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Old May 20, 2000, 10:23 AM   #1
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Location: Eugene, OR
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I have a stupid question. I have guns, owned them all my life. Shot many a tin can off the fence post, have shot many birds off the branch. I've never been hunting. My father showed me how to fire a gun, how to handle it safely, how to respect it. We never went hunting and I find that a part of me is missing because of it. Now, I can fire and kill my prey (deer, etc) but I have no idea how to field dress it or how to do what with each type of critter fit enough to eat. I do know how to gut and clean a fish so I'm not entirely lost. If anyone knows any books or such that I may read and catch up on the in's and out's of cleaning game, I would be most thankful. UPS45usp
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Old May 20, 2000, 11:40 AM   #2
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Not a stupid queston at all. I guess I learned "hands on" (the only way to really get the hang of it, there is nothing like being up to your elbows in blood and guts then seeing another guy do it in 1/10 the time and being able to clean his hands with one wet-wipe and a paper towel) so I really don't know the names of any books, however, I have seen some advertised and looked at a few in book stores. One of the best short lessons on big game field dressing that I ever saw published was in a Federal Ammo giveaway brochure several years ago, I think it was written by Jim Zumbo. Check the NRA website, I know they have publications that cover it, also check with your state wildlife dept. whatever they call it. The Nebraska Game and Parks commission has a very good website and this link should get you to a page that has illustrated instructions on field dressing big game, even a cutting diagram if you want to do all the butchering yourself rather than taking it to someone. They also have a cookbook available with lots of great recipes for all kinds of fish and game and other wild edibles (free if you subscribe to Nebraskaland magazine, an award winning publication). Wow, this just got me thinking about going out and picking some fresh wild morels, and asparagus and thawing out one of my last venison roasts, I might even go hunt down some of that elusive (around here) Shiner Bock that so many people on the board rave about to wash it down with.
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Old May 20, 2000, 11:37 PM   #3
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The best thing you could do is get someone to show you. This is how I do it. First thing after shooting your deer approach it from the rear and make sure the thing is dead. Poke it, prod it, kick it just make sure it is dead. After your CONVINCED its dead roll it onto its back preferably with the head pointing uphill. You will need a good sharp knife(I recommend the Buck Crosslock with the guthook). I start by brushing the fur back on the belly right below where the belly button would be. Then with a sharp knife just barely start cutting thru the skin do this just a little at a time until you get thru the muscle under the skin. You do not want to cut thru the skin, muscle and then into the stomach(huge mess, it stinks... don't cut into the stomach). After you have this initial cut you can insert your guthook and catch the skin and muscle in it and lift out and up and the stomach cavity will be opened fairly easy. It will only go up to the where the ribcage starts. You can now use your guthook to go down to the anus or genitals if a buck. You can cut open the ribcage if you want by cutting the sternum cartlidge but this is not actually necessary. I now will go to work on the chest cavity. I start by cutting thru the bottom of the diaphram and pushing my hand past the lungs and heart to get a hold on the windpipe and esophagus and cutting it up as high as possible towards the neck. I then start pulling the heart and lungs out, they will be attached to the spinal area. Then I start the stomach area. About all you can do here is start pulling the intestines and stomach out by hand, it is also attached to the spinal area. You may have to do some cutting to get these loose. The liver is always the toughest for me to get loose and it always requires cutting to get it loose. Next I go after the intestine where it runs down to the spencter(sp?). I try to fush any contents up towards the stomach away from the spencter. Then you can cut it and the entire entrail shouls pretty much roll out. You will no doubt hear someone tell you to cut off the tarsal gland from the inside of the rear legs. Don't waste your time doing this, removing them is only an old wives tale. One important thing I can pass on to you is not to ride around all day showing your deer off. Get it gutted and to your butcher as fast as possible. I can't tell you how many people have told me their deer tasted awful and then told me about how many people got to see it before it got to the butcher. The final quality of your meat depends heavily upon how much time it takes to get it to a butcher. And the warmer it is the less time you have to get it there before there is a change in the flavor. If it is truly cold(below 35 degrees) it usually acceptable to hang your deer overnight if necessary before you can get to the slaughter house. I hope this long winded stuff will help. If you have any questions you can email me at [email protected]

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Old May 22, 2000, 10:16 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replys. I've heard horror stories of accidently cutting the stomach and /or bladder and ruinning the meat. Others have told me stories of having to drag the game (heavy, like deer) over great distances and having to throw away alot of the meat that was damaged. I was thinking of going on my first hunt this year and I wanted to try to find some stuff to get me ready. If my uncle was still alive (and I lived back in the South) I would go with him.. but I can't. I am bound and determined to go this year whether I have to quit my job or not. Or if I can get anyone to go with me our not. I want to get back into the "old ways" and kill my own meat. I'm getting tired of all these scares about E-Coli, Additives, etc.. Plus, I've seen some of these food cows/pigs around here and they don't look all that good to me. Plus... I remember as a youth my uncle with his wild turkey, his deer, his boar... BBQ's, Smoked, Honey Glazed Hams.... *slobber*... excuse me.. I'm drooling on myself. I've never ever tasted anything like it since and I've eaten at many places and bought alot of food (meat) out of the supermarket. All I can say is... I don't eat alot of meat any longer. The last wild thing I'd eaten was jerky... very good, better then I'd ever eaten... turns out that a buddy of mine has a friend in kalifornia... he raises Inguna's (sp) for jerky.... but it was good. Sorry for all the ranting all... just thinking about what may come into being. Thanks again. USP45usp
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Old May 23, 2000, 11:03 AM   #5
Paul B.
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USP45. Try this. ( If it doesn't work, E-mail me and I'll hyperlink it to you. It is pretty comprehensive.
Paul B.
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Old May 25, 2000, 05:00 PM   #6
Join Date: May 22, 2000
Location: Bellingham, WA
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As far as butchering goes, you can do far better than any diagram can show by just starting from the front or back half of the animal and carving off the large muscles individually or in groups. On the back half, there are numerous muscles (hams and such) that are easy to separate from the others because of their large size. The benefit of this is profound: you have access to all of the connective tissues which, left attached to the meat, will make it gamy after a short time. Spend two evenings in a cool garage with a large table and carve it up yourself. reserve the backstraps purely for small steaks (with eggs for breakfast-oh my!) and anything else large and clean can be stir-fried, roasted, or used like any other unground meat. Chuck all of the cleaned small stuff into a pile and take it to a butcher and have him make summer snausages or breakfast snausages, and make sure he does his sausage in batches, because you don't want your fine meat mixed with that from some schmoe who didn't gut his animal right away or left too much sinew and fat on his meat.

Bottom line: carve off all fat, sinew, bone, bloody meat; and you will be left with meat that will freeze great and literally keep for years. Also, it will taste better than any you've had previously! This is all opinion, but I feel it to be sound.

[This message has been edited by Vek (edited May 25, 2000).]
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Old May 25, 2000, 05:26 PM   #7
Art Eatman
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Vek: Yup. I usually cooked the hindquarters on the barbecue pit just as a whole ham. (And it's just May! )

A buddy of mine was a hunting guide in one of his other lives. They got a lot of dudes who knew nothing about how a deer is built. After field-dressing the deer for the dude, the final step was to remove the "poison sacs", telling the dude that these would kill dogs that might get to the remainder of the carcass after butchering. Poison sacs: Those two pieces of meat along the spine, inside the body cavity?

They went into the freezer, of course, as a guides' dinner after the season ended...

Sho am ruff to be a natcherl-food freak!

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