Field Dressing Your Deer
Field dressing your deer is not all that hard, but it is the most important step to good venison. Just roll up your sleeves and go to it. The important things are to keep the carcass clean and to cool the meat quickly as possible. Bleeding or cutting the deer’s neck is not necessary as blood removal is accomplished by field dressing. After you have field dressed a few deer on your own, you will develop your own style and technique.
The First Cut
Place the deer on its back. Starting at the anus, cut through the skin and body wall along the center line. The center line extends along the underside of the deer from the anus to the center of the diaphragm. Use your fingers to guide the knife and keep the blade away from the stomach and intestines, a cut into them is pretty messy. Make the first cut by keeping the knife at a low angle and cutting only deep enough to slice through the skin
Continue your cut
Cut the length of the carcass, opening the chest cavity by cutting through the breast bone. Cut deeply around the anus to loosen the intestine. Split the pelvic bone by slicing through its center with a sturdy knife or cutting through with a small saw or hand ax.
Loosen the windpipe and gullet by cutting through them as far forward into the neck area as you can reach. Roll the carcass on its side so you can remove the entrails. Most of the entrails will pull away easily. Carefully cut and loosen any connective tissues.
Cool It Down Quickly
Wipe the body cavity clean and remove any remaining tissues and damaged flesh. If its a warm day, place a bag of ice in the cavity to keep it cool and be sure and keep it out of direct sunlight.
Keep your deer clean and cool. If possible, don’t haul it atop your vehicle. Keep it away form engine fumes, heat and dirt.
If the outside temperature is in the 35 to 40 degree, range the deer can be safely hung and aged. If the temperature is warmer, you should skin the deer and age the meat in a refrigerator or cooler.Skinning
Skinning is easiest when the deer is hanging by its back legs. First, cut the skin around the lower part of the back legs and slit them on the inside, down to the pelvis. Peel the hide by pulling with one hand and cutting the difficult places with a knife in the other hand. Using a balled fist between hide and carcass helps separate skin without tearing. Take care not to let the hair touch the meat. When you reach the front legs, cut and skin them the same as the rear legs.Preserving A Trophy
If you want to have your trophy deer head mounted, take extra care when you skin your deer. Leave the head and hide intact as far back as the rear of the shoulder. Let the taxidermist do the rest of the work.
Cooking Your Deer
Just click “here” to view a few venison recipes from TnDeer.Com users around the state.