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Discussion Starter #1
DIY Deer Cooler

Since we butcher our own deer I have always wanted to have a walk-in cooler in which to hang them. I have looked at a lot of DIY deer coolers, but I could never figure out a cheap way of building one. I have always in the past quartered the deer and put them into a spare refrigerator. The issue with this is I could only put 2 in at a time and the quarters had to be put into pots instead of hanging. After looking around I finally came up with this idea.

I bought a deep freezer at an estate sale and then got a thermostat controller that you plug the freezer into which allows you to run the freezer as a refrigerator. These controls are typically used for making a freezer into a kegerator. The great thing about this is if I need to use it as a freezer I can unplug the it from the control and plug into directly into the wall. No wiring to do.

For the stands of the rack I used a 2X8 across the bottom with 2X4's for the sides and the top. They are not hooked to the freezer in anyway, but are just setting in there. This way they can be easily removed for cleanup. I got 3/4" EMT conduit to use to hang the quarters from. To hang the quarters I will drill a small hole thru the bone and then use a zip tie to attach to the conduit or I may also use some metal S hooks to do this instead. Not sure yet. I am also going to get some metal racks or shelves that I can lay on top of the conduit to place small pieces of meat such as the backstraps and neck meat. The rack setup is very solid and I think should work very well.

Still need to paint up the wood if this rain would ever quit.

Here is a link to the thermostat control.
http://www.learntobrew.com/store/item/35...Controller.html

Cost of deer cooler.

Used freezer from estate sale $120
Temp Controller $70
Lumber/Conduit $30

I may have to purchase some racks or something, but basically I shouldn't be anymore than $250 into it. I also have a spare deep freezer to use now as well. This is a far cheaper setup than what I could ever do for a walk-in cooler. The freezer is a 23 CF model and I would guess that I could fit at least 6 deer in here at a time. I will know better once I start using it.





 

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Re: DIY Deer Cooler

Do you plan on leaving the lid open or shut? I ask because if you plan on leaving it shut you might want to rethink you design. Proper air circulation, along with frequent air exchange are necessary to properly cool and age meat. Also,If that conduit is galvanized I'd replace it as well but that's only my opinion.
 

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Re: DIY Deer Cooler

building on the thought above me. undue the hinges build a small frame box the same size as the freezer, two ends with screen. bolt the new frame to the top and the lid to the new frame.

if you look at the homebrew walk ins they are using air conditioning which has a fan.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: DIY Deer Cooler

Cooler is working great. I have 4 in it right now with room to spare. I removed some pans of meat to get a pic. With a little work I think I could fit 8 deer in it. I may tweak a few things for next year, but this setup is far better than trying to fit them into a refrigerator.




 

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Re: DIY Deer Cooler

Very cool...beats my prayer method for steady 30's for a week. I need something.
 

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Re: DIY Deer Cooler

RB-HPA said:
Very cool...beats my prayer method for steady 30's for a week. I need something.
With a whole family that hunts, I think you should probably look at doing something. It is so nice being able to properly cool them out and not have to worry about them spoiling. It also doesn't force you to have to butcher on a certain day. I would love to have a nice walk-in cooler that you could hang the whole deer in, but I just couldn't figure out a way to get in done within my budget plus I would loose space in either my garage or outbuilding in order to do it. The great thing about this setup is I can still use this as a freezer if I want to during the offseason.
 

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Re: DIY Deer Cooler

Great idea. I used to quarter and fridge but my fridge went kaput. I've been toying with the idea of building an Insulated box the size of an upright fridge, just a bit wider maybe, to hang two deer. It would be inside my tractor shed and use the shed wall as the back. Cut a hole and hang a window a/c unit to keep it cool. But using some of your ideas I could use conduit to make hangers and just hang queatres and the box could be smaller.

A friend bought a used walkin with a blown cooling unit cheap. Cut a hole in it and hung an a/c unit. Works like a charm. 38* constant even in 80* weather.
 

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Re: DIY Deer Cooler

Friends of mine built a 5x5 room in the back of there garage insulated it well and hung a ac unit in it. Been doing it for 10 years with this set-up.
 
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