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

  1. #41
    Spark Maker panch0's Avatar
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    Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing it wiht us.
    -Frank

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  2. #42
    Senior Member tonester's Avatar
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    awesome tutorial. ive been interested in learning how to skin and prep smaller animals but i just dont know where to start? i mean ive read up on it but its nothing like actually doing it. i guess i just dont feel comfortable with trapping animals cause i dont wanna mess up. plus im pretty sure that its not legal to trap or hunt here in so-cal. any suggestions?
    how dare i call this love and not bare my cross

    Bear Clan

  3. #43

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    Excellent tutorial!

    I have got to get me sinew now. I never tried making anything out of it before. But, just seeing your picks makes it pretty clear how to start.

  4. #44
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    Great step-by-step. I personally gut the deer in the field first, then if it is cool enough, skin it and bag it and let it hang for a few days, then follow the same butchering progression as above.
    Since you're a tanner, why not add your tanning steps in here with good photos too! Maybe you already have put that someplace on here and I am remiss in not searching more thoroughly.
    Thanks for the info.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Welcome, Batch. How about making your way over to our Introduction section?

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  6. #46
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    tonester, I've got one word for you if you want to practice on smaller game: roadkill Check with your local DNR to be sure that it is okay to salvage roadkills and I must let you know that you will be responsible for disposing of the carcass. Some of my best skins and furs are roadkill.
    There are also several methods employed when doing small game, depending on the use intended. cape skinning, cased skinning, open... here I'm just showing the open method because I make clothing and large items. Most furs will be cased if you aim to trade them, or open if you plan to craft your own goods. caping tends to be reserved for taxidermy.

    Batch, if you look at the thread "Abo Dress" in the Making stuff section, you will see a real good use of sinew. the dress is ALL DEER. Yes, the thread is backstrap sinew. Many bowyers use sinew as the backing laminate also and though I've only tried short cordage, I'm sure it would work well for that too.

    TomChem, tanning is a very long drawn out process for me. Usually takes 5-7 days including all the wait time (which also depends on the weather) and it would literally take hundreds of pics to explain well. I have thought of putting up a tanning tute, but there are much better sources of info for this than I could ever write on my own. Mr. Matt Richards book "Braintan Buckskin" is the best route for anyone wanting to learn to tan using natural materials. you can check out his site for ordering info.
    Unless you guys really want a tanning tute (my way) I'll let that one stay with the pros. There are at least as many different formulas for tanning as there are tanners and there are all the different environmental variables like temp, humidity, and barometric pressure and of course all the different steps that have multitudes of techniques. I've found through reading several tanning books and websites what works for me. What works for me might not work in say Canada or Arizona.

    thanks for the compliments everyone.. and to think this thread started as a rant expressing my disgust for the callous way processors treat our resources. If one person learns from this post, I feel like it was worth it, and I have been successful. Thanks again gang!

    Now we need a pro butcher to show us how to make the steak cuts
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  7. #47
    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    Now we need a pro butcher to show us how to make the steak cuts
    Both Crash and I are professional meatcutters. It's a Q.C. requirement. Unfortunately, our techniques are strictly confidential, per Forums Rules of course.

    So just send us the meat and we'll take care of it - confidentially, of course. Trust us - we are your friends!
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    Ed
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    The chop muscle on the top of the back is the best cut....slice it up. The inside hind leg muscle is second, then outside hind muscle, then center muscle. Clean the tallow and membrane off the meat as much as possible and wrap it and mark it. The rest of the animal is stew meat. The heart and liver should have been soaking in salt water on the day of the kill or you should pitch it. I hang mine for a couple weeks with the skin on so it ages and it doesn't dry out, but if you skin the deer while he is still warm, as CC, it will skin easier as will any animal.

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    Junior Member carnivor way's Avatar
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    awesome . hangin them by the head is the only way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carnivor way View Post
    awesome . hangin them by the head is the only way to go.


    I would be interested in photos, and first hand experience that you have hanging say a 1,200 Pound Moose by the head, with no trees or structures with-in (30) Thirty MILES........How you do that.....

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    Hey Carnivore, how about hanging 'em up over at the Introductions and tell us a bit about yourself?

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  12. #52
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    This is my humble contribution to processing your game. I am no butcher or meat cutter, but using a little common sense, I have found ways to make the meat "cleaner". By removing the bundles of muscle you can remove the tendon sheath surrounding each one, thereby removing the gristle.
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    There is also a sort of membrane that surrounds all the meat. Normally it gets ripped all to pieces during skinning, exposing meat that flies can blow on. Proper skinning will allow this "sheath" to "skin over" becoming an impenetrable fly barrier. A few clips of removing it.
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    Muscles are grouped together in this sheath, which can be removed and each muscle bundle can be isolated, cleaned, and processed. The finished product is much more enjoyable and less "chewy" as some might describe wild game. Game processors do not waste time with such trivial bits, and you will almost certainly get low quality meat. I do not know of any processors around here who take the time to remove it.

    Eventually you'll work your way down to the bone. I hope everyone knows that you do NOT use a knife this way to clean bone. My uncle thinks a knife is a chisel, and not a cutting tool. This will dull your knife and leave bone shavings in your meat. DO NOT HOLD YOUR KNIFE THIS WAY!
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    Lay your knife alongside the bone, and use short strokes to clean as much meat as you can from the bone. Most muscle is not attached to the bone and only a few places require this sort of detail work.
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    By following the contours of the bones with your knife parallel, you can get almost every last scrap of meat.
    This picture is only meant to illustrate the contours of the shoulder bones, from both sides. Hopefully it displays the contours well enough.
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    If you choose to process your own deer, you will find great satisfaction in the cleanliness of your meat. To me it has better taste and texture this way. We do not mix pork with ours, as it makes no sense to me to take such lean, healthy meat and pollute it with lard. I like the taste of deer just fine without adding pork fat.

    After being ground, you see very little fat and tendon left in. We've put up a little over 100 lbs of meat this year. All of it processed at home this way, and everyone who eats supper with us says "You should open your own deer processing shop", to which I reply, "That takes away too much of my hunting time".
    Check out how clean this is!
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    I'm no butcher. I do hope this helps give others the confidence to process their own meat at home, to save money, and have a better quality end-result.

    Also, worthy of note, these bones make fine tools. The scapula can become a saw, hoe, or comb.. and the ulna-radius makes a good scraping tool (unless you are a brutish neanderthal like myself).

  13. #53
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Found another really bad hide in the freezer. I fleshed it anyway and was either going to throw it away or bark tan it, but it happens that a fella couldn't get hold of a deerskin to learn tanning with, so I told him if he'd come get it, it's his, and if he ruined it, it's no great loss.
    A few more pictures to reinforce the FACT that you do NOT need a knife to skin your game, NOR SHOULD YOU USE ONE other than to open the hide for removal.
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    Of course, this doesn't mean much to anyone that doesn't tan, but to those of us that do, this is dispicable! (in my best Daffy Duck impression)
    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. #54
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Lately I'm finding that bucks are easier to skin if you start at the chest and run back up the neck. The skin has a lot of connective tissue at the neck and is very often difficult to get started on large bucks. The rest works the same. At the chest, work back toward and around the front legs, and then onto the back, between the shoulders. Then you can pretty much just stick your hand (or sometimes a stick) and pretty much just push up.

    A quickie on field dressing (sorry, no pics yet).
    Lay the deer on it's back on the ground. Cut the diamond around the anus and genitals. This skin is very thin and pulls away from the meat easily! Using your fingers and as little knife as possible, disconnect the lower intestine from the interior of the pelvis.
    Hang the deer by the head, or leave it on it's side on the ground. Up at the top of the breastbone, make a portion of your lengthwise neck cut, and sever the esophagus and trachea. Go back down to the abdomen and start at the lowest point of the breastbone. It's hard, like bone and just barely below it, is a small plate of cartilage. Your incision should not break the meat, only the skin. Separate it all the way down to the pelvic bone so that this part is already started. Then go back up to the cartilage, and make the piercing through the meat. Use care, because the guts are just inside!!
    Once the incision is started enough to fit two fingers in, place your blade between your inserted fingers, sharp out. Using your fingers to keep the innards in, and the blade cutting the abdomen.
    The innards will begin falling out. At this point only a bit of connective tissue and the diaphragm itself are holding the guts in. Starting at the front, cut the diaphragm all the way around to the back, as close to the rib cage as you can. Reach up inside, towards the throat and grab the esophagus. A sharp pull down will free the chest contents and they will begin to fall out as well.
    I save the heart and eat that too, but I save the liver for my great aunt. Be sure to cut the pericardium from around the heart, then just sever the arteries at the top of it.
    Once most of the innards are outside the animal, you can reach into the pelvic bone and free the lower intestine and bladder, and all the innards are now outtards. Place the heart back inside and use a stick to prop open the abdomen to cool the meat.
    As always, I just use my pocketknife for this whole process, so you don't need any special gut-hooks or chainsaws. If the deer isn't gut-shot, this is a fairly pleasurable experience and leaves what you would normally waste, back in the world where it came from to return to the food chain. Sure, you'll be bloody, but in the long run, the meat will taste better, and you'll have less to deal with at home, or camp.
    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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