Your animal is on the ground, but is it down for good? Approach the animal from behind, with your gun or bow poised for a follow-up shot. Make sure the animal is completely expired before getting too close.
Most states and Canadian provinces require you to tag a buck on the spot. Please consult your local rules and regulations for proper tagging procedures of harvested game as they vary from state to state.
Now it’s time to start the cleaning process. Roll your animal onto it’s back with the head pointed uphill if at all possible.
The first cuts should remove the animals penis and scrotum, if applicable.
Next make a deer incision around the animal’s rectum.
Some hunters pull the rectum partially out and tie it off with a rope or string. This is not necessary, however it does help cut down any any possible fecal matter that may contaminate the meat.
Working from the anus forward, begin to cut through the deer’s hide and skin. However, be sure not to cut too deep and puncture the paunch area.
Use your free hand to hold the paunch down as you cut. Be careful not to cut your fingers!
Next roll the animal onto it’s side, or reach under the paunch area and sever the tissue that hold the organs and intestines in place.
If necessary, roll the animal onto the opposite side and repeat this proceedure to ensure all tissue has been severed.
Reach into the body cavity and double check that all tissue has been cut away from the backbone area.
Reach into the body cavity and remove the intestines and digestive tract.
Reach as far up into the brisket as you can and cut the windpipe. Then remove the remainder of the vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and liver. If you are planning on mounting your trophy make sure not to cut too far up the brisket. A good rule is to stop at the base of the ribcage.
Your animal should now be empty of all organs and is now ready to be dragged out of the woods! Once you have gotten your trophy out of the woods make sure you hang it up and let the remainder of the blood and excess body heat escape from the cavity while you clean any scraps or remainng tissue from inside of the animal.