Once reaching the mid-point of the hams, make a 45-degree slice toward the bottom of the quarter.
One of the neat perks of this job is in getting the opportunity to hunt deer in different parts of the country and learn how folks do stuff. It seems as if no two deer camps are exactly alike and if you go to enough of them, you’ll pick up enough pointers to last your entire hunting life. So it was on my recent trip to Mississippi when friend Marc Amos taught me a neat way to skin and butcher a deer without ever having to touch a gut pile. Here’s a step-by-step guide to gutless deer processing. Amos’ first step is to hang the deer head-down and make a circular cut around the forelegs.
Next, slice the hide up toward the front shoulder approximately midway on the shoulder blade.
Continue slicing toward the rear hams maintaining the midway line down the deer’s brisket.
Once reaching the mid-point of the hams, make a 45-degree slice toward the bottom of the quarter.
The fresher the kill, the easier it will be to skin. Continue to coax the hide from the meat just as you would with any other skinning method.
After completing one side of the deer, skin exactly the same on the other and pull the hide down.
Skin the hide from the underside of the deer similarly–gently coaxing with a knife when necessary. After skinning the deer, the front legs are cut off at the foreleg, and the front shoulders are removed along the lines of the shoulder blade. The head and neck can be removed at the same time the forelegs are cut, and if taking the neck roast, this is the time to make that cut.
To remove backstraps, slice along the backbone keeping the blade along the deer’s spine.
This is the best part of the deer, so go slowly and carefully. It will remove pretty simply.
Presto…a clean loin.
Do the same with the second loin.


Now the gutless part – Use your knife to cut the connective tissue at the base of the gut where the hind legs join. Carefully cut the connective tissue out of the way, letting the gut collapse down into the deer’s intact chest cavity. Keep cutting until the inside loins are exposed sufficiently to remove them. The gut will be completely intact within the ribs and chest cavity. To get at and remove the inside loins, use the tip of your knife to separate the top of the ribcage from the top of the back. Pull slightly down to expose the loins and remove.
Inside body cavity with loins removed.
A Sawzall makes it simple to cut the spinal column.
Again, use the sawzall to cut down the spinal column and separate the two hindquarters. If the bladder or intestines are full, or if you don’t have access to water, you can remove them prior to separating the hindquarters.
Trim away fat from the interior ham and you’re done.