Field Dressing & Skinning

The thrill of the chase and getting that shot away and on target is the ultimate in adrenalin rushes, but then comes the messy bit. It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it and that someone probably is you. Yes, w0e are talking about the whitetail deer field dressing and skinning process!

These 2 procedures are not especially technical, but do require a degree of skill which can be acquired over time. Basically like anything in life, you get better at it the more often you carry it out and before too long it becomes second nature. Each of these disciplines need to be undertaken as soon as possible after the kill.

Whitetail Deer Field Dressing

Firstly the innards need to be removed, thus ensuring that the meat of the whitetail is not tainted; additionally if you are dragging the carcass to your truck or perhaps a base camp, separating the dead animal from its insides will lighten the load and make the task a bit easier. You will however definitely need to have strong arms & legs in order to move them around, as these beasts are reasonably big,

The initial action needs to be to cut a circle around the rear end, totally freeing it and, as a consequence, enabling it to be removed from within. Then using a strong knife and starting at or somewhere close to the pelvis, open up the stomach cavity and ribcage. It is important at this stage however to ensure that you take great care to only cut through the skin and a very thin layer of meat, it is essential that the entrails are avoided.

Continue up through the breastbone and neck of the animal right up to the base of its skull. You will need to sever the windpipe and esophagus here; however, if you are intending to mount the head do not go above the ribcage. Next take away the diaphragm and then allow the whitetail to roll onto its side, before getting stuck in literally and helping the animal's organs to slip out - certainly not for the squeamish!

Be extra vigilant when taking out the bladder, as spilling urine on to the meat is not a good idea at all. Give the cavity you have created a thorough clean out to rid it of any remaining debris. This, in essence, is what field dressing a whitetail deer entails. So just to reiterate the points of action:

- find yourself a very strong knife
- cut a circle around the anus of the animal
- open up the ribcage with a cut starting at the pelvis
- make sure you cut as thinly as possible
- cut through to the base of the skull
- sever both the windpipe and esophagus
- remove the diaphragm
- ease out the deer's organs
- take extra care removing the bladder
- clear out any debris in the resultant cavity
- ensure your stomach is up to it!

Whitetail Deer Skinning

Before any procedure to skin the whitetail is carried out it is advisable to take any required photographs that you may later require. After that the process should be completed as quickly as possible, plus skinning whilst the animal is warm is far easier than when cold. The 2 most popular ways are to either hang it from a tree or such like, using a specialist hook with the head of the beast hanging down. Alternatively, allow the deer to hang by its antlers with the head up.

Insert a cut about 10 to 12 inches behind the shoulders, this enables the lower half of the deer to be skinned away. Take great care around the breast and front legs of the deer; indeed some people actually saw off the front legs at the knees and then proceed to continue with the skinning around the upper part of the joints. A rope can be tied around the hide and pulled away entirely from the meat of the deer. There may be certain spots that stick, but a knife will release these bits.

Knowing how to skin a whitetail dear is something anybody who partakes in the field sport should familiarize themselves with. It certainly is not the most pleasant of activities, but once completed it is rewarding. These are the main points of action for skinning:

- take photos of the whitetail before skinning
- skin the animal whilst it is still warm
- hang from a tree with a specialist hook
- alternatively hang by its antlers
- insert a cut just behind the shoulders
- saw off the legs at the knees
- skin around the upper part of its joints
- tie a rope around the hide and pull away

Whitetail Field Dressing Videos


Whitetail Skinning Videos