Field Dressing and Processing Your Deer Meat

Field Care of Your Deer Affects What You Taste

By Pat Carrothers and Paul Schwartz

If you have any experience in hunting you know that making the big kill is really just the beginning. After you have your prize, you then have to take care of the meat in the field. What you do at this point will affect what you taste later.

Field Dressing You DeerField dressing deer properly is the most important aspect of a successful hunting venture. Deer and many other animals make wonderful meals if the game is well processed out in the field. The flavor of the eventual meat greatly depends on the care and timeliness of the field dressing. Many animals are wasted, or not as
tasteful, because hunters do not follow good meat handling rules.

Every time you hunt, expect to make a kill and travel with the tools you will need to complete deer processing.

Those tools include:
• knife
• cooler
• ziploc bags
• disposable gloves
• cutting board
• marker

There are several guidelines you should follow in the field in order to take care of the game meat in a timely manner. These guidelines will allow you to gain access to tasty meals later at home.

Guideline 1
Always work on deer field dressing immediately after the kill. Never let it sit for a long celebration (but high fives and war whoops are in order).

Guideline 2
If your knife is not sharpened, don’t even bother to start deer processing. You will damage the meat and waste a lot of time (use a What tips do you have so new deer hunters out there can protect their meat?

Check Out The Best Knives For Deer Field Dressing

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4 Responses to Field Dressing and Processing Your Deer Meat

  1. william says:

    i think a lot of people dont understand that a animal must be air out to release animal heat before processing or your deer will taste strong a properly processed deer has no animal smell at all period ! we always make every effort to not get pouch or guts inside the animal if possible if it is gut shot you must wash out quickly and cut away anything that stomach contents comes in contact with the deer back legs up just like hogs and beef pull hide off while animal is still warm and hang till all animal heat is out .even if its a bit wamr get the heat out of the meat .dont try and save any blood shot meat or questionable meat ..always take out the wind pipe and open up the cavity with a saw if possible and pelivic bone wash the carcass with cool clean water and if you leave your deer over night with the guts in or haul it around for a few days you ruin the meat.. YES it is edible but it wont be good deer meat and thats why a lot of people wont eat deer meat you got to get them hung and skinned and cooled out asap a hot deer skins like butter and fat can be removed easily deer fat is not good to eat remove as much as possible thats my 2 cents worth good luck

  2. havalon says:

    Thanks for the great additions William!

  3. richard rolllins says:

    Question, what should be the amount of meat left in pounds compared to the hoof weigh of the deer. my grandson killed a 185 lb deer and only got 50 lbs of meat from it. is 30% of the hoof weight about what is average?

  4. havalon says:

    Good question Richard! No one around here has thought that hard about it. Here’s a link to a butcher website that has good information on the topic:

    Thanks for asking. Anyone else have a good answer for this question?

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