How to Skin a Deer and Other Game – The basics of Prepping your Food
What good is it to be able to capture your food if you cannot eat it?
Wilderness survival will entail that you at some point hunt and gather.
For most preppers and survivalist out there, this means that there will be a wild game involved.
Unless you’ve spent a great deal of time in the woods hunting, you may not know that there is a proper way to skin a deer and other game.
You cannot simply take your knife out of your survival gear and start cutting.
Here is a step by step guide on how to get your deer and other game ready for eating.
Do not bring your kill to your camp without field dressing it.
The most important thing to remember before starting to field dress your deer that it is a messy job. Roll up your sleeves and if you can remove unneeded outer garments.
Taking your survival knife you will want to split the hide on the chest cavity.
The first thing you need to do is cut the throat of whatever it is that you are skinning. This will keep you from having an abundance of blood. Cut deep.
Start right below the ribcage and cut to just below the pelvis. Keep an eye on the depth of your blade. Going too deep with your cut will sever the organs. If you sever the intestines or bladder then you will have to take extra steps to ensure that you don’t’ get tainted meet.
Once the skin has been split, you will need to crack the ribcage. As you will more than likely not have a knife, you will want to use your axe VERY CAREFULLY to do so. I would not recommend that you use the blade directly, but that you use a wedge to break the bone. Once you have the ribcage split, use the same technique to split the pelvis.
Slowly cut away the tissue on the sides of the game. Take special care not to cut the connections between the organs. You just want to ensure that the organs are no connected to the inner wall of the animal.
Finally, you will want to reach up into the throat of the deer or game and pull the esophagus out. This may take a bit of pulling to do. Continue to pull downward (meaning from the throat to the anus of the animal) picking up the organs as they become detached. When you get to the anus cut the connecting muscle.
Now that the organs are out of the deer or other game you are field dressing, pour water into the carcass to clean out any lingering blood and tissue.
Removing the skin
In a survivalist setting, you will want to skin the animal so that you can use the hide later for clothing or for storage (if you make a bag out of it). Therefore you need to skin the deer or other game so that you can use the hide later.
First, put a hole through the back legs. Using a large and sturdy hardwood put the wood through these two holes. Hang the deer up by its hind legs.
Start at the legs. Since you are going to use the skin later you will have to cut around the leg as well as make two vertical cuts. The vertical cuts should be on the underside of the deer and should connect to the opening that you had earlier when you field dressed the deer.
Pull the skin of the deer downward, using your knife as needed to remove tissue and ligaments from the hide. As you already cut the legs to allow for it to come detached without losing any of the hide, you should only have to worry about the hide getting snagged on tissue.
Perform the same technique on the front legs as you did the back.
Once you are to the cut on the throat, cut around the neck and then cut free the hide.
Cutting off the meat
Once you have field dressed and skinned the deer or other game, then it is time to get the meat off of the animal.
Using the survival knife from your survival gear, start at the top and work your way down. You may want to cut the meat off of the legs or you may want to keep the leg on the bone.
If you want to keep the leg on the bone, move to the rear meat, then the ribs, stomach, and back.
You should not eat the meat which is above the front legs.
When all of the meat cuts have been removed from the animal, take the animal off of the hanging apparatus.
Place the deer on a clean hard surface. Do not put it on the ground. Using your axe cut any areas of meat and bone away from the deer.
Dead animals attract other animals as well as wasps and flies. Besides this, a rotting corpse will quickly start to stink.
It is strongly advised that when you find your survival spot that you scout the area for a place in which to prepare your meat.
Keep in mind that you will probably have to do this quite regularly as you will not want to be going to a site which has a stinking dead animal on it or one which has attracted coyotes or other wild animals (always check animals which you have discarded for chewing and clawing as these are indicators that an area may be becoming unsafe).
The best practice is to dress, skin, and prepare the meat at the spot where the kill was.
Remember that if you chose this option that you will need to have something to haul the meet back to your site in.
Your survival kit should not be used as the blood will only encourage damage to your much needed supplies.