Whitetail Deer Hunting Gain a better understanding of the World's most popular big game animal and the techniques that will help you become a better deer hunter.

Field Dressing

Old 01-13-2005, 09:57 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Northern Arizona
Posts: 507
Default Field Dressing

Am looking for information about how you field dress your deer. Figure I can learn something from the way you guys do it.
DUCKSTAMPEDE is offline  
Old 01-13-2005, 10:20 AM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Cottage Grove Oregon
Posts: 918
Default RE: Field Dressing

Don't have a lot of time today but if you go back in the posts this has been discussed in detail
Striper Phil is offline  
Old 01-13-2005, 11:26 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,223
Default RE: Field Dressing

Personally, I prefer to dress my deer in solid colors -- darker colors below, lighter colors above -- or a patterned top and solid, darker lower. I try to avoid stripes above and below, for obvious reasons!

Just joking. Visit the URL:


You can also look up other methods by searching on "field dressing deer" in a search engine such as Google. There are a lot of methods and a surprising amount of difference among them.

Field dress the deer ASAP. That means, carefully confirm the animal truely is dead, take any memorial pictures you want to take, and then get your knife out and roll up your sleeves! The objective is to remove the internal organs of the animal which retain a lot of residual heat which can only escape from the animal by conductive heat transfer out of the hide of the animal, and this is not a good path for heat to escape through. A secondary objective is to remove blood which is an excellent environment for bacteria growth. While the deer is alive, its immune system fights bacteria but after death there is no active immune system and bacteria can increase rapidly. A third objective also relates to heat transfer -- opening the animal allows cooling air to circulate through the body cavity. Heat is bad because it encourages bacteria growth and this can spoil your meat quickly.

When you work on the animal, look out that you don't cut yourself with your knife. It may sound pretty obvious to state this, but I have dressed only five animals in my life and I have cut myself more than one time during those five procedures!!! You are in a hurry, you are excited, you want to get the show on the road. Take enough time, however, not to cut yourself. Some people use rubber gloves to protect themselves from micro-beasties they might otherwise mix with their own bodily fluids during the course of field dressing, perhaps because they cut themselves with their knife (in which case what good are the rubber gloves, are they impervious to a sharp knife?).

If you have a general idea of the anantomy of the animal, everything will be pretty obvious. About the middle of the body -- about where the last rib is located -- a large membrane called the diaphram separates the north half of the deer from the south half of the deer. In one half are located the lungs, heart, and liver. In the other half are located the stomachs, the intestines, the bladder, and the kidneys. The intestines and bladders connect at the rear of the beast. The kidneys attach to the inside of the back of the beast. The stomach is in front of the intestines. You will need to create a slit in the skin of the beast from just forwards of the anus to the bottom of the sternum. Note, if you want to mount the head you don't want to cut forward of this point. If you are not mounting the head, continue the cut further forwards by splitting the sternum with your knife. This is best done by finding soft cartiledge just a little off of the center line of the sternum where the ribs join to the sternum. You will need to cut the diaphram loose from the walls of the inside body cavity, being careful not to cut yourself or pierce the stomach. Reach up into the throat of the beast and sever both the windpipe and throat. Pull out the windpipe/throat, lungs, heart, loosened diaphram, stomach, intestines. They should all come out together. Typically you can roll the deer over on its side some and these items can be scooped out with your hands. Occasionally you will need to free some items by cutting with the knife closely against the inside walls of the body chamber. Ream around -- stab deeply and then saw circularly around -- the anus and remove the anus and intestines from the inside of the body cavity. Cut the bladder free and throw it aside. These last two procedures are a little tricky, and I haven't quite figured out the best way to do them, but then again I haven't had any meat that became tainted from my less than perfect procedures.

Try to avoid cutting open the stomach, the urine bladder, or the intestine and releasing tainting elements into your animal. Even so, if you do piece one of these it is not the end of the universe. Exercise damage control. Get the pierced stomach outside the body cavity quickly. Wipe up spilled urine in the body cavity with something. Wipe out or otherwise remove pellets of feces. These tainting substances aren't likely to contact the more important cuts -- backstraps, rear quarters, front quarters -- but rather the ribs which are not important. They may contact the tenderloins, however. I suspect you have to be pretty careless in handling these items to really get tainted meat, so exercise care but don't freak out if your results are less than perfect.

In my opinion, you don't need to remove scent glands, just avoid touching the scent glands and then touching meat. Of course, one of the best ways to violate this directive is to touch the scent glands while removing them and then continuing to field dress or quarter your game!

One guide recommended flushing out the cavity of your game with running water. I have read elsewhere this is a bad practice, as liquid encourages bacteria. For this reason do not flush with water and try to get the blood out. Hold the animal up with the body cavity down to drain any substantial pools of blood which have accumulated in the body chamber. If feasible, wipe the body chamber out with dry grass or paper towels. Note, however, that this may create a mess so it is of limited advisability.

This gives you an idea how to proceed. Consult the URL and other web sites for details, but use common sense and know that there are a lot of different opinions on what should be done. Remember that is isn't rocket science and you don't have to be a certified surgeon to accomplish this procedure.
Alsatian is offline  
Old 01-13-2005, 01:31 PM
Giant Nontypical
skeeter 7MM's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Saskatchewan Canada
Posts: 6,921
Default RE: Field Dressing

Another link for yeah. As mentioned plenty of past posts on this topic which should provide you with a ton of info.

skeeter 7MM is offline  
Old 01-13-2005, 01:59 PM
Nontypical Buck
johnch's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NW Ohio , 5 min from Ottawa National / Magee Marsh
Posts: 2,051
Default RE: Field Dressing

Here is a link to OHIO DNR'sweb page on feild dressing a deer .
It has step by step directions.
johnch is offline  
Old 01-13-2005, 07:54 PM
Giant Nontypical
mauser06's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: PA
Posts: 9,085
Default RE: Field Dressing

its hard to explain but easy to show someone....ill try....my way is rather simple i think....ive seen guys spen 20-30 mins.....i spend maybe 5...if i hurried i bet i could do it real fast with a good sharp knife....thats the most inportant thing....a good sharp knife...about 3-4 inches of knife is all you need...i start between the legs....pull up on the hide and insert your knife blade up...ith my opposite hand i put my index finger on the left of the blade and my middle finger on the right spread apart...slide the knife and fingers up and slice the open until your at the breat bone/ribe cage....there will be a layer of skin holding in the guts...go back down to where you started and try to pull up on it and make a hole or slice but dont cut down into the guts...put your opposite hands fingers in the hole again and slice clear back to the ribcage....the guts will all be exposed now....and you shouldnt have cut any...then i roll it over and kind let everything slide out...pull easily to move it out.....next i cut the windpipe....to do that your going to have to reach clear up to the deers throat....its hard to explain without a deer in my hands...theres a layer of skin..the diaphram that seperates the guts from the lungs...cut through that...and go up as far as you can.....just think...your going clear to its throat as far as you can.....knife in one hand....facing away from you..towards the neck meat..with your other hand reach in and find the windpipe..go as far up as you can and cut through it.....that frees all the lungs and such....now..goto the deers anus(outside the body....) cut a circle around it..not sure how deep you have to go but you have to cut it out somehow so whatever it takes.....if you have to grab ahold of the anus and pull back on it to pull it tight to cut around it....that frees everything else....pull everything out...most everything comes out with a gentle pull....if needed use your knife to free things off the carcass...that works for me but its hard to describe....easy to show someone in real life though....after that ill grab the deer by the neck and stand up with it and pull it up and try to get all the blood out.....tie on the rope and start dragging......works for me....good luck....best bet is find someone to show you how.....but dont let them just SHOW you.....get in there and feel what they are cutting....and how they do it.....theres 10000 diffrent ways to do it....no wrong or right way...just get everything out....and dont cut any guts like the intestines..stomach....blader(located under the pelvic bone i believe....) some guys do all kinds of things with the genitals....i myself just cut off the things attached to them and leave them there.....my dad showed me a diffrent way.....and another guy showed me a diffrent way....but thats how i do it now.....quick and easy.....and i think i get everything out..lol....some guys go all out and split the pelvic bone.....i used to doing it dads way..but dont anymore....if your alone and need to get it done just remember....get everything out somehow.....and dont cut the guts!!
mauser06 is offline  
Old 01-13-2005, 10:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Montana
Posts: 586
Default RE: Field Dressing

I borrowed an excellent step by step video by the Idaho Game Department. You can buy it for $17.00 at www.huntereducation.com or you can get lucky and find someone who owns it.
jones123 is offline  
Old 01-13-2005, 11:48 PM
Super Moderator
deerdust's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: South Central Missouri
Posts: 3,112
Default RE: Field Dressing

I gut many deer each year for our clients. It is part of the service we offer. Looks like these guys have already covered it for you though. It is a very simple proceedure, unless you are squeemish, and I have seem some do it that are..LOL
Main thing I will tell you is use a sharp knife. When you cut the throat/windpipe, I reach in and hold it with one hand. Then I hold the blades edge in the palm of my hand when I put the knife in, so it is hand against hand till I get the knife where I want it. A dull knife is useless, but it only takes a touch from a sharp one to cut you.
Good Luck.
deerdust is offline  
Old 01-15-2005, 09:01 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Garfield NJ USA
Posts: 3,067
Default RE: Field Dressing

Cabelas has an excellent video that covers field dressing and processing.
thndrchiken is offline  
Old 01-15-2005, 09:37 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Montana
Posts: 586
Default RE: Field Dressing

ORIGINAL: deerdust

Then I hold the blades edge in the palm of my hand when I put the knife in, so it is hand against hand till I get the knife where I want it.
Good tip, thanks, but can you describe what you mean by holding it in your palm? Do you re-grip or leave the blade sticking away from your palm and use the knife that way?

I came out of the throat once not knowing if had deer blood or my blood on my hands. Turned out it was both.

A guide taught me to keep my finger along the back of the blade and back it in along the other hand until you're at the cut point.

I watched him gut an elk so fast I could barely see it. Didn't cut the breast open; he just reached way up in there where he couldn't see with both hands jerking and cutting, jerking and cutting, I couldn't figure out how he didn't shred his hands up. The finger must have been the trick.
jones123 is offline  

Quick Reply: Field Dressing

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.