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Big Game

Game cleaning/skinning for Mule deer or Elk ?

I'm brand new to hunting, and my Uncle wants me to go out to Montana with him to hunt with my 30-06. Now, I've only once skinned a rabbit and squirrel I shot with a .22lr not a elk or mule deer. The problem is I have no clue how to skin a mule deer or elk. I don't want to go into the field without knowing how to do anything and I would like to know how to do this without asking my uncle how to. Mule deer is what we will more likely hunt.

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from 4everAutumn wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

A rabbit is basically a miniature deer and the insides and body structure are pretty much the same, but the scale is obviously different. Field dressing your deer quickly is the first and most important part. You could do a search on Youtube by typing “Field Dressing Deer” and you will find lots of visual help there. Just keep in mind, there are many variations in technique but with practice, you will come up with what works best for you. Main thing is getting the guts out without spilling anything and contaminating the meat. Just take your time and pay attention to the point of your knife. A swing blade type knife might be good for you to have, too. As far as skinning, it is best to do it while the deer is warm. Hang it by the back legs. Cut around the back legs where they get skinny, cut a line down the inside of each leg to where you cut the pelvis and peel them down. When you get to the tail, pull it towards the ground and cut it away at the body, keeping it attached to the hide. There’s cartilage there and it pops right off the back of the pelvis. Keep pulling the tail and the skin will pretty much pull all of the way down to the front shoulders. Cut through the hide along the elbow side of the legs to the knee and cut the legs off there. Pull it down to where the neck gets skinny, cut around the neck and twist until it pops and cut there.
If you are going to mount the deer, when you are field dressing it, stop cutting when you get to the ribs and pull everything out from there. After you cape the deer, you can clean it out better. When skinning a deer for mounting, cut a ring all the way around it about a foot behind the front shoulders and peel it down like you are taking off a shirt. If I were you, I would just keep the head attached to the cape and let your taxidermist do the delicate work. Again, search “Caping a deer” for visual help. Good luck!

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from 4everAutumn wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

A rabbit is basically a miniature deer and the insides and body structure are pretty much the same, but the scale is obviously different. Field dressing your deer quickly is the first and most important part. You could do a search on Youtube by typing “Field Dressing Deer” and you will find lots of visual help there. Just keep in mind, there are many variations in technique but with practice, you will come up with what works best for you. Main thing is getting the guts out without spilling anything and contaminating the meat. Just take your time and pay attention to the point of your knife. A swing blade type knife might be good for you to have, too. As far as skinning, it is best to do it while the deer is warm. Hang it by the back legs. Cut around the back legs where they get skinny, cut a line down the inside of each leg to where you cut the pelvis and peel them down. When you get to the tail, pull it towards the ground and cut it away at the body, keeping it attached to the hide. There’s cartilage there and it pops right off the back of the pelvis. Keep pulling the tail and the skin will pretty much pull all of the way down to the front shoulders. Cut through the hide along the elbow side of the legs to the knee and cut the legs off there. Pull it down to where the neck gets skinny, cut around the neck and twist until it pops and cut there.
If you are going to mount the deer, when you are field dressing it, stop cutting when you get to the ribs and pull everything out from there. After you cape the deer, you can clean it out better. When skinning a deer for mounting, cut a ring all the way around it about a foot behind the front shoulders and peel it down like you are taking off a shirt. If I were you, I would just keep the head attached to the cape and let your taxidermist do the delicate work. Again, search “Caping a deer” for visual help. Good luck!

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