Hanging ducks

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Hanging ducks

Postby diverduckduster » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:17 pm

Does anyone hang there ducks after killing them? If so, how long? and the reason for hanging them. My neighbor asked me if I let them hang for a couple days, he said his grandpa did but he wasn't sure why. I'm curious to know the reason. :huh: Thanks
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby Mean Gene » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:19 pm

I often hang them for a couple days, especially if I'm hunting back to back days. Why? Pure laziness. In the winter my shop is like a cooler and it doesn't hurt them, so I just wait and do a couple hunt's worth all together.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby friedcoot » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:29 pm

I've heard all kinds of stories about this. I will age them for a couple days after I draw them first if they are seed eating valley fowl. If it's a bay duck, I breast it out right away. Some say you hang the ducks by the tail feathers until they drop with internal organs left in place. I have never tried this but guess it's from much colder regions where bacterial growth is minimal. In this colder weather it certainly won't hurt anything to wait a day or two before cleaning if your too tired from your hunt.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby ditchbanker » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:31 pm

best to gut them before hanging...so that intestinal bacteria dont migrate (thats what the hook is for on a bird knife)
also...gutting the body cavity gives somewhere for blood to leech and and you get a better tasting bird

otherwise...when I breast a bird out...I leave it in the fridge for a couple days (covered with plastic wrap)...again the idea is to let some of the blood leech out...more mellow taste :thumbsup:
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby Limitsx10 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:42 pm

I've never tried hanging but I do dry age in the refrigerator for a day or two after breasting or cleaning. I hear it helps but have never tried a side by side comparison.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby chinogoose » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:30 pm

never tried hanging my duck but i think friedcoot said it right back in the day's before refrigerators in colder regions the ducks would be fine as long as they were gutted. I do let them sit after a hunt when it's cold until the next day sometimes and then soak in a salt brine before freezing them.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby LeakyW8ers » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:11 pm

I was told by an old timer that they used to hang them by the necks and once the body fell off from the head they would pluck and clean the bird as it had aged just right.

Never gone that far, but have let whole birds hang in my garage when daytime temps never break over 55-60 degrees for as long as a week with no issues. that was some good and tender duck. They were not really shot up in the abdomen, which is why I felt it was ok to do so.

I've wet aged and dry aged, and found that wet aging tends to make things little better in my opinion. Dry aging tends to lose a little meat around the edges, talking boneless/skinless breast meat. Dry aging concentrates the flavor, where as wet aging keeps it moist. I wet age in vacuum bags. I do not use salt water, or milk, or anything to soak the meat in. After aging for a week in it's own juices, the meat goes to the freezer if I do not plan on eating it right away.

Either out of the freezer or fresh, seasoned with a little salt and pepper or Morton's Nature's Seasons and grilled to medium rare it's delicious.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby steelheadmike » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:17 pm

Just had some pintail tonight that had been hanging since Sunday. Delicious!!!
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby ShootThemInTheEye » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:45 pm

The way I was taught was to wait until sundown then gut them. then hang by the neck to let the blood and water from washing after gutting drain out. usually hang them for a few hours or over night. The reason for waiting until dark is no flies at night. I then put them in a spare refrigerator. If your going to garage hang them I recommend putting them in a burlap sack (NOT PLASTIC).. again this is to keep the flies out. The reason for hanging for a week or so is to get them tender. kind of like the best beef is aged.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby bucksducks » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:42 am

Hanging/aging meat is important with any game. It's the weather or place of hanging that's important. Gotta keep them cool and away from flies. Although birds tend to get tougher to pluck the longer you wait, it's worth it. Just gotta have a meat locker or cold weather so you can hang in your garage.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby yareelohim » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:01 am

Hanging is to age the meat which tenderizes it ( think deer lockers).

Bacteria grows above 45 degrees Fahrenheit so you want to make sure you age at or below 45 degrees.

A great way to age duck without hanging I s by simply breasting it out while leaving the skin on. Place the breast meat on a plate with a paper towel over the top and leave it in the refrigerator for close to a week. All the blood will soak to the skin and the exposed meat will turn black and hard. When your ready to eat just trim away the hard exterior and you will have the most tender and best tasting duck you have ever had!

Ducks I age from 5-7 days.
Geese I age for about 10 days.


You can also freeze them after aging. It takes at least 24 hours for rigor to break down in the muscles so definitely age before freezing and not after.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby Wooduckschmuck » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:30 pm

We hang nice ducks at least over night, maybe a day or two more. I'm sure the neighbors in Marin love it.

You want to make sure they are not gut shot and leave all the feathers on so the skin doesn't dry out. We hang them outside so we put them in a little mesh bag to keep bugs off in case they were so inclined, but have not had any issues.

After we pluck and gut, we dry age a few days more in the "game" fridge in an open container under a paper towel.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby flyfishz » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:20 pm

so i have some ducks sitting in the fridge in a plastic bag feathers on guts inside. 2 mallards from last saturday 2 sprig 2 Cans 2gaddys and spoon from Wednesday and 3 mallards from today. is the fact they are laying on their sides in the bag going to age them differently than hanging in the garage? I always worry it is not cold enough out there
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby yareelohim » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:45 pm

If you have the entire duck in there I would at least lay them on their backs so the breast meat is right side up.
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Re: Hanging ducks

Postby USNCPOquackaddict » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:11 pm

I have to agree with many of the posts provided, but there is a little insight here too so the questions will be answered.
Hanging ducks until there intestines fall out is an age old trick before freezers and meat lockers.
Now aging ducks in the fridge(warmer temps) or in the garage (Cooler temps) is a way to achieve the best table fare.
Here is the reasoning. Any living animal that dies naturally or by hunting will go into rigor, This is when the muscles tighten and the animal appears stiff. By aging the animal the natural enzim's in the muscles will break down and make the muscles relax(24-48 hrs)
after harvest, the longer you age your quarry the better the table fare.
I gut my birds in the field if practal, or at the house immediately following a hunt. To age them we gut them and put them in a paper sack on there backs in the fridge for 3-5 days. They always turn out delicious & tender!
I have a dedicated beer fridge and game fridge for birds and beer! :beer:
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