There are a lot of deer processors who examine deer that come into their shops BEFORE agreeing to process them for “unlucky” hunters. I say unlucky because most hunters kill deer two or three times: once in the field, second when they field dress it, and third by overcooking in the kitchen.

The following tidbit of information will help hunters who harvest a deer, learn a great way to successfully field dress it without “killing” it a second time by turning it into a hack job of ruined meat. I have never understood why hunters feel the need to use huge Bowie knives and axes to field dress deer. All you need is a small, scary-sharp, high-carbon steel blade, and a piece of string or shoe lace.

Position the deer so that the upper part of the body is facing uphill. First, use a small knife blade to cut around the deer’s anus. Next, grab and pull the large intestine out a few inches, then use the string to tie it off to prevent fecal matter from escaping into the body cavity.

Then make shallow cuts around the sex organ. Next, with the cutting edge of the knife blade facing up, zip open the body cavity and continue up to the sternum by pressing the knife upward and away. While opening the body cavity, you do not want to cut the large or small intestine spilling the contents. Too, be especially careful to not cut or burst the bladder, which will spill urine into the cavity. Also do not break the body membrane which holds the innards intact; breaking it will make everything smell bad!

After opening the deer, carefully look and feel for any foreign objects inside the cavity. Warning: not only might you encounter your broadhead (or someone else’s that was non-fatal), but even broken bones can be razor sharp! Next, replace the large intestine that you pulled out a few inches to tie off, back into the body cavity. Then, reach up inside the body cavity to the neck, cut the windpipe (esophagus), and pull it out. All of the innards should come out like a large garbage bag.

As you may have noted, a huge knife or axe was not used to cut or hack apart the pelvic cartilage as is sometimes advocated. Not doing so helps to prevent you from cutting yourself, and prevents doing a hack job on your venison and possibly destroying good meat.