Field Dressing Deer

Jumping Targets congratulates you! You’ve trained all year with your durable steel shooting target and have successfully managed to pass the task of hunting and supplying meat for your family. Once you have taken your deer down, this guide helps to explain how to field dress your kill.

  1. Confirm – Always confirm the deer is dead. Never approach a wounded animal, as they are dangerous, thrashing about and injuring people. In fact, contrary to what many people believe, animals’ have a powerful sense of adrenaline that kicks in and overtakes them – a fight or flight response – when injured. Approach the deer with your weapon, ready to shoot again if it is not dead.
  2. Gloves – Like all wild animals, deer receive regular exposure to ticks, fleas and other unsightly parasites. Experts recommend wearing gloves during the field dressing process.
  3. Throat – Slit the deer’s throat to allow blood to drain.
  4. Back – Position the deer on its back and locate the sternum. This is the area where the rib bones meat. Cut the sternum all the way to the deer’s crotch, carefully piercing through the hide and skin membrane. Take extra care to not injure the guts, as these contain bile and other fluids that can easily contaminate the meat.
  5. Guts – Beginning in the crotch region, begin gently cutting the membranes that link the guts to the spine. Do not get too close to the spine, as this may damage the tenderloins, which are the best cuts of meat on deer. Continue pulling out the deer’s guts and cut through the diaphragm. Do not be surprised by the amount of blood that comes from a deer.
  6. Membranes – Locate the last several membranes that hold the guts securely inside the deer’s carcass. Carefully sever them and remove all the guts.
  7. Colon – Using a bone saw, cut through the center of the deer’s pelvic bone. Gently cut all skin around the rectum, pulling the entire colon from the body’s cavity. Be careful not to rupture the colon, as it is full of harmful bacteria and fecal matter.
  8. Organs – At this point you can remove the lungs, heart and liver, or you may prefer to remove them later, if more convenient.
  9. Deer Head – Due to hunting regulations, it is important in some states that you keep the deer head. It is easier to haul the deer by tying its hoof above its head, especially considering you will likely have to remove the deer by dragging it from the woods.
  10. Mounting – For hunters that want to mount the deer’s head, it is important to cut the throat through the windpipe, leaving plenty of room for a taxidermist to do his/her duties.
  11. Clean Up – Just as with any outdoor activity, it is important to clean up and set aside the organs and parts of the deer you wish to keep. Some excess materials are acceptable to leave behind, as they make meals for small varmints and critters.

It is important to have basic supplies on hand when hunting deer. This includes a sharp knife, bone saw, gloves and a bottle of water. An additional tip is to avoid handling a buck’s tarsal glands, as this can make the meet more gamey and unappealing.


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