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Tips on How to Cut and Clean the Deer Meat

Aug 17, 2007
After the shooting the hunter will start cutting the deer and removing the viscera. There are some methods of cutting the deer which a hunter needs to know in order to maintain the quality of the meat.

Many hunters try to bleed their deer by cutting the neck in order to sever various veins and arteries. I have seen deer with the head cut nearly off by hunters in an attempt to bleed the animal. This is a useless mutilation of the carcass, for dead animals will not bleed. The proper procedure is to insert a knife blade into the lung cavity through the thin skin and tissue at the base of the throat, thus draining the blood from this cavity. This is not necessary if the viscera are removed in the woods, although this cut should never be made if there is any possibility that the head might be used for mounting. It has been a good many years since I have tried to bleed deer except by shooting them in the place that would cause the most thorough bleeding.

The first step in removing the viscera is to split the skin and abdominal wall from the tip of the breastbone to the pelvic bone, being careful not to cut into the stomach or into the intestines. This may be done by placing the deer on its back with the shoulders slightly higher than the hips and cutting a slit large enough to insert two fingers at the tip of the breastbone. Insert two fingers with a knife blade between them into this slit and cut to the pelvic bone, using the fingers to keep the internal organs away from the cutting edge of the knife. Some people continue this cut between the rear legs and around the anus. I do not do this because it exposes some of the best of the meat to contamination.

After this cut is completed, roll the animal on its side with the open belly slightly down hill so that the organs will have a chance to protrude slightly. Run the hand between the organs and the abdominal wall to loosen the former where necessary and then find and take a firm grip on the gullet as far from the stomach as possible. Sometimes this can be torn by pulling, but I prefer to cut it with a knife. A pocket knife is safer to use than the awkward large-bladed hunting knife. After the gullet is cut, the stomach, with the intestines still attached, may be brought outside of the body. This makes room enough so that the hunter may reach into the pelvic cavity and sever the lower intestine. Before making this cut, press any matter that may be present out through the anus. Keep a tight grip on the intestine until it is removed from the animal. The entire alimentary tract should be removable as soon as this cut is made. Remove the bladder in the same manner as the lower intestine. If this organ should be full, gentle pressure will usually reduce the contents in a normal manner.

Many hunters cut around the vent, tie this with a string and draw it through the pelvic cavity with the intestines. The only objection I have to this procedure is that more meat area is exposed to dirt, flies and other contamination. And, for the same reason, I do not remove the external sex organs until I am ready to skin the deer.

If a hunter wants to drain the blood from the deer before cutting the meat, the better idea is by inserting the knife into the lung cavity through the skin and tissue at the base of the throat, thus draining the blood from this cavity.
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