|In this day in age with chronic wasting disease and
lyme disease, all hunters should wear gloves. In photo
1, the deer is laid on its back, hind legs spread, and
a small incision is made around the genitals moving up
towards the chest in a vertical line. Be careful not to
puncture the body cavity at this point.
|Slowly skin the deer back away from your mid-incision
line 4 to 6 inches on either side. This will decrease
your chances of getting hair inside the body cavity and
on the meat.
|After you have made your incision up to the sternum,
you may now start at the genitalia and carefully cut through
the body cavity and move upward. A gut hook is a great
way of opening the body cavity without cutting the intestines.
If you do not have a gut hook, you can use one finger
next to the knife to lift up skin giving you space between
the knife blade and the intestines.
|You will find in older deer the sternum is difficult
to cut through, and a larger knife will be helpful. For
the most part, a deer can be skinned and de boned with
a 4 inch fixed blade knife.
|After opening the body cavity, one can reach inside
and begin cutting away the lungs and heart away from the
body cavity. All organs as in a human are attached by
the peritoneum. In the picture to the right, the heart
is being cut away and saved. The heart is very tender
and edible when cooked. As in Native American tradition,
eating the heart of the deer was to have high spiritual
significance. All parts of this deer can be used and Survive
Outdoors strongly discourages trophy hunting only.
|After the intestines and organs are removed, the deer
should be taken back and thoroughly rinsed out. A saw
is beneficial in cutting the pelvis bone to allow better
cleaning access to the rectal and bladder area.
|Before processing, if the temperature is 45 degrees
or less, it is beneficial to age the deer for a day or
two leaving the skin on. This is done by hanging the deer
upside down in a cool environment. Again, we need to stress
the importance of irrigating the body cavity. A garden
hose works well, as well as propping the body cavity open
with a stick to allow airflow.