Most people who go hunting are thinking, “I can’t wait to get my hands on my deer,” not “I can’t wait to gut my deer.” While field dressing is rarely the favorite aspect of a successful hunting trip, it’s one of the most important parts. Properly field dressing game allows the meat to cool quickly and stops bacteria growth. Whether it’s your first time field dressing or you’re a veteran at it, you should keep these things in mind to ensure your kill cools quickly, is clean and stays fresh.
- Prior to field dressing or moving the animal, the appropriate hunting-license tag or permit must be attached to your kill (check your local laws)
- Always make cuts with the blade moving away from your body.
- Be aware that your broadhead, a sharp piece of bullet metal or a broken bone may be present – so be careful.
1. Put on a pair of gloves, get the animal on its back, pinch the hide just below the breastbone and carefully make a small, shallow cut to start your incision. If you’re going to have a mount done, cut well below the brisket, leaving as much of the skin uncut as you can.
2. Cut the hide down the belly, around the genitals and to the pelvic bone.
3. Skin some of the hide away from the belly, but not too much, as it serves as a protective layer during transport.
4. Insert two fingers into the body cavity behind the blade and hold the knife blade between them. As you hold the skin and membrane up, cut from the sternum to the crotch, penetrating the hide and the membrane below, being careful not to puncture the stomach.
5. Using the pelvic bone as a guide, cut around the *** to fully separate it. Pinch or tie off the *** to make sure no waste escapes, and reach into the front of the pelvic canal and pull the intestines and connected *** into the stomach area.
6. Open the chest cavity and detach the diaphragm.
7. Reach deep into the chest cavity, find the gullet and windpipe, sever both and bring them back toward you.
8. Pull the entrails out, starting from the crotch, while also cutting the membranes linking the innards to the spine. Take care not to cut too close to the spine or you may cut the tenderloins.
9. Entrails will come out in one package, keeping the cape as clean as possible.