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How to field dress a deer is an important skill to master as a hunter.  It is very important to field dress your deer properly to save the meat from getting contaminated with bacteria. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of field dressing a deer step-by-step.

We’ll cover everything from how to make the initial cut to how to remove the guts. By following our tips, you’ll be able to dress your deer like a pro in no time!

 

tips for hunting whitetail
Tips For Hunting Whitetail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step To Field Dress A Deer

1. Set It Up For Incision

Position the deer on its back with the stomach facing you so that the stomach is not pressing down on the hide.

 

 

 

2. Cut Around The Anus

Cut about 6 inches deep around the anus. This cut will detach the connective tissues around the anus and make it easier to dress the deer. Do this carefully to avoid puncturing the colon which can taint the meat.

 

Best Way To Attract Deer
Best Way To Attract Deer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Start Cutting

Grab the skin by pinching it between the rear legs. Make a 1-inch incision into the skin. The hide and skin will pull away as you make short, shallow and slicing cuts. Carefully make cuts to separate the skin from the meat. Use your fingers to help separate the hide from the organs. The knife should be facing upward and the cuts should be away from you.

 

 

 

 

4. Cut Up The Midline

Continue cutting all the way to the ribcage.

 

 

 

5. Sever The Diaphragm

Cut the diaphragm to access the chest organs.

 

How To Field Dress A Deer
How To Field Dress A Deer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Cut The Windpipe

Hold the windpipe above the heart and lungs and sever it.

 

 

 

7. Remove The Internal Organs

Since the diaphragm and the windpipe have been severed, you can pull out toward you the stomach, intestines, bladder, heart, liver and the lungs. If you want to save these, you can place them in a plastic storage bag.

 

 

 

8. Drain The Blood

Set the deer in an upright position for any excess blood to flow out it.

 

Field Dressing A Deer
Field Dressing A Deer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Let It Cool Down

Inspect the deer and do little cleaning touches to remove any left over organs or body parts. Lay it on its back and open the cavity for the meat to cool. This will prevent bacteria from growing and damaging the meat.

When you get home, you can clean it up and add ice to cool it further if you will not process it the same day. To prevent bacterial growth, it is stated that meat should be stored below 40 degrees.

 

 

How To Skin A Deer

1. Cut the skin around the neck.

2. Cut the inside of each leg to the middle of the carcass.

3. Pull the skin away from the meat at the head and pull down hard. It will come off down to the legs.

4. Cut off the skin from the meat down to the legs to remove the skin from the meat.

 

How To Attract Deer Tips
How To Attract Deer Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tools For Field Dressing A Deer

  1. A sharp knife

2. A pair of gloves

3. A tarp or ground cloth

4. Bungee cords or zip ties

 

 

 

 

 

Do I have to field dress a deer?
You must field dress a deer to prevent bacterial growth and contamination. During field<span class="ILfuVd" lang="en"><span class="hgKElc"> dressing the internal organs are removed, the carcass is cooled, and the blood is drained.</span></span>
Should you skin a deer right away?
<span class="ILfuVd" lang="en"><span class="hgKElc">It is best to skin a deer as quickly as possible so the meat will begin to cool down.</span></span>
How long can deer sit after gutting?
You can let it sit for about 12 hours before field dressing it. After 12 hours, it may start to get contaminated. However, if you are in an area where the temperature is warm and humid, then it is best to do it earlier than 12 hours.
How long should a deer hang before butchering?
<span class="ILfuVd" lang="en"><span class="hgKElc">You should let your deer hang for 2 to 4 days at minimum before processing to avoid this. For the best tasting deer meat Mississippi State University recommends 14 to 18 days of hanging time. A general rule of thumb is, the older the deer, the longer the hang time.</span></span>
Should you rinse a deer after gutting?
It is not a bad idea to rinse a deer after fied dressing it. This can help to clean the meat and get rid of excess blood. It also helps to get rid of bacteria. While rinsing it with water is good, it is not necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bottom Line

How to field dress a deer is not the sexiest part of hunting but very important. It can be a little intimidating if it is your very first time doing it. In this article, we have given a step-by-step procedure to field dress a deer. It is not difficult and you will only get better at it the more you do it.