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View Poll Results: Which do you do?
Gut the deer. 68 97.14%
Just quarter it, keeping the abdomen/chest closed. 2 2.86%
Voters: 70. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 2, 2007, 12:21 PM   #1
Jason_G
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Deer Field Dressing Technique?

I was curious about this...
Seems like there's two camps when it comes to field dressing deer:
  1. Some folks gut the deer
  2. Some folks just quarter them and take the shoulders, hams, and backstraps, without gutting the deer.
So which do you do and why? Also, I wrote this post about deer, but I guess it would apply to pretty much any 4 legged game.

Jason
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Old July 2, 2007, 12:30 PM   #2
stinger
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Gut the deer immediately. Why in the world would you not. It must be those people from Arkansas.
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Old July 2, 2007, 01:23 PM   #3
Scorch
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Gut the deer, hang it to cool. If you quarter it before it has had a chance to cool, the muscles will bunch up and the meat will be tough.
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Old July 2, 2007, 02:46 PM   #4
Buckmaster
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I have always field dressed my deer. I believe this is the reason that I have never had a deer taste "gamey" as some people talk about. If you take care of the meat quickly and properly both in the field and when you get home you will not be dissappointed in the flavor of your harvest!
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Old July 2, 2007, 02:47 PM   #5
kingudaroad
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Its easier to skin before field dressing in my opinion. I get less hair that way.

No way I would quarter a deer with the skin on. You'll have a hairy mess.
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Old July 2, 2007, 03:01 PM   #6
Doyle
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If I can get home within an hour or so, no gutting. If I can't, I'll gut him and pack the carcass on ice.

The last deer I killed was right at dark so I took him straight from the field to the garage. I skinned him without ever cutting the gut sack, then quartered him while hanging. It was the easiest I've ever done.
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Old July 2, 2007, 03:22 PM   #7
dbgun
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I'll gut it as quickly as I can. If I'm taking it to a processor, I'll leave the skin on and ice down
the cavity with at least 2 bags of ice, then wrap deer with a tarp & hang it in the shade. If I'm
going to process the deer, I'll gut it, hang it, skin it, quarter it, wash meat as much as possible
then ice it down in a large ice chest. I'll leave the iced down meat in that ice chest (draining water & adding new ice) for about five days before de-boning the meat. This has worked for me, so far.
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Old July 2, 2007, 03:28 PM   #8
fisherman66
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You can't get the tenders if ya don't gut it. What idiot dudn't get the tenders???
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Old July 2, 2007, 03:44 PM   #9
Jseime
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I split em up the middle and get the guts out as soon as theyre dead and then into the back of the truck. It's cold enough when we hunt that we dont need ice.
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Old July 2, 2007, 03:49 PM   #10
Huntzalittle
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In Michigan

Where I hunt, we gut them right there and then. Very seldom do we have a problem with cooling them down. An evening on the buck poll is about all it takes to have them adequetly cooled down. We also stay in camp for at least a week and are 100 miles from home. Our problem will more likely to be that of a completely frozen deer.
As a side note, I am the camp butcher and the first deer in our camp is used to feed the crew. (no exceptions) If they are shot on the first day, they are hung (gutted) untill the next morning, when I will skin and bone the complete carcass. Backstrap madallions are on the grill by 7pm that evening, along with sauteed mushrooms and onions.
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Old July 2, 2007, 04:18 PM   #11
NRA4life
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Most of the time I gut them first, especially when there's a means of transporting them back to camp, or where it's a short drag. However, when hunting in the west, where sometimes I'm miles from any road, I skin and quarter them on the ground without gutting them to transport only the meat. And the tenderloins are very easy to work out, you simply reach in behind the ribs and cut them loose. Ive done this on probably 6 or 7 mule deer/antelope.
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Old July 2, 2007, 06:36 PM   #12
Jason_G
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Quote:
Its easier to skin before field dressing in my opinion. I get less hair that way.

No way I would quarter a deer with the skin on. You'll have a hairy mess.
uh.... I didn't mean quarter it with the skin on, I just meant skin it out, then quarter it, leaving the abdomen closed.

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Old July 2, 2007, 06:53 PM   #13
srtrax
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Gut em in the field and leave them there, why would you want gut soup:barf:. Maybe on the next day a person can get a yote.(bait)
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Old July 2, 2007, 07:05 PM   #14
Kreyzhorse
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Kill it, gut it, cool it.
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Old July 2, 2007, 07:07 PM   #15
Doyle
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Quote:
You can't get the tenders if ya don't gut it.
My hunting buddy showed me how. There is a place you can cut just between the spine and the lower ribcage. You make a cut there and reach in with a small 2" knife and cut the top and bottoms of the muscle. Then, you can pull the tenderloin out. You have to do it by feel, but it saves you from having to cut the gut sack if you are trying to avoid that.

On a side note, I've noticed that animals skin much easier if the carcass is cold. The problem with that here in Florida is that it almost never gets cold enough to cool them outside. The only way to do it (without a big, commercial hanging room) is to use a large fish box cooler.
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Old July 2, 2007, 08:40 PM   #16
SavageSniper
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Where I hunt I can shoot him and have him hanging in 15 min. I never gut them right there. I want to be able to hunt there the next day if I want without smelling rotten guts. I hang him, skin him, gut him, then he gets guarterd and put on ice and water for 3 days. I drain and refill the ice/water every day.
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Old July 2, 2007, 09:16 PM   #17
crowbeaner
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I always "field dress" my deer at the scene just to make it easier to drag. Why would anyone want to drag an extra 50 lbs. 1/2 a mile to the truck? I agree on the surgical gloves. AND I eat the heart and liver if the liver doesn't have flukes anyway. Nothing better than liver, bacon, onions and cornbread for lunch.
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Old July 3, 2007, 04:08 PM   #18
Jason_G
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Quote:
There is a place you can cut just between the spine and the lower ribcage. You make a cut there and reach in with a small 2" knife and cut the top and bottoms of the muscle. Then, you can pull the tenderloin out. You have to do it by feel, but it saves you from having to cut the gut sack if you are trying to avoid that.
Yeah.
I've done it both ways. I was just curious as to what others do. FWIW, I never noticed any difference in taste of the meat either way. Then again, when I do just quarter them without opening them up, I do it mighty quick. I only do this if I've got a cooler full of ice handy, or if I want to save the hide, but I also know hunters that never open up the abdomen when they kill one. I dunno...

What's that old sayin'? More'n one way to skin a cat... or butcher a deer

Jason
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Old July 7, 2007, 12:59 PM   #19
trooper3385
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I always gut the deer as soon as possible. I think one of the big mistakes that hunters do though is gutting the deer where they shoot it at. The blood and the gut piles can really spook the deer. I never gut a deer in the same area that I hunt at. I always take the deer to another location that is not hunted on a regular bases and gut them there.
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Old July 7, 2007, 05:02 PM   #20
stinger
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I always gut the deer where it falls, unless it is in a pile of cactus.
I've not noticed it spooking the deer, but I rarely hunt over the same place for too long, so I think you raise a good point. One reason I gut it immediately is because it is much easier to handle a carcass without its insides...much lighter. The other is that I'm not a big fan of having a festering poop pile inside my food.
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Old July 7, 2007, 05:09 PM   #21
teeroux
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my way

Hang it


Skin it


Gut it


Quater it


Load into clean sacks and carry out of field. simple
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Old July 8, 2007, 05:25 PM   #22
piercfh
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It really helps if you have a slab with a water hose. I gut a deer and wash him out as good as possible. Then take it on to the processor good and clean. Let them skin the deer and quarter it up unless they charge less if you do it yourself.

O and no one has mentioned anything about their favorite sharp knife for field dressing. I keep a smaller case 3 finn in the glove box all year.
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Old July 8, 2007, 05:33 PM   #23
Jason_G
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Quote:
Then take it on to the processor good and clean. Let them skin the deer and quarter it up unless they charge less if you do it yourself.
Nah, I do that myself. I'm scared a processor might pull a little "some for you and some for me... some for you and some for me" while doing his work.

Jason
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Old July 8, 2007, 05:45 PM   #24
Arizona Fusilier
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I'm with gutting because of the weight factor, as well as cooling ASAP.

Here in Arizona, our hunting tends to be very vertically oriented, and slopes covered with cactus and whatnot. Anything that makes dragging easier is a no-brainer.

And it can be warm, even in October-November. Anything that cools it faster is advisable too. Gut piles? Coyotes would have it cleaned up in a day or two. Never have stumbled on anyone elses gut piles; I think their doing a great job.
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Old July 8, 2007, 07:12 PM   #25
fisherman66
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Gut piles? Coyotes would have it cleaned up in a day or two.
'round her the coyotes have to fight the hogs fer the piles. I still drag the carcase off the game trails before I disembowel them.
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