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I signed my son up for a hunter safety course for the fall.Question is where can we go to learn how to field dress a deer?
 

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The class should cover it. While I am sure that they are different depending on the state, field dressing should be a fairly standard lesson throughout. They will likely show a video. If not, just search "field dressing a whitetail" on youtube. Plenty of videos. It's actually quite easy once you do it a few times. The hardest part for some people is getting over all of the blood and the smell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The class should cover it. While I am sure that they are different depending on the state, field dressing should be a fairly standard lesson throughout. They will likely show a video. If not, just search "field dressing a whitetail" on youtube. Plenty of videos. It's actually quite easy once you do it a few times. The hardest part for some people is getting over all of the blood and the smell.
Ok thanks,In Indiana you dont have to take the course if you were born before 1986.but I think I should take the course too.
 

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I signed my son up for a hunter safety course for the fall.Question is where can we go to learn how to field dress a deer?
I know this sounds silly, but I had a friend who said he hadn't field dressed a deer in years and brushed up from watching it on youtube.
 

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Congratulations on taking your son to hunter safety. I have three sons and went through the class three times. Each time I learned something new or met a new friend or two no five...lots of new friends. I don't remember them going into the "field dressing" that deeply, although it's been years since the classes.

Here are a few tips I learned along the way (been hunting since the 50's). I am no expert, and others may have better ways to do it.

There are some items you should have after the shot. I always have a small spray bottle of peroxide. Nature has a sense of humor and ads "red" to leaves and twigs. When in doubt about it being blood, a little spray of peroxide will let you know. If it is blood it foams up, if not, nothing. Also after field dressing it is great to clean your hands with, killing germs and removing blood.

Have a sharp knife. I use the lansky knife system and then buff the blade with a bench style buffer. (yes the buffer will snatch the knife and wing it so be careful.) But when done properly I can shave a piece of 8 pound mono 6-7 times with no effort. This also means you need a first aid kit when afield.

Rubber gloves like many mechanics wear. Harbor Freight has a purple glove that is really strong. Some worry about disease from the blood, I just find it easier to clean my hands. (There is a good chance mosquitos are around and having bloody hands and clothes turn them on.)

Remember to use bug juice. Deer are loaded with ticks and when the deer die, they look for a new home. I drug a deer 10 yards by one leg and had 50 ticks going up my arm.

Always have a good flashlight or head light and a good rope.

First, make sure the deer is dead. Seriously, to field dress the deer you have to get near it's hooves and if you don't know, they can kick like a mule and are as fast as a rattlesnake when they kick.

Drag the deer to a bit of an opening and roll it on its back. If you are alone, it sometimes helps to tie one back leg to a tree to keep the legs spread proper. Taking the knife, make a small slit, not deep, at the center of the belly just below the rib cage. Some gas may escape then. When I say gas I mean noxious foul fumes.

Place two fingers of one hand in the slit and pull the skin on the belly up and away from the bowels. Insert the knife and make an incision down to the rectum making sure not to cut the intestines. If it is a buck, cut the skin around the privates and locate the urine tube. Trim the skin around that until it to the rectum. Don't cut the tube, just let it lay. Now place one hand inside the stomach cavity and pull the intestines out of the deer. You will find connecting tissue by the spine, cut the intestines clear, all the while trying not to cut open the stomach or intestines. They contain very foul smelling stuff. With the intestines pulled out, you now have one section leading to the anus and the other leading into the chest cavity.

Cut around the anus and pull the intestine out, some fecal matter will probably drop. Insert the knife into the anus track and trim the intestine away from anal track (cut all the way around it, but don’t cut the urinary tube or intestine). Once it pulls clear, and this is the urinary track also, they will pull out a few inches. The bladder will also be pulled toward the anal cavity. Now reach back into the stomach and remove the intestine and bladder and privates. The bladder will most likely be partially full, some like to carry a bottle to harvest this for future hunting trips. I leave it with the pile.
Next go into the cavity and cut the tissue that separates the lungs from the stomach by trimming around the inside of the ribs. Some like to cut up through the chest plate to make the next part easier. Then reach up to the base of the neck inside the chest cavity. You will find the tracheal tube coming from the neck. Cut the tube as close as you can to the neck and pull out the lungs liver and heart. This is normally where someone cuts their finger rather badly. Many people keep the heart. It is delicious in chili or with onions fried.
Now drag the deer away from the gut pile and lay it on its stomach to drain.
You've field dressed a deer. If you are hunting a public area where bird watchers and joggers travel, you may want to cover the gut pile with some leaves. Never leave any paper towels, rubber gloves, or anything on the ground.
Now Tag it, and drag it out. Many old times will take the front legs of a buck and wedge them into the antlers, then tie around the legs and neck and drag that way. Always drag from the front of the animal, it's easier.
When you get home, find a stick and wedge it into the chest to keep it open, take some napkins and clean off the blood in the cavity and hang the deer off the ground. I prefer to hang them head side up to let the rest of the fluids leave the body and not pool by the neck. If it is warm, pack ice bags in the cavity.
Take pictures and post them on the forum..
Good luck
Fred
 

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There are a number of videos and instructional photo series you can get from the net that show you precisely how to field dress a deer. No matter how much you view them and study it though it will be far different when you do it yourself the first time. There will be blood, there are the guts to deal with. I use my diving knife and everyone has their own preferred tools.

Jstgsn covered the mechanics very well so there's nothing for me to add to that. The first time I field dressed a deer wasn't hard for me. I had been gutting fish for ages and some of them very big fish. The difference for me was that I wasn't next to a source of water. Not having water available makes cleanup harder.

The only advice I can add to what Fred posted is to pick your shot carefully with a plan as to how your going to get that deer out of there where it falls. I live in the mountains so I sure don't want to shoot one that falls down a canyon. The two items I always have on a deer hunt are my hatchet and a 100 ft. coil of light nylon rope. With the hatchet I cut down a couple saplings and lash them together to aid in dragging the deer out - this keeps the carcass off the ground too so that the hide isn't damaged. I roll the deer onto the makeshift skid sling.

I prefer to hunt on horseback, pick my place and leave my horse then go and get the deer. This way I can tie the drag to the saddle and my horse does the dragging.

Last season I had a good spot. I was able to drive my pickup next to the deer. I went hunting with an old gentleman so horses weren't an option. We only had to hike about ½ mile though.
 

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I'll never forget the look on my sons face when he was 10 and I made him help me field dress his kill


It was 27 deg out and that steam hit him in the face from the warm entrails.... I thought he might lose it, but he didn't

these times are priceless
 

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We always drag the deer back to camp and hang them. Drop the guts in a bucket and haul them off. Nothing will ruin a hunting area like a pile of deer guts, dogs find it and the crows move in. Tends to keep the deer out of the area.
 

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Throw away gloves, two knives , a very small Marbles axe, rope are what I use to dress a deer. First I wear a pair of gloves, and use one knife to remove the twisted scent glands on the inside of the hind legs, That oily scent will foul the meat, and cause that so called "Wild Taste". That knife is put away, and the second knife is used to open the body cavity while wearing a second set of gloves. Then split the pelvis with the little axe. Often a strong blade will do. Lift out the rectum and bladder. Sever the diaphragm and cut off the trachea, and any parts that hold the intestines and lungs. Turn over the carcass and dump out the entrails. Tag the carcass, and get the hide off asap so the carcass will cool rapidly. Heat causes meat to sour , and meat will absorb odors. Take care of it, and you'll have excellent meat without the disgusting "Wild Taste". That's the way the butchers do it. At camp, I break the carcass into 4 or six large pieces after it's cooled, then take it home in large plastic bags in the trunk, It might look great tied to the roof rack, but it will pick up every bit of dirt and strong odor on the way home.
 

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Fred has done a very good job of explaining it. The only thing that I do outside of what he said, is to hang the deer from a tree using the winch on the 4 wheeler. If you don't use a 4 wheeler, ignor this advice.
 

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Howdy I dont know if this will help much. But if you go to the colo dept of parks and wildlife. I belive they have 2 good videos on that subject. I think thats great taking a kid hunting. Good job!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Congratulations on taking your son to hunter safety. I have three sons and went through the class three times. Each time I learned something new or met a new friend or two no five...lots of new friends. I don't remember them going into the "field dressing" that deeply, although it's been years since the classes.

Here are a few tips I learned along the way (been hunting since the 50's). I am no expert, and others may have better ways to do it.

There are some items you should have after the shot. I always have a small spray bottle of peroxide. Nature has a sense of humor and ads "red" to leaves and twigs. When in doubt about it being blood, a little spray of peroxide will let you know. If it is blood it foams up, if not, nothing. Also after field dressing it is great to clean your hands with, killing germs and removing blood.

Thanks for the education.Im sure when we get our first one it will be a treat.lol
Have a sharp knife. I use the lansky knife system and then buff the blade with a bench style buffer. (yes the buffer will snatch the knife and wing it so be careful.) But when done properly I can shave a piece of 8 pound mono 6-7 times with no effort. This also means you need a first aid kit when afield.

Rubber gloves like many mechanics wear. Harbor Freight has a purple glove that is really strong. Some worry about disease from the blood, I just find it easier to clean my hands. (There is a good chance mosquitos are around and having bloody hands and clothes turn them on.)

Remember to use bug juice. Deer are loaded with ticks and when the deer die, they look for a new home. I drug a deer 10 yards by one leg and had 50 ticks going up my arm.

Always have a good flashlight or head light and a good rope.

First, make sure the deer is dead. Seriously, to field dress the deer you have to get near it's hooves and if you don't know, they can kick like a mule and are as fast as a rattlesnake when they kick.

Drag the deer to a bit of an opening and roll it on its back. If you are alone, it sometimes helps to tie one back leg to a tree to keep the legs spread proper. Taking the knife, make a small slit, not deep, at the center of the belly just below the rib cage. Some gas may escape then. When I say gas I mean noxious foul fumes.

Place two fingers of one hand in the slit and pull the skin on the belly up and away from the bowels. Insert the knife and make an incision down to the rectum making sure not to cut the intestines. If it is a buck, cut the skin around the privates and locate the urine tube. Trim the skin around that until it to the rectum. Don't cut the tube, just let it lay. Now place one hand inside the stomach cavity and pull the intestines out of the deer. You will find connecting tissue by the spine, cut the intestines clear, all the while trying not to cut open the stomach or intestines. They contain very foul smelling stuff. With the intestines pulled out, you now have one section leading to the anus and the other leading into the chest cavity.

Cut around the anus and pull the intestine out, some fecal matter will probably drop. Insert the knife into the anus track and trim the intestine away from anal track (cut all the way around it, but don’t cut the urinary tube or intestine). Once it pulls clear, and this is the urinary track also, they will pull out a few inches. The bladder will also be pulled toward the anal cavity. Now reach back into the stomach and remove the intestine and bladder and privates. The bladder will most likely be partially full, some like to carry a bottle to harvest this for future hunting trips. I leave it with the pile.
Next go into the cavity and cut the tissue that separates the lungs from the stomach by trimming around the inside of the ribs. Some like to cut up through the chest plate to make the next part easier. Then reach up to the base of the neck inside the chest cavity. You will find the tracheal tube coming from the neck. Cut the tube as close as you can to the neck and pull out the lungs liver and heart. This is normally where someone cuts their finger rather badly. Many people keep the heart. It is delicious in chili or with onions fried.
Now drag the deer away from the gut pile and lay it on its stomach to drain.
You've field dressed a deer. If you are hunting a public area where bird watchers and joggers travel, you may want to cover the gut pile with some leaves. Never leave any paper towels, rubber gloves, or anything on the ground.
Now Tag it, and drag it out. Many old times will take the front legs of a buck and wedge them into the antlers, then tie around the legs and neck and drag that way. Always drag from the front of the animal, it's easier.
When you get home, find a stick and wedge it into the chest to keep it open, take some napkins and clean off the blood in the cavity and hang the deer off the ground. I prefer to hang them head side up to let the rest of the fluids leave the body and not pool by the neck. If it is warm, pack ice bags in the cavity.
Take pictures and post them on the forum..
Good luck
Fred
 

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Howdy I dont know if this will help much. But if you go to the colo dept of parks and wildlife. I belive they have 2 good videos on that subject. I think thats great taking a kid hunting. Good job!!!
Do you have your single shot .410 ready? Isn't that all the politicians in Colorado will let you have?
 

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I'm old fashioned I guess, blood is a part of dressing out any game animal. I make my first cut around the bung hole, all the way around, after I have tagged the deer. Spread the hind legs, cut/break open the pelvic bones. Cut the deer from crotch to throat, avoiding internal organs. Cut everything loose at the throat, and start to remove internal organs from throat to bung hole. Save the liver, and heart. Drag deer to truck/ATV/car, proceed to the place where the deer will be butchered. Hunters have been doing it this way for thousands of years. Blood, and guts, come with the hunting of meat. If you can't stand getting blood, and gore, on you (and I've seen a bunch that can't) then maybe hunting isn't for you.
 

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Have you ever cleaned a Rabbit? it's the same but Larger,just keep your hands off the Tarsal Glands.
Skinnin' a rabit ain't no where near the same. Make a small incision in the middle of the back. Put fingers from both hands in the hole, pull in opposite directions. Hide will come off easy. Sling skinned rabbit really hard, guts will come out. Pull off head, wash, cook, and enjoy!
 

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Skinnin' a rabit ain't no where near the same. Make a small incision in the middle of the back. Put fingers from both hands in the hole, pull in opposite directions. Hide will come off easy. Sling skinned rabbit really hard, guts will come out. Pull off head, wash, cook, and enjoy!
You are such a barbarian ;)
 

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You are such a barbarian ;)
Maybe so, but he described the easiest/best way.

On the deer, I believe splitting the pelvis was mentioned. Can be VERY difficult w/ just a knife. Small saw or hatchet, used lightly/carefully helps w/ pelvis/ Ribs can be split at least part way so the lungs and esophagus can ge removed. remember that there are more organs in frnt of the diaphram which is strong and should be entirely removed.
 

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Maybe so, but he described the easiest/best way.

On the deer, I believe splitting the pelvis was mentioned. Can be VERY difficult w/ just a knife. Small saw or hatchet, used lightly/carefully helps w/ pelvis/ Ribs can be split at least part way so the lungs and esophagus can ge removed. remember that there are more organs in frnt of the diaphram which is strong and should be entirely removed.
If I have problems finding the joint, I batton the knife thru with a green stick. I have field dressed deer with nothing more than a pen knife.
 

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Great news, Ryan. Hope you both get your deer and have a full freezer this winter.
 
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