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How To Field Dress A Whitetail Deer

General Information

Venison is an excellent meat, but for optimum flavor care should be taken from the moment the deer is recovered until the meat has been cut-up and refrigerated. How quickly the animal is field dressed and how it is field dressed is often just as important to having a good quality meat as how it is cooked.

The blood and other bodily fluids that are gathering in the deer's body cavity should be removed quickly as practical. The sooner the organs (which deteriorate rapidly), and fluids, are removed, the faster the meat will cool.  Before you start field dressing your deer, remember that it is important to keep dirt and foreign matter away from the exposed meat.

Another important consideration in field dressing deer is that it reduces the weight of the animal for dragging. On the other hand, if you don't have to drag your deer very far, it is often cleaner to field dress it while it is suspended rather than dragging a deer with open body cavity through and across leaves, dirt and creeks.

Gear You Need To Field Dress a Deer

Like most jobs, field dressing can be done more simply when you have the right tools. The only tool that is an absolute must is a sharp knife. However, having a few more simple items just makes the job a little easier.

  1. Sharp Knife

  2. Latex Gloves

  3. Bag for liver

  4. Handy Wipes

  5. Water

Before you begin to field dress your deer make sure you have everything you are going to need within easy reach. There is no point in having to dig around in your back pack or pockets with bloody hands. Just lay your gear out where you can access it. Also where required be sure notch and attach your deer tag in states where this is a requirement. 

Approach a downed animal with caution, and be sure it is dead. If your not sure touch it with a long stick or gently toss a rock at it.

Roll the carcass over on to its back with the rump lower than the head and spread the hind legs. Make a cut along the center of the belly from breastbone to base of tail. First cut through the hide, then through belly muscle. Avoid cutting into the intestines by holding up on the muscle and hide with your free hand while guiding the knife with the other.





Related Links & Resources:
Telecheck Proving Valuable To Missouri Conservation Efforts
Self Check Compliance rates
Arkansas Deer Hunting Report - 2005
Arkansas Deer Hunting
Arkansas Wildlife Management Areas 
Arkansas National Forests


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