How to Field Dress a Deer with Steven Rinella – MeatEater

At Meateater, one of the most common questions we get is how to gut a deer. This example we have laying right here is a Coues deer buck, a desert white tail. The fundamentals, what I’m showing you right now, about gutting are standard for all horned and antlered game. You can gut it the way I’m going to show you if you’re going to pack the whole thing out in pieces. You gut it this way if you’re just going to drag it across a forty acre field to your truck. Learn these rules and then break ’em all you want to save time later on, to do little tricks you’ve learned about on the internet. First step here, cut around the anus. This helps just to have a clean job where everything’s going to come out in one piece. Go all the way around and you see the depth I’m going here. Come down both sides. And cut in there a ways, and free up the colon, like so. Next step, I’m going to run it like this just cutting through hide, not cutting into muscle.

In many states you have to leave evidence of sex naturally attached to the carcass, so notice that we’re to go up the side of scrotum. We’re going to leave the scrotum on here and not discard it while we gut. Now cutting down, here’s the urethra. Cut a little bit into the meat here, down to the bone. And that right there is your pelvis. So I’ve exposed the pelvis bone on one side. Now I’m going to come on the other side. This pipe right here. Down again through the pelvis in my hand now is the ridge with the pelvis on each side. You cut this.

You open this up and you’re going to spill urine. Peel it back a little ways, and sever it up here. So here we have the anus, lower intestine, everything freed up, the ridge of the pelvis and the bone exposed on each side. I’m going to jump up here and I’m going to cut through the hide. And just join up to my lower incision. Here I’m only going through the hide. You’ll feel here I’m on a hard sternum If I run my finger down, that sternum ends right there. At that point if you’re not careful on your knife work, you can puncture the stomach. Here you’re protected by bone, so you don’t need to be gentle. I can just go like this where I have protection of the bone. Now I’m at the end of the sternum and very carefully lift the hide up and cut just through hide, leaving the abdominal lining intact.

The thing to keep in mind when you’re making these incisions. we’ve been working on if you notice I’m always going up. So up through like this and the reason is if I was to take my knife and go down what I’m going to do is cut little bits of hair into little pieces and those get all over everything. If I go like this, and go inside out it slips right through the hair without cutting them and doesn’t make nearly the mess Now I’m ready to puncture the abdominal lining.

And I want to do that without puncturing the stomach. It’s just a wall of muscle right here. So you’ve got the leather pulled away, the hide and the hair are cut through. It’s good to enter right here at the point of the sternum. We’re going to puncture down in there, get all the way through. OK, there and through. I put my fingers in here. My fingers are laying between the stomach and the abdominal lining and I’m pulling up to pull the abdominal lining away from the intestines and stomach.

So I don’t nick them with my knife. Lift up. The sooner you do this after killing the animal the better because the animal is gonna start to bloat and when it bloats it gets, everything gets very tight and it’s harder to do this without puncturing anything. I’m cutting this and making this cut all the way back to the pelvis and I’m back to the pelvis.

At this point, I’m going to take a bone saw and I want to get so I’m not nicking the bladder. Look how I’ve got everything pulled up, everything out of the way. So I press that away and I’m going to saw on each side of the pelvis bone. You can do one cut. I cut through half and here’s the ridge, but just to show you how to get a nice big gateway you can pull everything cleanly through, I’m going to cut both sides of that bone. Pull that gate out of there. Now we have a wide-open path and also this is going to aid in the animal cooling later in hot weather ’cause the thickest part of the deer that’s going to spoil to spoil quickest is up here around the ball joints by cutting that out, you’ll allow a lot of that heat to dissipate.

Back up here I’m going to split right up the center of the sternum, away from the digestive organs. So you don’t need to worry so much about spilling anything. Open that out. Now what I want to do is I’m going to reach up in here and I’m going to pull my heart out. This is the sack the heart sits in. Just nick that sack.

OK, we’re going to retain that. Somewhere clean. Here’s the wind pipe and the esophagus coming down. Reach inside. Just cut that. That’s freed up. The only thing that’s holding you back now is the diaphragm. And you’re not going to tear it easily or pull so I like to cut the diaphragm, on each side. Once the diaphragm’s cut we’re ready to pull the organs out. Everything now is just laying in there like a bowl of guts.

Grab up here at the wind pipe pull this last bit of the diaphragm. Pull it down here where it spills through the gateway. And that whole package of guts comes away. Before I get it dirty, I want to free my liver up. This here, the kidney sometimes they’re surprisingly good. That has to be skinned later retain it now and the rest of this we don’t want. It goes down there. So here we have the gutted out deer. It can begin to cool, everything’s nice and clean. When I’m done in some ways I think it as a step in the gutting today I want to pull the tenderloins out. These are your tenderloins. Just work them away. Just remove these from the inside. Put them somewhere clean. There you have it, ready for transport..

As found on Youtube