illustrated field dressing guide for a first-timer?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Sprokker, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. Sprokker

    Sprokker

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Hi folks, I'm a first-time wanna-be hunter with no experienced hunter friends or family to show me how. I'm an experienced backpacker and a reasonable marksman, and I've taken my required hunter's safety class.

    I've read a bunch of websites about field dressing (small game and deer), but I'd really like a little laminated flip-card book to take with me the first time or two.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. punkture

    punkture

    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2003
    Location:
    mississippi
    I'm not sure how much help I'll be, but there was a recent thread that covered a similar question:

    http://glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=441409

    I've been in the woods with my dad and grandfather since I could walk, so I basically learned by simply being there. A lot of people will suggest joining a camp to learn, but that's not always an option for everyone, although, it really is the best way to learn. A trend that I've noticed is hunters that have been hunting together for any amount of time, tend to share a particular method. I'm assuming this is most likely due to people growing up with one another, an outsider picking up the ways of the camp members, and general ease of anyone knowing a particular method so there is no confusion when you are assisting someone with cleaning the day's kill. At any rate, there is no "wrong way" per se. There are definitely better and worse ways to go about cleaning an animal. The link above shows a detailed squirrel cleaning. google.com and observing others is the best advice I can give you. Maybe someone else will respond with some video/book ideas for you. Good luck!
     

  3. lomfs24

    lomfs24

    Messages:
    2,388
    Likes Received:
    144
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montana
    I agree with punkture, there is no wrong way to clean an animal. Basically, cut the hide from the base of the neck to the hind end of the deer and take everything out that doesn't look good to eat. Some folks keep the heart and liver. I personally only keep the heart cause I don't like to eat liver.

    Now some of the messier details. Slit the throat so that when you pull the lungs out the windpipe comes out too. Animals have diaphrams to breath with too. So you will have to cut the diaphram free of the rib cage. Of course, the the urinary track and the lower intestine which turns into the anus come out through a hole in the pelvis. Some people cut the pelvis some simply take their knife and cut all that loose and pull it to the inside.

    Once you have the rear end taken care of and the diaphram cut, grab the wind pipe where the it attaches to the top of the lungs and it should all come out in one smooth swoop. There are a few small pieces of tissue that you will have to cut as you pull it all out.

    I watched my grandfather clean a deer out with a pocket knife and when he was done he had enough blood on his hands to think that he might have had a bloody nose. There is no need to get bloody from head to toe.
     
  4. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer

    Messages:
    25,567
    Likes Received:
    15,059
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2000
    Location:
    Upstate NY, USA
    Everybody does it different. Differs by cold/warm climate too.

    Deer?

    I have a very sharp folding lock-blade, blade is 3 1/2" long. I keep it sharp, and don't cut bone with it.

    Shoot deer broadside in the heart/lung area. If deer doesn't drop on spot, wait 20 minutes, then follow. Walk up to deer, observe it is dead, maybe poke it with your foot.

    Say prayers and thanks. Breathe and relax. Unload and set gun down, take off coat, roll back sleeves past elbows, get paper towel handy, get small string handy, put on disposable rubber gloves. Turn deer on back, head uphill, spread hind legs with my knees.

    Start carefully cutting through the skin, but not into the bowels, from the "privates" exactly at the top edge of the pelvic bone, up in a straight line to the bottom of the center of the ribcage (the sternum, I think it is called). The skin is very thin, so I'm pinching the skin away from the bowels with my left hand, while right hand carefully slice with the knife. I don't want to nick the bowels.

    Below the pelvic bone, I cut carefully around the anus to free the instestine from that spot. Not cutting into meat. I pull the intestine an inch or so out the anus and tie a string around it, knowing I am in a minute going to pull it from the inside, and the string keeps stuff from spilling out.

    Then I turn the deer over so the cavitye opening faces the ground, and I grab head/neck with one hand and grab the tail with other hand, and lift up enough to let things slide out. I make sure to pull the instine clean from the anus while doing this. Most of the guts will be out, but the lungs will still be attached. I might have to put the deer on its side, slightly away from the gut pile, and then reach up and grab the lungs and pull firm with a fair amount of pressure to free them. You can grab the windpipe and pull hard enough to free it, or you can reach up there and cut it. Either way, the whole gut and chest cavity should be empty. Let blood drain out.

    You might notice the tenderloins inside the cavity, on each side of the spine. They are not part of the guts, but are the best meat, leave them there.

    I carry a rope with me to tie around the front feet and head, to drag the deer out frontwards, while lifting up on the head. You could istead tie the rope around the back feet, and drag the deer out backwards. When I get to my house/camp, I use a block and pulley to hang the deer from the back feet, so the head is off the ground, and I put a bucket under the head. I have a 2x4 cut to fit between the hocks, and the rope is attached to this 2x4, and that is what the deer is hangin by.

    Oh yeah, don't forget a plastic bag to keep the liver if you want it.
     
  5. 8-Ball

    8-Ball Old Soul

    Messages:
    3,941
    Likes Received:
    54
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
  6. rhikdavis

    rhikdavis U.S. Veteran

    Messages:
    7,730
    Likes Received:
    552
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    In Remembrance
    Eyewwww...anyone ever thrown up while field dressing? ;f

    ;g
     
  7. Sprokker

    Sprokker

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
  8. git_r_dun0405

    git_r_dun0405 5FDP

    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Auburn Alabama
    aaaaaahhhhhhhhh That smell.............;f
     
  9. joker1

    joker1

    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Location:
    verona, ky
    Even though I don't ordinarily smoke I carry a celebartory cigar with me will hunting. Smoke it while you gut your deer. It covers most of the smell.:cool:
     
  10. 8-Ball

    8-Ball Old Soul

    Messages:
    3,941
    Likes Received:
    54
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    ^6

    I dont think I've ever field dressed one without having a cigarette or something. It really does help cover the smell.
     
  11. Weezer

    Weezer

    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2001
    Location:
    Burbs of Detroit
    My first deer I made the awful mistake of accidently knicking the (full) stomach with my knife. Yuck!
     
  12. Hawkman

    Hawkman

    Messages:
    504
    Likes Received:
    35
    Joined:
    May 5, 2000
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I did that with the last deer I killed last season. First time I have ever nicked the stomach. I didn't throw up, but that was the worst field-dressing experience of my life!;P
     
  13. AJE

    AJE Sometimes grumpy, not old

    Messages:
    1,116
    Likes Received:
    65
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    West Central Ohio
    That and the small intestines. ;0

    Never actually hurled but damn it smells gross.
     
  14. Short Cut

    Short Cut PatrioticMember CLM

    Messages:
    6,195
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2002
    Location:
    Above ground
    After you gut the animal you can make skinning a heck of a lot easier if you can hang the animal up from a tree or structure. If you make a slit between the achiles tendons of the back legs and the bone you can hang the animal up by these. There are hangers made especially for this. They look like a super duty coat hanger with hooks out from the far corners which go inside the slits. (see below) These help because the help to keep the rear legs spread apart.

    If I can hang them I skin from the rear legs down to the neck.

    clic pic

    [​IMG]
     
  15. lomfs24

    lomfs24

    Messages:
    2,388
    Likes Received:
    144
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montana
    Oh, and the warmer you can skin it the better. Once it cools off they are harder to skin but still not bad.
     
  16. lomfs24

    lomfs24

    Messages:
    2,388
    Likes Received:
    144
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montana
    Nope, but I have hunted with a guy who is an EMT and could take all the human blood and gore that a multi-car pile up could dish out but couldn't stand to see a deer field dressed.
     
  17. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer

    Messages:
    25,567
    Likes Received:
    15,059
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2000
    Location:
    Upstate NY, USA
    I don't remember the smell being bad. Of course, I haven't gut shot or cut into the guts.

    Deer just smell like deer.

    My dad cut deer. My uncle cut deer. My brother cut deer. So, I've seen a lot of deer laid out in driveways and hanging in garages. Parts is parts. Deer just smell like deer. :)
     
  18. Hunterjbb

    Hunterjbb

    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Location:
    Midlothian Va.
    When i was 12 my first year hunting i shot a doe at about 20 yds with a 20ga pumpkin ball.. did a nice job.. only problem was it was a tad far back... yuck... of course there was a foot of snow on the ground it was friggin cold.. and my dad says.. you shot it.. you gut it.. ok.. so i'm getting step by step instructions.. was doing real good right up till i opened the cavity up.. ;P wellllll... let's just say i was not prepared for a gut shot deer sight nor smell... barf... my dad thought it was kind of amusing and said "you done".. you haven't finished yet.. Actually he took some pity on me and helped a little after that.. It was by far the worst deer i've ever had to dress out.. Since then, well i've been fortunate enough to not repeat the bad bullet placement scenario... thank goodness..

    Of course i can't remember the last time i gutted a deer and didn't cut myself while doing it either... and last one i did i didn't even gut, took the rear legs, tenderloins, neck and front legs.. i dont eat heart or liver so the rest got chucked.. works for me.

    Jeff.
     
  19. punkture

    punkture

    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2003
    Location:
    mississippi
    this thread is old, but i stumbled on this link yesterday while researching building a blowgun and thought someone out there may find it useful. its a rabbit cleaning pictorial. not the way i'd do it, but it may prove useful to someone:

    http://www.geocities.com/blowgunhunter/butcher.html
     
  20. noway

    noway

    Messages:
    8,735
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2000
    Location:
    Davie "Cowboy" , FL
    A rabbit is much easier than a deer but a deer is not bad.

    ( field dressing #1 step immediately after the kill or soon )

    Once you get the animal on the ground on it's back you cut around the anus. It helps to lift the animal rear-end up over a log or your knee and a long thin blade knife is the best to use. The big rambo knifes don't do so good ;)

    next, find the base of the sternum ( ribcage ) and make a cut straight down the inside of the belly just cutting the skin all the way down around the genitals

    Next, peel alittle of this back and then make a second cut on top of the 1st cutting just the thin meat/fiber that protects the gut area

    at this point the guts/stomach would start to swell out and that's fine, if you roll the animal over to the left of right side this would help to get them out of the way.

    next, find the diagham (sp?) and cut this thin red meat away and reach as far as you can up in to the chest cavity and and just cut the windpipe/lung/heart out and pull this down to the opening in your deer.

    Now the fun part, roll it off to the left or right side of the deer and you should know have a pile of guts steaming on the ground. You might have to go back into the rear-end thru the pevic bone area if you didn't free the anus from the deer from the outside. I also like to straddle the deer after this proccess and lift it up behind the neck/shoulder and let any pooled blood run down the inside of the deer out thru the hole you made when moveing the anus and it's tubing. Some people also wipe the inside down with paper towels.

    hint: Just make small cuts and don't pierce anything that looks like a bladder and you will be fine. Go slow and don't rush it for a 1st timer. Once you do your first deer/hog the next one and then the next one gets easier and easier and soon it no different than you cutting up a cardboard and will be come second nature. All so I've agreed the smell of deer is just that "deer" and I have yet to see anybody get sick or barf from gutting a deer and surely not from the skinning procces.

    Next you can easier move your deer that's now on a gut free-diet ;)

    Once you get to a clean place hoist the deer tail or head first ) I like tail-end 1st but YMMV. I've also done our flori-duh size deer that weighs less than 110# on the ground on top of a tarp or tailgate of a PU and once when Ihad no truck or tarp on top of a cooler (that was fun ;) ). It's pretty quick and not that bad as along as you keep the deer on the tarp PU or worst the cooler top ;)

    Make a a ring around both legs above the knee ( watch out for that tarsgal gland ) and then a slit down the insides of all 4 legs to the white belly fur. Then make a ring around the neck as far up the neck that you want to go. And yes deer neck meat is good meat to eat ;)

    then peel off the fur mainly by hand, make small precise cuts on the fiberous material and unless you are going to tan the pelt avoid poking the leather or slip and make cuts into the deer's meat.


    Once the skin is off the meat can now finish cooling and most blood will be allowed to drain out of the carcass. It's a good time now to cut the head off. I carry a simple wood saw and cut as high as I can on the neck at the spine and then snap the neck or hit one or 2 times with matchette and off with it's neck. I also like to go back and clean out the neck area with the windpie stuff that I might have not gotten a good cut on. Also the same saw is used to cut all 4legs off so it ( deer ) will fit into the cooler. I do save the legs and freeze them and give them to a taxidermist for hooves mount gunracks.

    You can hang the deer up now in a cool place outside of the sun and away from bugs/flys/dogs/wild animals and this would help. But if you are like me, in an area that stays about 60deg for the most part of the year, you will need to throw your deer in a cooler or put it on ice. You can hook the deer rear-end up with a hook thru the pevic opening or if no hook a rope thru this works just fine also. If you plan on hanging the deer. A sharp knife can split the pevic bone or a matchette.

    A texan fellow event a buckmaster knife that does all of this but I 've tested it and rather use my crude hammer/saw/matchette/and the few smaller knifes that I carry. It's much simple this way/

    Here's a link to that knife;
    http://www.texasbuckbuster.com/


    Trust me on this, dressing a deer is the next best thing to killing it or eating it ;)