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How to field dress a deer

As a hunter, I’ve had bloody hands many times — and as I enter my 37th deer hunting season, I don’t know how many deer I’ve field-dressed. It’s not complicated, but it can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. To help you out, here’s a beginner’s guide to field dressing a deer.

First off, you don’t need to field dress every deer. If you will be skinning your deer or delivering it to a processor within a couple hours, you may be ahead to leave the innards in. This will help prevent leaves and sticks from getting into the gut cavity while you transport your critter out of the woods. It will also provide less opportunity for flies to lay eggs.

The first thing to do after finding your deer is to catch your breath and enjoy the moment. You’ve worked hard for this; ride the wave and savor the sensation.

Next, tag your deer or record/report the kill if you’re in an area that requires you to do so. This is usually required before even moving the carcass; don’t neglect it or you could be fined.

Look your deer over to make sure it doesn’t have any previous and/or older wounds. The last thing you want to do is encounter another hunter’s razor-sharp broadhead while reaching into its gut cavity.

Let’s Get Started

Start at the end: use a sharp knife to cut the skin in a circle around the anus, being careful not to cut the intestine. The goal here is to free it up so you can pull the entire intestine through the pelvis from the inside of the deer. Some folks tie it off with a piece of string to keep poop from getting on the deer when you pull it through.

If your deer is a buck, cut the scrotum and testicles off and get rid of them. Cut the penis free so it can be removed from within in the same way as the anus.

Lay the deer on its back if you can. It may help to use snow, a stump, logs, etc to hold it in place while you work.

Starting near the pelvis, cut through the skin and the thin sheet of belly muscle. Take care not to cut the entrails with the tip of your knife; something like the Ultrec Gutting Guide can be useful for that.

How to Field Dress a DeerField dressing a deer.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The hunter in the photo above stopped his cut at the sternum (base of the ribcage), and that’s an option. If you are going to have the deer mounted, this is a good idea. But you may also choose to cut open the ribcage, which you can do with a decent knife by following the breastbone with your knife, cutting the tips of the ribs free from it while also cutting through meat and hide.

If you’ve gone that far, keep cutting on up along the throat to the base of the skull. While you’re there, sever the windpipe and esophagus at the base of the skull.

Again — if you’re going to have the deer mounted at a taxidermist, DO NOT CUT BEYOND THE REAR OF THE RIBCAGE.

Back at the base of the ribs, cut the diaphragm (sheet of muscle separating the “guts” from the heart/lung area) by following its outer edges with your knife.

This is a good time to roll the animal onto its side and let gravity help you out. Pull out the stomach and intestines, and pull the anus and penis through the pelvis. Take care not to burst the bladder, which is in the area you will be working as you pull them through.

With most of the plumbing out of the way, reach up into the ribcage and remove the heart, lungs, windpipe, and esophagus. This may require a little bit of knife work to free them from connective tissue.

If any poop, stomach contents, or urine got on the meat while field dressing, clean it off immediately.

How to Field Dress a DeerField dressing a deer.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

If you wish to eat the heart and liver, separate them and place into cloth bags. The cloth will allow them to cool while keeping them clean — do NOT place warm fresh organs or other meat into plastic bags without ice.

Take a break, catch your breath, and start carrying your kill out of the woods.

Congrats on your successful hunt! Enjoy the experience, and get back out there soon.

Make Sure the Deer is Dead

A deer down is not necessarily a deer dead. A wounded deer can hurt you, so reload and watch the deer from a short distance. If you do not detect movement after a few minutes, cautiously approach from behind the deer’s head. Set your firearm or bow aside only after you are certain the deer is dead. If the eye does not blink when touched with a stick, it’s yours.

Field Dress Immediately

Field dress the deer immediately to ensure a rapid loss of body heat. Hang the animal head-up or lay it on a slope with the rump lower than shoulders.

Strong juices from the paunch will taint the meat and should be removed if the animal was shot in the gut or if you accidentally cut the paunch while field dressing the deer. A rag, a bunch of leaves, or water may be used to wipe away the juices. Some articles state the carcass should not be washed with water due to potential bacterial growth. However, washing with water and patting the cavity dry is the appropriate procedure when cleaning a punctured paunch.

Wrap the Carcass Before You Drag it

Wrap a piece of cloth around the carcass to keep dirt and flies out of your future meal as you drag it out of the woods or transport it.

Don’t Carry the Carcass on Your Shoulders!

The carcass should be dragged or carted out of the woods and not carried on your shoulders. Another hunter could mistakenly shoot at the deer on your shoulders. An easy way to drag a buck is by its antlers. Some hunters tie the front feet behind the head of the carcass to keep them from catching on brush. When dragging fawns or does, create a handle with a strong stick between the hind hocks. You can avoid the back pain from dragging your deer by using a deer cart. Deer carts are becoming a popular choice, and there are many commercially produced options.

Keep the Carcass Cool

The deer should be as clean and as cool as possible during transport. If you have a long trip home, place a plastic bag full of ice inside the carcass to keep it cool.

Field Dressing Tips

Step 1

Insert your knife point under the hide only and make one long, straight incision up the belly. The natural tautness of the hide will cause the skin and hair to pull away, giving you unobstructed access to the abdominal muscle tissues.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Step 2

Using short, shallow, slicing strokes, open the body cavity by cutting through the skin, fat, and abdominal muscle tissue. As the tissue separates, use your fingers to enlarge the abdominal opening until you can fit your hands into the body cavity.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Step 3

If you wish to have your deer head mounted, stop the incision at the bottom of the rib cage. Otherwise, continue slicing all the way to the fleshy, hollow junction of the neck and chest.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Step 4

Using a saw, large knife, or small axe and sledgehammer, open the chest cavity by separating the rib cage. This will make it easier to remove the heart and lungs.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Step 5

Sever the windpipe to easily to remove the stomach and lungs.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Step 6

Carefully sever the connective tissue holding the interior organs to the diaphragm, and pull the entire mass of organs back toward the pelvic opening.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Step 7

Using a saw, large knife, or small axe and sledgehammer, open the pelvis to help with the organ removal process. Lay the bulk of the organs outside the carcass. Guide the lower intestine through the pelvic opening, and then sever the anus and sphincter muscle from the carcass.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Step 8

Prop the body cavity open with sticks and quickly cool by hanging the head up in a shady, airy place. Let it hang this way for about an hour before moving it to camp or car.

Tag it if you leave it

If you stay with your harvested deer, you don’t need to attach your notched permit to the animal, but you MUST keep your permit on hand. If you leave your harvest, you MUST attach your notched permit to the deer’s leg. We recommend sealing the permit in a plastic bag and attaching the bag with your string, wire, or tape. You may transport your deer after telechecking it.

How to Field Dress a Deer

One of the most intimidating parts of learning to hunt is the right way to field dress the animal you have harvested. We know the process can seem daunting, but if you follow our basic tips, you’ll know the right way to dress your deer.

Field dressing is basically the process of removing the internal organs and blood. You want to field dress a deer as soon as possible, particularly if you punctured the stomach. Field dressing cools the meat down quickly and helps prevent bacterial growth. You can tell when an animal was not dressed quickly because it will have a very strong, gamey flavor.

A lot of hunters will have a special knife that they prefer to use. I do, and it is a knife a friend made for me. It may be better than some knives and worse than others, but it is the one I like.

If you are looking for a good field dressing knife, we recommend the Outdoor Edge RazorMax . The replaceable blades make it easy to keep a sharp knife on big jobs, and the two types of blades let you field dress, debone, and slice meat with one tool.

I carry a pair of disposable nitrile gloves because it makes clean-up easier. This is a messy job.

When you field dress a deer, you will start at the anus and work forward. Use your knife blade to carefully cut a circle around the anus, then press the blade in to loosen everything up.

Okay, this is where you want to be careful. You can brace the deer with your knees to hold it in place. You want to cut the skin from the bottom of the ribs down to the pelvis without puncturing the stomach. You want to make swift, sure, and shallow cuts.

The best way to start is to lift the skin up with your hand and make a puncture with the tip of your knife. A clip blade knife can be handy here, but a good-quality drop point will work well. Be confident.

Once you are through the skin and fat layer, you will see the stomach and other internal organs. Use your hands and your field dressing knife to carefully cut the diaphragm muscle. You can then reach with your hand and find the heart, then use your knife to cut the esophagus. You have to cut the esophagus in order to release the heart and lungs, before you can remove the innards.

The next step is simply to pull the stomach and intestines out, being careful to not cut or rupture anything. Once the contents of the cavity are out, you can simply cut the large intestine off. Lastly, you want to go back around and pull the anus out. Since the large intestine was cut off, this should just pull out, and you should have a pass-through into the cavity where the stomach contents were. At this point, your deer is field dressed and ready to get to the freezer.

In another post, we’ll go over how to properly process your deer.

  • When you harvest a deer, make a clean shot.
  • Save the heart! Grilled deer heart is a fabulous and healthy meal.
  • Field dress your deer as soon as possible.
  • When you are cutting the stomach contents loose, be careful not to cut into the tenderloins around the spine.
  • Don’t forget in all the excitement to put your tag on your deer as soon as it is down.

If you’re more of a visual person, and want to see a video of us breaking down the process, watch our video below on how to field dress a deer.

Every deer hunter should learn how to field dress a deer, from the first day you go hunting. But for some hunters this isn’t an easy thing to do, especially for those with weak stomachs because it’s a pretty gory job.

But if you’re going to butcher your own deer for the meat, then you need to learn field dressing as well as how to skin a deer in order to save the most amount of money.

One of the first things to remember is when you should field dress the deer – the answer to that is almost immediately. If you hunt within 20 to 30 of your home, and you’re hunting in cold winter weather, you can probably wait until get home to do the field dressing, and then immediately hang your deer to get it ready to skin and butcher.

If it’s going to take longer than 20 minutes to get the animal out of the woods, to your car and then to home, it’s probably advisable to dress it in the field before moving it to your car.

If you’re planning on staying out to hunt more before you head home, then definitely field dress the animal first to prevent any meat spoilage from any bacteria that may be inside the deer.

Another reason for field dressing the animal as soon as its killed is how much lighter the animal is to get it to your vehicle, especially if you’re hauling it the old fashioned way by tying a rope around it and pulling it. If you’re using a wheeled cart, it will be a lot easier, but you still have to lift it into the cart.

Dressing the deer also provides for the most contaminate-free venison when you butcher the deer, or take it get butchered, because you’re reducing the risk of any bacteria to infect the meat after you’ve killed the game and before you get it to the butcher.

The two main pieces of equipment you’ll need for field dressing are a sturdy pair of rubber gloves that reach to your elbow, and the sharpest knife in your butcher knives set. You’ll be slicing through the animal’s hide so you need a sharp knife for accomplishing this. You’re also going to be putting your arm up inside of the animal and the gloves will keep you protected from this bloody job.

Optionally, there are implements called gut hooks that you can use for helping to field dress, or gut the deer, but most hunters are able to complete the process with a good hunting knife.

Glove Up and Start the Cutting Process. Put your gloves on first because this is going to be a gory, bloody job. Your first cut will be around the anus where you’ll cut it loose from the animal’s hide.

Next you’ll cut a small at the very bottom of the belly area, slice up to the rib cage, and open the chest cavity. This is where you could also use a gut hook to open the cavity as well.

Removing the Upper Organs. Find the windpipe and cut it loose and cut out the organs in the chest cavity. Slice around the diaphragm the separates the upper from the lower organs and remove the lower organs.

Removing the Lower Organs. To remove the lower internal organs from the animal, you’ll can slice around the anus and pull it out along with the lower internal organs.

Keep the Animal Clean. To keep your freshly gutted deer free of any dirt, tie a rope around its head and pull it to your vehicle by its head, not by its legs. Even better is to have a type of wheeled cart that you can put your animal into and take it to your vehicle. This will definitely keep the meat inside of the animal clean.

Again, every hunter should either know how to dress a deer him or herself or hunt with someone who can dress the deer before leaving the hunting grounds and heading for home. And the animal should be gutted almost immediately after the kill to ensure the freshest meat possible.

What is field dressing?

It doesn’t really matter whether you hunt for meat or trophies, or even a combination of the two, there’s a set of actions that need to be undertaken after the shot is taken to get your animal out of the field and back to your camp or car.

This is called field dressing, whereby you remove the entrails and prepare the animal for processing and transport.

Depending on how you plan to use the animal, the process of field dressing may differ slightly.

For meat hunters, field dressing is all about removing the entrails and getting the animal ready for meat processing as quickly and efficiently as possible.

For trophy hunters, field dressing is about preparing the horns and skin for taxidermy.

If you’re a combination hunter, and take both meat and trophy, then field dressing is a hybrid of both approaches.

In this tutorial, we’re going to outline the steps you take to prepare an animal for meat harvest.

This is a vital first step in ensuring you harvest the best tasting game meat possible.

We cannot stress how important it is to do this as quickly as you can, as it is an important factor in cooling the carcass, slowing bacterial growth, and removing any contaminates such as blood or stomach contents, which can all have a detrimental effect on the taste of your game meat. In other words, while it may seem ‘cleaner’ to do this back at camp or home, we strongly recommend doing this as the name implies – in the field! Not only will your stomach thank you for it later, so will your back, as a whole animal is significantly heavier to carry out than a gutted one.

How to field dress a deer for meat

The most important tool you need for field dressing is a good quality knife with a well-honed blade.

If you have one, a portable gambrel or hoist is also a handy optional extra, though it is definitely possible to field dress an animal without one.

Please note: this tutorial is supported by a video demonstration from David Dunne (scroll to the top of this post to watch).

Prior to starting

Examine the entry/exit wound. If you bow-hunted the animal, you want to check if the broadhead is still in the body before you begin cutting, but it’s also not a bad safety precaution to do even for rifle hunters, as bullet fragments can be sharp and can cause injuries.

Step 1

Bleed the carcass by making a vertical incision up the length of the neck from the top of the chest towards the head. Free the trachea (windpipe) and oesophagus (food pipe) from the neck muscles with your fingers or a knife, severing them both nearest to the head of the deer. You can tie a knot in the food pipe to ensure there is no spillage into the chest cavity in the following steps.

Step 2

Spread the hind legs apart, remove any external genitalia. Cut a shallow 2.5cm (1 inch) slit through the skin, exposing the internal organs. Be careful not to puncture the entrails.

Step 3

Use the incision from step 2 as your starting point, hold your knife blade facing up (to avoid puncturing organs) and carefully run your knife blade up from the pelvic bone all the way to the breastbone. This is easier if your knife has a hook on it, but if it doesn’t, use your index and middle fingers to separate the hide from the internal organs.

Step 4

Roll the insides of the deer out of the incision you have made, exposing the bottom of the diaphragm (the thin membrane separating the chest from the abdomen). Using your knife, seperate the diaphragm muscle from the inside wall of the chest cavity.

Step 5

Reach in above the heart and lungs to the top of the chest and take hold of the windpipe. Give the windpipe a strong tug to pull it back inside the deer (towards you). Seperate the small muscle at the bottom of the lungs that attaches it to the spine. You can then seperate the other side of the diaphragm and remove the entrails entirely.

Step 6

The colon (or large intestine) will be the only thing still attached to the deer at this point. Squeeze your fingers along the large intestine to clear a portion of it from any faecal matter, then cut through it with your knife. You can tie the end that it still attached to the deer, which will prevent any faeces from contaminating the inside of the carcass.

Step 7

If you plan to keep the heart, liver or kidneys, these can be cut free now and placed into a bag or container.

Step 8

Dispose of the entrails (it’s not good hunting etiquette to just leave these in plain view, particularly if hunting on public land). If you’re field dressing on the ground, flip the animal back onto its stomach, spreading its back legs and chest cavity as much as possible to aid in draining the blood. Try not to let dirt or other debris come in contact with the meat.

Step 9

Remove the head by holding one ear and pulling the neck taught. Make an incision behind the ear, slicing the tendons and muscles that connect the base of the skull to the top of the spine (see video – 3:25 mark).

Step 10

Remove the feet by slicing through the skin at the major joints on each leg. Then, take the foot and twist it around the leg to break the joint. Use your knife to cut through any skin still attached. Tip: cut above the first joint on the back legs and where the knee bends on the two front legs (see video – at 3:50 and 4:10).

You can now transport your carcass out of the hunting area. Once you are home, you will need to remove the anus and the remaining section of large intestine.

Step 11

Remove the bum by making an incision down the side of the anus. Pull the skin around the anus away from the deer and continue cutting around the anus, being careful not to puncture the colon or bladder. Once the anus is completely separated, reach inside the abdomen to pull the anus and attached large intestine out of the carcass.

Learning how to field dress a deer is not always the easiest thing to learn. It is great if you have the opportunity to watch someone do it a couple of times but the best way to learn is by doing it yourself. After doing it a couple of times, you will develop the touch needed to do it cleanly and in a timely manner. The most important thing with field dressing is to have a routine or a timeline that will make the process as easy as it can get. The steps below are what we do when it comes to field dressing deer.

Make sure you have at least a knife, a saw, and rubber gloves.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Step by step – How to field dress a deer

2. Cut off the tarsal glands if you plan on using them as an attractant during future hunts.

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

3. On a buck cut off the penis. On a doe remove the mammary gland.

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

4. Feel where the pelvic bone cavity is with your fingers and cut around the anus of the deer. You will want to cut with your knife parallel to the wall of the pelvic bone. The pelvic cavity will resemble the hollow of a large soup can.

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

5. Separate the anal tissue that is attached to the pelvic bone with your knife and fingers. If you desire, this is a good time to tie off the anus with a ty rap or string to prevent waste from contaminating the meat.

How to Field Dress a Deer

6. Cut the center of the crotch meat (inner leg meat) down to the pelvic bone.

How to Field Dress a Deer

7. Barley and carefully penetrate through the deer’s skin and abdominal muscle wall with your knife either directly above the pelvic bone or under and up into the ribs. The goal is not to cut through the intestines or the stomach.

How to Field Dress a Deer

8. With your knife upside down, carefully make a center cut from crotch to the bottom of the sternum (center of ribs) or vice versa.

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

9. Move innards away from top of pelvic bone and saw parallel on center of the pelvic bone til it breaks.

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

10. Free pelvic bone contents so they will pull out easy.

11. When not mounting the deer, saw the sternum all the way to the upper chest area.

How to Field Dress a Deer

12. Cut the diaphragm from the rib cage. While doing this, run your knife parallel with the inside of the rib cage. As the deer lays on its side, cut the diaphragm on the top half of the deer then flip the deer over to cut the other half.

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

13. Reach in and cut the windpipe that is above the heart. (neck side)

How to Field Dress a Deer

14. While grabbing the heart and windpipe, pull all of the internal organs out of the body.

How to Field Dress a Deer

15. Cut with your knife as needed to make sure you have everything removed.

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

16. If needed, turn deer upside down and drain all remaining fluids and tissue.

17. Remove the inner loins at this time if you plan on eating them. Failure to do so may result in this precious meat drying out.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of how to field dress a deer. It takes time to develop good field dressing skills. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t go as planned the first couple of times. Most deer hunters are a little sloppy at first but after time, it gets easier. Eventually it will become a fairly easy 10-15 minute process. Good luck!

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How to Field Dress a Deer
Sportsmanship includes the responsible care and use of meat obtained while hunting. An important step toward placing quality venison on your dinner table is proper care of the animal immediately following harvest. To help with that endeavor, here is a step-by-step pictorial guide to field-dressing a white-tailed deer.

Some hunters have a meat pole or skinning shed where they hang their deer to remove the entrails. That’s great, but most hunters field-dress their deer on the ground prior to bringing them home or taking them to the meat processor. If you field-dress your deer while it’s hanging, you can still follow these directions – gravity simply helps the process. If you field-dress your deer on the ground, follow these 10 steps to make this important task quick and easy.

1) Start by tagging your deer, if required, and then put on a pair of rubber, plastic or latex gloves.

2) Place the deer on its back with its hind legs spread.

How to Field Dress a Deer

3) If it is a buck, remove the testicles, and use the hole left behind as your starting point. If it is a doe, like you see in these photos, start at the bottom of the udder.

How to Field Dress a Deer

4) Poke your knife into the skin and begin cutting up toward the chest. Keep the cut shallow and only cut through the skin. A deep cut will puncture the stomach and make your job messy and smelly. Cut from your starting point up to the sternum (bottom of rib cage).

How to Field Dress a Deer

If your knife has a guthook, pull from your starting point up to the sternum.A guthook can help guard against cutting into the stomach.

How to Field Dress a Deer

5) The lower half of the body cavity is now open and you can remove the entrails (stomach, intestines, etc.).

How to Field Dress a Deer

Pull everything out and cut the organs away from the body. The large intestine connects to the anus, and you will not be able to remove it in its entirety at this point. You can cut through the large intestine or move it aside until Step 9. If you choose to cut through it, be careful to not get any feces on the meat. You’ll remove the lower portion of the intestine and the bladder in Step 9.

How to Field Dress a Deer

6) You now have an empty lower cavity and you will be able to see the diaphragm. The diaphragm is simply the thin wall of muscle that separates the chest cavity (heart and lungs) from the lower cavity (stomach and intestines).

7) Remove the diaphragm by cutting along the inside of the ribs. You will now be able to see the heart and lungs.

Note: You will notice in these photos that the hunter has also cut through the sternum (brisket), using a saw or heavy knife, to reach the heart and lungs. Cutting through the sternum is not necessary to field-dress a deer, but it’s an option as long as you will NOT be mounting the deer. However, if you will be making a trip to the taxidermist’s, never cut through the sternum or anywhere in front of the front legs.

How to Field Dress a Deer

8) Reach into the upper chest cavity and remove the heart and lungs by cutting them away from the body. You will need to reach in and cut the esophagus to detach the lungs.

How to Field Dress a Deer

9) Return to your starting point between the legs and cut from there down through the meat to the anus. This will allow the back legs to lay open and will expose the pelvis.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Cut through the pelvis with a small saw or a pair of lopping/pruning shears. This will expose the bladder and lower portion of the large intestine. Cut these away with care to not spill urine or feces on the animal. The deer’s tenderloins are among the highest quality cuts of meat and they lie on the inside of the lower body cavity, close to the stomach and intestines. Spilling urine or feces on them can affect their quality.

How to Field Dress a Deer

10) Roll your deer over or pick its front end up to dump any blood out and you’re done. Take care to keep the carcass clean of dirt, leaves and other debris.

How to Field Dress a Deer

At this point you can take your deer home or to the meat processor’s. If possible, wash it out to remove any remaining blood or dirt. Congratulations, and enjoy your venison!

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About Kip Adams

Kip Adams of Knoxville, Pennsylvania, is a certified wildlife biologist and QDMA’s Director of Conservation. He has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University and a master’s in wildlife from the University of New Hampshire. He’s also a certified taxidermist. Before joining QDMA, Kip was the deer and bear biologist for the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department. Kip and his wife Amy have a daughter, Katie, and a son, Bo.

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Field dressing a deer is not the most fun part of the hunt, but it’s just as necessary as all the careful preparation and the killing shot. Field dressing consists of cleaning the deer of its entrails, which can contaminate the meat.

Items you will need

Bags for whatever organs you plan to keep

Make sure the deer is dead. Many hunters have been attacked because they failed to take this precaution. Poke the deer in the flank. If there is no reaction, tap the eyeball with a stick to make absolutely sure the deer is dead.

Put on your gloves, which will protect your hands from the smells of the animal. It will also protect the meat from any dirt or germs on your hands.

Remove the doe’s scent glands, which are located on the insides of her hind legs. Although a doe’s scent glands are not as offensive as a buck’s, they can stink up whatever they come in contact with, including your hands, your knife and the meat. Cut through the skin around the glands, making sure not to touch them. Detach them from the legs and throw them away.

Begin cutting through the skin downward from the breastbone. Be careful not to perforate any of the organs, especially the stomach and intestines, which are particularly noisome.

Fit two fingers inside with the knife point between them as soon as your incision is long enough (2 inches). Use your fingers to guide the knife along, cutting upward and outward. Firstly, it’s easier to cut outward than through the fur. There is also less risk of cutting into any of the organs. Whenever possible while dressing the deer, cut outward rather than inward.

Make a V-shaped cut when you near the udder with about a 60-degree angle between the two cuts.

Continue both cuts parallel to each other when the cuts are far enough apart to run on either side of the udder (about eight inches apart), along the interior edge of the thighs, with the genitals in between the cuts.

Continue the cuts, always staying only skin deep, past the genitals and around the anus, where they will connect again at the base of the tail.

Use your fingers and small, careful cuts with the knife to lift the skin around the anus away from the flesh all around. Then use the string to tie off the anus, slipping it beneath the loop of skin through the opening you have created between the anus and genitals.

Separate the skin from the point of the V-cut, using your fingers and small, careful cuts with the knife. Extract the udder and genitals, all together, downward and away from the body. Do not sever the urethra or the rectum. All of these will eventually be drawn through the pelvic circle and out the large incision in the abdomen with the rest of the entrails.

Locate the diaphragm inside the thorax, just beneath the breastbone. The diaphragm is an umbrella-shaped membrane that separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity.

Cut through the diaphragm where it joins the ribcage all the way around the animal. You do not need to be as careful with this cut, since perforating the lungs will not contaminate the meat.

Sever the esophagus and trachea at the top of the chest cavity, where the chest meets the neck. Cutting up the breastbone to the neck with a bone saw makes this easier, but it can easily be done by simply reaching up into the chest.

Remove the organs. All of the entrails should now be separated from the skeletal-muscular structure of the deer. Other remaining epithelial connections to the walls of the ribcage or the pelvic circle can be cut carefully.

Pull the genitals and udder through the pelvis into the abdominal cavity, and remove all of the entrails, including all of the internal organs from the intestines to the heart and lungs. Rolling the carcass helps the entrails slide out.

You have a deer down—congratulations! Walking up to your harvest is a moment filled with elation, joy, and appreciation for the deer and the hunt. Following this moment of joy, you are faced with the task of field dressing the deer to prepare the meat for your freezer. Most deer will yield at least 30 pounds of high-quality venison with some topping the 50-pound meat yield mark. Field dress the animal properly and that meat will taste phenomenal, providing many meals throughout the year.

Safety First

Before you get excited and jump into the process, make sure the deer is fully expired. When you first approach, keep an arrow knocked or a round in the chamber just in case. Make a visual observation then approach slowly and poke the eyeball to confirm the deer has expired.

After you snap a quick photograph, check the area for any danger. You will need a safe workspace and stable ground to field dress the animal. Reposition the deer to the best workspace in the area. That may require dragging the animal a few feet to reach a clean bed of grass. A slight slope will also work in your favor when pulling the intestines and internal organs. Solo hunters can also benefit from a tree where anchoring the deer with a rope is easy. This is not necessary to complete the task, however.

Things You Need

You really only need a knife to field dress a deer. A really, really sharp knife is the key to field dressing and processing game at home. A large knife is not necessary, and small blades are actually much easier to manipulate as they work well for making accurate cuts.

A bone saw is useful in some cases. Bone saws are not necessary, but it doesn’t hurt to have one in the truck. If you are parked close, grab it to help with the processing. The last item is a pair of latex gloves. Again, they are not mandatory, but wearing gloves helps to protect your hands.

If you want to go a step further and quarter the animal, bring along game bags to protect the exposed meat. Dragging the field dressed deer out of the field is often necessary. Bringing along some rope to tie between the head and a stout stick for a handle will help you pull the deer to your vehicle.

Prepping the Deer

The first part of the process involves a cut around the anus. This cut is critical because it allows all of the intestines to separate after making the main incision. Start with the anus cut and the remainder of the field dressing is very simple. Make the cut just over an inch deep in a circle directly around the anus. Sometimes the skin is tough and you must use your fingers to hold it taut. Be very careful not to puncture the intestines here as they can damage your meat.

Now get the deer situated for the main act. Put the deer on its back and spread the hind legs. Having a partner to help hold the deer steady is useful. You can also tie a hind leg to a tree to help keep the legs spread. Squatting with your knees on the deer’s legs will keep them stable as well.

Make Your Incisions

Make your first cut just above the testicles. Keep the knife blade shallow and facing upwards. Continue this cut up the belly, to the chest or breastplate. Keep the knife shallow the entire time. You are only cutting the skin and want to avoid puncturing anything internal. Now the deer is opened up.

Next, use your bonesaw or your knife to press into the breastbone or sternum. You are cutting right down the middle here and hard pressure is required to split the bone in half. When it splits, you can easily pull the bone to spread the ribs and open the chest cavity.

At this point, the stomach and chest are opened. It will steam and begin cooling as the internal organs are exposed to air. The next step involves removing all of the internal contents to cool the meat and take your deer home.

Clear the Cavity

Work your hands into the chest cavity and pull the diaphragm away from the rib cage. A thin membrane of connective tissue holds it to the ribs. Sometimes it will peel away easily, but using the knife blade to sever the membrane makes the process quick and easy. After it breaks loose, reach towards the throat and grasp the windpipe with one hand. Carefully guide the knife above that hand and sever the windpipe. Using one hand to hold the windpipe tight and another to cut it loose with the blade facing away from your hands is the safest method of making this cut.

At this point, everything is loose and will pull right out from the cavity. Remove the heart and liver to eat later. Next, grab the windpipe and pull to remove everything from the chest and stomach all the way down to the anus. Now the cavity is empty outside of pooling blood. Turn the deer to drain the excess blood away.

Your deer is now field dressed and ready to take home. Drag it out, load it up, and prepare to butcher.

Section #9: Field Dressing A Deer

Congratulations, you successfully harvested a whitetail deer! Now the real work begins. This how to field dress a whitetail deer article will walk you through the steps to get your venison out of the field.

Roughly half of what a deer weighs is high-protein, lean meat for you, your family and your friends if you are in a sharing mood. Our goal as hunters is to not let any of this hard-earned food go to waste. The first step towards filling the freezer is done with the deer being done, now it is time to field dress our harvest. Field dressing is vital because it helps keep the meat from spoiling. For many of us, field dressing is a necessary evil, but it is vital to cool the meat. The field dressing process is detailed below.

Field Dressing Deer – Preparation

How to Field Dress a Deer

Before we begin cutting, a few things need to be mentioned. First and foremost, you need a good, sharp knife. A dull knife is the last thing you want, as it can pose a safety hazard to you. A pair of latex or nitrile gloves, while not necessary, will protect you from any infections or diseases the deer may be carrying in its blood. Even if you don’t see cuts on your hands, micro cuts can be present. Bloodborne illnesses from the deer can find their way into your body, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

A bone saw is not necessary, but it can be useful. If you want to save the heart and the liver to eat later, consider bringing freezer bags for them. If you think there is a good chance you will have to drag the deer back to your vehicle, it might be helpful to attach a length of rope to the deer, as well as to a stick, and use it as a handle to help ease dragging. It might also be helpful for the blood draining process to position the deer so that its head is going up a slope. Now that we have squared away a few details, let’s begin.

First Cuts

To begin the field dressing process, cut a ring roughly two inches deep around the anus of the deer. Once this is done, try to cut the pelvic area well to detach everything down there. Make sure to watch out for the whitetail’s colon and bladder, as well as either the testicles or the milk sacks. Next, make a sweeping cut up through the chest until you get to the rib cage. Be careful to only cut through the skin and not poke any of the internal organs, as this will make your job harder and more messier. Once the deer is opened, you are ready for the next steps. It is worth mentioning that an optional step is to either split or bone saw the pelvis so blood can drain more easily.

Breastbone

This is one stage of the process where it is nice to have a bone saw, but you can also use a knife. The goal is to split the breastbone in half. This can be done by sawing through it with the bone saw or putting a lot of pressure on it with the knife. Once this is done, you can pull apart the sides of the whitetail and have better access to all the organs. Now that this is done, you can start removing the organs from the carcass.

Organs

There are many ways to remove the organs, but we will use a common technique. To begin, reach up in the chest area to find the diaphragm and cut whatever muscles or membranes are attaching it to the carcass. Then once this is done, you can reach up to the esophagus and pull on it. Once you have it in your hands, use caution to cut the esophagus above where your hand is holding it. Make sure to cut AWAY from your hand. An alternate way to do this is to cut the throat and make sure the esophagus is cut as well. Now the process gets easy.

If you like to eat the liver and heart of your game, go right ahead. Make sure to keep them clean and put them in a bag. Everything else can be pulled down out of the body. It is helpful to roll the deer on its side at this point. It is now time to clean the rest of the carcass. Let the blood that has pooled up drain, and be careful not to let any contaminants, such as dirt get inside the deer’s carcass.

Almost There

Congrats! You’ve field dressed your deer. Now that the field dressing of your deer is complete, you might possibly have more work to do. If you have a vehicle or an ATV close to where you hunt, and if you can drive up to where you killed the deer, the hard work is done. If you don’t have driving access to your deer, the real work begins now. This is where that rope and stick (used for a handle) come into play. It might be easier to grip the stick than drag the deer by its legs. Once you get the deer loaded up, you’ve completed your successful hunt.

How To Field Dress A Deer – Wrap Up

Now that you have finished field dressing your whitetail deer your deer is prepared to be butchered. Now that all this work has been done, you can relax and relive your successful hunt for days to come. If you choose to have a deer prepared for taxidermy, there are additional steps that need to be taken. With all this new information, you’ll be able to go out this fall and successfully take care of the whitetail you harvest confidently and efficiently.

Few people truly want to field dress deer, but if you arrow one you’re obligated to clean it and eat it. Field dressing a deer means removing the animal’s internal organs to prevent the meat from spoiling. But don’t worry. This job need not be gory, scary, embarrassing, or whatever emotion you’ve conjured up.

Hunting provides many great benefits, of course, so don’t let field dressing a deer diminish the greater good. Anyone can do it. All you need is the right equipment and know-how, and a little grit.

Lesson Learned the Hard Way

How to Field Dress a Deer

I didn’t have much equipment, but guess what? I had latex gloves and a sharp knife, which meant I had everything I needed. Photo Credit: Mountain Women Journals Youtube

I’ve shot many deer, but not until I moved from Wisconsin to South Carolina did I tackle the responsibility of field dressing deer. One morning I arrowed a deer near my new home on property I had permission to hunt. I had just moved in and was by myself, so I had no one to call for help. And I didn’t have a clue where to start!

After dragging the deer home, I called my dad back in Wisconsin. I didn’t have much equipment, but guess what? I had latex gloves and a sharp knife, which meant I had everything I needed. Through our 20-minute conversation, Dad walked me through the job step by step.

It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t difficult either. Besides, I felt motivated. I wanted the meat, and I wasn’t about to let that deer and all my efforts go to waste. I just did what I had to do, and I’m proud to say I’ve done it many times since. You can too!

Get the Right Tools

To field dress deer you need latex gloves and a sharp knife. A bone saw is a helpful bonus.

Latex gloves keep your hands clean while you work. A sharp knife helps you make smooth, precise cuts. A bone saw gives you options like cutting the pelvis, removing the rib cage, and removing the skull cap if you must break down your deer in the field. It’s not necessary to cut the pelvis, but if you include that step when field dressing a deer, you can break this bone by pressing a strong knife to its centerline and applying pressure while rocking the blade.

With those tools, you’re ready to work.

Learn the Techniques

How to Field Dress a Deer

Read Bowhunting 360’s article, “How-To: Field Dress a Deer in 10 Steps,” complete with pictures, to learn how to field dress your deer. Photo Credit: Ryan Kirby

Learning to field dress a deer is easier than ever, thanks to technology and many great online resources. Read Bowhunting 360’s article, “How-To: Field Dress a Deer in 10 Steps,” complete with pictures, to learn how to field dress your deer. If you prefer to learn by watching, check out the MeatEater video “How to Field Dress a Deer with Steven Rinella.”

Both resources teach you the skills, knowledge and techniques for field dressing deer. You can also ask mentors, family or hunting buddies for help. You could even ask the archery shop’s manager. After all, an expert who was kind enough to help you set up your equipment would probably teach you how to field dress a deer. It won’t hurt to ask.

Other Tips

– Keep Your Knife Sharp: Dull blades are dangerous. They mangle and tear meat, rather than cut it cleanly. Sharp knives make smooth, precise cuts and improve your blade control.

– Take Your Time: When field dressing a deer for the first time, make cuts and remove the entrails methodically, but don’t rush. You’ll be excited, so be patient and take care not to cut yourself. Take your time. Your deer isn’t going anywhere.

– Always Cut Away from Your Body: Never pull the knife blade toward your body when making cuts. It’s dangerous. If your knife blade slips, you risk injuries. Always point the blade so you must cut away from your body.

– Cut all Hide from the Inside: Do not push your knife blade into the skin. Instead, create a puncture hole and turn the blade so it’s facing out as you make your cuts. This keeps loose hair from sticking to the meat and reduces the likelihood of puncturing the stomach or intestines.

– In Case of Punctures … Bowel or stomach contents can taint the meat, but you won’t have a problem if you rinse the carcass after removing the entrails. You’ll probably struggle more with the smell at first, but odors from a deer’s interior seldom linger once you wash the cavity.

Field dressing deer might sound intimidating and undesirable, but it’s simple and provides great anatomy lessons. Don’t doubt yourself. You can do it!

Just give yourself a pep talk and “get ’er done.” In fact, your adrenaline will likely carry you through, and you’ll be done before you know it. Good luck!

How to Field Dress a Deer

Field dressing any animal can best be described as gutting it in the field (or in the woods). Most often, the purpose of field dressing is to make the deer or animal lighter so it will be easier to transport.

Field dressing–or “knocking the guts out,” as Dad used to call it–is a simple process, but for some folks it can be daunting. I’ve delved through a number of field dressing videos in an attempt to find one with the best, most accurate information, which best matches what I’ve learned during decades of deer hunting.

In hot weather, it can be important to remove the innards in a timely manner, to avoid harming the meat. This isn’t always as vital as some hunters believe, because venison is quite tolerant of higher temperatures… but you certainly don’t want to mess around when it comes to pork; you need it cooling on ice as quickly as possible.

Do yourself a favor and NEVER split the ribcage if you are going to drag the deer out of the woods afterward. A split ribcage can gather a lot of dirt, leaves, and sticks. Likewise, leave it uncut if you are going to cape the deer for mounting.

This video shows the best method, in my opinion. It’s simple and to the point, doesn’t attempt to sell you any fancy tools, and avoids opening the deer any more than necessary.

How to tend to the deerly departed.

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How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

Illustrations by John Rice

So you’ve downed your first twelve-point buck of the season. But don’t break out the brewskis just yet: You’ve got some dirty work to do. “The minute the animal dies, it’s starting to decay,” says James C. Kroll, a.k.a. Dr. Deer from the Outdoor Channel (and whose formal job is director of the Institute for White-Tailed Deer Management and Research at Stephen F. Austin State University). “The sooner you get the insides on the outside the better.” Before carving into the deer like a Christmas ham, first things first: Tag your kill (lest you be slapped with a sizable fine), wipe its belly free of debris (dirt does not good seasoning make), and resist the carnal inclination to slit its throat (the deer will sufficiently bleed out in the field-dressing process). Now roll up your sleeves, put on some rubber gloves, and prepare to get messy.

Materials: 1 paring knife; 1 large buck knife; 2 large resealable bags; approximately 10 yards of rope; 2 gallons of water and several towels for cleanup; shovel or 2 large trash bags.

How to Field Dress a Deer

1. Bottoms OUT

Begin with the end—the tail end. Some hunters prefer to split the pelvis for access to the rectal tract, but you can bypass this step if you aren’t comfortable wielding a buck knife through thick bone. With your paring knife, cut three or four inches deep around the anus—“It’s like coring an apple,” says Kroll—all the while being careful not to puncture the bladder (perforating it won’t ruin the meat, but, says Kroll, “it will give it an off flavor”).

2. Make the Cut

Starting just below the breastbone, pierce the hide and abdominal wall. (If you’re looking to add an impressive mount to the trophy room, your cuts should never stray above the breastbone, to preserve the cape.) Go too deep and you risk rupturing the rumen, a large, white stomach chamber, and releasing a putrid green gunk. Create a V-shaped cradle for your paring knife with your index and middle fingers and slowly work the blade (which should face up and away from you) toward the pelvis while pushing down on the intestines. Remove the penis and testicles (or, if you’ve downed Bambi’s mom, the udder).

3. SPILL THE GUTS

Push aside the rumen to locate the diaphragm, the thin muscle curtain that runs along the bottom ribs, and trim through it to access the upper part of the deer. Next, reach into the chest cavity, find the esophagus (it’s above the heart and feels like a garden hose), and with your free hand, slip your paring knife up to sever it. Pull the esophagus down toward the pelvis, and all the entrails, including the detached rectum, should lift right out. If connective tissue impedes progress (and it most likely will), cut through the pesky pieces until the innards are free.

4. The Final Stretch

Tie the rope around the deer’s neck and hang the carcass from a tree to allow the blood to drain (about ten minutes). Bag the heart and liver—to some, they are good eats—then bury the entrails or put them in a large trash bag to dispose of back at camp. “Leaving gut piles lying around just attracts predators,” says Kroll. Remove your gloves, wash your hands and arms, and if you’ve managed to keep your insides on the inside, pat yourself on the back.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Use our step-by-step guide to simplify field dressing

Most people who go hunting are thinking, “I can’t wait to get my hands on my deer,” not “I can’t wait to gut my deer.” While field dressing is rarely the favorite aspect of a successful hunting trip, it’s one of the most important parts. Properly field dressing game allows the meat to cool quickly and stops bacteria growth. Whether it’s your first time field dressing or you’re a veteran at it, you should keep these things in mind to ensure your kill cools quickly, is clean and stays fresh. Check out our best field dressing tools for deer season right here.

  • Prior to field dressing or moving the animal, the appropriate hunting-license tag or permit must be attached to your kill (check your local laws)
  • Always make cuts with the blade moving away from your body.
  • Be aware that your broadhead, a sharp piece of bullet metal or a broken bone may be present – so be careful.

How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

1. Put on a pair of gloves, get the animal on its back, pinch the hide just below the breastbone and carefully make a small, shallow cut to start your incision. If you’re going to have a mount done, cut well below the brisket, leaving as much of the skin uncut as you can.

2. Cut the hide down the belly, around the genitals and to the pelvic bone. Outdoor Edge has a kit that makes this entire process seamless.

3. Skin some of the hide away from the belly, but not too much, as it serves as a protective layer during transport.

How to Field Dress a Deer

4. Insert two fingers into the body cavity behind the blade and hold the knife blade between them. As you hold the skin and membrane up, cut from the sternum to the crotch, penetrating the hide and the membrane below, being careful not to puncture the stomach.

5. Using the pelvic bone as a guide, cut around the *** to fully separate it. Pinch or tie off the *** to make sure no waste escapes, and reach into the front of the pelvic canal and pull the intestines and connected *** into the stomach area.

6. Open the chest cavity and detach the diaphragm.

How to Field Dress a Deer

7. Reach deep into the chest cavity, find the gullet and windpipe, sever both and bring them back toward you.

8. Pull the entrails out, starting from the crotch, while also cutting the membranes linking the innards to the spine. Take care not to cut too close to the spine or you may cut the tenderloins.

9. Entrails will come out in one package, keeping the cape as clean as possible.

Memorandum
To: Richard McGuire

From: Daniel Farrar: 33

Date: November 7, 2002

Subject: How to properly field dress a deer

Audience
The audience that I am addressing are hunters who have never cleaned a deer before and want to attempt to do it the right way in order to preserve as much of the animal that they harvested.

Purpose
I chose to write the instructions on how to field dress a deer it is one of the most important aspects of the hunting experience. Killing the animal is the easy part, making sure that the animal that you have killed doesn’t go to waste can be a difficult task. I have never seen a set of instructions on how to properly clean a deer, or any animal for that matter, that gives clear instructions of the step-by-step process. There are all kinds of TV shows dedicated to show people how to find and kill animals, but I have yet to see one that shows the viewer how to actually preserve the game that they have just killed. If a person doesn’t know what to do with the animal after they have harvested it in order to make sure that the kill doesn’t go to waste, shouldn’t be hunting.

Format
The format that these instructions should take on should come in at least two forms. One form that these instructions should come in should be with every hunting manual that a person receives upon buying a hunting license. This should be done so that the hunter can become familiar with the process before actually going hunting. These instructions should also come in the form of a pocket sized field manual, that is waterproof and the hunter can have on him/her while they are hunting.

Conclusion
These instructions should be readily available to anybody who wishes to go hunting. Many hunters, myself included, learned from our fathers or an experienced hunter that showed him the proper way to take care of game after it has been killed. But not all hunters have knowledgeable peop.

A Series of Essential Advice, This Month from Editor Roger D. Hodge
by Roger D. Hodge

How to Field-Dress a Deer

Roger D. Hodge

The first and most difficult step in field-dressing a deer is the kill. Go out and procure yourself a lease, or access to a lease, or buy a ranch or a farm or an old field grown up with scrubby trees and a nearly impassable understory, or find some public land that permits hunting. Invest in a good rifle, commit gun-safety procedures to habit, and learn to shoot accurately. Acquire a gun safe. Do not neglect to consult your state’s hunting laws—the rules are inflexible and the penalties harsh. Game wardens possess wide discretion and broad powers, so beware. Leave the whiskey at home. Decide whether you wish to sit for untold hours in a small, cramped, elevated box, known as a blind, staring at a corn feeder, or use some other, more sporting method. (Somehow, shooting an animal that you’ve been feeding for six months feels like cheating, or killing a pet, but maybe that’s just me.) Some hunters, like Ted Nugent, sit in trees clutching compound bows. Others stalk through the brush like Natty Bumppo. Personally, I prefer hunting from a warm pickup, with a thermos full of coffee or hot chocolate at my side, because that’s how we always did it on my family’s ranch in Texas.

Squeeze the trigger. When my ten-year-old son shot his first deer, it leaped high in the air and went bounding off through the brush. It was an axis buck, an exotic species from South Asia, beautifully spotted with tall, elegant antlers, that has recently established a breeding population on our ranch. Unlike native species, such as whitetail and mule deer, exotics are typically not regulated by state authorities. It’s open season all the time, though the best hunting season for axis deer is the summer, when the bucks are rutting. Perfect for a school-age child living in a large city far from his ancestral ranch.

We followed spots of blood for about a hundred yards and lost the trail. A common outcome, so fear not. Trace ever-widening circles, looking for footprints, blood, or broken twigs. This is called “cutting for sign.” We soon found the animal. Dead, fortunately. It was a young buck, a six-pointer. If your deer continues to breathe when you approach, I suggest you shoot it again. A wounded deer can kill a person. Beware the sharp hooves as well as the pointy antlers.

I didn’t really expect my son to shoot a deer that day. We had been hunting these axis deer for three years. It was late in the afternoon, and now I had a large dead animal to butcher the night before we drove to San Antonio to catch our flight home. I felt somewhat unprepared. I had a good knife but no gloves. When I was a kid, we never gave a thought to blood-borne diseases.

After determining that your animal is in fact dead, cut its throat and let it bleed for a few minutes. Make a small incision at the sternum and then stand astraddle the deer, facing its hindquarters, and insert your index and middle fingers into the cut, making an inverted peace sign, and pull up the skin. Place your knife between your fingers, edge outward and point shallow, and gently open the abdominal cavity. Don’t force the blade—let your edge do all the work—and be sure to avoid puncturing the gut sack. Cut around the penis, testicles, and anus, freeing them from the surrounding tissues and taking great care not to sever the urethra or the anal tract.

What follows is a bit messy. In sum, you reach into the body cavity of the animal, pulling with one hand and slicing the connective membranes with the other. Make sure you get everything out, and be careful with the bladder. Turn around, facing the deer’s head, and open up the chest and throat. If your knife is very sharp, you can split the sternum. When you have finished, you’ll have a large steaming pile of guts and a carcass that’s ready for transport. Slice open the stomach if you’re curious to see what the deer has been eating. With my son’s deer, it was mesquite pods. Turn the animal over a sturdy bush and let it drain. Find a handkerchief or a rag to wipe your hands. If you’re hunting with a child, smear blood on his or her cheeks and take a photo. Resist the urge to post it on Facebook; it might freak out your city friends.

should I do this or let the butcher do it for me Im new to hunting deer please help. thanks

9 Answers

How to Field Dress a Deer

filed dressing inplies just that, not butchering my friend..smiles. when field dressing, cut the deer from the breast bone all the way to the anus. reach in and remove the heart lungs and all guts and intestines..now i know a lot of guys will go into detail about cutting the anus out etc etc,, i dont, i wil however remove the intestines going to the anus, and dont what ever you do , dont remove the deers testicles, evey body seems to forget that little thing. if the dec or wildlife management unit stops you and its removed you’ve opened a can of worms. i dont care if its got horns, they can and probably bust your kahoonas, if you do this. let your butcher take them off when he dresses the dear out in his shop. leave the tags on and he will give them back to you as well. god it amazes me how many people take for granted these two simple things. okay now that you got you deer cleaned out take the two front legs and tie them above his head, this way when you drag him out of the woods the horns arent dragging in the dirt. (give you a better hint) remember the little felxible red sleds you can buy in store, the ones that roll up tight in a circle? they make great deer pulling, they slide across most grounds and wont kill yourself getting the deer back to you exit point. hope this helps. good luck

How to Field Dress a Deer

I think you should learn how to do your own field dressing. To me it is an integral part of big game hunting. Once you do it a few times then you can make the decision for yourself to take it to the butcher, if you have one who will do the field dressing for you. It is really a simple thing to do and should not take more than 15 minutes or so. Besides being something that is important to hunting, at some point in the future you may be hunting in an area where you don’t have access to a butcher to do it or you might need your deer dressed to be able to drag it out of the area you are hunting. I hope this is of help to you. If you want to know the procedure I use to dress a deer let me know. By the way, where are you hunting this year? Good luck and happy hunting.

Take out the guts where it dropped. Other wildlife will eat them right up. It helps the food chain. Carry along an old a pair of large jeans (Purchase a size 50 or larger at the thriftstore) on the rear end of the deer. Put an old shirt on the front of the deer and fasten around the neck with the buttons, and you are set for transport. Now that’s a dressed deer!

How to Field Dress a Deer

basically what you’re going to do is make an incision at the bottom breastbone. Only cut through the skin, cut up to the neck and all the way down to the tail, cut around the genitals. I use a saw for the next step, saw through the brestbone also saw through the pelvic bone. Go up to the throat and cut the esophagus, grab hold of it and pull. This isnt gonna be easy but you should be able to pull the lungsand heart out, you will probably have to cut the diaphram from the chest cavity and keep pulling on the esophagus. If your lucky the guts will all come out as well. once u got all the internals out, flip it over and make sure the blood drains out of the animal.

This is a very basic guideline, your first time is going to be a struggle but dont worry, just do what you have to to get the internals out!

Once you harvest your deer, it’s time to take care of it so that you have good meat for your table. The difference between gamey meat and good meat depends on how it was taken care of in the field. Knowing how to field dress your deer is vitally important to ensure you remove as much heat as you can from the carcass so bacteria can’t make your meat taste bad.

How to Field Dress a Deer

What is Field Dressing?

Field dressing a deer entails removing the organs out of the main body cavity to lighten the animal for carrying and also to remove the heat from being transferred to the meat. The deer’s digestive system makes a lot of heat, which transfers to the rest of the animal. Field dressing enables you to get at organ meats such as the heart and liver, plus it also makes it easier getting the tasty tenderloins out as well.

What You Will Need to Field Dress a Deer

You will need some basic tools to field dress an animal. These tools include:

A tarp to protect your meat A large, sharp knife with a gut hook A field knife sharpener A small field hunting saw made to cut through bone Disposable gloves made of rubber, plastic, nitrile, or latex Clean bags to store organ meats and tenderloins

Start at the Throat or the Back End?

You can start your cut either at the throat or the anus. Both are valid ways to field dress and many people simply choose their method of gutting according to how they’ve learned how to do it first. The method in this article uses the throat version.

Getting Your First Cuts in

Lay down the tarp spread out so you can work on it easily. Lay your deer on the tarp. Position your deer on its back with its legs splayed away from its body. (Deer seldom go in the position you want them so if you have a bit of rope or another hunter with you, you can at least get the deer in a manageable position.) Cut the deer in the center of the base of the jaw and make a shallow cut just through the skin, fat, and membranes. Follow the line of the throat towards the sternum, make a cut that bisects the deer down the neck and across the sternum. When you get past the sternum, you will want to just cut the skin and then turn the knife around and use the gut hook to cut the fat and membranes, to avoid piercing the stomach or the intestines. Work downward toward the anus, keeping the proof of sex (testicles and penis for bucks; mammary glands for the does) until you get to the anus, itself. Cut around the anus while still leaving the bowels intact.

Sawing through Bone

At this point, you need to saw through two areas. The first place is the chest and the second is the pelvis. Place your saw at the top of the ribcage where you made your cut down the sternum. Put your saw next to the sternum along one side (either side is okay) and cut the bone and connective tissue parallel to the sternum so that you cut down the chest perpendicular to the legs, themselves. When you get to the end of the ribcage, grab both sides of the ribs and pull apart. There will be a lot of cracking and resistance, but you should be able to spread the chest cavity open.

Now, go down to the pelvis. There is a small bone that crosses the bowels before the intestines meet the anus. Cut through that bone with your saw, being careful to not nick or cut the intestines. Push on both hind legs and spread the pelvis as wide as you can. You may need to use your feet on each leg. Push until you hear a crack and the legs spread out easily.

Getting the Organs Out

Now it is time to get the organs out of the deer. Find the windpipe and esophagus at the highest point of your cut and cut them perpendicular to the long cut you just made. Take your knife and gently cut the connective tissue from the windpipe and esophagus and pull them out and down. As you pull on them, you’ll note that there are connective tissues and fat hanging onto them and holding them to the interior of the deer. Keep pulling and cutting them away from the organs. You’ll find that the lungs and heart come out easily until you hit the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a big muscle that runs across the chest cavity and pushes up on the lungs that enables the deer to breathe. You’ll need to cut it from the body wall so you can keep removing the organs.

As you get to the abdominal organs, you’ll want to cut carefully to avoid nicking the bowels and the bladder. Both can spoil meat quickly. Along each side of the spine are the tenderloins, which can be easily nicked if you aren’t careful. Just keep pulling the organs and cutting the connective tissue, using the windpipe and esophagus as a handle, and get them out of the body. When you get to the anus, make sure it is cut free and pull the organs onto the tarp. You’ll find the heart between the lungs and the liver next to the stomach. Use your knife to free them and put them in the bag you have for that purpose.

Drain the Blood

At this stage, you should flip your deer cavity side down on grassy or rocky ground to drain the blood from the animal. Congratulations! You have now field dressed your first deer!

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Dressing a deer in the countryside is kind of a job. You have to have a very strong constitution for this. After all, it’s all blood and liver. But you’ve decided to be a deer hunter, so you have to be able to do it and do it well. Of course I don’t want to waste the fish spoiling the meat. Prepare yourself. This is an experience you will never forget.

You will need a handful of tools for the field preparation procedure. At a minimum, you should have the following:

– very sharp knife that is comfortable in the hand

– disposable latex or vinyl gloves

– small saw to cut the bone

– short light rope about 10 feet long

– very clean cloth (many are better)

– sealable bag for heart and liver (if you want to save them)

Now you’re ready. Okay. You went to get a deer. It’s time to get involved.

There are two very important rules to always keep in mind. One: do not rush. You are working with a very sharp knife. Two: don’t take your eyes off work when your hands move. Cutting your hands will slow you down because they are the ones who do the job. If you get a cut, seal it well to protect yourself from deer blood. You don’t know what it might bring.

The first thing is to prepare your workspace. Move the deer to a visible position, especially visible to other hunters in the area. Place a bright orange cloth (or something noticeable) high on a tree branch. Place your tools from the carcass at a safe and accessible distance, preferably in the order in which you will use them. Remove heavy coats and wrist units. Tie everything that can block your view or fall into your workspace.

Be in the right frame of mind. Do not handle a very sharp knife if you are tired, upset or distracted. Even if you are too cold or have numb fingers. Above all, don’t use a blunt knife. It will overload you, frustrate you and make you angry. This promotes accidental injury or loose cuts that could ruin the meat. Safety must first of all.

The straight cut. Place the carcass with your back on the ground, your head facing up and higher than the rest of the body. With gloves, your first cut will be an incision just below the sternum (sternum) with the edge of the knife facing up. Insert the index and middle fingers, facing up and through the cut. Form a “V” and push the skin upwards. Place the knife facing upwards between your fingers. This will help prevent cutting of internal organs resulting in contamination of the meat. Following the direction of the hair, continue your incision, with a knife between your fingers, up to the penis of a deer or the breast of a doe.

First stage of removal. Make a 2-inch deep incision around the rectum, cutting in a circular motion as you move around it. If faecal material is present, tie the rectum. Pull it into the body cavity so that it is now attached only to the intestine.

– For a dollar, remove the testicles. Get to the body cavity and remove the

penis at its base.

– For a doe, cut all around the breast and remove it.

Second stage of removal. Although it is not necessary, it is recommended to divide the sternum and pelvic bone in half with a saw. It will facilitate the cooling of the carcass and will make the removal of internal organs much easier. Locate the bladder as a pear-shaped pouch in the lower abdomen. Pinch or tie it and cut it free, taking particular care not to lose any urine that may be present (use your cloth). Place the bladder at a safe distance from the workspace. If necessary, use the extra clothes to clean any leaks from internal organs before and after their removal. Keep an eye out for dirt or debris that may have entered the body cavity and remove it.

Roll the carcass to one side. Most internal organs will come loose at this point. Cut away all connective tissue that holds organs and intestines in place. If necessary, roll the carcass on the opposite side and cut the still adherent fabric. Roll it back. Make sure the body has drained all fluids before proceeding.

Remove the diaphragm to gain access to the thoracic cavity. This is a strong membranous muscle that separates the chest cavity, with heart and lungs, from the abdominal cavity. Get as far as possible to remove the trachea as much as possible. Now remove the remaining organs, heart, lungs and liver. Use the sealable bag to save your heart and liver if you wish. And you’re done.

Please properly dispose of all organs that have been removed, including all parts of the body. Use the rope to drag the deer off the field. This is most commonly done by the feet and not by the head.

Here it is. A quick and straightforward procedure to properly dress a deer. Be careful out there. Watch out. And good luck!

How to Field Dress a Deer

With all of the excitement looking forward to deer hunting season, it’s easy to forget one of the most important aspects of the hunt: what to do after you shoot it. It’s not rocket science, but it does take a little knowledge beforehand. Once you do it,however, you’ll always remember how to field dress your deer.

It is vital to cool the meat. If you’re hunting in warm climates, it is even more crucial to quickly dress your game. Here’s a step-by-step method that is easy to follow:

Hopefully you are with someone who is knowledgeable about field dressing. If not, you can do it. I was alone when I shot my first deer and I gutted it myself after reading about it. That was before YouTube. I would highly recommend watching one of the many videos available such as the one below.

The first thing you want to ensure is that you have a few sharp knives. I can’t tell you how critical this is. Hopefully you know how to sharpen those knives. I highly recommend the Piranta knife by Havalon because of the easily replaceable blades.

The first thing you want to do after ensuring the animal is dead is to position it for gutting. Lay the deer on its back. Try to keep the back end of the deer downhill a bit. You can tie one leg to a tree or bush to hold the legs open. Make a comfortable work area free from things to trip on.

Be safe! Many people wear gloves and it makes clean up a bit easier. You will get blood all the way up your arms so be aware of that.

Next, cut the anus out by cutting a circle around it (hence the Havalon knife as it’s like a scalpel) until it is loose. Carefully separate the sex organs from the body. We will remove them later. (Note: some states require you leave them on.)

Cut down to the pelvic bone. The next part is tricky: Cut a slit from the lowest part of the abdomen all the way to the sternum. Be very careful to not penetrate the organs. Go slowly with the blade pointed upwards. I take my other hand and make a peace sign and insert them into the cavity pulling the muscle tissue up as I cut (one finger on either side of my knife). This ensures that I don’t cut the stomach or any organs. Continue as far as you can until you reach the hard sternum bone.

Open up the cavity, reach up as high as you can and cut the windpipe as far up as you can. Be careful for sharp bone fragments as they can cause a nasty cut. Return to the hind end and pull the anus you cut around through and tie it off with a string to avoid poop spilling out.

Now, start pulling the entrails out from the top (windpipe). They will come out pretty easily but you may need to cut connective tissue as you pull. Be very careful not to cut yourself. Roll the deer on one side and cut the connective tissue if need be. You can roll it to the other side to do the same thing. All of the entrails should come out with a little perseverance.

When you get to the hind end, be very careful not to break the bladder. Think like a surgeon and work carefully. Things will make sense as you cut. Pull all the guts out and put them aside. Inspect the cavity to make sure it’s free of all entrails and let the blood drain for a few minutes. In warmer weather, you can cut sticks to hold open the abdominal cavity. This will help cool down the meat which is essential to preserving it.

You can now drag the deer or load in on your ATV etc. and haul it back to camp to skin. Skinning should be done as soon as possible (remember, we are trying to cool down the meat). Stay tuned for tips on how to skin a deer.

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Trying to field dress a deer after you harvested it is a hard process that entails several steps. Each of the steps I’m going to explain have specific objectives and significant outcomes. This essay will give you the basic steps needed to field dress a deer properly after you have harvested it.

Having a sharp knife: This step is the most important of all the other steps I’m going to explain. Its important because if you don’t have a sharp knife its going to make the whole rest of the process very hard to complete.

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So, you want to make sure you have a well-made knife. The blade of the knife should be anywhere from 5 to 7 inches long. Anything smaller you have the possibility to have it turn sideways if you hit any bones and could possibly end of cutting yourself.

Propping the Deer: Once you find your deer after following the blood trail your going to want to prop it on its back.

If it is possible you want to place it facing uphill so once you start to field dress it the blood will run out of the carcass and not lay in the ribcage. You can make it easier to field dress it by leaning it against a tree or rock so it wont roll over during the process.

Slicing the skin: You want to start to cut the skin and pull it back make sure not to cut the muscle tissue yet. This will ensure that the deer hair is kept away from the meat. You’re going to want to make a small cut from between the deer’s legs all the way to the breast plate. Then pull the skin and fur to the side.

Cutting muscle layer: After slicing the skin you want to turn the knife upward. Starting at the pelvis cut upward towards the breastplate like you did previously with the skin. To make it easier for you. You can use your freehand fingers and put them along side of the blade of the knife. While you are doing that make sure you are pulling up on the muscle tissue, so you don’t accidently puncture any of the organs.

Taking out the organs: After you have got done cutting the muscle tissue roll the deer to its side. Then your going to want to cut the layer of tissue that holds the organs in place. Then after that you want to flip the deer over and repeat the same thing on the other side of the deer.

Cleaning: After getting the organs out get water and pour it in the carcass to make sure that all the blood is washed out. Then you are going to want to hang the deer from a tree this will allow remaining blood to run out of the body. Then you can take it to the local butcher and tell him how you Want the deer meat processed like burgers, steaks etc.

The steps listed above are very effective. There to make sure that once you have harvested a deer that you field dress it properly and efficiently. It is, therefore, necessary that you follow the steps given to make sure that you do it correctly. If you do it right, you will have that deer field dressed in no time.

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How to Field Dress a Deer

Google “how to field dress a deer”, and you will get “about 848,000” results.

And probably about 848,000 different ways to do it.

Field dressing a deer at it’s simplest only requires three things: you, a sharp knife, and a deer. You make a slice along the abdominal cavity, and pull everything out as carefully as you can. It’s messy work. There’s no wrong way to do it. You just have to get in there and do it a few times to really get a handle on it.

I’m not going to do a walk through here. Instead, I’m going to give you five tips that will help make the process easier.

Tip 1: Have more than two hands.

I’ve field dressed a number of deer on my own. You can get by easily enough, but an extra set of hands will make it ten times easier. When you don’t have another person to help, cut two sturdy sticks a few feet long. Pound them into the ground on either side of the deer. Use these as tie off points – tie each rear leg to a stick. You do carry rope with you, right?

Tip 2: Put together a field dressing kit.

As I mentioned, all you really need is a knife. But putting together a small bag with a few other key items will ensure you always have what you need. I usually keep this kit in my truck – since my truck is never far away when I’m hunting. Yeah, if you are in the deep woods, put it in your pack. One nice thing about a kit is it can be shared across the hunting party. At minimum, you should have a smallish fixed blade knife, some paper towels, some nitrile/latex gloves, some bags for storing organs, a sharpener, and a bone saw or hatchet for splitting the pelvic bone. Which leads me to:

Tip 3: Split the pelvic bone.

Some guys will tell you not to do this, that you’ll spoil some of the meat. My preference is to split it. I’ve used a saw and a hatchet. I actually prefer to use a hatchet – you just need to be very controlled and careful in your swings. If you can’t do that, use a saw. With your knife, cut down to the bone in a straight line towards the anus. Expose the bone for about an inch on either side of this line, and then cut through the bone on either side of what you exposed, removing a chunk of the bone about 1.5 inches wide, give or take. You’ll have to judge the width of the cut based on your deer. Going this route, you don’t need to tie anything off, or use those “but out” tools. You expose the colon and urethra so you can free it to pull it through the channel.

Tip 4: Take. Your. Time.

Is field dressing fun? Not really. It’s messy. It can be smelly. You might be sweating your ass off from tracking the deer through thickets. But next to good shot placement, it is probably the most critical player in how your venison is going to taste. If you cut the bladder, the spilled urine is not going to enhance the flavor. The deer really won’t smell bad as you are dressing it – unless you knick the stomach with your knife.

Take your time here so you don’t cause any contamination. And also to learn. I approach it as an anatomy lesson. How are things connected? Are there any more useful parts I can harvest? Did I get everything out of the chest cavity? I had a doe “missing” a heart once. After 5 minutes of searching the gut pile, I found it was still in the chest… Oops!

While you don’t want to go so slow your meat starts spoiling, go slow enough to avoid mistakes.

Tip 5: Get all the good stuff!

If I’m going to kill an animal, it’s my responsibility to not let any part of that animal go to waste. Now, technically speaking, nothing goes to waste. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gut pile that lasted more than two days in the woods. The coyotes, fox, raccoons, and birds will all enjoy their share. But still, I want to appreciate as much of it as I can. The heart and liver are the prime candidates. I can get about five personal lunches out of a liver. And pickled heart is one of my favorite sandwich components. I also grab any fat I can see. That lacy covering on the stomach? That’s called caul fat. You can actually cook with it. Most of the fat I grab will be rendered down and made into suet to help feed my feathered friends through the rough parts of the winter.

In Summary:

Just remember that there is no wrong way to gut a deer. As long as you cleanly get everything out, and start getting the meat cooled in a timely fashion, you’ve done it right. And no YouTube video will teach you as much as doing it yourself in the field. So hunt more to practice more!

Do you have any field dressing tips to share? Tell us in the comments section!

Steve Glass is a passionate hunter who is also passionate about his food from wild game. In order to avoid spoiled or “gamey” tasting meat Glass has developed a cooler bag to transport animals, Trophy Bag Kooler. With his expertise, Glass helped Outdoor Hub outline detailed guidelines to properly handle your harvest. Read the full article here. In this article, we take an in-depth look into proper deer field dressing to achieve maximum flavor and ensure proper handling to eliminate the multiplication of bacteria and prevent other diseases from entering the carcass.

Always be prepared for the hunt. Remember to bring a good butcher kit or a sharp hunting knife, a bone saw, a small hatchet, a whetstone or steel sharpener, at least 12 feet of light rope or nylon cord, plastic bags, and a good supply of paper towels, rubber medical gloves and fresh water. You may also need proper clothing, binoculars, a compass, a map, an emergency survival blanket and matches.

Field Dressing

There are three major rules to follow as soon as the animal is down:

  • Remove the intestines, heart, liver and lungs as soon as possible.
  • Keep the carcass clean by getting it off the ground as quickly as possible and by using clean knives during dressing.
  • Cool the carcass quickly and keep it cool during processing and transport.

When field dressing an animal, Glass always recommends using plastic surgical gloves. You never know what kind of bacteria or disease a particular animal may carry. Clean your hunting knife often with an antimicrobial spray or with clean water and wipe off with paper towels to prevent contamination of the meat.

  1. Place the animal on its back with the front-end elevated and spread the hind legs. Support the carcass in position by placing rocks or sticks on each side or tie a leg to a tree.
  2. Cut around the anus and make sure to separate the membrane from the wall, loosening this will allow it to come out with the guts. Next cut around the genitals and separate the male organs, be sure not to cut the bladder or pee pouch as this will taint the meat. Cut along the mid-line of the belly from the breastbone to the anus. Avoid cutting into the paunch and intestines by using a knife with a gut hook or a special blade designed for this purpose. Trophy Bag Kooler offers several products on the company’s website.
  3. Cut the diaphragm (the thin sheet of muscle and connective tissue between the chest and the abdomen) free from the rib cage by cutting through the white tissue near the rib cage.
  4. Reach forward to cut the windpipe, gullet and blood vessels at the base of the throat. Glass finds it easy to put two fingers in the windpipe and pull down. The heart, liver, lungs and guts will come out of the animal relatively easy. If you like variety meats, save the heart and liver in a plastic bag and put on ice.

Bleeding the Animal

Never sever or cut the throat, this is an old myth. This is especially true if the animal is a trophy buck and you plan to mount it. Severing the throat can cause problems for the taxidermist during mounting process. You cause more harm than good.

Most of the time the damage by the shot placement will bleed the animal sufficiently and any hang time will help drain any excess fluids. When the animal has been shot in the vital organs, internal bleeding into the chest cavity should be enough. Most other shots take additional bleeding. Severing the large blood vessel leading to the heart should get any additional blood to drain out.

How to Field Dress a DeerHanging to Drain and Clean

If possible hang the carcass to clean and allow it to drain or put the carcass on logs or rocks if you can’t hang it. Be sure to keep it out of reach of the critters.

  • Remove all foreign particles and loose hair.
  • Wash out excess blood in the gut cavity and wipe out with a paper towel or clean cloth. Remember, water promotes the growth of bacteria, so when using water always wipe off the excess and then treat the inside of the gut cavity or eviscerus with the Game Fresh Spray and don’t forget to treat the wound channels. This will eliminate any bacterial growth and help start the preservation process. Also remember, several different kinds of bacteria already exist and you need to kill it so it won’t start multiplying.
  • Use as little water as possible on the hide, because a wet hide is a breeding ground for bacteria and it will spread to the meat. Dry with paper towels or clean rags.
  • You want to prop the cavity open with sharpened sticks or a product Glass uses called Steel Stick. It’s a rib spreader. This will allow the carcass to lose heat and allow for proper cooling, if the outside temperature is accommodating.
  • Hang the carcass in the shade until the cavity surface is thoroughly dry. Be sure there is good air circulation.
  • If warm outside temperatures exist, the use of the Trophy Bag Kooler is recommended.

You can also hang the deer in a Trophy Bag Kooler by all four legs, cradling the animal. However, when using a Trophy Bag Kooler, remember to never put a freshly harvested animal inside the bag for more than 30 minutes unless you have the proper cooling source on hand since the bags keep warm things warm and cool things cool. A warm animal with no coolant could spoil itself.

How to Field Dress a Deer

Most deer hunters put a ton of thought and preparation into shooting a deer but do not prepare as well for what they will do after they actually shoot one.

A solid plan for how to handle your deer after you shoot it is essential if you want to maximize the quality of the venison from your kill. Here are six things to absolutely do immediately after shooting a deer.

MAKE SURE IT IS DEAD

It might sound funny, but this step is critical if you want to avoid serious injury. Before you do anything to your deer, make sure it is dead. You may think it is dead, but there are plenty of stories out there about hunters who thought their deer was dead, only to have it pop up and go berserk; in some cases causing injury, or even death.

RELATED: The Deer that Came Back to Life

FIELD DRESSING

This is a critical step in the process. Field dressing should be done immediately after killing the deer. Make sure to carry a sturdy, sharp knife (or even two) with you to make sure you can do the job quickly and precisely.

One of the most important points to focus on in field dressing a deer is to avoid puncturing any of its organs. If you do puncture an organ, it can result in a tainting of the meat and adversely affect the flavor.

Remove the internal organs and as much of the windpipe as is possible. During this process, try to minimize any dirt or fur getting inside the deer.

RELATED: How to Field Dress a Deer

TRANSPORT

Ideally the best way to transport a deer is to lift it directly onto a trailer and drive it to your destination. However, often this is not possible due to the terrain or location. In many cases, hunters must drag their deer out of the woods or field. If you must drag your deer out of the woods it is best to lay it on a tarp to avoid contact with the ground. Whatever you can do to minimize the amount of dirt and debris that gets inside the deer, during transport, will be a benefit to you in the process.

HANGING

Once the deer is transported to your destination, you should immediately hang it, so it is not touching the ground. Some hunters prefer to hang it head up, while others prefer to hang it head down. The key is to hang it, because this lets remaining blood drain out of the deer.

Once the deer is hung, take a saw — preferably a hack saw — and cut through the deer’s ribs. Then take a piece of wood or other object and pry it into the cavity to open it and keep it open. You also want to get the hide off the deer as quickly as possible, because fur is an insulator. With the hide removed, the meat will cool more rapidly.

At this point, some hunters like to rinse the deer with water. While this does remove debris and cools the meat more quickly, moisture can also accelerate the work of microorganisms and increase the chances of spoiling the meat. To be safe, you can delay the rinsing process until later. If you do rinse it right away, make sure to blot as much moisture as possible from the deer to reduce the chances of spoilage.

AGING

How long you hang your deer depends heavily on the air temperature. If the temperature is below 40 degrees you can age your deer longer, up to a week. Temperatures above 40 degrees will accelerate the spoiling process. In warmer temps, keep the aging process to a few days.

CUTTING

Once your deer is aged you can begin cutting and processing the meat, whether you do this yourself or bring it to a professional. If you are doing the job yourself, have a good plan for how you are going to use the meat and do the job in a clean environment to avoid contamination. Meat should be put in the freezer immediately, unless it is going to be used right away.

should I do this or let the butcher do it for me Im new to hunting deer please help. thanks

9 Answers

How to Field Dress a Deer

filed dressing inplies just that, not butchering my friend..smiles. when field dressing, cut the deer from the breast bone all the way to the anus. reach in and remove the heart lungs and all guts and intestines..now i know a lot of guys will go into detail about cutting the anus out etc etc,, i dont, i wil however remove the intestines going to the anus, and dont what ever you do , dont remove the deers testicles, evey body seems to forget that little thing. if the dec or wildlife management unit stops you and its removed you’ve opened a can of worms. i dont care if its got horns, they can and probably bust your kahoonas, if you do this. let your butcher take them off when he dresses the dear out in his shop. leave the tags on and he will give them back to you as well. god it amazes me how many people take for granted these two simple things. okay now that you got you deer cleaned out take the two front legs and tie them above his head, this way when you drag him out of the woods the horns arent dragging in the dirt. (give you a better hint) remember the little felxible red sleds you can buy in store, the ones that roll up tight in a circle? they make great deer pulling, they slide across most grounds and wont kill yourself getting the deer back to you exit point. hope this helps. good luck

How to Field Dress a Deer

I think you should learn how to do your own field dressing. To me it is an integral part of big game hunting. Once you do it a few times then you can make the decision for yourself to take it to the butcher, if you have one who will do the field dressing for you. It is really a simple thing to do and should not take more than 15 minutes or so. Besides being something that is important to hunting, at some point in the future you may be hunting in an area where you don’t have access to a butcher to do it or you might need your deer dressed to be able to drag it out of the area you are hunting. I hope this is of help to you. If you want to know the procedure I use to dress a deer let me know. By the way, where are you hunting this year? Good luck and happy hunting.

Take out the guts where it dropped. Other wildlife will eat them right up. It helps the food chain. Carry along an old a pair of large jeans (Purchase a size 50 or larger at the thriftstore) on the rear end of the deer. Put an old shirt on the front of the deer and fasten around the neck with the buttons, and you are set for transport. Now that’s a dressed deer!

How to Field Dress a Deer

basically what you’re going to do is make an incision at the bottom breastbone. Only cut through the skin, cut up to the neck and all the way down to the tail, cut around the genitals. I use a saw for the next step, saw through the brestbone also saw through the pelvic bone. Go up to the throat and cut the esophagus, grab hold of it and pull. This isnt gonna be easy but you should be able to pull the lungsand heart out, you will probably have to cut the diaphram from the chest cavity and keep pulling on the esophagus. If your lucky the guts will all come out as well. once u got all the internals out, flip it over and make sure the blood drains out of the animal.

This is a very basic guideline, your first time is going to be a struggle but dont worry, just do what you have to to get the internals out!

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How to Field Dress a Deer

How to Field Dress a Deer

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    How to Field Dress a Deer

    How to Field Dress a Deer

    By Clayton Wolf

    Knowing where to cut will ensure the safety of your venison.

    Though chronic wasting disease (CWD) has not been found in Texas, discussions of this fatal brain malady of deer and elk likely will arise at the deer camp this fall and winter. CWD belongs to a group of prion diseases similar to mad-cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. However, according to the World Health Organization, there is no current evidence that CWD can infect humans. Nonetheless, as a precaution, deer or elk with evidence of CWD should not be consumed by people or other animals. For that matter, hunters should refrain from harvesting and eating any animal that appears sick or acts strangely.

    Scientists believe that CWD is caused by a protein called a prion. Prions concentrate in areas with nerve tissue such as the brain, spinal cord, eyes, tonsils, spleen and lymph nodes. Prions have not been found in muscle tissue. Therefore, when processing a deer, precautionary measures are aimed at removing prion-prone tissues and ensuring that knives and saw blades used on this nervous tissue are not used on the meat (muscle tissue).

    Once a deer has been harvested and tagged, the next step is to eviscerate (field dress) the deer on-site or at the camp. This process will remove the spleen and some of the lymph nodes adjacent to internal organs, which can be hard to recognize for many people. Hunters should always wear rubber or latex gloves while processing game animals to protect themselves from a variety of diseases that can potentially pass to humans.

    Next, the hide must be removed. Although there are many ways to skin a deer, hanging the carcass from the hind legs and skinning down toward the head will allow the weight of the hide and head to assist the hunter when severing the spinal column, and minimize the chances of getting spinal fluid on the rest of the carcass. When severing the spinal column, use a knife designated solely for this purpose, inserting the tip of the blade between the vertebrae, cutting the cartilaginous tissue while prying apart the vertebrae.

    Once the internal organs, hide and head are removed, the carcass is ready to be quartered for storage and transportation in an ice chest if necessary. When quartering the carcass, the hind legs should be removed by placing the tip of the knife in the hip socket, and working it around the ball joint, cutting cartilage until the leg bone can be easily separated from the hip socket. Do not cut the bone. When the carcass has reached the final destination, the process of “boning out” the meat can begin. Care should be taken to remove all the fat and connective tissue from the muscle as well. This will ensure the removal of the remaining lymph nodes which are imbedded in this connective tissue (see diagram).

    How to Field Dress a Deer

    How to Field Dress a Deer

    So you’ve downed your first twelve-point buck of the season. But don’t break out the brewskis just yet: You’ve got some dirty work to do. “The minute the animal dies, it’s starting to decay,” says James C. Kroll, a.k.a. Dr. Deer from the Outdoor Channel (and whose formal job is director of the Institute for White-Tailed Deer Management and Research at Stephen F. Austin State University). “The sooner you get the insides on the outside the better.” Before carving into the deer like a Christmas ham, first things first: Tag your kill (lest you be slapped with a sizable fine), wipe its belly free of debris (dirt does not good seasoning make), and resist the carnal inclination to slit its throat (the deer will sufficiently bleed out in the field-dressing process). Now roll up your sleeves, put on some rubber gloves, and prepare to get messy.

    Materials: 1 paring knife 1 large buck knife 2 large resealable bags approximately 10 yards of rope 2 gallons of water and several towels for cleanup shovel or 2 large trash bags

    Bottoms Out

    Begin with the end—the tail end. Some hunters prefer to split the pelvis for access to the rectal tract, but you can bypass this step if you aren’t comfortable wielding a buck knife through thick bone. With your paring knife, cut three or four inches deep around the anus—“It’s like coring an apple,” says Kroll—all the while being careful not to puncture the bladder (perforating it won’t ruin the meat, but, says Kroll, “it will give it an off flavor”).

    Make the Cut

    Starting just below the breastbone, pierce the hide and abdominal wall. (If you’re looking to add an impressive mount to the trophy room, your cuts should never stray above the breastbone, to preserve the cape.) Go too deep and you risk rupturing the rumen, a large, white stomach chamber, and releasing a putrid green gunk. Create a V-shaped cradle for your paring knife with your index and middle fingers and slowly work the blade (which should face up and away from you) toward the pelvis while pushing down on the intestines. Remove the penis and testicles (or, if you’ve downed Bambi’s mom, the udder).

    Spill the Guts

    Push aside the rumen to locate the diaphragm, the thin muscle curtain that runs along the bottom ribs, and trim through it to access the upper part of the deer. Next, reach into the chest cavity, find the esophagus (it’s above the heart and feels like a garden hose), and with your free hand, slip your paring knife up to sever it. Pull the esophagus down toward the pelvis, and all the entrails, including the detached rectum, should lift right out. If connective tissue impedes progress (and it most likely will), cut through the pesky pieces until the innards are free.

    The Final Stretch

    Tie the rope around the deer’s neck and hang the carcass from a tree to allow the blood to drain (about ten minutes). Bag the heart and liver—to some, they are good eats—then bury the entrails or put them in a large trash bag to dispose of back at camp. “Leaving gut piles lying around just attracts predators,” says Kroll. Remove your gloves, wash your hands and arms, and if you’ve managed to keep your insides on the inside, pat yourself on the back.

    Field Dressing Deer

    How to Field-Dress a Deer

    1. Run your finger along the breastbone until you can feel the end of it. Pinch the skin away from the body so you don’t puncture the intestines, and then make a shallow cut just long enough to insert the first two fingers of your left hand.

    2. Form a “V” with your first two fingers, maintaining upward pressure. Guide the blade between your fingers with the cutting edge up. This way, you won’t cut into the intestines. Cut through the abdominal wall back to the pelvic area.

    3. Separate the external reproductive organs of a buck from the addominal wall, but do not cut them off completely. Remove the udder of a doe if she was still nursing. The milk sours rapidly, and could give the meat an unpleasant flavor.

    4. Straddle the animal, facing its head. Unless you plan to mount the head, cut the skin from the base of the breastbone to the jaw, with the cutting edge of the knife up. If you plan to mount the head, skip this step and the next step.

    5. Brace your elbows against your legs, with your left hand supporting your right. Cut through the center of the breastbone, using your knees to provide leverage. If the animal is old or very large, you may need to use a game saw or small axe.

    6. Slice between the hams to free a buck’s urethra, or if you elect to split the pelvic bone on either a buck or doe. Make careful cuts around the urethra until it is freed to a point just above the anus. Be careful not to sever the urethra.

    7. Cut around the anus. On a doe, the cut should also include the reproductive openting above the anus. Free the rectum and urethra by loosening the connective tissue with your knife. Tie off the rectum and urethra with kitchen string.

    8. Free the windpipe and esophagus by cutting the connective tissue; sever them at the jaw. Grasp them firmly and pull down, continuing to cut where necessary, until they’re freed to the point where the windpipe branches out into the lungs.

    9. Hold the rib cage open on one side with your left hand. Cut the diaphragm from the rib opening down to the backbone. Stay as close to the rib cage as possible. Do not punture the stomach. Repeat on the other side so the cuts meet over the backbone.

    10. Pull the tied off rectum and urethra underneath the pelvic bone and into the body cavity, unless you have split the pelvic bone. If so, this is unnecessary. Roll the animal on its side so the entrails begin to spill out of the body cavity.

    11. Grasp the windpipe and esophagus, pull down and away from the body. If the organs do not pull freely away, the diaphragm may still be attached. Scoop from both ends toward the middle to finish rolling out the entrails. Detach the heart and liver next.

    12. Prop the body cavity open with a stick after sponging the cavity clean. If the urinary tract or intestines have been severed, wash the meat with snow or clean water. Hang the carcass from a tree to speed cooling, or drape it over brush or logs with the body cavity down.