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Get Crafty: 14 Uses for Your Deer That Shouldn’t Go to Waste

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Wondering for more uses for your deer? Waste is never welcome. 

After the kill, we tend to take our meat and trophy antlers and leave the rest of our deer to waste.Whether you are out in the elements and need to put a deer to its full use or you are experimenting at home, here are 14 ways to utilize your deer’s most unused parts.

From Sinew…

The sinew is probably the most useful part on a deer. It’s like duct tape. You can use it for pretty much anything. Shredding the tendons of a deer you will find there are thicker sinews and thinner ones.

1. Tools: When sinew is wet, it is malleable and can be wrapped around an arrowhead and adhered to an arrow shaft. When it dries it becomes hard, making a very strong weapon.

2. A bow string: Thicker tendons can be put to use to make a strong string for a bow. Find yourself a great piece of wood, notch out the top and bottom and you’ve got yourself a homemade bow.

3. Sewing: Using thinner sinew found on muscles, you can sew buckskin together for moccasins, or even suture a wound using a small bone from the leg of your deer as a needle.

4. Jewelry: Braid sinew together and you can make an amazing arrowhead necklace for your lady-friend.

Brynnan Whaley

From “trash” antlers…

If you’ve killed a three-point freak, the chances are you sawed off his antlers and they are lying in the corner of your garage just inviting maggots into your home. Instead of letting them go to waste, try these small trophy uses.

5. Buttons: With a bone saw, carefully cut the antler at the base, about 1/4-inch thickness to form a perfectly strong button. Punch out a couple of holes and you can use your sinew to mount these buttons to your favorite coat.

6. Decoration: Go to any crafty website and find that antlers are all the rage, and expensive. Make your own decoration! Boil your old antlers in water, clean off any flesh and bleach the skull, and you have your own European mount. Spray paint them gold and hang necklaces off them. Mount a single antler by your window and you have a curtain tie back. The uses for antlers are endless.

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7. Small tools: Small antlers make perfect tools for grinding grains or notching/sharpening an arrowhead. Do this with the tip of the antler and with a soft surface underneath for give, such as deer hide.

8. Knife handle: Take your sturdiest looking “trash” antler and put it to great use by sliding in a blade to make a beautiful and useful knife.The leg bone of your deer will make another beautiful weapon once cleaned and boiled.

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From the innards…

Instead of leaving your deer’s heap of insides in the field, if these parts have not been damaged by your shot, sift through them and take what can be eaten later or put to use.

9. Bladder: Should you find yourself in the wild with no vat to carry water in, and you just happen to kill a deer with your newly made bow and arrow, carefully clean the deer’s bladder out and boom, nature’s thermos. String it up with sinew for easier carry.

10. Intestines: The long tract of thin sinew from intestines can be used in mostly the same way that the tendons can. Since the intestines are considerably thinner, try using them for more pliant tasks, like packing sausage, or for storage in general.

From hide/fat…

While a nice rug for the living room is always a go-to, try putting your deer hide to a different use this year.

11. Braintan: If you keep the brain from your deer, you can actually use it to tan the hide of a deer, making it into an extra soft jacket. This is where you can sew on your antler buttons with your sinew thread.

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12. Hide glue: Clean, boil, dry, and cut up parts of the hide, then cover it with water over a low heat and simmer for several hours. Let excess water vapor off and what you should be left with is a glue stock. Store in small portions and allow to gel, where now you can cut into smaller strips for use whenever. To reactivate the glue, reheat, or if you are away from a heat source, warm it up in your mouth and apply to where adhesive is needed.

13. Tallow: Look between the hide of the deer and meat to find fat, cube it up and simmer it to remove any meat attached. Once the fat is rendered, tallow forms. You can use it as a lubricant for metals, conditioner for leathers, or perhaps even a candle.

From the head…

Perhaps the most fun part of the deer head comes its eyeballs.

14. Bouncy-eye-ball: Cut off any and all meat connections to your deer’s eyeball thoroughly. Once the eyeball is completely cleaned, you have the best bouncy ball of all time. This one is for the kids.

There are many more uses for your kill. Experiment! See what happens when your roast this part or boil that, or leave that part out to dry.

The possibilities are endless. Good luck!

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Get Crafty: 14 Uses for Your Deer That Shouldn’t Go to Waste