Field Dressing a Deer: A How to Guide

You practice all spring and summer, preparing for this moment. You religiously use your Jumping Target with your high-powered rifle and you are a professional. You are no match for Jumping Target’s ever-challenging metal spinning targets and AR 500 steel targets. Simply stated: you’re ready to enter the wild and hunt your trophy deer.

As you patiently wait in your tree stand for the perfect buck to appear in the nearby clearing, you hear a rustle of leaves. Maintaining perfect stance and composure, you move your eyes towards the clearing and see a five-point rack peeking through heavy underbrush. Pausing, you pull your deer bleat from your neck, purse it to your lips and blow. The sound intrigues the buck as he cocks his head gently to the side and wriggles up his nose, smelling for a young doe. He creeps into the clearing, still cautiously looking around and analyzing his surroundings. Your heart skips a beat, filling your chest with a shocking stab of anxiety, panic and adrenaline in one wicked jolt. Raising the rifle in near stop-motion animation, you fix your crosshairs, articulately aim at the deer’s beating heart, behind his burly, muscular, testosterone-driven front shoulder. You steady your finger on the trigger and hold your breath to compensate for any movement. The kick of the rifle, combined with the earth-shattering rifle’s echo envelops the forest’s stony silence. The deer pauses, takes a step and plunges forth to the ground, meeting his maker.

As you scamper down your tree stand, the most important part of your kill lies ahead: field dressing your trophy deer. To ensure and preserve the freshness of the meat, immediately field dress your deer. This helps prevent spoilage and bacteria from setting into the meat. Some experts believe it is necessary to bleed the animal out, slitting the throat; however, others believe this is unnecessary. Each hunter should research this issue ahead of time to determine what he/she prefers. The metatarsal glands omit a strong smell during rut season and must be removed carefully, or a hunter risks contaminating the meat. Dressing the deer helps the deer cool, helping further detour the growth of harmful bacteria.

Below are some key points to remember when field dressing a deer.

  1. The deer should be placed on level ground.
  2. Always use a very sharp knife.
  3. Cut the deer down the front, carefully emptying out the entrails. Remove the bladder and large intestines.
  4. Split the pelvis bone to the anus, exposing the length of the colon and the reproductive organs.
  5. Tie the anus and urethra with rubber bands, as this makes the field dressing process much easier.
  6. Tilt the deer on his side and cut away the kidneys and liver. All inner organs should be removed. Some hunters prefer to split the carcass to remove the organs, others prefer to reach inside and remove them.
  7. Once the deer is hung (typically from the antlers), the hide is then removed.

1 comment


Don’t care for the license cagnhe. With the all season license I could use any and all of my three tags for bow, rifle or muzzy season. If I don’t fill my bow or rifle tag oh well, keep spending more money!!!

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