Learn 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.