myself but my processor told me other places he worked at grind a big batch for the week and just divide it up. He prides himself on your meat being from your critter.
 
OP
G

geewhiz

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132 seems light after only a week of aging. I only get the grind from trim meat. My experience is mostly with whitetails but it translates over to elk that if you get whole roasts and back straps you can see if something is missing. I havent had issues myself but my processor told me other places he worked at grind a big batch for the week and just divide it up. He prides himself on your meat being from your critter.


I have heard of processors doing that as well. I suspect maybe that is what is going on here. Problem is he is the only processer that cuts wild game within over an hour of me. I suspect I will soon be purchasing a grinder and some other processing equipment myself in the near future.
 

mlchase

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All good replies here, and if clean meat, the original posted got shorted big time. And just another reason that even when time is tight, I just do my own if at all possible. I have weighed several bulls after processing myself and have had 220lbs boned out on decent bull, and 250lbs boned out on large bodied bull.
 

high_rise_hunter

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I had a similar (bad) experience with a processor. Brought in conservatively 190 lbs of boned out meat. Ask was for all the steaks and roasts I could get then the remaining made into burger. Ended up receiving 80 lbs total and well over half was burger. The math will never add up; still irks me today.
 

SIontheHunt

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I have heard of processors doing that as well. I suspect maybe that is what is going on here. Problem is he is the only processer that cuts wild game within over an hour of me. I suspect I will soon be purchasing a grinder and some other processing equipment myself in the near future.

It is a pain to clean but i have fun doing it. I have the cabelas carnivre grinder. Works great and does not break the bank. Whatever you do get a stainless one not aluminum.
 

5MilesBack

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I'll tell you what though, I've never had such a problem trying to freeze meat before. I have it distributed between three freezers and still have some packs that aren't frozen yet after three days. Gallon milk jugs filled with water stacked three high are frozen solid, but a simple package of burger in the 2nd layer is as soft as it was when I put it in?????????????
 

Laramie

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For reference, I shot a spike last year. I process my own and refuse to grind anything that isn't red. I trim 100% of fat and connective tissue out before I grind. I then add 10% beef fat (ribeye) prior to grinding. My total weight for steaks, and burger was 161 pounds. We eat a lot of burger so only saved prime cuts for steaks. The largest bull I harvested put 255 pounds of meat in the freezer using the same processing method.

I have heard of many people through the years complaining about processors. In most cases, hunters don't have realistic expectations on how much they should get back. In some cases, I do think processors are careless during trimming. They get in a hurry as time is money to them. Bottom line, if you want high quality game on your table, do it yourself.
 

mavinwa2

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Had a similar experience with 2 cow elk, brought in whole, one weighed 270 and the other 260 lbs. when I picked it up I had 145 lbs of meat. Their excuse was one had a hindquarters blown away and the other a shoulder, both were clean double lung side to side. I had pictures and showed them to him and called him a liar, never went back. Had another in Utah, took in a whole cow and when I picked it up the carcass was still in the cooler next to the boxes. I spent 20 minutes and got 30 lbs of meat off the neck, ribs and hinds. Now I do my own, got 205 lbs of meat off her with both shoulders broken. Processors vary a lot, some good, some bad, I’d definitely question that much loss off of boned animal. Not much you can do except not use them again.

yep, this. 🔪 Processors/butchers are under time constraints and won't butcher, spending time like you or I might processing your own. Any meat that's marginal gets tossed into scrap pile. They won't take extra time for this meat and for that piece requiring extra cuts & trimming.
They just cut and toss, keeping the visibly good, red meat....the easy work.
less time equals more $ net in their pockets. But they'll charge you for the weight scaled when you brought in the meat.

I started doing my own about 12 years ago and get much better yield. quality & wrapping for that matter too.

this being said, If you had rec'd 155-165 lbs+, you are good.
 

5MilesBack

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5MB- 270 pounds of meat is a LOAD to freeze! Hang in there, your freezers are working hard.

Two days ago I put a single ziplock bag upright between two gallon jugs and yesterday it was still not frozen, while the jugs on either side were frozen hard as a rock?????? It's all better now after a bunch of reorganizing a few times, but I've never had this problem before without reorganizing.
 
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