Field Dressing A Moose

Wondering about field dressing a moose? Field dressing a bull moose is a true chore, in a large part because you are dealing with a very large animal, some in excess of 1200 pounds. That is a lot of animal, hopefully you have a hunting partner or two to help. The extra hands come in handy.

Items which may be needed to field dress a moose.

  • Partner, or two
  • Rope (with or without pulleys).
  • Hunting knife
  • Honing steel
  • Ax
  • Hammer or second ax
  • Cloth rags, or paper towels
  • Water or waterless hand cleanser
  • Boning saw
  • String

The procedure to field dress a moose will go something like this.

  1. Clear the working area.  A moose is a large animal which requires a fair sized space to work in. Try to maneuver the moose to the center or lowest area.
  2. Position animal. With the help of your partner if you have one, or using the ropes and pulleys position the animal on its back with legs spread. Use the ropes tied to trees to keep it secure or to pull and maneuver it into position.
  3. Bleed the moose. Open the arteries in the moose's neck to initiate blood flow and allow it to flow away from the animal and working area.
  4. Open up the carcass.  Using a sharp knife open the carcass by cutting from throat down chest and belly to the anus. Cut down through muscle until you reach the breast bone on the chest. Work the blade and open the cut down along the stomach cutting down through stomach muscles to the inside where the organs are visible. When working along the stomach muscle take care not to push blade down into any organs, this is important.  At any time during the process if your knife starts to dull and drag a few strops across hone should bring it back to sharpness. Take care to move around the genitals as in some areas they must be left on a part of the carcass to prove gender. When working down into the pelvic area take care to avoid the bladder.
  5.  Break breastbone.  Using either two axes, ax and hammer, or boning saw cut or break through the ribcage. Use the flat of one ax or the hammer to pound the ax though if using an ax. Tightening ropes as you work will help spread the ribs and opening.
  6. Sever windpipe.  Reach up and sever the windpipe and pull it down, using the knife cut it free of the neck muscles. Lay it in the chest cavity.
  7. Cut diaphragm from chest cavity.  Working slowly cut the diaphragm from both sides of the chest cavity.
  8. Split pelvic bone.  Using the same method as describe previously split or saw through the pelvic bone. Take care not to cut any organs and contaminate the meat. 
  9. Remove anus and bladder.  Use a very sharp knife and carefully cut the anus, bladder and intestine free from the pelvis. Take great care not to nick any organs.  Using the tip of the blade to core around the outside of the anus and pull it free from the hide and meat. A small piece of string will be of use here to tie off the end of the anus, to insure no spillage occurs on the meat.
  10. Remove organs.  Gently roll the carcass to the side and pull/roll the organs out of the abdominal cavity. Take great care to make sure where the anus and bladder are so as not to allow any contamination of meat. Move up and pull the chest cavity organs out by grasping the windpipe and pulling them out.
  11. Clean cavity.  Allow blood to flow out of the internal cavity and then clean it with cloth or paper towers. If those are not available clean clumps of grass may be substituted. Avoid using water.
  12. Wash up.  Use paper towels, and water or waterless hand cleaner to clean your hands of any contaminates.

You have now field dressed your moose. The next steps may include cooling, quartering, skinning, or others depending upon location, time available, and transportation. Remember to save the heart and liver for the successful hunters feast that night in camp.

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