Field Dressing A Deer
Tips to Field Dressing a Deer
If your patience has paid off and you have your deer, then the next thing you need to know is how to go about field dressing a deer. There are a lot of common misconceptions and conflicting information regarding this. The following article offers some tips on how new hunters can learn the basics of field dressing a deer to ensure that the deer is ready for the next step.
First, you want to make sure that the deer is actually dead. Do not approach a buck if it’s not dead, especially with the intentions of cutting its throat. Instead, shoot it again to make sure.
A common misconception is that when field dressing a deer you must immediately cut its throat in order to bleed the deer. However, this is not needed, nor is it necessary. The blood stops pumping once the deer is dead so cutting its throat will not bleed the deer out. On the other hand, it might damage the hide around the deer’s neck which can hurt your chances of mounting the deer later.
What you can do instead is hang the deer upside down and cut the deer at its lowest point to let gravity help bleed the deer out. Another alternative is to soak the meat in an ice chest for a couple of days to get the blood out. This also helps age the deer meat before freezing it.
Another misconception is that you if you don’t cut off the tarsal glands then the meat will be ruined in that area. This is simply not true. However, you do want to keep from touching the tarsal gland and then touching the meat.
When field dressing a deer, a sharp knife will always do you better than a dull one. Start by making a cut from above the genitals and up to the rib cage. At that point, some people choose to cut through the ribs in order to be able to get up into the deer’s chest. If you choose to do this, though, be careful not to cut through the muscle or else you will hit the intestines and this can lead to a very unpleasant aroma.
Next, turn the deer over so that the guts are able to come out. You will have to cut away some of the fat that holds the intestines inside the deer. This fat can usually be located in the top of the cavity close to the spine. Close to where the cavity narrows near the hips is the bladder and you want to avoid puncturing it.
To remove this part of the deer’s intestines, you should ream the deer from the back. Cut around the anus and tie it off with a string and then remove the entire area. Since this is where the deer’s excrement is located, you should be careful not to puncture anything. The diaphragm separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. In turn, this separates the stomach and intestines from the heart and lungs. All of this needs to be removed.
If the temperature is less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit then you might want to age the deer for a day or so with the skin still on it. Leaving the body cavity open to let the air circulate through it, as well as irrigating the cavity, is important.
At this point you need to decide whether or not you want to mount it, as that will determine how you will skin it. No matter what you decide to do, it is important to wear gloves at all times.