If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to skin a deer

I was fortunate enough to tag a deer Wednesday evening.  I thought I would take a little extra time and photograph the butchering process.
Before you start any job make sure your knives are sharp and your equipment is sanitized.  It's a good idea to have an emergency plan in place in case of an accident.  I know it sounds silly but if your all alone and you cut yourself severely and you have no emergency plan you could lose precious minutes figuring out what to do.  Minutes can matter.  Let someone know what you are doing.  When you will be done and so on. No one can predict what they will do when in a panic.  So take your time and have a plan.
Remember a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one.
Ok here we go. 
Ideally I like to let my deer hang a few days but that is dictated by weather.
This one only hung for 24 hours.  I like to hang mine head down.
The first thing I do is to cut the head off.  If you plan on taxidermy then obviously leave it on.  Make an incision just under the jaw line cutting through the hide.  Then take a saw and finish the cut.
Next I cut off the front legs right above the "knee"

Then I make a cut up the inside of the front legs just under the hide.  Take this cut up all the way to the brisket/chest.
Next make a cut up the inside of the hind quarter up to just below the gambrel hook.  Complete this cut by circling around the leg below the "achilles tendon"  Be extra careful not to cut the tendon otherwise the deer will fall off the hook.
Complete this on both hind quarters then begin to peel the hide down to the tail area.  Making cuts as necessary to release the hide from the muscle. 
Once you reach the tail remove it with your saw.
Continue peeling the hide down the carcass.  Hint the tail makes a great handle.  Age of the deer, weather, and hang time are all deciding factors on how easy the hide will peel.  If you are not planning on keeping the hide making a small cut through the hide will also act as a "handle" with which to pull.

Continue peeling until you reach the front legs.  The cuts you made up the front legs earlier will now come in handy removing the hide from the legs.
 If not prepared right the chest/front leg area can be a little difficult.  Take your time and work the hide off of the legs and then pull from the back area.  This should release it from the chest area. 
After the front legs are free simply pull the hide off the rest of the way.  The neck can be tough. At this point in the process I like to pick up the hide in my hands.  Making a hammock of sorts.  One end connected to the deer and the other in my hand.  I push down on the hide with my foot while pulling with my hands.  You get a bit of extra leverage this way and you don't have to bend over as much.
Now that the hide is off you can address the issue of hair.  I like to take a propane torch and go over the entire carcass.  Do not linger in one place too long.  For obvious reasons.  Move quickly and look for hair.  The flame will quickly singe the hair into oblivion.  I know what your thinking but the smell is really not to bad and there is no reflection in the flavor of the meat.  It is well worth the 4 minutes it takes.  There is nothing worse than cleaning hair out of your venison.  Very unappetizing as well.

Stop by tomorrow for the boning process.  It's already finished but I don't want to spoil you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your comment here please.