Tag your deer immediately.
The tag must remain with the deer at all times, or you risk
confiscation of your deer among other nasty effects. If you
have shot a buck, remove the genitals from the carcass, leaving
the scrotum for sex identification. If you have shot a doe,
remove the udder from the carcass.
It is highly recommend to purchase game gloves, found at you
local sporting goods store. They are a plastic glove that
goes all the up to your armpits. These allow you to put your
whole arm in the deer cavity without getting blood all over
your sleeves. Take a couple rubber bands along to slide up
on your arms to hold the glove sleeves up. These are well
worth the one dollar price of the gloves.
Carefully cut a circle around the anus so it's free and can
be removed from within. Some folks tie it off with string
to prevent its contents from tainting the meat. Starting close
to pelvis, open the belly skin cavity all the way to the ribcage,
until the blade actually hits the ribcage. When starting the
cut, carefully use the first two fingers of your other hand
to help guide your knife and pull belly skin away from stomach.
You must only cut through skin and a thin layer of meat to
miss the stomach and organs. Continue cutting through the
ribs and skin, following the breastbone, on up to the neck.
This is no problem with a large folding or sharp hunting knife.
Don't twist the blade while it's between bones, a brittle
knife blade could easily break if twisted. Use a sawing motion
instead. Continue cutting on up to the base of the skull.
Sever the windpipe and esophagus at the base of the skull.
Cut the diaphragm loose. This is the sheet of muscle that
separates the stomach area from the chest cavity.
Allow the animal to roll on its side and with your hands,
pull the organs out. You'll have to pull a little, but they
should be mostly free. One good tip is to arrange the animal
to where the belly is facing downhill. That way, most of the
organs will slide out on their own. Be extremely careful in
removing the bladder! You must reach up into the pelvis and
pinch it shut while you cut it free with the other hand. If
any urine is spilled on the meat, remove it immediately with
water from a thermos or a clean cloth. Clean any debris from
the cavity. Any stomach contents or other substances should
be removed as quickly as possible. After all of the contents
are out of the cavity, use paper towels to soak up any remaining
blood. The dryer the better!
Remove the heart and liver if you or someone you know likes
to eat them. Cloth bags are recommended for keeping these
clean and allowing them to cool. Get the animal to final processing
as soon as possible.
Tips: If you plan to have your deer mounted, don't cut it
above the ribcage. You'll have to reach up through the ribcage
to cut the esophagus and windpipe. Leave the caping (the skinning
of the head & neck) to a professional. When opening the stomach
cavity, slip two fingers of your opposite hand underneath
the sheet of muscle you're cutting through, and pull it away
from the entrails. Try to insert only an inch or so of your
knife blade when gutting the belly skin. On warm days, buy
3 or 4 bags of ice and lay them inside the animal. This will
help cool the deer. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range
of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, doubling in
number in as little as 20 minutes.
Deer Processors For The 2007/2008 Season