If you plan to hunt deer across the United States, you must learn how to field dress a whitetail deer. Field dressing a deer involves removing the deer’s internal organs to aid you in butchering the deer, as well as making the deer lighter for transport.
- Be prepared for field dressing before you enter the woods on the day of your hunt. If you kill a deer, you will need a sharp hunting knife to field dress the deer. You may also plan on bringing the deer home to field dress in your yard or garage.
- Approach downed deer cautiously and have your gun loaded to shoot the deer again as necessary. An injured deer may run towards you and hurt you with his antlers. Additionally, it is unlawful to leave a deer to suffer, so you must shoot the deer again to put it out of misery and to protect yourself from injury when you start to field dress the deer.
- Pull the deer to an area where you can comfortably field dress it. Try to find a sloped area and place the deer’s head uphill to help in field dressing. Gravity will help you to remove the blood and organs from the deer’s body.
- Pinch up the skin on the deer’s stomach and cut into the pinched skin. Once you make an incision in the deer’s body, pull the knife up from the stomach to the deer’s rib cage and back down to the deer’s pelvic bone. Cut only the skin as you do this. You may have to pinch and pull the skin outwards to prevent puncturing any of the deer’s organs.
- Use your hands to reach into the deer’s body and pull out the organs. Reach up and under the chest cavity and pull out the deer’s lungs, liver, heart and all over upper body organs. Pull out all of the organs using care to avoid puncturing the bladder and contaminating the meat.
- Allow the deer to set on the downhill slope for approximately ten minutes while the blood drains out of the cavity. Lift the deer to aid the draining process.
- Transport the deer to a location to cool before you butcher the deer to remove any meat you wish to keep.
If you field dress the deer at home, near a water hose, you can clean the blood out of the carcass more easily and clean out any urine you accidentally get in the body cavity if you accidentally puncture the deer’s bladder.