How To: Field Dress a Deer

By | October 1, 2012
From Xplor: October/November 2012

You’ve shot your first deer, snapped a photo and attached your notched permit to the deer’s leg. Now what? To keep the meat fresh, field dress the deer.

here’s what you need

  • One dead deer (Never approach a deer unless you’re sure it’s dead—trust us on this one.)
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • A clean, sharp knife
  • Paper towels
  • Rope
  • An experienced adult

here’s what you do

  1. Roll the deer onto its back. Carefully make a small, shallow cut in the skin and muscle just below the deer’s breast bone.
  2. Insert your knife into this opening with the blade facing up. Using short, shallow strokes, cut through the skin and muscle from the deer’s chest to between its back legs. Be careful not to cut into the deer’s organs.
  3. If you want to have your deer’s head mounted, don’t do this step. Otherwise, use your knife, a saw or a small axe and hammer to cut through the rib cage. This takes muscle, so ask an adult for help if you have trouble.
  4. Cut through the windpipe and esophagus. Cut the connective tissue that holds the deer’s organs to its backbone. Roll the deer onto its side and scoop out the organs, being careful not to tear any of them.
  5. Use your knife, a saw or a small axe and hammer to cut through the pelvic bone. Guide the intestines through this opening, then cut around the anus to separate it from the rest of the deer. Use paper towels to clean any dirt, hair, feces or organ residue from the meat. Prop the deer open with clean sticks, then hang it head up in a shady, breezy place. Let it cool and drain for about an hour before moving it.

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This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White