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Proper skinning using "fisting"

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Brought this over to the blogs as suggested by my buddy Beowulf.

I rode with my uncle on saturday to the game processor to drop off his quarters. While I was there, I mentioned that we had spoken before about getting "good hides" and that I'd pay for good ones If he'd save them out for me...
Well, he had a wheelbarrow full and brought out 6 good sized ones. I saw a lot of meat and a few knife marks right off, but said 'what the heck'. If these were your deer, you'd be PO'ed.. after fleshing 2 hides, I had a 8" tall 14" round pile of meat that I would guess weighed in excess of 10 lbs. to top it off, I only managed to salvage 2 of the 6 hides. the rest were butchered. To me, It looked like they skinned their deer with the lawnmower. 8" long cuts right in the middle of the hides.
Let me be up front here.. I understand that processors really don't give a RA about he skins, just the money... well, he lost 10 pounds of meat on 2 skins... thats a bad skinning job and lost money on his part, since he gets paid by the pound...

enough ranting..I wanna talk about proper skinning procedures. Granted, there is more than 1 way, but I dont know of any better way than what I learned for anyone hunting for food and skins. It's called "fisting".

First of all, take that "skinning Kit" you got from cabelas that has 4 saws, 8 knives, gambrels, lawnmowers... and toss that box of crap in the garbage. you need nothing more than a sharp pocketknife to completely dress and quarter a deer.

Take your single knife, and make a cut all the way around the neck, just below the chin, right up behind the ears.
Follow the line along the front of the front legs where the brown and white hair meet, right up the the "cowlick swirl" in the middle of the chest.
Follow the line along the back of the back legs where the brown and white hair meet, right up to the "V" in the base of the tail.
Make a diamond shaped incision to go around the genetalia and mammaries (if it's a doe)
Split the deer right up the middle from the diamond to the neck incision.
Noose around the neck, and hoist the deer, or skinning can be done on the ground.
Cut around the circumference of the legs, just below the "cap joint", you'll find where it bends, there is a lump. as you get into it, there are tendons. sever these and break the leg backwards over your knee. sever the tendons still attached and save the legs for the hockskins and hoofs.
starting at the neck, you may need your knife just to get started. the neck is the hardest part. Once you are started, put the knife down. you won't need it again until you are cutting meat off the bone or quarters.
Once the neck is started, make sure you aren't pulling any meat off with the skin and work your hand in between the skin and meat. Work your hand around to the shoulders and watch closely to the flank meat (I call it the 'fly twitch' muscle. Once you reach the shoulders, move to the legs.
Work the legs loose till you are at the belly / shoulder and work the skin off carefully around the shoulder watching the flank meat.
Work around the belly and lower legs the same way.
When done properly, you will have a "cape" hanging off the deer's back. grab the neck skin and with 2 good yanks (you may have to raise it a bit higher for the second yank) you can have the skin all the way down to the tail.
To remove the tail skin without damage, you can either take 2 sticks and pinch the tail between them pulling down and it will pull off like a sock, I prefer to use my fingers, two from one hand on either side where the white and brown hair meet, and the other hand on top and bottom.

when you are done, there should be 0 meat left on the skin. I mean NONE. there should only be tiny bits of fat still attached.

Now you have a cooler worthy hunk of meat hanging in the tree, or laying on top of it's own 'clean' skin on the ground. You save the skin and waste no meat using this method.
NOW you can get your knife back out to start quartering.
I'll post on quartering with only my pocketknife after work. I'm gonna be late! (I can't be late, I'm the boss lol).
And I'll take pics of my next skinning job so you all can see. There is no reason at all to waste meat and skins simply because you don't know any better.

honestly, I have seen roadkill skins in better shape than what I got from the processor. As a tanner, you can imagine my disappointment.
Thanks for listening to my rant and I hope this helps someone to save food.
Your Comforting Company

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  1. your_comforting_company's Avatar
    blogs don't allow enough pictures.

    for pictures follow this link: