Gutting Tips

Innovative Tips from our visitors on Butchering Big Game Animals

Also - Gutting Tips for Big Game Animals


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Innovative tips on gutting submitted by our visitors

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Submitted By Tip

Pat Lefemine

Keep Utensils and Work Area Clean

My dad was a butcher and he always stressed to keep your work area clean and organized. Wash your knives periodically to resist bacteria.

Ross Welton

Fillet Venision

I use my fillet knife to debone & process my elk & deer. You would be suprised at the ease that it will glide along the bones & make nice even steaks. Cutting roasts out of the hinds are now much easier. I use 2 sizes, 1 large & 1 small depending on the cut of meat.

Mike Cruz

Proper packaging and labels

You worked hard to harvest your game now making sure your meat is package correctly will help reduce freeser burn, deterioration and rancidity. If precations are not taken, this could occur sooner than later. Plastic film will serve well for several months.However for longer periods of freezing it is advisable to over-wrap packages or even better use freezer bags or a freezer type palstic. Another great method is to take out as much air as possible out of the package. Lastly label and date.

Steve Leffler

Packaging your meat

A vacuum packer will keep your meat fresh a lot longer. It costs a little more to purchase one but the quality of frozen meat is really worth it.

matt stanton

big chunks

leave the larger muscle groups in tact. Like in roast form. This allows the option of leaving it or cutting it into steaks, jerkey, stew cuts or grinding when you are ready to use it. It also makes the process quicker.

Greg Frederick

Trimming Trash

To get the very best tasting meat possible depends on several events. But the number one thing that I've found to improve the taste is to trim out all the trash. After deboning all meat, seperating all muscle groups, I take great care in trimming out each individual piece. This takes a really sharp knife and a lot of time, but it's worth it! Remove all silverskin, fat, tendons, etc. before cutting pieces into steaks or putting in grinder. You will be amazed at the difference this makes.

Mike Cruz

Cutting meat against the grain

Whether cut into slices or chunks, meat should always be cut against the grain for maximum tenderness.Lean meat like deer is made up of long, thin muscle fibres joined together in bundles which establish its texture. The grain of the meat is the direction in which these fibres run. Cutting against the grain severs these stringy fibres and makes the meat tooth-tender, while cutting the meat with the grain results in slices that are fibrous and harder to bite through.

John Kukla

Partially freeze before steaking

After removing the rounds from the hindquarters put them on a tray lined with waxpaper or plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for 1.5 hrs. Then cut the steaks. They will be nice and firm snd easy to get nicelooking steaks.

Allan Johnson

Partially frozen meat grinds better

I like to put burger meat in zip top bags and place in the freezer for at least a few hours before grinding. The result is a cleaner grind with less plugging of the grinder plates.

Gary Berz

Perfect Disinfecting Solution

Gotta keep the area clean: use this, nothing works better: 1. 1 gal. water 2. 1 tbsp. household bleach 3. a squeeze of lemon juice 4. put solution in spray bottle and spray at will. 5. wipe down with cold water on a cloth. 6. your work station will never be cleaner!

Barry Estes

Making deer burger

I put around 10 deer each year into hamburger. I debone and remove all "trash" parts. I then put the meat into 2 gallon freezer bags, remove all the air and store them until season is over. Then all the packages are controlled thawed for a couple days and ground at once with beef trimmings. I add 25% trimmings to my deer meat and that makes around 11-12% fat in the end. Just enough to so it will hold together on the grill and still be nice and lean. The flavor is great.

Gary Berz

New Twist on Skining

Gotta skin it first, try this: 1. Place a tennis ball or golf ball under the hide. 2. Pull it out a bit an tie it off with rope. 3. Connect other end of rope to truck hitch or atv. 4. Give it some gas, and off comes the hide. For particularly tough hides, like hogs: 1. Cut a small hole/slit in hide leg 2. Place nozzle of air compressor in hole 3. Blast the air. 4. Hide now peels off easily.

Shaun McNally

The golf ball skinning trick

To quickly skin your deer, hang upside down from a sturdy tree branch or rafter. Skin around and down the back legs, and down enough around the tail. Take a golf ball and put it under the skin. Using the golf ball as an attachement point, tie a rope around the skin and golf ball. Make a cut around the front legs and neck. Take the rope and hook it up to a 4 wheeler or vehicle and slowly and carefully drive away. The skin should just peel right away.

Mike Cruz

Trimming unwanted sinew

Most wild game is lean meat meaning there is not much fat to trim away. However there is still a tendon (or sinew) that should be trimmed away. This sinew is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone[1] and is capable of withstanding tension. Though this can be consumed it will make your meat tough to eat. Sinew is easily identifiable on game as the piece that is filmly, translucent and not red like meat. Remove as much as possible and enjoy!

Paul Merioles

Electric Fillet knife

This year I used an electric fillet knife to take the meat off of the tendons found on the shanks. The electric fillet knife works great on silver skin and tendons. Just another tool to use, and in fact I got so much meat off of a doe and button buck that I have over 50lbs of burger and 30 lbs of steaks, and roasts that have been weighed on a scale. Also, keep all large chunks of meat intact. That way you can decide later if you want steaks, or stew meat. Use a vacuum sealer and seal away.

Hans Walthert

Keep it clean!

Adding to what Pat mentioned... My father was also a butcher and a few things he stresses are; to keep any saw blades clean that are used to cut through spine areas and other bones. During and after use hot soapy water is good to remove spine matter from the teeth of the blade, which you do not want to get on any meat. Also, cutting boards are breeding grounds for bacteria! Wash and scrub them regulary!

Mike Tanner

Remove ALL fat

Removing ALL fat and silver skin will greatly improve the flavor of the meat including the burger. Alot of people remove the fat from the steaks and then put it in the scrap pile for burger. Just throw it out and add Pork or beef fat during the grinding of the burger.

Mike Cruz

Don't have access to a slicer?

If you don't have access to a slicer and you want to cut thin strips for cheesestakes, steak & peppers or thin strips for jerky try defrosting your cut slightly or slightly freezing your meat. This will allow you to cut your meat into thin strips. This method is alot easier than cutting meat raw or frozen. Enjoy!

Mike Cruz

Knowing your cuts and estimate edible meat amounts

For those beginning wild game processing the first thing I recommend is learning your game cuts of meat and also the yields of edible meat you should expect to get from your game. I included a site for our most popular game animal in the US the Whitetail Deer. Enjoy! (note-I am not a butcher)

Stephan Richardson

Wear latex gloves

I like to wear a pear of disposable latex gloves when butchering my deer. It helps being able to grip the connective tissues and fat as I trim up the meat, and it doesn't seem to stick to the gloves as bad either.

Darren Crawford

use a steel

While you are cutting up your deer, as soon as you notice that the knife isn't cutting the way it did when it was sharp, run it over the steel 3 or 4 times. The steel touches up the edge making cut like you just sharpened it. I sharpen mine on the stone before I start, then I can cut all day just by touching it up with the steel. Once you let it get dull, though, you have to go back to the stone...

Henry Holt

Neoprene Gloves

I live up north and set up a block and gambrel with flourescent lighting and tables to butcher outside on the north porch of my house, it's always in the shade and it stays COLD. Anyway, I got tired of working with fingers so cold that they hurt, so I got a pair of neoprene gloves. They keep your hands warm, you can wash them inside and out with detergentso so they're sanitary, and the dexterity is excellent which is safer too. I used to get small cuts fairly often, but not recently.

Darren Crawford

use a torch

After skinning, there is often a few stray hairs that got cut and are clinging to the carcass. Use a propane torch to zap the hairs. It only takes about a minute to run the torch over the deer, then you don't have to spen all you time picking stray hairs out of the meat as you are cutting. The hairs will disappear in a split second when hit by the torch...

Mike Cruz

Cool down your game quickly

So you opened up the cavity and gotten all the entrails out but you don't have time right now to ptocess your deer. Besides keeping your game clean you also want to make sure your game stays cooled to prevent bacteria growing and spoiling your meat. If the temps are hot outside best would be to get your game to a cooler. If that is not an option at least skin the deer, fill the cavity with a bag of ice and store in a shaded area.Process ASAP. Enjoy!

Darren Crawford

Break legs at the correct joint

Do you have trouble removing the lower legs with a knife? Do you resort to the saw? You are breaking them at the wrong joint. If you try to break the legs at the joint that moves, you will be hacking away at tendons to a long time. Make your first cut about 1/2" below the joint that moves. There is an immobile joint there that is much easier to break open with a knife. No saw required!


deboning your deer

Take the time to learn how to take your deer apart at the joints using a knife rather than cutting through bones with a saw. After you get the hang of it, you will no longer need the saw and you won't have any bone fragments in your meat.

Brian Degan

Freeze before you grind

Before you grind up that hard earned game...chunk it the size best suited for your grinder and throw it into the deep freeze for 30 minutes. Your product will be a true 'grind' as opposed to mashed and squeezed through your grinder...yielding a much more pleasing texture. This is especially true if grinding with pork/beef fat for seasoning or sausage.

Brian Degan

Season for easy meals

Take advantage of your food sealer (if you're lucky enough to own one) and place serving size portions of meat into your vacuum bags with your favorite seasonings or marinades. Seal and freeze...ready for the grill or toss into the cooler for your next camping trip.

Tom Arnold

Select Cuts for Jerky

Don't be afraid to turn those select cuts like backstraps into jerky! The choicer the cut the better the jerky!

Don Cicero

Before Butchering

Preparing before the Butchering Proccess is a must. I like to quarter up my meat and put it on Ice in a chest for at least two or three days while keeping the water drained off the meat. This will help drain the blood out of the meat and help break it down for a much better taste in the end. It's as good as the hanging process and anyone can do it. Give it a try!

dale garrard

size matters, junk matters

De-bone, trim ALL silver skin and fat, if it ain't red, throw it out. Best done with a SHARP fillet knife. Leave in as big of pieces as you think your family will eat in one sitting. When you thaw the meat, cut steaks, roasts, jerky candidates, whatever- 90 degrees to the grain- or in other words, so that when you bite it, the natural grain of the meat will line up with your front teeth. Freezing in big chunks keeps meat moist. Cutting partly frozen meat is easier, too.

Dennis Santulli

make sure you are protected

I must sound like a broken record! Sorry!!! I recommend a cut resistant glove on your working hand (non-knife hand) and gloves on both hands whenever gutting or butchering. There are many different gloves or gauntlets on the market. (go to google) The one I've been using for many years is made by R.H. Forschner Co. Shelton,CT. It's cheap, cleans up quickly and will PROTECT you! Safety First!!

Tucker A

loin/backstrap removal

After you skin the hide off; take the loins out first. Make incisons all around the loin and they can be easily removed in tact. Then get a filet knife and puncture the meat next to the back spine beginning on top of the spine. (Back strap area)Cut down along the spine until you're sure you have all the backstrap cu; then cut 2-3 inches away from the spine and proceed upwards; you will get 2 rectangular sections of backstrap. Trim the sinew off with a small knife as necessary.

jim witt

aging meat

If you are one that likes to age their venison, don't let the deer hang!! Butcher immediately and use a vacuum sealer to remove all air. You can then let the meat age at a constant temperature in your refrigerator. This will ensure that bacteria don't become a problem and the enzymes in the meat will start to break down and tenderize the meat.

Jason Ash

Skip the golf ball

When pulling a hide off with a truck/atv, sometimes it can be tricky using the golf ball or you may not have a golf ball around. An easy trick is to cut around an ear (or both) and keep them attached to the hide. Now you have something solid and attached to the hide to cinch your rope around when pulling off the hide. One person can de-hide a deer in 5 mins or so when using this technique and it virtually eliminates having any hair on the meat to clean up.


Don't burn your meat with a bandsaw

When cutting leg steaks try to make all of your "meat" cuts with a knife and then go back and cut the leg bone by hand. This will prevent the meat from turning because of the blade heating up on the bone. Also not everyone has a bandsaw with a bone in blade. Deer are small enough to break down with a knife and a handsaw, BUT if you really need to use a power saw you can always use a battery operated sawzall with a bi-metal blade. I would sand the paint off the blade first though.

Paul Bohn

Keep it out of the house

You can make a reusable cutting surface by purchasing a formica laminate sheet and placing it on saw horses or plywood. It allows you to set up anywhere you like. Easy clean up keeps others in the house happy:)

Dan Crawford

tenders out first

If you want your tenders take them when you first get home or while checking in at the processor. after sitting a few days they dry out and are not salvagable. Many game processors don't remove them from Deer for this reason.

Dave Stone

Field prep your meat

I take a folding table and drive as close as I can to the down animal. I start with the back straps, tenderloins etc. Clean all grass, leaves, hair, etc off the meat. Then remove fat and tissue that will not end up in the final product. As I work with through the process, I double bag the meat and put it on a clean tarp to cool prior to loading cooler(s) with ice. Pre cleaning and prepping the meat in the field is a huge time savings when I get home.

William Phillips

Keep it Dry

After deboning, I always wash and clean the meat and store the in the refrigerator for a few days before I finish the process. If you plan to put it in a plastic bag, make sure you have plenty of absorbant material (towels) with the meat. You want to avoid letting the meat soak it it's own blood and moisture that builds and pools in the bags. This will also allow easier processing because the meat is less slippery.

Stephen George

Butcherng tips

hang the deer and allow 3-4 days in a cool clean aea (<40 degrees) to set up and age properly. Keeping the area cool will keep the meat from spoiling but will start the process of tissue breakdown. This is important for lean game meat such as venison, duck, goose, pheasant. It will not spoil. Once its aged, cut meat into muscle groups and into the various cuts you want. Mix your burger with 15% beef or pork. Freeze in vacuum bags.


Cheap Packaging

Cut down on cost by saving your plastic bread, bun, tortilla bags, and newspapers, to wrap your game in. Put desired amount of meat in the plastic bag, fold neatly, squeeze the air out, then wrap in newspaper. Also if you don't feel like saving the bags, you can get a box of bread bags from your grocery store bakery pretty cheap, and there is a lot of bags in a box.

Dave Stone

keeping hands clean

I take a box of latex gloves to keep my hands clean as I work. This is important as you always need to get something else or take a break and simply changing gloves is much easier on the hands then washing in cold water.

Mike Cruz

Vinegar kills bacteria and tenderises the meat

Worried about bacteria building on your meat. Spray your game down lightly with some Heinz Vinegar. It kills bacteria and at the same time tenderizes your meat. Enjoy!

Dave Stone

instead of ice...

I use frozen water bottles rather then ice. I like the 64 oz juice bottles, they fit nicely into the coolers between the bagged meat and they will last a long time before thawing out. Once the meat is efficiently bagged (make sure you don’t overload your bags and don’t use bags with holes or tears), you can always exchange ice bottles with new ones without a mess depending on time, weather, etc. and most of the time the bags will not ‘bleed’ into the cooler.

Mike Cruz

Skinning deer and taking care of the hide

Got yourself a trophy and you might want to get your animal mounted? Congrats! The big mistake some people do is they use a sharp knife to skin a deer. You want to get your game cooled quickly but also want to take care of that hide. The simple solution is to use a dull knife it works great. This reduces the hide getting cut, accidentally slicing into the meat or even worse cutting yourself. Simple, fast and effective. Enjoy!

Brad Millard

Sharp Knives

Whatever knife(s) you choose to use, make sure they are sharp! Realy speeds up the process and makes it much more enjoyable. A vacuum packer is also a great thing to have. Eliminates freezer burn.

Don Gampe

butcher with friends

If you hunt in a group or have a close knit group of hunting friends. Butcher as a group. It makes lonely job a time a fellowship and an opprotunity to relive your hunt. This also can be a time saver as each member of your group can be assigned a specific task.

Ken Anderson

Field dressing made simple

After you have that animal down and are ready to get it out here is an easy field dressing trick that will save alot of time. After gutting, skin the animal on one side.Cut the loins and straps off first and put into two large stretch game bags.Then to seperate meat groups tie off sections of the bag.Put the rest of the meat in sections evenly so both bags weigh the same.Roll over and repeat! Tie them together and haul out.This will save you time and organize the meat for processing!


Freeze First

Freeze your meat first before vacuum sealing. I learned this by mistake when my butcher did not vacuum seal my elk he just paper wrapped it. I then vacuum packed it myself. You get a much tighter seal and it is a lot cleaner.

Bill Sinner

Whole muscle Jerky

For Easy whole muscle jerky use the Top & bottom Round sections. CUT WITH THE GRAIN, and try different thicknesses to see what you prefer, (I use Between 1/8" and 1/4" thick). It also slices best when partially frozen. A sharp knife is a must. (steel or accu-sharp). Season and dehydrate, smoke, or bake. Very simple process.

Scott Reese

poor mans vaccuum sealer

For packaging burger, tenderloin and small steaks take any brand of zip lock style freezer bags put your meat in it and zip it almost fully closed. Then roll out the remaining air, zip shut and freeze.

Matt McGee

Slow and steady

Take your time once the hide is removed. No need to be in a big hurry and ruin a cut of meat or cutting yourself with sharp knives.

Mike Cruz

Make the process work for you by hanging your deer

Everything becomes a little bit easier and cleaner when you can have the deer hanging for butchering. When the deer is hanging the hide can be pulled down off the the deer, individual body parts can be worked on one at a time and lastly its cleaner process to butcher a deer when it is hanging.

Allan Johnson

Trimming silverskin

For whole cuts of meat like steaks and roasts, you will want to trim the silverskin (grissle) from the meat. Get yourself a nice fillet knife and keep it sharp. Use the fillet knife with pressure against the silverskin on the cutting board to trim it from the meat - like skinning a fish fillet.

Moises Torrent

Aging the meat

Make sure you let your deer hang! For at least 3 days (temperatures permitting). The natural enzyme will tenderize the meat, and breaking down each quarter will be much easier. The connective tissue between muscle groups break down as well. YUMMY

Brian Ward

Packaging Tip

Don’t waste money on a vacuum sealer. One layer of plastic wrap and another layer aluminum foil works great and keeps meat for well over a year.


best burger ever!!!

after cleaning my burger meat thoroughly i mix it with about 15% beef suet and 5% bacon to give an awesome taste and the bacon produces just enough grease you don't have to use any oil when cooking in a frying pan.

Dennis Santulli

healthier packaging of meat

I debone and clean the meat of all nasty stuff. I rinse the meat with white vinegar and pat dry. I wrap in wax paper and then wrap the snot out of it using industrial shrink wrap or a heavy duty plastic wrap trying to squeeze all the air out. Followed by freezer paper. I use wax paper as a barrier because plastic wraps contain phathalates(harmful substances) that can leach into your meat. I found freezing in large pieces is best. This method will allow years of storage without freezer burn.

Allan Johnson

Protect your hands

You can get disposable latex or nitrile gloves pretty cheap. Use them to keep your hands clean and to protect yourself from would-be pathogens. Also, buy a fillet glove or other cut resistant glove to wear on the hand that is not weilding the knife to protect yourself from cuts.

Nick Daedlow

Removing Hair

Use a small propane torch to quickly and easily remove unwanted hair from the carcass.

Steve Leffler

Involve your Family

Involve your family in the butchering process. My kids always loved helping and it is educational. When they are very little they can carry meat or package it. As they get older they can start to use a knife with supervision. My kids always enjoyed the meals more when they were proud to be part of the process.

Paul Ostrum

Skinning too soon

If you are not planning on processing the meat soon leave the hide on until planning on processing. The hide comes off easy when fresh but the meat will dry out to much if hanging too long.

Greg Snowden

last things first

prepare all the packaging prior to cutting pre-label a couple dozen 1 or 2gallon freezer bags then just add cuts as you make them, when filled throw back on ice when everything is bagged, tear all the freezer paper (20 or so big squares) and all the tape (just pre cut a bunch and stick to an edge somewhere) then, as you pull out your bags your paper and tape are right there ready to go, seems to speed things up like a production line don't forget to label package right after you wrap

Greg Snowden

just do it

for all you guys that insist on a butcher because you don't want to mess it up, great! but you really can't mess it up, well you could but not if you follow the tips on here after three or four animals you'll be a pro the only thing you can screw up is cooking the meat!!


Weigh before freezing!

Any time you grind meat or chunk it for stew (or even with steaks as I do), weigh it out in one or two pound bags, and mark them (and date them) before freezing. Most recipes call for meat in quantities of pounds, not 'a bag of' so this makes portioning out your meat more accurate and thus you wont thaw more than you need.

Greg Stucky

Assembly Line - get's all involved

We set up assembly line style - so that each person has only one part of the process. This makes things move very fast and get's the kids involved as well. We'd have one on debone, one on cut and trim and the kids packaged and labeled. Plus it is lots of fun to see your kids handwriting when pulling meat out of the freezer!

Dustin Wells

Know the cuts

The single best tip a new processor should know is the cuts of meat. By educating oneself on the proper cuts of meat, being extremely sanitary and using high quality knives the butchering process will yield optimal results. In my years of experience the largest complaint with venison is often due to improper preparation, this begins with selecting proper cuts and then using the cuts in appropriate recipes.

Jerry Long (aka dustyvarmint)

Butchering Tips - Economical Cutting Boards

Large cutting boards are handy, but expensive from outdoor retailers. Instead, buy two 24" x 18" plastic cutting boards from Sams' Club ($20 for two pack), joint one edge of each on your woodworking jointer or cut one edge on each smooth on your tablesaw. Tape them together on the bottom side with butcher's tape while in use. They fit, individually, in the sink much easier this way also. happy butchering, dv

Jerry Long (aka dustyvarmint)

Butchering - Meat tubs

Meat tubs are handy for butchering including processing burger or mixing sausage. Those from outdoor and butchering retailers are spendy and too large for my refrigerator and sink. Instead I use inexpensive ($2-4) dishwashing basins from Target or Wal-Mart. They easily fit in the fridge and my sink. happy butchering, dv

Mike Ganoe

Cutting Boards

We remodeled our kitchen a few years ago and put in a double sink. When the hole was cut in the new countertops for the sink I kept that piece. It makes a great cutting board and very easy to clean up.

Jerry Long (aka dustyvarmint)

Butchering - Cut the blood, protect the meat

Before starting to skin, cut up or hang for butchering cut the excess blood and protect the meat from insects and bacteria by mixing 1-2 tablespoons white vinegar with water in a two-liter soda bottle. Poke some holes in the cap, put it on the bottle and use the bottle to squirt the vinegar/water mix into the cavity and concentrate it on bloody areas. happy butchering, dv

Dennis Santulli

safer knife

There are so many diffent styles of knives out there. Gutting and butchering can be a very bloody job. Some knives can get very slick when blood gets on the handle causing the knife to slip and possibly causing injury. I recommend one with a guard on it or a handle that will prevent this from happening. I also wear two disposable gloves on the knife hand.

Ken Yoder

Quick Tenderizing

I soak the boned out meat overnight in water with vinegar added in a cold/cool area. I then thoroughly wash before final cutting. This draws out a lot of the blood which reduces the "gamey" taste (which my family doesn’t like) and the vinegar starts the tenderizing process. It also makes it easier to remove dirt and other things which might be stuck to the meat. I have also lightly rinsed the meat and then freeze it. I wash it well when ready to cook. Never had it taste like vinegar.


Use cotton gloves

When processing your meat use a clean or new pair of cotton gloves such as the gardener type to help hold the meat and prevents those small cuts to your hands while working with sharp knives. This helps handle half frozen meat also


Marinate in Olive Oil

When using the gutless method use a small pocket knife to bone out the tender loins without puncturing the gut. Get the gamey flavor out by marinating in olive oil, then add whatever flavoring you wish. + its good for your heart.

Dave Lieffort

Scraps for the Dogs and Birds

Save single serving packages of the inedible bloody sheathy inedible stuff for your dogs. Also save the hard body fat/suet in an onion bag for the birds in winter. Just hang the onion bag near your bird feeder.

Rick Hopkins

wash, cool, and cut.

I always wash the freshly skinned deer down with cold well water, then let cool down for a couple hours till dry. This seems to allow the muscles to relax and makes deboning easier. The meat seems to release at the touch of a sharp blade rather than require alot of cutting. Then take some time to sharpen the blade on the meat grinder. Even using a small fine toothed flat file to touch up the blades will help cut up any tendon, or silver skin missed during your triming.

Brad Luttrull

Keep you meat hair free.

the best thing that i have found to do while skinning a deer is to always have someone with you to either pull the hide or cut. but wear latex gloves and one person cut and one person pull. the person cutting is not to touch any of the hide at any time and the person pulling is not to touch any of the meat. once the deer is skinned just change your gloves and start cutting you will have VERY little hair on the meat making for a much more pleasent dinner.

Brad Luttrull

Keep you meat hair free.

the best thing that i have found to do while skinning a deer is to always have someone with you to either pull the hide or cut. but wear latex gloves and one person cut and one person pull. the person cutting is not to touch any of the hide at any time and the person pulling is not to touch any of the meat. once the deer is skinned just change your gloves and start cutting you will have VERY little hair on the meat making for a much more pleasent dinner.

Jared Shaffer

De-bone the hams while the deer is hanging

I like to de-bone the hams of my deer as it is hanging. This makes the processing job so much quicker and easier. I skin while the deer is still warm. After that, make a cut from where the leg bone meets the hip socket up to the knee joint. After that, continue to cut along the bone 360 degrees until the whole ham simply falls off in one piece. The bones stay attached to the carcass making clean up even easier!

Tom Dougherty

Sharpen grinder blades!

Few people do it but grinder blades need to be sharpened the same as your knife does. Big difference. Dull blades make for "mashed" rather than cut/ground and any connective tissues you didn't trim off quickly plug up the plate. Shape blades if necessary with a fine grinding stone and finish with a diamond stone. Should be done like a single bevel blade to the very edge so only the sharpened edge touches the plate. If you can swing it invest in an aftermarket German plate and blade set.

Mike Neilson

Bigger, better cutting board!

Space can be at a premium when it comes to butchering game. Buy a 5 or 6 foot plastic folding table from Sam's club or Walmart. I use a pair. 1 for cutting meat and seperating muscle systems. The other is used for final trimming and vaccum sealing. Plenty of space and room to hold all your knives, sharpeners, bags, etc...Good luck and safe cutting.

Gary Blake

easy hair removal

for those that want to remove any left over hair from your meat and don't like the smell of burning it, try wiping meat with a clean, damp "Scotchbrite" sponge - it'll grab hair like velcro and can easily be cleaned off by simply scraping with a knife

Allan Johnson

Use gravity to your advantage

While butchering, de-bone the carcass while it is hanging and let gravity be your friend. I use several large meat hooks for quarters. As you cut the meat from the carcass, work your way up from the bottom starting at the top of each muscle group and gravity will help keep the meat out of the way and help pull it away from the bones. Use an old bed sheet or tarp under the carcass in case you drop a piece of meat.

Butch Bradshaw

prevent freezer burn

use zip lock bags to pack your steaks, stew meat, loins etc.Fill the bags with water and squeeze the air out as you zip them closed, no air-no freezer burn. They will be just as good when you open as when you packed them. PS. dont do this with burger. Try it, you'll like it!


No 5 Second Rule!

A lot of great tips. So not to be redundant. When butchering big game trim ALL the meat off that has been exposed. It seems like wasting meat but it's not. Unless the meat has been well protected all exposed meat should be trimmed. There's a reason I have never had a "gamey" tasting animal.


Don't Overlook Canning

Canning is easy and it frees up freezer space. You have a nearly ready to eat product and it lasts a long long time.


I Use a Sawzall

I cut the skinned carcass in half. I then cut each half into five pieces. When I cut the carcass in half, down the spine, I use a sawzall (reciprocating saw) with a long blade, instead of the traditional meat saw. Not only is it easier, it is much quicker.

Rob S.

The Ribs Work Great

For aiding in transporting the chest cavity, simply make a 4-6 inch slit in between the ribs with your knife. This will create a great place to hold on to when removing the ribcage and transporting it to the cutting table.

Rob S.

Leg's Remove Them Easier

Though everything on a whitetail deer can be cut off or removed with a knife there is a way to remove the legs easier. Simply get a good set of limb cutters and go to town. They also make short work of the spine, head removal, and hip bones. Give it a try it will spoil you!

Joey Tuel

Removing hair and cooling

After carefully skinning, we use a heavy bristle brush to brush the carcas down as we are washing it. This will remove all hair. We use a brush w/ a long (12" or so) handle and clean & disinfect it after each use. We also rent space in a cooler to hang carcas b/t 4-10 days before butchering. If that is not an option, an old refrigerator will work if you quarter the deer and turn the quarters daily. We try and keep the temp b/t 34-36 degrees.


warm weather handling

Living in the south it takes a while for it to get cool and usually it doesn't stay cool enough to leave meat hanging. Instead, quarter out your meat and place in a cooler. first place a bag or two of ice in the bottom of a cooler. Then place on strip of wax paper and a clean towel over the ice. Then place the meat in and place in the shade for a couple days. Additionally, ensure you tilt the cooler slightly and unplug the drain so excess water can drain off.


Make it quick and easy

The easiest way of processing your game is with the use of an electric fillet knife and an electric meat grinder. The fillet knife will easily carve out and clean up the meat to make beautiful cuts with out the silver skin or fat and unwanted pieces. The electric meat grinder is cost effective for the price of 2 processing fees you can buy your own and process your own deer.

Darvin McClellan

playtex cloves

I tried latex gloves but have found playtex gloves seem to give me a better grip on the meat, as well as ligaments and the silver layer on meats. It also keeps my hands warmer when you are either working with meat just out of the ice water or colder weather. they also allow me to wear glove liners when the weather is really cold and I can't bone out the animal in cold weather.

Dave K

SO much easier WARM!

Hate skinning your deer? Do it as quickly after death as possible. 'Sooooo much easier if all that fat between the carcass and the hide is like liquid butter, rather than what it becomes once things cool down: CEMENT!!

Adam Augustine

use your shanks

I used to whittle off meat from the lower legs or shanks as they're called and use it for grindage, but I found a better use. I saw the legs off just above the knee, then separate the shank from the elbow joint with some fancy knife work. Then the little woman can braise them in the oven until the meat falls off the bone. Recipes for braised shanks are all over the internet.

Phil Blunt

Get backstraps without all the trimming

Do you want to be able to take your backstraps off and not worry about trimming all the unwanted fat? Begin by filleting the muscle off of the rib cage. As you work your way from the ribs to the spine the backstraps will become exposed. Just continue to pull the tissue and fat away and cut if off at the spine. You will end up with backstraps that can be cut out and there will be no additional trimming needed.

Mike Middleton

Butcher Box

Keep a small amo can in camp loaded with rubber gloves, towel, three or four small butcher knifes, sharpening steel and a small tube of hand disinfectant and meat bags. Now your ready to go and everything is in one place.

Gregory Hammell

Spice/Marinade your meat before freezing

We have found that spicing or marinading the venison in the process of butchering is a great time-saver and it increases the tenderness of the cut. Just add it to the sip-lock bag or vacuum sealed bag before freezing. We have also corned some of our roasts, if you like corned-beef you'll love corned-venison.

David Lane

Better than Garbage bags

Don't use garbage bags to store meat. They have mold release chemicals that can contaminate meat and some butcher shops will not accept any meat that has been stored in them. Instead I buy food grade plastic bags from my local butcher just for meat processing. I get ones that are large enough to put quarters in, then put the quarter into a cooler on ice until I can cut and wrap. They are also great for storing trim.


labeling the meat

I put all my labels on word perfect and have them done ahead of time steaks ,chops ,buger what ever you want then when I wrap the meat just peal and stick on can get a page of each saves a lot of time .STEVE

Dave Kahl

carcass aftermath

IF you gut your deer... IF you bone your deer... You can stuff the head, and lower legs into the rib cage for compact storage while you bone out your quarters, and slide the "assembly" into a tough garbage bag. Neat and tidy!

Dave Kahl

carcass disposal

Pallets are all over the place for youto pick up! Reserve a stash at a site where you can have a bonfire. When you are done butchering, bring the remains to your bonfire site and torch 'em. The aroma is absolutely wonderful, and you'll be surprised at how well everything torches down to ash if you have a decent fire. Obey the law.

Allan Johnson

Designate a butchering area

It is very important to keep your meat clean and prevent contamination. This is easier if you have a designated counter top to do your buthering on. Most guys I know butcher their meat in the basement, garage, or shop. Try to avoid cutting meat where you work on engines, reload ammunition, do woodworking, paint, etc. If you have to, you can buy cheap visqueen vapor barrier plastic and staple it down to your workbench. Pull it up and throw it out whenever you finish cutting for the day.

Jarod Firmin

Awesome deer burgers

You can go to any local grocerie store and buy bacon end pieces for around a dollar a pound I like these because they have alot of meat in them as well as fat.Mix 2 parts deer meat to one part bacon ends when you grind your meat.I started doing this about 2 years ago and you wont believe how good they are!!

Randy Wolf

Freezing Burger

I vacuum seal burger about the size of a baseball for the freezer. This is about a pound of meat. After sealing, flatten the burger out as flat as you can get it while in the bag. This will allow you to stack the burger in the freezer easier and allow the burger to thaw faster. Also the date of packaging can be added to the end for easier identification.


Use a Screw Driver for Skinning

Instead of using a knife to skin deer I use a large handled, large blade screw driver. I work the screw driver blade between the skin and muscle only using my knife to cut the hide when it is totally loose from the muscle. Pull the hide down toward the head and if you encounter areas where the hide is tough to move, use the screw driver blade to work it loose. You won't cut the meat or the hide using a screw driver.

Brian Swartz

Plan Ahead

When your done cutting up your meat a lot of the time I make sausage or snack sticks or even jerkey I have to grind all of the meat. I like to plan ahead and vacuum pack the amounts I need for one batch of whatever it is I make. If I know my sausage recipe calls for 8 lbs. of venison I vacuum pack that much. It saves me from thawing out to much and sometimes wasting meat. I know a lot of people who thaw out 10 lbs. when they only need 8 or 9 and end up throwing one or two away.

Dave Conner

Remove the Wind Pipe

If you're not caping you're harvest for mounting, cut from the sternum up the neck adjacent to the wind pipe all the way to the animals "chin". Once the wind pipe is exposed to this degree, it is easy to remove the entire length all the way to the lungs. This cools the neck area of the animal more quickly and greatly reduces the potential amount of bacteria present. This method also allows for easier, more effective opening of the cavity.

Griffin Webb

your garage fridge

Many of us will try and hang meat outside or in a cool area. When you take your meat in the hang in a giant fridge. Why not use your back up fridge at home that sits in your garage or shop. have some shelving made which allows meat to vent properly and cut your animal up and lay in fridge. This will allow for proper cooling and like many of us on early bow season this is a must when there is not really that cool of a spot to hang from.

chris stone

"Bad gamey flavor",,,,,, no more

"bad or strong gamey flavor" we've all heard that comment. Through trial and error I have experienced it and learned how to eliminate it. When butchering you game, trim/cut off all the fat from your wild game. By doing this it will eliminate a lot of that gamey flavor you don't want and will allow your taste buds to enjoy the good, nutritious, wonderful game flavor you do want to enjoy!... and with lean meat dont over cook!!!!

Mike Ballash

A good start

It all starts with field dressing! do a complete job, get the butt out. get it clean and cool. do everything in stages prepare the areas for skinning , quartering ,processing and packaging not to overlap one another.

Joe Strupp

Maximum Backstrap

After skining, remove the the front quaters followed by the back quarters. Remove the backstrap from the carcass. By doing the strap last, the maximum amount (length) of strap is removed. Otherwise part is lost under front and back quarters.

Shawn Steiner

Aging on Ice

We don't always get the perfect weather, depending on the season or region we live. When you encounter warmer weather, make all of your larger quartering cuts, and throw into a large cooler filled with water, and enough ice to keep it chilled. Your meat can age this way, as long as you take the time to daily drain and refill the cooler. Sometimes between work and family, it's hard enough to find time to hunt, let alone process a deer. This will buy you some time and make tasty cuts!

Shawn Steiner

Enlist help!

When processing a game animal, involve a teen or someone less experienced. I can't tell you how many hunters don't process their game, just because "they don't know how." Show them the quartering process, and enlist their help in trimming the meat of fat. These skills will be something they can rely on the rest of their lives. I know it was for me.

Bill Everett

torch and sawzall

use a hand held propane torch to remove any hair after skinning. Just run it over the animal and any hair will burn up and then can be easily washed off. You can also use a cordless sawzall to make the cuts needed to quarter out the animal. No more sharp bones.


Dry Aging meat

If you want to try dry aging you venison DO NOT trim any fat or sinew off before you age it this will cut down on bacteria build up on the meat itself which is sterile until its cut. Instead take cuts such as tenderloins and backstraps and wash them down in cold water, then pat dry as possible, wrap them in clean,dry, dish towels and place them in the bottom of your fridge, change the towels dailey for a week or two depending on your personal taste, then trim and cut into steaks or roasts.

Robert Benjamin

Rinse it first

Before hanging your field dressed deer for skinning, rinse the body cavity out with cold water from your garden hose. It goes a long way toward getting unwanted material from contaminating more meat as you finish your processing.

Robert Benjamin

Use the right tools

If you want to have an easier time processing the game you bring home, take the time and spend the money to get the proper tools. Pick up a decent boning knife and buy a large cutting board (24" x 48"). If you do a lot of game, buy a grinder. If you like bone-in chops, buy a band-saw. Having the right tools certainly makes the job less intimidating and much more enjoyable.

Dave Lieffort

Loose Hair Free Skinning

You can have virtually no hair on the meat after skinning if you ALWAYS cut with the hair fall direction.

Ed Earle

Cut and enjoy!

Put a large frying pan on the stove with butter and slice up one large onion and put into the frying pan over medium heat. Now as you butcher your venison, slice off some very thin slices of the meat and add to the frying pan. Brown on both sides and its ready to eat. This will help pass the butchering time!

Casey Rash

Cool it, y'all!

There are some tips mentioned about freezing certain cuts to get better steaks or chops and tips about trimming trash, this tip builds on those. All cutting, trimming, slicing, etc. requires much less labor when the meat is chilled. If the outside air temp is low enough, let it hang overnight. When it's too warm to hang out overnight, most of us average joe hunters generally don't have convenient access to a meat locker, so just quarter it up and stick it in your extra frig or you deep freezer.

J. Bartik

Keep it chilled

Keep the meat firm by keeping it well chilled, you'll get more consistent cuts if the meat is kept chilled. Warm meat is too "mushy" and moves around too much while butchering.

Rich Moxley

Whitetail butchering

Gut deer as soon as possible, use a stick to hold the cavity open for rapid cooling. Hang deer for 3 to 5 days between 32 degrees and 45 when possible. Use large tub to place parts in when quartering up deer. Use sawzall to cut bones and split pelvis. During hunting season, debone and freeze meat, you can always rework your cuts later.

Justin Greenlee

Keep your knife sharp

Hair can make a sharp knife dull in a hurry. In areas where you must cut through the hide like the inside of the legs and along the belly, put your knife under the skin and cut outward rather than dragging it through the hair.


keep it cool

I shot a pronghorn this year and needed to keep it cool for a long trip back to home and butcher. I bought 12 bags of ice and put three in the chest cavity(still in bags) and one on ech outside hip and one one each shoulder then wrapped it in a plastic tarp. The cape I put in a large rubbermade container and put ice on the bottom and top of the cape and coverd the top with hunting clothes for insulation. Worked out great.

Rpger Montero

Gutting Goves

I boughtr a box of 100 pair of the long plastic gloves at my local feed store for $12.00 and 50 pair of latex gloves at the dollar store for $4.00. The gloves sale for up to $5.00 a pair in the store. This will last for years. THe long gloves are breeding gloves.


Summarry of tips , inclusive.

Well started with many ideas,,but found most all listed,so my tip? Read all of the listed tips,then go to store and buy three whole chickens, yeah I know not"macho" but just try it.Chicken,because it is always avail. to everyone,and you can and should practice B 4 you have an animal down,I have spent multiple trips butchering a friends animal cus they had not practised.A chicken allows you to see up close how to "break"= separate joints,it is also cheap,and leads to an easy meal. Hunt Well

Scott Wondrow

de-bone or fillet it whole or on the gambrel

I was a little dissappointed when my help didn't show up for one of my processing jobs. Not looking forward to starting alone, and not able to move it from the gambrel anyway, I started skinning and deboning the carcass as it hung there. Just basically filleting the muscle groups off of the carcass. When finished, I had an entire deer skeleton hanging there with very little meat left. My son came home from school and managed to get another lb or so of trimmings I'd left. We'll do this again!

Jesse Deubel

Use it all!

Some butchers far better than I have already provided more technical advice than I ever could. My tip is this: Use as much of your animal as possible. Sinew is often appreciated by primitive archers. If you don't want the hide, find someone who does. Bones and scraps are excellent treats to give to your upland bird hunting friends for their hounds. If you don't plan to keep the antlers make sure they end up in the hands of an artisan who will honor their beauty regardless of size. Waste not.

Ron Yorski..."shadow"

Simple Hair Removal

There's a few tips on removing hair from deer meat but what I do is easy and the supplies needed everyone has. I'll fill a pot with water and get a couple of clean dish rags, paper towels also work well, after the hide is removed i'll then take the wet rag or paper towel and blot it on the carcass. All the hair will come off and stick to the rag. Clean up of the rag is easy, just dunk it in the water. Paper towels can just be thrown away. I'll do the same on cut meat before packaging.

Paul Chrena

Use plastic wrap, then freezer paper

Place desired amount of meat on plastic food wrap; roll twice pressing all air out as you roll, fold sides over the top, roll another time. Then wrap in freezer paper, this will keep from damaging the plastic wrap when frozen. I have found meat in the freezer that was three years old and it was just fine. Nothing gets thrown away anymore. I get the wrap and paper in bulk from Sams Club. Less than $25 for both and will last for years. The paper is great for tuning your bow as well.


Winners chosen randomly were:

Mike Cruz - 1st prize
Brad Millard - 2nd prize
Jerry Long - 3rd prize

Congratulations and thanks to everyone for entering their tips!




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