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Gutless Deer Butchering

Gutless Deer Butchering

A step-by-step guide to caring for your whitetail—and you don't ever have to deal with those nasty entrails again.
Gutless Deer 1

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from Winefly wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I'd have to agree with Harley 45-70 I hang for at least 2 weeks & although reasonably fit I can't hike 2+ miles through the hills with the extra weight. off with his head out with the guts, kidneys & liver into a ziplock bag & a dirty bloody hike follows.
I keep a change of clothes & 20 litre drum of water in the truck although I have driven home nude LOL

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from trapper vic wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

hair should not be a problem. deer hair is hollow use a propane touch and it goes up in smoke.

loins = backstraps
tenderloin= nuggets or what ever you call the inside fillet

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from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

To clarify... the pulls are fairly short... the transports ain't!!!!

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from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Good point, Bo.... This isn't for everyone.... IF you want the liver, you can retrieve it without problem using this method. But I appreciate the point about gutting fairly quickly after the kill. We live and hunt fairly closely to our skinning shed, so we rarely have more than an hour delay... At most. And a 4-wheeler is always available.... so short (100 yards or less) pulls and transport is the rule, not the exception. As for temporary skinning solutions, I have a homemade block and tackle that I use for raising ladder stands by myself, skinning deer when necessary, and other hoisting duties.... takes up NO space other than two small pullies and enough rope / cord to reach the height necessary to skin your trophy. There is a new gambrel I use...the T-hanger - that is beyond compare... and not horrible on bulk / space.

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from Bo wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Where I have been hunting in Oklahoma, it is often times just warm enough that the first thing that I want to do (After tagging it to keep any game rangers happy) is gut it. I don't know if you have ever tried to use a mesquite tree to hang a deer, but if you try it you will quickly learn no to do it again. So they get gutted on the ground. This year I killed a buck that was heavier than I am. Wasn't any way I could have hung him by myself and my hunting partner was a long ways away from where I was. I had that nice 5 point dressed and ready to load by the time he got to where my buck was. I killed a small button buck right after that and had it dressed in no time to throw on the truck with the first one.
I am not saying anything against this method, I just don't think it would work for me. Besides, for me, bloody hands are a sign of a successful hunt. I am not afraid of a little animal guts. I save the heart and the liver. Fried deer liver and onions are wonderful.

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from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Andrew... great point... I haven't cleaned ANY northern deer (Gerry, that's a hint), but going WITH the grain of the hair almost eliminates the hair issue. I learned this the hard way, as I initially went down the grain, and had a lot of hair to wash / wipe off after finishing. Additionally, the bulk of the cut is up the ribcage, which (down here) we don't attempt to save. Finally, until you actually expose (skin) the meat, there is little opportunity for hair to attach to edible flesh.... and by that time, most of the hair is on the floor!!!! I'm certainly not an expert, but we (friends, family, etc.) kill about 40-50 deer a year, and this is the best technique I've found.... Probably won't work for everyone - but worth a try!!!! On the rock / tennis ball method, the only downside is the involvement of a truck or 4-wheeler - we skin in a shed, where access is a little limited.... IF you have to drag your deer a significant distance before loading on a 4-wheeler or truck (Yoda), I appreciate the disadvantage... At my age and lack of fitness, access to motorized game (and fat-boy) transport is part of the equation!!!!

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from GerryBethge wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Hey Andrew---

Points well taken my friend and hairy meat was one thing I was concerned about too, but as you can see from the photos there wasn't much to be worried about. I'm hoping to try this out this weekend with a New England deer to see if the technique translates.
Sorry if I intermixed backstraps with loins--different regions have different names. Here in the Northeast, loins are the interior gems and backstraps are the exterior fillet mignons.
Please keep in mind that this is an alternative technique...not the best technique or anything else.—Gerry

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from Catpool9 wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I have been skinning deer forty + yrs. the way The Captain does, seen it done many ways but this is the best for me. I get the (honey meat) what you guy's call the tenderloin, here in Arkansas we call the backstrap the tenderloin.

When done cleaning there is nothing but a skeleton, with the guts intack.

David H

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from stargazerdo wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Great article for a technique I can use down south here in NC. Field dressing a deer up in Michigan was one thing, down here in 85 degree heat and not a lot of nearby processors is another deal. This should help.
Thanks.

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from Yoda wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I think a video could be worthwhile, but I don't know if I would do this where i hunt that extra weight makes for a longer drag on the way out

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from HuntingEditor wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Very cool, Marc and Gerry - my only question is that with all the cuts across the body, I'd think you would get a good deal of hair on the meat. It appears that you did not, from Gerry's photos, but then again your southern deer don't have all the guard hair and dense under hair of our northern whitetails. I think I'd spend most of my time picking hair if I made those cross-body cuts.

Andrew McKean
Hunting Editor

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from Harley 45-70 wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

In Ohio where I live I would have no use for that process as good as it may be, as I field dress and then hang in the cooler with the hide on. That time limit is 4 to 6 days,this let`s the natural bacteria tenderize the meat and makes the meat real nice to process, or as we say ("Better to work up".) Even better for eating.
If I were in a warmer climate, that is a great procedure, and will be for those who are.
But always remember to get the wind pipe out right away, because it spoils really fast and can ruin the meat around it. A lot of guys fail to do that. The reason I know this is, because I processed deer for a living at one time and saw that way to often. Now I just hunt. But your procedure is still great info.

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from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Captain... I've heard about the rock (or tennis ball) method before.... Never tried it, though. Keep in mind that with this technique, you DO harvest the tenderloin.... you simply cut away the connective tissue where the stomach meets the hind quarters, down to a point where you can cut out the tenderloins.... the gut drops into the chest cavity intact.

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from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I appreciate your comment.... However, we don't utilize the hide for anything, so the cuts up the rib cage make the process much easier. If you want to tan or otherwise utilize the hide, you can certainly do so.... but running the knife down the center of the deer's gut during the skinning process (which is time consuming and can result, on occasion, in an errant knife tip into the stomach) is one of the things that this technique makes unnecessary.... With two cuts, the skin comes off very easily - so much so that our little girls are able to help skin... And we like making them part of the process as well.

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from The Captain wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I used a similar technique to this one in Texas, where in hunting season it is still so warm that you have to get the meet into an ice chest fast so it will not spoil. I think my technique is a little faster/easier.
1) Hang deer by the head and get about six inches of skin started at the top. Use a rock to help make a knot. Tie rope to deer and pick-up. Pull slowly with truck and the skin comes off easily. (Guts stay in body cavity due to stomach muscle/tissue AND you can still use the hide if you want).
2) Remove backstrap
3) Remove shoulders
4) Remove haunches
The only downside to either of these techniques is that you do not get the tenderloin. But, I can say that this method works quite efficiently.

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from Buckskinner wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I think you should modify the skinning technique, so you don't ruin and waste the hide!

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from Yoda wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I think a video could be worthwhile, but I don't know if I would do this where i hunt that extra weight makes for a longer drag on the way out

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buckskinner wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I think you should modify the skinning technique, so you don't ruin and waste the hide!

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from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I appreciate your comment.... However, we don't utilize the hide for anything, so the cuts up the rib cage make the process much easier. If you want to tan or otherwise utilize the hide, you can certainly do so.... but running the knife down the center of the deer's gut during the skinning process (which is time consuming and can result, on occasion, in an errant knife tip into the stomach) is one of the things that this technique makes unnecessary.... With two cuts, the skin comes off very easily - so much so that our little girls are able to help skin... And we like making them part of the process as well.

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from The Captain wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I used a similar technique to this one in Texas, where in hunting season it is still so warm that you have to get the meet into an ice chest fast so it will not spoil. I think my technique is a little faster/easier.
1) Hang deer by the head and get about six inches of skin started at the top. Use a rock to help make a knot. Tie rope to deer and pick-up. Pull slowly with truck and the skin comes off easily. (Guts stay in body cavity due to stomach muscle/tissue AND you can still use the hide if you want).
2) Remove backstrap
3) Remove shoulders
4) Remove haunches
The only downside to either of these techniques is that you do not get the tenderloin. But, I can say that this method works quite efficiently.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Captain... I've heard about the rock (or tennis ball) method before.... Never tried it, though. Keep in mind that with this technique, you DO harvest the tenderloin.... you simply cut away the connective tissue where the stomach meets the hind quarters, down to a point where you can cut out the tenderloins.... the gut drops into the chest cavity intact.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Harley 45-70 wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

In Ohio where I live I would have no use for that process as good as it may be, as I field dress and then hang in the cooler with the hide on. That time limit is 4 to 6 days,this let`s the natural bacteria tenderize the meat and makes the meat real nice to process, or as we say ("Better to work up".) Even better for eating.
If I were in a warmer climate, that is a great procedure, and will be for those who are.
But always remember to get the wind pipe out right away, because it spoils really fast and can ruin the meat around it. A lot of guys fail to do that. The reason I know this is, because I processed deer for a living at one time and saw that way to often. Now I just hunt. But your procedure is still great info.

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from HuntingEditor wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Very cool, Marc and Gerry - my only question is that with all the cuts across the body, I'd think you would get a good deal of hair on the meat. It appears that you did not, from Gerry's photos, but then again your southern deer don't have all the guard hair and dense under hair of our northern whitetails. I think I'd spend most of my time picking hair if I made those cross-body cuts.

Andrew McKean
Hunting Editor

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from stargazerdo wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Great article for a technique I can use down south here in NC. Field dressing a deer up in Michigan was one thing, down here in 85 degree heat and not a lot of nearby processors is another deal. This should help.
Thanks.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from GerryBethge wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Hey Andrew---

Points well taken my friend and hairy meat was one thing I was concerned about too, but as you can see from the photos there wasn't much to be worried about. I'm hoping to try this out this weekend with a New England deer to see if the technique translates.
Sorry if I intermixed backstraps with loins--different regions have different names. Here in the Northeast, loins are the interior gems and backstraps are the exterior fillet mignons.
Please keep in mind that this is an alternative technique...not the best technique or anything else.—Gerry

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Andrew... great point... I haven't cleaned ANY northern deer (Gerry, that's a hint), but going WITH the grain of the hair almost eliminates the hair issue. I learned this the hard way, as I initially went down the grain, and had a lot of hair to wash / wipe off after finishing. Additionally, the bulk of the cut is up the ribcage, which (down here) we don't attempt to save. Finally, until you actually expose (skin) the meat, there is little opportunity for hair to attach to edible flesh.... and by that time, most of the hair is on the floor!!!! I'm certainly not an expert, but we (friends, family, etc.) kill about 40-50 deer a year, and this is the best technique I've found.... Probably won't work for everyone - but worth a try!!!! On the rock / tennis ball method, the only downside is the involvement of a truck or 4-wheeler - we skin in a shed, where access is a little limited.... IF you have to drag your deer a significant distance before loading on a 4-wheeler or truck (Yoda), I appreciate the disadvantage... At my age and lack of fitness, access to motorized game (and fat-boy) transport is part of the equation!!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Catpool9 wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I have been skinning deer forty + yrs. the way The Captain does, seen it done many ways but this is the best for me. I get the (honey meat) what you guy's call the tenderloin, here in Arkansas we call the backstrap the tenderloin.

When done cleaning there is nothing but a skeleton, with the guts intack.

David H

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bo wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Where I have been hunting in Oklahoma, it is often times just warm enough that the first thing that I want to do (After tagging it to keep any game rangers happy) is gut it. I don't know if you have ever tried to use a mesquite tree to hang a deer, but if you try it you will quickly learn no to do it again. So they get gutted on the ground. This year I killed a buck that was heavier than I am. Wasn't any way I could have hung him by myself and my hunting partner was a long ways away from where I was. I had that nice 5 point dressed and ready to load by the time he got to where my buck was. I killed a small button buck right after that and had it dressed in no time to throw on the truck with the first one.
I am not saying anything against this method, I just don't think it would work for me. Besides, for me, bloody hands are a sign of a successful hunt. I am not afraid of a little animal guts. I save the heart and the liver. Fried deer liver and onions are wonderful.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

Good point, Bo.... This isn't for everyone.... IF you want the liver, you can retrieve it without problem using this method. But I appreciate the point about gutting fairly quickly after the kill. We live and hunt fairly closely to our skinning shed, so we rarely have more than an hour delay... At most. And a 4-wheeler is always available.... so short (100 yards or less) pulls and transport is the rule, not the exception. As for temporary skinning solutions, I have a homemade block and tackle that I use for raising ladder stands by myself, skinning deer when necessary, and other hoisting duties.... takes up NO space other than two small pullies and enough rope / cord to reach the height necessary to skin your trophy. There is a new gambrel I use...the T-hanger - that is beyond compare... and not horrible on bulk / space.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marc Amos wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

To clarify... the pulls are fairly short... the transports ain't!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from trapper vic wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

hair should not be a problem. deer hair is hollow use a propane touch and it goes up in smoke.

loins = backstraps
tenderloin= nuggets or what ever you call the inside fillet

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Winefly wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

I'd have to agree with Harley 45-70 I hang for at least 2 weeks & although reasonably fit I can't hike 2+ miles through the hills with the extra weight. off with his head out with the guts, kidneys & liver into a ziplock bag & a dirty bloody hike follows.
I keep a change of clothes & 20 litre drum of water in the truck although I have driven home nude LOL

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