Skinning and Cleaning a Deer

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Published on: Sep. 2, 2003

Last revision: Nov. 15, 2010

over the outside of the carcass will keep them out of the way and make it easier to work. Next, sever the connective tissues that hold the stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver, bladder and other organs to the diaphragm, and then pull the entire mass of organs back toward the pelvic opening. Continue severing connective tissue and rolling back the viscera until you reach the pelvis. Carefully sever the tissue around the anus until it's free. Then, guide it through pelvic opening until the entire viscera is free of the carcass.

With these organs now out of the carcass, guide the lower intestine through the pelvic opening you created and carefully separate the anal opening and sphincter muscle from the carcass.

You should be able to pull the rest of the intestine from the body without spilling any of the contents. Many hunters squeeze the bladder empty and squeeze the contents from the last five or six inches from the rectum. If you do this, be careful not to let any of the bladder contents come into contact with the meat.

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 abominal muscle tissues.

Step 2 - Using short, shallow, slicing strokes, open the body cavity by cutting 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.

Step 3 - If you wish to have your deer head mounted, stop the incision at the bottom of the rib cage. Otherwise, continue the opening all the way to the fleshy, hollow junction of the neck and chest.

Step 4 - Using a small axe and sledgehammer, open the chest cavity by separating the rib cage. This will allow easier removal of the heart and lungs.

Step 5 - Severing the windpipe will make it easier to remove the stomach and lungs.

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.

Step 7 - Using a small axe and sledgehammer, open the pelvis to ease removing the organs. Lay the bulk of the organs outside the carcass. Guide the lower intestine through the

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