If you’ve never done it before, skinning and gutting your first deer can be a bit overwhelming.
The first time you step foot at a deer processor or have to field-dress a deer, you may not be prepared for all that comes with the experience.
Here are some things that you may want to consider before you encounter your first deer.
The Touch and Feel
Be sure to have some help. Regardless of how strong you are, skinning and gutting will be much easier with the assistance of another person – dead weight is harder to work with than you’d think.
While a deer may be soft on the outside, be prepared for what is yet to come. Skinning requires upper body strength, but can still be difficult due to the slick inside of a deer’s hide.
While it may seem obvious that blood will be involved, some people don’t fare so well with the gore involved with slaughtering a deer, and that’s just the beginning.
Skinning and gutting will require you to remove all of the intestines and organs which can be a less-than-enjoyable experience, but it’s all part of it!
Keep in mind that you’ll need a strong stomach during this process!
Be sure you have the appropriate equipment before embarking on your first endeavor. A good skinning knife is a great place to start.
If you have the luxury of a lift, tractor or more advanced equipment, like the ones used by processors, it will make your life that much easier.
If you make a less-than-perfect shot, you may end up with a gut shot. While this will still kill the deer, it involves a bit more than just blood.
The butchering process can become even messier if a deer is shot in the stomach or intestines as opposed to the heart or lung. The smells associated with a gut shot may make you want to postpone your next meal for a few hours.
Above all, fight through and get used to it! If you plan to stick with the sport of hunting, you’ll want to be able to trudge through everything that happens after the shot!
There’s no better way to get used to it than to do it over and over again. Ask friends if you can help them with their deer or volunteer at processors.
This will not only strengthen your stomach but will also hone your skills!