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Thread: Field Dressing, Butchering, Skinning, Animal Processing....Wild & Domestic

  1. #21
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Default Field Dressing

    I probably should have posted this part first, but oh well. I have come across a few field dressed deer that looked to me like had a lot of extra work in them. I wanted to post up a slightly simpler way that is equally effective and will get you back out on the road so you can get your meat home quicker.

    Field Dressing 101
    If it is going to take a while to get your deer home, most people prefer to gut the deer in the field. I personally dont gut them where I kill them, because that is usually the same area where I'll be hunting. I recommend moving the carcass (after you record it on your permit, of course) out of the area you are hunting. I carry one of the e-tool folding shovels to bury the guts.

    Using only your pocketknife, cut from one side of the chin to the other and sever the arteries and the windpipe and esophagus. Be careful not to cut into your meat!This helps relieve blood from the animal and you are gonna remove the piping in a moment.

    there is no real reason to cut through the breastplate. The chest cavity contents can be removed by simply reaching in to the top, grabbing a handful of the "piping" and pulling down. That being said, start at the bottom of the breastplate and make a small incision that you can get your finger in. I prefer to make two cuts here. One is to remove the skin from the meat (as detailed in the first post in this thread), just along the edge of the incision; it makes skinning easier later. The second cut is in the same place, but will go through the belly meat. make sure you don't cut yourself, and carefully slide your knife down with your finger to prevent poking a hole in any abdomen contents. both of these incisions should go all the way down to the point where the ham skins meet on the underside behind the genetalia.

    With the abdomen opened up, you can now reach up into the chest cavity, grab the piping (esophagus and windpipe) and yank it loose. Leave a tiny bit attached at the bottom of the piping just to hold the guts in place while you tear or cut the diaphragm. Once that is out of the way, finish pulling out the chest contents and the guts will start to follow. use one hand to control the fall of them into the bucket or bag and the last thing attached will be the anus / intestine.

    reach way down to the bottom of the abdomen, pinch the bit of intestines just above the anus to make sure none of the contents spill into the carcass, and cut it just below your fingertips. Everything is now loose and contained in one tidy package.

    Use sticks to prop open the abdomen so the inside of the carcass will cool. This could be done right after opening the abdomen, so you can see better, but to me it just gets in the way at that point.

    Normally, I carry a plastic bag and folding shovel in my hunting pack. The guts go in the bag or other similar container, dig a hole deep enough to hold them all and return these to the earth. Thank the deer for the food, Thank the lord for the hunt, count your blessings once more, and head for the house (or camp).

    I hope I kept this brief, yet detailed enough that even a first timer can do it using only a pocketknife. For me this is the simplest, most efficient, and most sanitary way to field dress a deer. You will get a little blood on your hands, so you might want to carry a little water and soap if you have room.
    If anyone has any questions feel free to ask!
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  2. #22
    Ed edr730's Avatar
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    We've always skinned with the head down. The neck area is the most difficult area to pull off the hide and I'll hold the hide with both hands and put my knee on the hide to pull downward. You are looking down at this point and you can see where you must use the knife after every couple pulls. The hide should come off pretty easy by only hands except a little around the legs, chest area and neck. I use regular large limb trimmers to cut off the ends of the leg bones.
    I like to gut the deer because I like to hang them and age them some. You never know how much work the pulling or the tracking may be and it's nice to leave some work for another time. If you travel with the carcass, it's also illegal to quarter it up around here. When gutting, I like to put the head down and anus etc.up so I can cut around them easier. A membrane must be cut around that separates the lower organs from the upper ones. There is also a membrane that holds the guts to the backbones and it too must be separated. The esophagus must be cut. After these things the guts can be pulled out and the deer turned over with it's legs spread open to let it drain out. I'll use a t-shirt or cloth to wipe out and clean off the blood. I usually can separate the membranes and tear off the esophagus with only my hands, but not always. Be careful when you have both hands inside the cavity and using the knife because you can't see your fingers. Once the deer is hanging, I like to clean out the deer real good with water even though the old timers said not to do this. I can't see what difference it makes and only cleans them up better. I dry them out good with a rag because you want a dry membrane to form over the inside of the deer. Put in the stick to cool them out good. Keep them out of the sun and bag them. You need a bag around the nose too because the flies can enter there too. If you shot them in the lungs, then the nose will be bloody, so clean it out so the flies aren't attracted to it. Most people use big formica cutting boards, but I like wood for cleaning anything because the meat sticks to it and doesn't slide around and the blade stays sharper. We clean the meat good and remove the tallow and membrane as much as possible. I haven't seen deer meat cleaned by a butcher that I considered cleaned decent.

  3. #23
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    got a nice doe today.
    added skinning pics, will get the quartering up soon, it's gettin late.
    I have a ton of the skinning pics here if anyone wants more details. quartering pics are here and I'll post the relevant pics to the thread soon.

    try it right side up. 0 meat was left on my skin and other than cutting the skin open and cutting off the legs and head, I didn't use my knife AT ALL.
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  4. #24
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Nice tutorial.
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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    quartering pics are up.
    thanks crash.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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  6. #26
    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Absolutely outstanding tutorial!

    I learned a lot here. Thank you, your_comforting_company!
    “Learning is not compulsory. Neither is survival.”
    W. Edwards Deming

    "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."
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    Yeah, I think this is just excellent. Gave you a little rep for that. It's so good, if I ever get a deer I'll just call you.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Yeah, I think this is just excellent. Gave you a little rep for that. It's so good, if I ever get a deer I'll just call you.
    Yeah I tried giving you some Rep too but apparently I have to "spread it around some" before I can give you more....Dadburnit!!!!
    Excellent post!!!
    Will that do for now?

  9. #29
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    thanks guys. Glad I could put up something worthwhile.

    If you need my number, just pm me hehe.

  10. #30
    Gadget Master oldsoldier's Avatar
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    Great post. Growing up in the country, hunting,fishing, processing both as well as killing chickens,hogs, sheep and such. It sometimes is hard for me even now to accept the fact that I am in a very small minority knowing how to do do this stuff, Very feww people have a clue how to cut up a chicken for frying. Much less how to kill it, clean it, first. Myself ( at least when I hunted regularly) I could gut, skin, and quarter a deer in less than 10 minutes. Have it processed and ready for the freezer, trimmings for grinder for burger/sausage etc. in less than an hour. I know a couple of people to would take a week trying to find the zipper to remove the hide.
    If by what I have learned over the years, allow me to help one person to start to prepare. If all the mistakes I have made, let me give one person the wisdom that allows them to save their life or the life of a loved one in an emergency. Then I will truly know that all the work I have done will have been worth every minute.

  11. #31
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I let my sinews soak in the ice water with the meat till today. Soaking them swells the membrane surrounding the strip and makes it come loose much more easily. Use a flat board and the DULL side of your knife to scrape off the slimy membrane and any bits of meat that were left on. What you have left is a beautiful, long, white strip of sinew ready to be dried out. This provides you with a LOT of string for sewing or backing bows, or tying fishing line, or whatever. It looks like this:

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  12. #32
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    At what point to you divide it into thin strips?
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  13. #33
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    once it's completely dried out, I take it to the cable and rough it up a bit. this breaks up the glue that naturally sets on the outside, it also loosens the fibers and makes them flexible. It will take about 4 days to a week depending on the weather (right now the humidity is really high) for it to dry to a workable state.
    I typically use my awl to seperate however small or thick a strand as I want, kinda like combing hair with a comb with only one tooth, if that makes sense.
    I'll get a few pics of doing this with some I have dried already one day this week as I have another skin to frame and I gotta sew up the bullet holes.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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  14. #34
    Lone Wolf COWBOYSURVIVAL's Avatar
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    Excellent Post I just caught up to it! Great job and you taught me something. Definately upside down in the tree for me. I may give it a go one day and this is a great tutorial!
    Keep in mind the problem may be extremely complicated, though the "Fix" is often simple...

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  15. #35
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Neighbor brought me a fresh hide last night. I don't want anyone to think I was ungrateful, but this is how a skin should NOT look when it comes off your animal.
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    compare that the deer I skinned using fisting and NOT a knife.
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    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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  16. #36
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Back to the sinew topic, heres a few pics.
    Sinew drying:
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    cabling to remove glue sheath:
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    ready to use:
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    seperating the threads for sewing, using my awl to select thread size:
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    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

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  17. #37
    "PIRACY IN THE BLOOD" Icemancometh's Avatar
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    Great post, thanks for taking the time to share all that. I have been processing my own at home for several years now. I feel like I get more meat than I did with my processor. It takes me longer but I think I get more of the little pieces off than he did. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife sells a good video on skinning and processing on thier site.
    ""What the hell you doin' with that lawnmower blade?" "I aim to kill you with it.""

  18. #38
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    Pictures sure tell a thousand words. Your pics are great and really make your tutorial come alive. This is just an excellent post.

  19. #39
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    Great post and pic's, thanks
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  20. #40
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    Great tutorial. Thanks.
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