Author Topic: Skinning A Deer / Cleaning a Deer  (Read 37084 times)

Offline Gutpiles

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Skinning A Deer / Cleaning a Deer
« on: December 29, 2006, 06:16:39 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.


Once you've got your deer out of the woods, it's easiest to skin and
quarter the animal if it's hanging up. Hanging with a gambrel and hoist is
easiest, but if you don't have one, you can hang it with a piece of rope
tied to each leg. Also, hang the animal by its back legs. This will allow
any heat that still inside the body to rise and exit the body. If you hang
with the head up, the heat gets inside the chest cavity and can't easily

Below is a picture of all of the tools you'll need to get the skin off,
quarter, and debone a deer, a couple of sharp knives, a hack saw, and one
or two things to sharpen the knives. Always remember, 'Time Spent Whetting
Ain't Wasted'. One of the knives is for when you cut through hair/skin and
when you're cutting around a bone. The other is for strictly skinning.
The knife that cuts through the hair/skin will dull quicker, and isn't used
as much as the other. Your other knife will keep a good sharp edge longer
when it's used only for skinning.

Make a slice between the tendons and the bone of the back legs between the
metatarsal gland and the hoof. The metatarsal gland is the light colored
area you can see below the hook of the gambrel. Some people make a cut at
the hock of the leg, right at the tarsal gland. I recommend not doing this
in that you'll get the scent of the tarsal gland on your knife and
potentially spread it over the entire deer as you're working it up. Also,
there's no need to remove the tarsal glands from the deer (unless you're
going to save them for future hunts if it is a buck). Just as there's no
need to cut the throat of a deer after its dead, there's no need to remove
the tarsal glands. All circulation has stopped.

After you've got the animal hung, you should have something like this.

Now, either lower the animal down to where the hock of the leg (at the
tarsal gland) is at a good working height or get something to stand on to
raise yourself up to where the hock is. Make a cut through the hair and
skin all the way around the leg, right below the tarsal gland (try not to
get into the tarsal gland though).

When making this cut, watch and don't cut through the tendon that's on the
back of the leg (the white area I'm pointing at). It makes skinning easier
if this isn't cut. Repeat this cut on the other leg.

Pull out the skin a little at this tendon and start making a cut through
the skin down the back of the leg (between the brown hair and the white
hair). You'll do this with both legs, with the cuts meeting below the

Start up at the top (where your initial cut was), and start skinning the
skin off. Grab it with one hand and pull. Anywhere where the skin shows
signs of getting stuck or is a little hard, just use your knife a little to
free it. I usually do the outside side of both legs and then move around
to the inside, but it doesn't really matter.

Here's one showing me starting on the inside of the legs.

Once you get the skin down to the top of the hams (near the tail). If you
haven't cut the anus out already, you'll do it now. Cut the skin loose all
the way around it.

Now, start taking you knife and cut it loose on the inside of the pelvic
bone anywhere where it's attached.

Once you've got it cut loose pretty well from the back, go around to the
front (underside of the deer) and reach up inside the pelvic bone and grab
the short piece of colon that's left and pull it out.

By now on your skinning you should be down to the tail. To cut the tail
off, find a joint in the tail up close to the base and cut through the

With the tail cut off, continue pulling/skinning the hide on down. By now
you've probably also had to raise the deer up some to keep the area you're
working on at an easy working height.

On the belly of the deer, near the fronts of the back legs, there's a big
wad of fat that needs to be cut off. When cutting this off, just cut the
fat loose and give it a pitch in your scrap bucket. Try not to get into
the meat that's on the ribs. You'll want to leave the meat on the sides of
the ribs. Cut the fat away from the legs and skin on both sides.

Now, continue pulling/skinning the hide on down the back and sides.

You can usually just grab the skin and pull down and it will come off at
this point. Anywhere there's some resistance, just use your knife to help
you skin.

At this point, you should be down to the shoulders and brisket. The large
portion of red meat in the center of the picture below is the brisket.
Make your cuts so that you leave this section of meat on the carcass.
There will also be some fat on it. Just leave it for the time being.

By now, the skin is probably getting pretty tight and hard to skin. If
you're going to have a shoulder mount done of the deer, don't make the
following cut!!!! If you're not going to have a shoulder mount done,
you'll want to cut the skin to make the skinning process a little easier.
Reach up under the skin with your knife and stick the point through. Pull
the knife toward you all the way to cut the skin open.

Now you'll need to work on the front legs. In the picture below, where my
thumb and index finger are, you'll want to ring the skin, cutting it all
the way around the leg. Just grab the leg and bend it. Above the bend is
where you'll cut.

Once you've got the skin cut all the way around, cut through any meat and
tendons all the way down to the bone. At your cut, take a hack saw and cut
through the leg bone.

After you've gotten the legs cut off, continue skinning on down to the end
of the brisket. The picture below is what you should have.

Put your knife blade in down at the bottom of the leg where you cut it off.
Cut up toward the brisket on both legs. In the picture above, you'll also
want to cut the area of skin that's between the front legs up to the
brisket. After you've got the cuts done, the skin should be loose all the
way up the legs and at the brisket.

Again, if you're going to have a shoulder mount done of the deer, watch
making any cuts up around the shoulders and brisket so that you don't ruin
the hide. Taxidermists can do some stitching to repair some holes, but
they can't work miracles. Below are some pictures of some of the shoulder
mounts I have, and the area you should be careful around.

To continue skinning the deer, start pulling/skinning the hide off of the
front legs.

After you've got the skin off of the legs, you should be down to the neck.
Continue skinning down the neck, splitting the skin on the underside as you

The skin is tight around the neck, so you'll need to use your knife quite a
bit. Just take it slow and continue skinning until you're down to around
the base of the skull. For a deer that you're going to have a shoulder
mount done of, you won't be able to get all of the meat out of the neck.
Just skin it down as far as you can and then cut through the neck meat and

Once you get down to the base of the skull (or as far as you can), cut
through the meat on the neck to the bones. Cut all the way around with
your knife, and then cut through the bones with your hack saw.

Once you've got the head cut off, you're done skinning!

Click here to refer a friend     :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

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 31, 2008, 08:22:54 AM by Big58cal »
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Offline Big58cal

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Re: How To Skin A Deer
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2006, 11:16:14 PM »
Thanks Gutpiles for getting this posted! O0

If you have a slow internet connection, and some of the pictures show up as a box with a red "X" in the corner, just right click on the picture with your mouse and go to "Show Picture".  The individual picture will then load.  Do this with others also that may not have loaded.

I'm in no way an expert on skinning deer.  This is just the way that I do it and have found to be the easiest.
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.

Offline John Andrews

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Re: How To Skin A Deer
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2007, 08:48:28 AM »
That is really great, BC!  O0
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