After one has successfully harvested a deer, it must be field dressed. Field dressing is the removal of the internal organs of the deer (or other hunted animal). Removing the internal organs ensures that the body will rapidly lose heat and prevent bacterial growth on the surface of the carcass. This process is critical to preserving the meat properly.
After the Shot
After one has taken a shot at a deer, depending on the placement of the shot, the deer may drop almost instantly, run 2o or 30 yards to cover, continue to run in a large open field til it drops, etc. My advice would be to wait 20-30 minutes before leaving your location, to track or approach the deer. This gives the deer time to die and not approaching the deer to soon keeps it from possibly getting up and moving further away.
Approach the downed deer with gun loaded and safety on from behind and above the shoulders. Watch for signs of life. If the deer’s eyes are open and it doesn’t seem to be breathing it is probably dead. Poke the deer with a long stick and wait for a reaction. If the deer is clearly dead, you are ready to begin field dressing.
Before you move the deer to an appropriate location to perform the field dressing, take time in your own way to appreciate and or give thanks to this beautiful animal that will provide a healthy, free range, beyond organic source of meat. I’m providing a brief outline of the procedure below followed by an youtube video on how to field dress a deer. The youtube video is a short segment of a full video from the Kentucky Afield Deer Processing DVD. The full DVD steps one through the entire process from field dressing, skinning, deboning, and processing the meat. I own this video and highly recommend the techniques used in the video.
- Cut around the anus or use a butt-out tool.
- Roll the deer over on it’s back.
- Make an incision from the brisket to the anus.
- Cut through the diaphragm.
- Cut through the esophagus.
- Begin pulling out internal organs.
- Roll deer over on its stomach with head uphill to drain the body cavity of blood.