Field Dressing and Skinning 101

Hopefully you all have had good luck this season. In case some of you haven’t got a chance to get out, here’s a little refresher on taking care of your game after you’ve harvested it.

Field Dressing:

Have the animal laying on its back or side (back preferably).  Using a gut hook or sharp knife, cut from the genitals up to the breast. Ensure that when making this cut you make an effort to only slice through the skin and muscle. If you nick the intestines or stomach, you will be greeted with a very nasty smell and the contents will spill into the cavity.

First cut out the diaphragm and then move one hand through the cavity and up to the throat. Grab hold of the windpipe. Now carefully reach with your other hand that’s holding the knife. Pull the windpipe towards you and carefully slice it out. In order to cut the guts free from the animal you will have to cut the tissue located along the spine which holds it there. Start from the wind pipe and work your way down.

Next is the fun part. To remove to intestines, you will have to cut around the anus, grab the intestine and tie it off. This is to prevent the animals body waste from spilling into the cavity. A tool we like to use for this procedure is Hunter’s Specialties Butt Out ® 2. Instead of cutting around the anus, you insert the tool into the anus until the “Butt Stop” is against the body. Once you have inserted it, twist until you feel the membrane catch and then twist a half more of a turn. Now steadily pull out the intestine (DO NOT TUG OR JERK) about 10 to 12 inches and then tie it off.

Butt Out 2 Instructions

Butt Out 2 Instructions

After the intestine has been tied off you can remove the intestines from the cavity.

Wipe the inside of the cavity and ensure it is dry to prevent spoilage.

Skinning:

Ensure that you are using a sharp knife at all times. Dull knives can result in more injuries. In particular, we recommend the Havalon Paranta Knife. They come with 12 surgically sharp blades that can be easily put on or taken off. Extra blades save the hassle of having to sharpen during  skinning.

havalon

Start by cutting the legs off at the knee. You can do this by making insertions into the joints and cutting the ligaments. Then, twist and snap the legs free. Cut from need joint and up to the crotch. Peel back the skin until you get to hips. If the skin is stuck by stronger subcutaneous (white) material, use the tip of your knife to gently slice it free. Once you have skinned to this point, tie a rope around the back legs above the knee joint and hang the animal. Use a deer gambrel (available at the shop) to hang your deer to make skinning easier by holding the legs apart as you skin. Continue this procedure until you get to the neck.

deer gambrel