important step you can take is to
field dress your deer immediately.
Admittedly, the field dressing chore is not
enjoyable part of the hunt, but the
extra time spent taking care of the meat
dividends at the table. Field dressing
takes effort, so your heavy hunting coat
removed and your sleeves rolled up
so they wont be soiled. Disposable vinyl
gloves lessen the chances of passing
infectious diseases and make hand cleaning
Blood and digestive juices from organs possibly
the shot must be removed from the
body cavity quickly, and the sooner the organs,
deteriorate rapidly, are removed,
the faster the meat will cool. Field dressing
eliminates dragging unnecessary weight
when moving the animal.
Before starting the field-dressing process,
keep in mind that
it is important to keep dirt and
foreign objects away from the exposed body
Removing the scent glands is not
considered necessary, but is done with care
hunters. Some archery hunters save
the glands for use as scent while hunting.
glands carelessly can taint the meat.
Roll the carcass over on its back with the
rump lower than
the shoulders and spread the hind
legs. Make a cut along the centerline of
breastbone to base of tail. First
cut through the hide, then through belly
cutting into the paunch and intestines
by holding them away from the knife with
hand while guiding the knife with
Unless the head will be mounted, the cut
should pass through
the sternum and extend up the neck
to the chin to allow removal of as much of
as possible. The windpipe sours rapidly
and is a leading cause of tainted meat.
With a small sharp knife, cut around the
anus and draw it
into the body cavity, so it comes
free with the complete intestines. In doing
cutting or breaking the bladder.
Loosen and roll out the stomach and intestines.
liver. Split the pelvic or "aitch"
bone to hasten cooling.
Cut around the edge of the diaphragm which
separates the chest and stomach cavities,
and split the breastbone. Then, reach forward
cut the windpipe and gullet ahead
of the lungs. This should allow you to pull
and heart from the chest cavity.
Save heart. Drain excess blood from the body
turning the body belly down or hanging
animal head down. Prop the body cavity open
stick to allow better air circulation
and faster cooling.
A clean cloth may be useful to clean your
If you puncture the entrails with
a bullet or your knife, wipe the body cavity
as clean as
possible or flush with water and
dry with a cloth. Don't use water to wash
out the body
cavity unless the paunch or intestines
are badly shot up.
Veteran hunters may have variations in the
steps of field
dressing. The important points are
to remove the internal organs immediately
kill without contaminating the body
cavity with dirt, hair, or contents of the
tract and to drain all excess blood
from the body cavity.
All parts damaged by gunshot should be trimmed
away. If the
weather is warm of if the animal
is to be left in the field for a day or more,
it may be
skinned, except for the head, and
washed clean of dirt and hair. It should
be placed in a
shroud sack or wrapped with porous
cloth to cool (cheesecloth is ideal). The
covering should be porous enough
to allow air circulation but firmly woven
enough to give
good protection from insects and
dirt. Lacking porous cloth, hunters often
coat the inside
of the body cavity with black pepper
to repel insects. Adequate cooling may take
or more, depending on weather conditions.