Field Dressing An Elk
If you a hunter and you want to know about field dressing an Elk, stick around. We will lead you through, step by step, so you know how to clean and cool your meat so it doesn't spoil. Elk hunting is one of America's best big game species to pursue, and when you are successful, you'll find the meat is exceptionally tasty. Properly field dressing your Elk is the first step in bringing home food fit for a king.
What you'll need:
- A sharp knife with a three to four - inch blade
- a whet stone or other sharpening tool
- kitchen string
- a thin rope
- a small saw that can cut through bone
- latex gloves
- game bags
- plastic storage bags
- a pack or game cart to pack out the meat
- Elk tags
- hunting gear
- Tag your Elk. Once you have downed your animal, the first step, before field dressing your Elk, is to tag the animal according to state regulations. Often you must document time and location of taking your animal. Be sure to read all instructions so you are not in violation of local ordinances.
- Turn your Elk on its side. Prop your Elk on its side with it's back against a small tree on a slight incline with the animal's tail and stomach facing down hill. Run a string or a thin rope over a branch of the tree and tie it to one foreleg and one hind leg to spread the animal's legs and to open the chest and stomach area for you to work.
Tie off the intestines. First, to keep waste from contaminating your Elk as you field dress it, cut around the rectum with your small knife, then pull out several inches of the large intestine and tie it off with kitchen string.
Open the belly. To begin removing the internal organs, cut from the sternum down to the pelvis. Pull the skin up away from the animal's chest and make an incision. Next, hold your knife in your palm with the tip of the blade between your index and middle finger and blade facing away from the animal. Insert your index and middle fingers into the incision you've made just below the sternum. Your fingers will keep the knife tip away from the intestines as you unzip the stomach of the animal.
Cut through the pelvis. Your small bone saw will come in handy to cut through the front of the pelvis. Be careful making this cut because you don't want to puncture the bladder or intestine. Once the pelvis is open you are ready to remove the intestine and organs.
Removing intestines. Cut around the penis using the same technique as the first cut you made through the belly, but leave the testicles attached to show the sex of the animal. This will allow the bladder to come completely free. From the large intestine you tied off at the beginning of the field dressing process, pull the intestines free of the Elk.
- Cut the diaphragm. To finish field dressing your elk you will need to cut around the diaphragm which connects the internal organs to the ribs. Once this is cut, pull the lungs and heart out through the stomach cavity.
Free the internal organs. The esophagus begins the digestive tract of the animal. To free the intestines and organs, reach up into the torso of the animal and cut the esophagus free.
- Remove the heart and liver. Cut the heart and liver free of the other organs and put them in a plastic storage bag. If you can harvest and field dress an Elk, you can man up and eat some liver and onions.
- Haul out your game. You are ready to take your game back to camp or to haul it out to a game processor. Depending on your state, you have some options. Some states allow a deboning method where you take all the meat off the bone and pack it out in game bags. You may also haul out the whole animal and take it to a game processing plant to prepare it for the table.