For many, the idea of spending time in the Great Outdoors is the thrill of the hunt. It’s challenging and exhilarating to bag a deer or other prey after you’ve stalked them. Then, there is the satisfaction of providing food to your family and friends with meat that you’ve provided through your cunning and hard work.
The problem is that you should be dressing your own deer when you have bagged them. Taking them to a specialized butcher is an option, but you end up losing out on the financial benefit of hunting your own meat as well as the sustainability of doing it yourself.
In this article, I will give you some basics on how to field dress a deer. It is much easier than you think!
Get the right tools
To do any job properly, you need to have the right tools. This is especially important when dressing a deer as you want to be quick and efficient. Using the wrong tools can also make a mess of the meat and that would be a true disaster.
The three essentials are a razor sharp knife, a bone saw and rubber or latex gloves. Also, having some plastic bags to put the meat after it’s been butchered.
The type of knife that works best is something like a USMC knife that is very sharp and also strong enough to not break against some of the tougher parts of the carcass like bones and joints.
A bone saw is going to allow you to quarter the deer much easier when you need to get through the rib cage and other joints. And of course, the gloves will keep you from getting messy.
You need to learn some basic butchering skills to be able to quickly and efficiently break down your deer. The key is to know where to cut and which joints will yield the pieces that you want.
However, before you figure that part out, you need to understand the approach. For instance, when I say quickly, I don’t mean that you need to rush. You should work with patience, but in a methodical way so you aren’t wasting steps.
You should work with your knife away from you so if it slips you don’t end up injuring yourself. When you push the knife away from your body then this eliminates the risk of injury.
Also, make sure to cut out of the hide and not inside. In other words, make a puncture into the meat, then turn the knife outward so when you make a slice the blade is coming out and not going in. This will keep the meat clean and not get fur on it.
Lastly, be very careful around the innards to avoid puncturing a stomach and contaminating the meat. If you do make a puncture then make sure to thoroughly wash the cavity. It will smell really bad, but it will all wash off if you do it right.