When to dress a deer?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by mzenzer, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. mzenzer

    mzenzer Argus-eyed

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    I haven't killed a deer since I was a teenager, and at that time I had a lot of adults who helped with the cleaning and we were close to camp. However, this season I plan on getting back into deer hunting, but the places I will be hunting range from as little as 30 minutes drive time to over 2 hours of driving. Of course, that doesn't even include getting the deer out of the woods.

    My question is, how soon should the deer be gutted? Do you do it while in the woods or drive home, even if it could be a few hours before you get there?

    Thanks.
     
  2. AAshooter

    AAshooter

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    Make sure it is dead, then tag it, then field dress it.

    Ideally you want to do it as soon as possible and start cooling down the meat. This becomes even more important depending on your shot placement and how hot the day is.

    There is a big debate as to whether you should remove the hide right away. Some claim it is very important to do it right away to help cool the meat. Some like to do it right away because it is easier while warm. I think it falls into personal preference.

    In a recent hunter education class, one of the attendees shared a story about a deer hunter he had come across. Apparently the hunter was successful and had taken a deer. It had been taken two days earlier but was not field dressed. Apparently the hunter did not know you were suppose to field dress them and assumed the meat processor took care of that for him at the end of the trip.
     

  3. 357glocker

    357glocker

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    If you're hunting in LA, then I'd definately field dress the deer imediately after being shot. If it's above 40 degrees I'd even put some bags of ice in the cavity until you process the deer. The sooner the meat is cooled properly, the better quality meat you will have. Good luck.
     
  4. RJ Schuknecht

    RJ Schuknecht

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    Gut the deer in the woods.
     
  5. mzenzer

    mzenzer Argus-eyed

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    Thanks guys, thats what I figured. When I hunted before it was so close to our camp I guess that's why they did it there. Most hunts were done in stands just a 5 minute walk from a 3 wheeler.

    This year, among other places, I plan on hunting federal land which is only about 30 minutes away, but the weather down here can be quite warm. Bringing some ice sounds like a great idea, I'll definitely do that.

    Thanks again everyone! ;Y
     
  6. AAshooter

    AAshooter

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    It is also a good idea to have a good game bag to protect the meat.
     
  7. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer

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    Might be some variations across the country, but this is how it is in rural NYS.

    Shoot deer.
    Make sure deer is dead.
    Catch your breath.
    Tag deer (tag doesn't have to be on deer yet, but tag has to be filled out).
    Gut deer right there where it lays.
    Drag/transport deer to the place your are staying (home, camp, whatever).
    Hang deer, with the hide on.
    Weather determines how long deer can hang. If warm, then not long. If cold, then a couple days is fine.
    Take deer to the processor.
     
  8. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer

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    Don't know about that.

    But I know my brother (a deer processor) told the story of someone who brought the deer to him in a bag. Deer had been cleaned with a hose, then put in the bag and transported. My brother refused to cut the deer up, because it was moldy.

    So, I think general wisdom is to just gut well (inluding bung-hole), leave the hide on, hang by the feet to drain (some like to hang by the head), then take to the processor.

    No bags, no washing, no skinning (unless you are cutting it up yourself).
     
  9. AAshooter

    AAshooter

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    It sounds like from the story, the customer must have used a plastic bag, or some other non-porous bag. A quality game bag will allow airflow but protect the meat from bugs/insects.

    As they always say, the three things to watch for are: heat, moisture and dirt.

    Ithica, if you have a chance to ask your bro, I would be interested in his comments about the use of high quality game bags.
     
  10. Charlie-NY

    Charlie-NY

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    AA,

    You've got it down pat.

    Ithaca,

    You forgot to tag that deer before/when you hung it.

    Last thought - trophy photos look much better when the animal is still in the round. Photograph just before you field dress.
     
  11. AAshooter

    AAshooter

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    Another point, if you are going to be interested in having your animal mounted or tanning the hide, talk to your taxidermist before hand. They can tell you what is required for what you want. This will make sure you don't do anything when field dressing or skinning the animal to ruin your mount.
     
  12. mzenzer

    mzenzer Argus-eyed

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    The areas I hunt are not known for trophys, but just the same thats a good point, thanks. I have experience with tanning hides, and anything but the most magnificient specimens I'd do myself.
     
  13. AAshooter

    AAshooter

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    Sounds like you are set . . . best of luck!
     
  14. AR15'em

    AR15'em Roll Tide??

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    Couldn't tell you, as I have yet to gut a deer in 15+ years of hunting. We simply clean our deer as soon as possible and don't worry about field dressing. We keep plenty of ice on hand, and we usually have the deer quartered and iced down in coolers within an hour of the kill. It pretty much makes field dressing a waste of time. I could see the point of it if you couldn't clean the deer or if your were taking it to have it cleaned at a processor. However, if you clean your on deer within a reasonable time, you do not need to gut them.
     
  15. Michigun

    Michigun live free or die

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    I don’t know about you boys, but I’m certainly not dragging an extra 50+ pounds of guts through the woods if I don’t have to! ;f (It’s enough work as-is!)

    Always “field dress” (notice the word “field” in “field dress”? ;)) them where they lay if at all possible. Both for the reason I gave & the reasons others gave.
     
  16. Nyper

    Nyper

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    If you have a two hour drive, it wouldn't hurt to field dress it, then stop on the way out and put a bag of ice inside the deer. It may not REALLY help THAT much, but a bag of ice is less than a dollar, and I'd rather be safe, especially if its hot outside like it is in bow season around here.
     
  17. Verybigstick

    Verybigstick VinceAutMorire

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    I'm with Michigun, the drag is the only part of hunting that really sucks. Make the animal as light as possible before the drag. Also, I always cut out bung and tie with cheap shoe string and esophagus once I gat a hand on it. Takes a little extra time but decreases spillage onto good meat. A good cloth game bag will also keep good meat clean (very inportant in the warm climate down south).

    Verybigstick
     
  18. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA

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    After shooting a deer, I'll walk over to it and make certain it kaput. Then, I'll take a few minutes to admire it....give a little thanks to hunting gods and begin to fill out my tag. Then I'll dress out the deer.
     
  19. Michigun

    Michigun live free or die

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    Don't forget those nice "in the field pictures" before taking a knife to it! ;)
     
  20. WalterGA

    WalterGA Millennium Member

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    "When to dress a deer?"

    Well, I guess anytime you take it out to a nice restaurant!