View Full Version : Some real specific-like questions...

August 22, 2009, 08:07 PM
Howdy, guys. Member of some years...mostly opinionated spewing from me :-)

Some questions. Let me give you my experience and background first...

I'm a little lost. I grew up on the East Coast, to a non-gun family. I went to college in Missouri, and fell in love with shooting. I've shot more clays than I can shake a stick at, and I got my carry permit when I was old enough. I went to culinary school at vo-tech when I was in high school, so I used to butcher deer for guys in Missouri in exchange for a deer of my own.

Sadly, them days are over. Deer meat is not given away willy-nilly here in the city. My brother and I are going tomorrow to take our Hunter Safety Class.

I've set out to shoot me some food. I eat, literally, everything. I've eaten every single thing I could legally keep that I have fished for, and I have had some real poor friends - and we have fried and eaten damn near anything that crawls, walks, or slithers. Gigging frogs is better than grocery shopping, as far as I am concerned. If I can kill it, I will eat it. I am truly a fat kid inside, I think.

My uncle's got a teeny little plot of land (It's about the size of a slice of pie)in SE Pennsylvania (WMU 5c, for you PA hunters.) that he has granted me access to for this season. I thought I'd kick the year off with some squirrels -I figured it would stretch my .22's legs, and let me get out in that patch of land and get familiar with it, and maybe look for scrapes or droppin's.

My dad and I are also gonna go rabbit hunting this year. (My grandfather just got a beagle for running rabbits again. Evidently they did this when my dad was growing up, but haven't been at it for the last thirty years or so. Should be interesting.)

Here's my questions: First, I have an old break-open twelve gauge. (An Eastern Arms, which is a re-badged Stevens, I think.) It's improved cylinder, and it's got a little notch on the receiver for a rear sight - so I think it'll do fine as a deer gun as well as a critter-catcher. (I can put slugs on a pie-plate at 50 feet, which is the back of our range. The woods I'll be in are dense enough that I don't know a longer shot is possible to even have available to me.) Are there any real reasons I cannot use this thing this year? Everyone keeps telling me I am nuts, but it works okay, and I should have money for a new gun with a dedicated slug barrel after tax returns. I've spent enough time with it I think it will be okay. I even polished the trigger and oiled it heavily so it cocks nearly silently.

Second, the woods have a steeeep hill. I cannot get my little bitty two wheel drive truck in 'em. Thus, what is the best way to skin this deer? I live in Manayunk in Philadelphia (Think densely-packed city.)I suspect the neighbors are not gonna dig me standing in the garage flaying a deer. Am I going to be able to skin one out without a gambrel hook? (I don't have a receiver on my truck, or I'd use a truck-mounted one. The old girl can barely handle a trailer on her bumper ball.) Once she's all a-skinned and quartered, I'm good... I just don't know if I can skin this thing laid out in my truck's bed.

Lastly...does anyone nearby want to show me the tricks of the trade? I don't know any deer hunters in these parts, so I plan on sinking or swimming on my own. But I'd rather swim. If any of yous guys want to teach me to swim...I could sure use the help :-)


August 22, 2009, 08:36 PM
Some answers:

First off IGNORE the folks complaining about your shotgun. Sounds to me like you've come to a sound decision as to it's effective range and if you stick to that, much as a ethical archery hunter sets a maximum range at which he will shoot at a animal, then you're good. And I'll say too, that you've set more of a standard than most new hunters set, a good start.

As for skinning the deer. All you need is a small block and tackle. Hoist him up right out there in the woods and have at it. We used to carry one with us when we hunted hogs on Cumberland Isaland, GA. If we were to far from the trail for a reasonable drag we'd skin and quarter under the closest tree to were he fell.

As for hunting advice......move very slow and spairingly and always into or across the wind. Start with that you'll figure out the rest. Think about the way a feeding deer moves through the woods, how long it takes him to cover 50 yards. It should take you at least that long too.

August 22, 2009, 08:58 PM
I know about the wind a little bit. - I've practiced hunting with my camera. I've bagged a few big 'uns :-) It seems deer will tolerate a bit of motion and noise, so long as it is very, very gradual. I've gotten real close to them by careful, bladed walking, reeeeeeally slowly. As long as I am not 'jumpy', they usually don't spook much. I have definitely gotten close enough for an easy shot.

I suspect I'll be nabbing a doe this year - there are a lot more of them, it seems, and I seem to see about ten does for every buck I see. How does one hoist 'em? Rope around the neck?

August 22, 2009, 09:23 PM
Sounds like you've got a gun that will work and you are practiced with it and aware of the range you can use it.

Now the big question. Do you have a freezer big enough for a deer? :)

Art Eatman
August 22, 2009, 10:24 PM
I've generally just hung the deer by the horns or neck when I skinned it. The deer doesn't really care.

If you can drag your deer to a tree near to where you parked your truck, just use a rope that's over a tree limb and one end tied to the deer and the other to the truck's hitch. Let the truck do the work of hoisting.

If the search function works, there are some comprehensive threads here in this forum about field-dressing.

August 22, 2009, 10:42 PM
You can hang it by the neck if you want, but to me it’s a lot harder…

Picture a piece of rebar, or steel rod, bent into a "W" shape, with the middle (peak) of the w about 1 foot high and each side leg only about 3 inches long. The bottom points of the w should be about 18 inches apart or so. (I made mine out of 5/8 rod and had a buddy powder coat it for me in exchange for bending one for him.)

Field dress the deer on the ground and you can roll the unwanted guts into a contractor bag. I remove all the insides except for the bladder on the ground.
Next, I cut the skin of the back legs all the way through between and parallel to … the Achilles tendon and bone. Do NOT cut the tendon. All you want is a 2" slit for your "W" to fit into. Rope attaches to the peak, and the legs of Bambi hang on the side legs of the W and.. string ‘em up. This makes it almost as easy to skin him out as the rock, rope and winch method.. and a lot neater.
After skinning, I use a saw to cut ALMOST all of the way through the pelvic bone. From the back of the deer, reach around the hind quarters and grab the deer’s butt so that the back of your hands are touching your chest. Use your arms to pull back while you push with your hands and break the pelvic bone. Go back around to the front and remove the bladder. … I do it this way mainly because my hands are too big to reach all the way up to pinch the bladder off and get a knife in there without breaking the bone. Some guys with nice slender effeminate hands don’t have any problem.:D
Next, I remove the head and cape at the base of the skull with a knife and a twist. Then I saw off the lower part of the front legs and saw down the center of the backbone to yield 2 sides. Cut off the front shoulder roasts, cut the ribs/backbone off at he hind quarter, and then take down the hind quarters and saw off the lower legs.

I do all of this in the woods … well away from where a stand is… and toss the meat into a slush of icewater. When my truck pulls off, the meat (and good guts) is pieced and iced in a big igloo. If you like the guts, be sure to put the liver in a plastic bag and not loose with the meat. Ditto for brains or kidneys. The heart doesn’t matter.

August 22, 2009, 10:52 PM
Try to get a gambrel for hoisting the deer(7-10 bucks) - just a metal hanger to keep the back legs apart. Carefully cut just in front of the large tendon about 4 inches up from the back hooves (through the skin). Insert gambrel under the tendons, attach gambrel to rope with block and tackle and hoist deer up. They even make a welded steel frame you can insert into your truck hitch - check out sportsmansguide for cheap stuff, Now you can skin, butcher and see what you are doing. If you really want to get fancy in butchering you can bone out the hams without ever cutting the spine/pelvis - usually just a 41/2 inch hunting knife is all you need. It doesnt matter what kind of shotgun you have as long as it kills cleanly. Good luck!

August 23, 2009, 01:07 AM
gov, where is hermann mo to you? If you can get there, I suggest you join boartuff at...
This is a mid mo based site. The owner, chris "boartuff", and several others are right in there. They can teach you a ton online and may meet you at their farms/spots to teach you some stuff you need to know to be a good deer killer. when you join, feel free to tell hogdogs sent you.

Art Eatman
August 23, 2009, 09:02 AM
Actually, I found that the easiest way to skin a deer was with the jeep or the tractor. Hang Bucky by his horns. Skin the neck down, and sorta clear the shoulders and forelegs. Then, make a sort of bag with the neck skin, around a rock. Tie a rope onto the bag. Tie the other end to the jeep and then drive away.

Easy as pulling off a rubber glove. Quick, too. :D:D:D

August 23, 2009, 01:04 PM
I do like Art, modified. I hang the critter, get it started, once I get enough loose skin, I tie a rock into the skin with a rope (the rock keeps the rope from pulling off) then depending if I'm hunting on horse back or truck, I pull the rope with the horse/truck and it comes off IF ITS FRESH. Then encase the critter in cheese cloth to keep the flys off.

August 23, 2009, 08:54 PM
Looks like I'm doin' it in the woods if I get me one. I'll throw a rope and pulley in the truck.


Wild Bill Bucks
August 24, 2009, 10:05 AM
I tried Arts technique last year with a little different twist. I hung the Buck by the horns, and before I gutted it, I cut down the backside of the deer and rolled the neck down enough to get a small rock under the skin, and tied on my rope. I pulled the rope with an ATV, and the skin came down all the way to the hoofs. A quick cut on the ankles with a hack saw, and the skin is gone. Sure did make gutting a lot cleaner, and only took about 5 minute.
By cutting down the back side, and pulling toward the feet, it makes the skin come off real easy.
I tried this same way on a deer that had been gutted already, and it worked, but not nearly as well. The fresher the deer the better it works.

August 24, 2009, 12:24 PM
You can read all about skinning a deer until you can't read any more and still not know exactly what to do when you get a real animal in front of you. Go over to Youtube and search there on Deer Skinning or Deer Processing or Field Dressing and you'll see lots of good videos.

As to getting it out of the woods, get yourself a "game cart" . You can get one for less than about $100 and they are sure better than dragging over a long distance.

August 24, 2009, 09:01 PM
If you don't have a gambrel, a ratchet strap works pretty good, doesn't srpead the legs apart, but works in a pinch. Just slit the hide on the rear, or front legs enough to get the hooks in, then tighten her up where you need it. If you already have it, doesn't cost you a thing. Skinned alot of deer, and antelope in the garage, or on a tree with a ratchet strap I had in the truck. Last year hung my goat off of the supports on the garage door with one. flyboy

August 25, 2009, 08:10 AM
Looks like I'm doin' it in the woods if I get me one. I'll throw a rope and pulley in the truck.

Check the local laws before you do to much in the field. That is if you have to register the animal.

I do not waist the effort of hanging one up. I skin and de-bone deer right on the tailgate of the truck. (field dressed)
Skin one side and remove everything you want, then flip that side over onto the hide and proceed to do the same.
Same thing for Elk in the field, bone them out right where they lay.
I do not even open the abdomen untill the very last step of recovering the tenderloins;).
Now if I get one frozen, then its a big chore. I do hang them and tarp over in garage with a heater to soften it up.
But I do not let that happen if I can help it. The Grand-sons put one down, its time then to process, Then back to hunting for me:)