Author Topic: Field Dressing A Deer / Gutting A Deer  (Read 38131 times)

Offline Gutpiles

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Field Dressing A Deer / Gutting A Deer
« on: December 28, 2006, 07:46:03 PM »
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All information and pictures contained in this section are the property of Big58cal and may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without written permission from the man himself.


Before I start, let me apologize for some of the pictures being a little
blurry. It's hard to steady a digital camera with 1 hand.

Start with the deer lying on its back. If you're on a hill, either get the
head of the deer uphill or take a length of rope/cord and tie the uphill
back leg off to something to keep from having to fight the deer during the
process. I've found that it's easiest to straddle the deer, with one foot
behind the deer and the other one the side. This will put one of the back
legs on your butt basically. Also, there's no need to cut the throat of
the deer to let it "bleed out". All circulation has stopped on the animal,
so the only blood that you'll get is just right at the cut site. The only
thing you'll do is ruin the cape if you're planning on mounting the animal.

With the deer on its back, find the tip of the breast bone by pushing in
the area.

Make a shallow cut, straight in with the tip of your knife. Watch and
don't go too deep that you puncture the stomach. If you're a novice at
this, try making several small cuts in the area until you get through the
skin and any muscles at that site. Once you've got the initial cut made,
put 2 fingers from your other hand into the cut. These two fingers are
going to be used to guide the knife as you make your cut toward the hind
end, and to also help push the stomach and intestines out of the way as you
cut so that they are not hit.

Slice all the way to the back end near the pelvic bone.


If you've got pretty far to drag the deer, make the cut down the belly as
small as possible. Make it just big enough to get the guts, heart, liver,
and lungs out. The smaller the cut, the less debris you'll get inside the
animal. Don't worry about getting the colon out or the entire wind pipe.
Also, don't split the hind legs at the pelvic bone, and don't split the
pelvic bone. This will just allow this area to become covered with debris.
You can do all of this once you get the deer out of the woods.


Once your cut down the belly is done, lay the animal over on its side. If
you are doing this on the side of a hill and have the leg tied off, loosen
the rope to allow the deer to roll over on its side. This will allow the
guts to start to come out. Now is when the messy part starts. If you
haven't done so already, shed some of your outer clothes down enough to
push/roll your sleeves up past your elbows. If you're required to wear
hunter orange, make sure you put your orange back on though.

Reach up inside the animal with both hands (the knife in 1 hand). Inside
the cavity (right at where the tip of the knife blade is) is the diaphragm.
You'll need to cut this to get up inside the chest cavity to where the
heart and lungs are.

When your hands are up inside the animal, you aren't going to be able to
see anything. You'll need to go on 'feel' alone. The bad thing about this
is that your knife needs to be sharp to do all of this, and your free hand
is going to be in very close proximity to your sharp knife! Also, if you
shot the animal in the chest cavity, there's going to be broken ribs with
sharp edges. If this was a bow kill and you haven't found your broadhead,
watch for that also (as well as any old broadheads from someone else. BE

By 'feel', cut everything that is connected inside the animal. You'll need
to reach up inside the chest cavity up to your elbows to cut the esophagus
(wind pipe). You'll also need to feel around to free everything up near
the back bone and towards the hind end.

Once you think you've gotten everything cut loose, reach and grab
everything and try to pull it out. If you didn't cut something, you'll
find out then. Finish cutting everything you missed. Everything except
the colon and bladder should come out.

Reach and 'pinch-off' the colon and bladder. Try to strip as many of the
deer 'pellets' in toward the section of guts that you're pulling out as you
can. Once you've got everything pinched off, cut through the colon to free

Once you've gotten everything cut loose. You should have a decent gut pile
lying on the downhill side of the deer.

You're not done yet though. Now you need to cut out the heart and liver,
and kidneys if you so desire. The dark purple thing my left hand is on is
the liver. Where the knife blade is pointing is where it's attached to the
rest of the 'innerds'. Cut this area loose.

Next is the heart. It's inside a sack. I'm holding part of the sack in my
left hand stretching it out. The lungs are shown to the right of the
heart. Cut this sack open to get to the heart.

Once you're got the heart out of the sack, cut it loose. You'll need to
cut just a little below where my thumb is.

You're almost done. If you've got a plastic bag along, put the heart and
liver in the bag. If you don't have one, put them up inside the chest
cavity of the animal. There's still going to be quite a bit of blood
inside the animal. Move the animal around with its head slightly up hill.
Now, push down on the bottom side of the cavity at the edge to let the
blood flow out that's inside.

Once you think you've got it all, reach up inside and with your hand
cupped, try to "rake" out the rest of the blood.

The picture below shows the empty chest cavity, with the heart and liver in
there for temporary storage.

If you're lucky enough to have access to a 4-wheeler, load the critter on
there to get it out of the woods. If you've got a pretty decent drag ahead
of you, try to "stream-line" the deer. If it's a buck, put the front legs
up inside the antlers. You'll need to push and pull quite a bit to get
them up in there, but it will be worth it when dragging in that the front
legs won't get caught on anything while dragging. If it's a doe, try to
tie the legs up to the neck. If you're planning on getting the deer
permanent mark in the hair.

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All information and pictures contained in this section are the property of Big58cal and may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without written permission from the man himself.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 02:54:45 PM by Gutpiles »
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Offline Big58cal

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Re: How To Field Dress (Gut) A Deer
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2006, 10:01:58 AM »
Thanks Gutpiles! O0

If you have a slow internet connection (like us poor people in the sticks!) and some of the pictures don't come up, with the excetion of a box with a red "X" in it, move your mouse over onto the picture and right click.  Go up to "Show Picture".  This will reload that picture.  You may have to do this on several of the pictures to get all of them to come up (I had to since I've got this "blazing" internet connection).

As kind of a side note to all of the stuff above, the main 2 purposes of field dressing / gutting a deer is: 1) to lighten the deer prior to dragging, 2) to allow the animal to start cooling.

I used to hunt pretty deep back in the woods, and didn't have a 4 wheeler to get the critters out.  It was always a long hard drag.  My uncle (who took me deer hunting and showed me how) was the one who told me not to make a very big cut when field dressing so leaves and dirt wouldn't get on the meat.  I did it his way for years.  When I got on my own, I split one all the way back, removed the colon, and split the pelvic bone PRIOR to dragging the critter out.  YOU GUESSED IT!  Dirt and leaves all over the meat on the back legs where I had cut, and also up inside the animal.

Once you get the critter out of the woods, THEN go ahead and split the pelvic bone, rib cage, etc. if you want.  It makes for less work in the long run doing it like this! O0
« Last Edit: December 29, 2006, 10:22:42 AM by Big58cal »
The only purpose of bread is to hold meat!

John Andrews Is My Hero!

In all seriousness, the Marlin is a great rifle, too. I own a Model 60, one of the best rifles ever made.
Brownings are nice, but in terms of quality AND accuarcy AND ruggedness, it's hard to beat the Marlin.
California sucks that's it.


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