Field Dressing a Deer How to Clean a Deer in the Field

You've bagged your trophy buck, but now comes the hard part - cleaning your deer. If it's done correctly, field dressing a deer can be well worth it. Here's how to clean a deer.

First, take caution as you approach the deer, to ensure that it is, in fact, dead, and avoid any serious injury. If not planning to mount the deer head, stick the deer in the neck with the point of your knife to begin the process of field dressing the deer, to ensure its death.

Next, slip on a pair of vinyl or latex heavy duty elbow gloves, if when dressing your deer you wish to prevent any blood or digestive juices from getting on your hands.

When cleaning a deer or field dressing a deer, choose the knife to cut the deer with carefully. If must be sturdy enough and sharp enough to cut through the deer's flesh in one swift cut, but must not cut through the intestines or internal organs.

Detach your hunting tag and attach it to one leg of the deer as the first thing before cleaning a deer, before you take the deer from the area to avoid any confusion at the proper game checkpoints.

Next, clean off an area of ground around you before cleaning a deer, and make sure the ground is clear of any debris, small sticks or stones, leaves, grass, and loose dirt. Dirt and debris can easily contaminate the deer meat when you field dress your trophy buck.

Next, when cleaning a deer, position the deer in your cleared area with the back to the ground, and the head slightly higher than the anus, with the hind legs of the deer spread apart.

First, when getting to the cleaning a deer, make a circle around the anus area and cut the connective tissues of the urethra. Pull the anal cavity part of the way out of the hole you've created, and tie it shut with sturdy twine - this will prevent any "leftovers" from falling out, and contaminating your deer meat.

Next, make a solid cut with your knife from the hole you've created up through the belly, the sternum, and to the jawbone, unless you're planning on mounting the deer head, in which case, stop the incision at the sternum. Be especially careful, at this point, only to cut the muscle tissue and skin, and not to puncture the organs - a punctured bladder or intestines can make a real mess, and spoil the meat of the deer when you field dress a deer.

The next step is field dressing a deer is to use the flat of the knife of your gloved fingers when cleaning the deer at this point to open up the incision you've made enough to expose the organs to the open air. Once you're inside the body cavity of the deer, check to see where your shot landed, and carefully cut the area around the bullet away.

Cut the diaphragm and sternum open, and work on severing connective tissues that connect the gut sack of the deer to the muscle and bone. Tip the deer and carefully pull out the lungs and heart first, being careful to remove the trachea as well, as the trachea spoils very fast when you clean a deer and needs to be removed carefully.

Once the heart, lungs, and trachea are set aside, work on severing the connective tissues of the intestinal tract, and carefully pull it out through the pelvic opening, or split the pelvis and let gravity do the rest, when cleaning a deer.

When you clean the deer, place any organs, such as the liver, which you plan to eat, into plastic containers or bags immediately, and on ice if you have some with you. Dispose of any other organs you don't plan on using.

The final step to cleaning a deer is to hang the deer - head side down - from a tree by the back feet with more strong twine, to let the carcass air, and let the rest of the blood drain when you clean a deer.


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