I have always processed my own wild game and find it to be an enjoyable and profitable experience. First of all, having it done by a processing plant can costs upwards of $350 per deer and more for the larger animals like elk.
My great aunt had her own butcher shop and so at about age 16 when I got my first deer, she taught me how to cut it up and package it and so I have been able to do that for myself each time I harvested an animal.
There are also books and now YouTube videos that show you how to do it and so I believe anyone can learn. I don't believe you can make a mistake honestly so get in there and give it a try.
Two years ago I shot my first bear and we were able to get it out of the forest and skinned an hung in about 3 hours. I processed it the next day and the meat was so mild I was shocked. Everyone we fed it to loved it and I believe it was the quick processing that did the trick.
Last fall I harvested 4 deer in Kansas. These deer are corn fed and of great quality but quick handling of the meat is essential to a good product. I usually got them in the evening and would take them home and skin and quarter them out and lay them out in my dad's shed to cool overnight. The next day I boned them out and put them in the freezer.
These deer are excellent table fare and again, quick processing is the key.
Another thing I always hated about some processing plants is they do NOT give you back YOUR deer. Then just save a bunch up over the season and cut them up and divide the meat. SO you are getting deer that have been hauled around in trucks or left out in the heat and the meat is horrible.
The expense is also a huge item for me as 4 deer would have cost me $1200 and all I had to buy was a small freezer for $149 from KMart online. It came out of Kentucky and I had it the NEXT DAY via Amazon.
Our goal this year is to eat as much as we can from what I hunt and fish and so far we have done a pretty good job of that. My girlfriend is an excellent cook and with her culinary expertise we never tire of the meals of wild game.
It is also low in fat, has no feed additives or antibiotics so its good for you if you can get it.
I will get her to post some recipes for you in the coming months so watch for her pages here on the blog.