Gutless Field Dressing Method

Discussion in 'General Hunting' started by EC, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. EC

    EC 12 pointer

    Jul 13, 2003
    Louisville, KY.
    Gutless Field Dressing Method
    calstaff Leave a comment

    Don’t like dealing with the guts on your deer? Try this method out.
    Let’s face it: gutting a deer is probably the worst part of hunting. Maybe your harvest has fallen in a location you won’t be able to drag it out of. Try this alternative to the traditional field dress and see if it works for you.

    Seems pretty quick and easy. If you process your own deer, this will probably save you time as well. One takeaway, if you are going to try this method, is to make sure you have a game bag or a quarter bag!

    Alright, so I got the deer down, now it’s time to do the fun work.

    I’m back in here a long ways, not a long ways from my truck, it’s just gonna be a freakin’ insane climb outta here. So, I’m gonna have to cut him up. Luckily, where I killed him, it’s down in this valley, the sun shouldn’t hit it for a couple hours, so I’ll have plenty of time to get him cut up, and get him cooled down, then I’ll pack him out to the truck.

    So basically what I’m gonna do, is I’m gonna skin him, both sides, I’m gonna cut the quarters off, cut the backstraps off, cut some of the neck meat off, get the tenderloins inside, and that’ll be all the meat, I won’t even have to gut him. So, that’ll be nice. This is the gutless method.
    So all I do is, try to lay him on his stomach, and I just make an incision all the way down his back, right on his spine, then I’ll skin one side all the way down, lay him down, skin down to his legs, quarter him off, do the other side, and uh, pretty slick. So, especially if you don’t like dealing with the guts, which I don’t. So let’s go!

    You just wanna follow right down the spine. You can always tell because it’s usually the darkest right there. You can tell where the spine is.

    Man, you think this deer’s been living a good life? Look at that fat that’s on its back, you guys can see that. That is a layer of fat. This deer’s gonna taste good. He’s probably just been lounging in this lake bed all year long, just feeding on this high-protein food and not really getting bothered. Look at that, that’s a good sign. He’s putting a lot of fat on before the rut.

    So now you have most of this side skinned. Depending on what you’re gonna do with the head, if you’re gonna mount it, a full-head mount, or just do a european mount, or just cut the horns off. What I do, I haven’t really decided what I’m gonna do. He’s an awesome buck, I don’t know if Kaylee will let me put him on the wall or not, but she’s pretty good about it. So I’m gonna– if you’re gonna do a head mount, what you do is, about halfway down the body, you wanna make a cut horizontally around the whole body, then you skin everything up that way, and that’s what the taxidermist will use. You know, you wanna use more hide than less hide, because if you don’t give them enough, they can’t use it, so. I usually do about halfway down the body, go down, and then that’s plenty, because really, it’s just a shoulder mount, behind the shoulders, but you wanna give ’em plenty to work with, so. I’m gonna do that now, and just try to make as straight a cut as possible.

    Then what you do is just skin. Make a line from the back from the front leg, go straight up the back of the leg, all the way to the incison that you just made around, then you can just skin this leg right off. No problem.

    Alright, so now we’re ready to cut the front quarter off, all you do, the front’s pretty easy, you just pick him up, you cut right through that armpit right there, make sure you cut plenty wide. See that bone right there? We’re gonna go up -don’t wanna ruin your backstraps, though- Just like this. See that? Then we cut around that, just like that. I’ll usually try to maybe just cut a little bit of that neck meat while I’m doing it. There we go, front quarter, done.

    Then what I do after I cut the quarters off, a deer is not like an elk. You can get one quarter of an elk in a game bag. I can probably get all four quarters in this game bag. I’m gonna try it. Try to put it on my back and go up that mountain. Dunno. I bet I can. I’m pretty tough.

    The reason for the game bags is to keep the flies off it [from getting] dirty. Keep the flies off it and keep it from getting dirty. So I put one in there, it’s not heavy. Probably twenty pounds.

    Now the rear quarter. This is a little bit more difficult. This thing has like, sticker weeds in ’em. Alright, look how much fat this thing has! It’s gonna be a good-tasting deer, man. That’s good to see, it means the deer’s getting a lot of protein, bucks are getting ready for the rut. So you just want to cut– dang that is the fattest deer I’ve ever seen- cut up here. Cut just like that through the armpit. Be very careful you don’t cut into the guts. You just kinda want to make a nice, perfect cut right up- right up on the butt cheek. You gotta find– don’t cut the pee sack. Alright, so, what you wanna do, is find that back hip bone. Oop, I cut into the guts a little bit. They’re not popped or anything but they’re kinda poking out. Ok. See, there’s the ball socket right there. You guys see that ball, right there? You just wanna go right through that. Keep this off the dirt. Now I’ve worked through the bone, pretty much just meet from here. So you just wanna keep cutting, cut the tendons through the bone. See that? There you go. Rear quarter. It’s a lot heavier than the front quarter, probably thirty-five pounds, maybe.

    Alright, so we’ve got front quarters off, took a little bit of the neck meat, I’m gonna take a little more. Once I have that done, I’m– what I’m gonna do is get the backstraps. And, uh, by far, I think the tastiest meat on an animal, on a deer or an elk, or an antelope, or anything basically. And what they are is, just like the name sounds, backstrap. There’s one on each side of the spine, so the spine runs just like this, they start up here, about his neck, and they come just like this all the way down, and stop just about right there. So what I like to do is just find the spine, and cut all the way ’till you hit the ribs, basically. You’ll feel the ribs with your knife. I like to make two or three passes through there, just to make sure and get all the meat, all the way down to the rib. I’ll go up this way, just follow that rib, ends about right there, a couple of times. See that? Then you can almost see, see that right there here where almost like the guts bulge, that line, that’s the backstrap. It’s gonna go all the way down. So, you can find that –you can feel it, too, it’s like hard muscle– with the rib. So this is cut ’till you feel that rib. Here we go. That’s the meat right there man. The backstraps. I can’t believe how much fat’s on this thing. See I missed a little bit here, I’ll come and cut that off. Little bit here, I’ll come and cut that off. Cut the rest of this neck meat off. Gonna go put that in the game bag. [exaggerated eating noises]

    So I’m just gonna trim some of this neck meat, some of this I’m not gonna take because of these little blunt shot there, but uh. Neck meat’s kinda like, good for burger, some people like it in steaks, jerky’s good. There’s a lot of tendons and stuff in there, but I cut it off like this, just kinda in chunks. It’s almost in layers. Kinda just coming off like that. I’ll lay it up here so it doesn’t get dirty. Summer sausage, breakfast sausage, all that stuff the neck meat works good for. The brisket meat -which is under here- which I’ll take.

    Alright, so, uh, we got the back straps off, I’m gonna get the rest of this neck meat off, my camera died when I was trying to take the sirloins out, but all you do– the sirloins sit right inside the ribcage, on the other side of the ribcage are the backstraps. Backstraps are here. And to get to them a lot of people say ‘well how do you get to the sirloins and tenderloins out if you don’t gut ’em’, well all you do is you make a little incision behind their last rib, which is right here, and I just make a little incision right along the spine, or right along the ribcage, and you can just reach in there. They sit right there and you can just reach in there and pull ’em out like cutter, and that’s how- that’s it right there. So.

    This is the gutless method, this is how I like to do it. I don’t like to mess around with the guts, it’s just as fast -if not faster and easier- yeah, if your truck’s right there and you can just throw the deer in it and go hang it up and skin it and do all that, great, but if not, like I am, I’ve got to pack this thing out, so, this is what I’m going to use. But I’m gonna hurry and do the other side, I’m gonna do the other side just like I did this side, once all the meat’s off this side, all you do is roll it over, do the same thing to the other side. But you can see the sun’s catching us, so I wanna get this thing taken care of before it’s in the sun and get him out of here. So. Thanks for watching, guys!
  2. BuckBuster

    BuckBuster 8 pointer

    Dec 10, 2001
    Hardin Co., Ky.
    I do this quite often except I take the meat right off the leg bones, put the meat in a back pack & pack it out leaving the skeletal remains. A lot simpler than having to having to dispose of the carcass later.
  3. JDMiller

    JDMiller 12 pointer

    Jun 12, 2005
    " Between the Rivers "
    More times than not ... especially during archery.. I hunt by myself. Thought many times I might get in a situation I may have to quarter one on the spot to get it out by myself. Which I have wrestled for hours dragging one out.... one of those drag a distance then sit & blow.. then do it again & again.

    Which for the most part I've gotten older, heavier & out of shape to attempt what I've done in the past. So I rely heavy on my 4 wheeler and a game cart. I'll have one or the other ... sometimes both with me every time I go deer hunting. Which even with a cart it still takes me awhile but much still physically easier than dragging.

    I'll also say my farm isn't too conducive to quarter on the spot from the aspect of cell service. Really can't depend on a cell phone signal to Telecheck. Which I'm pretty sure on deer you have to have the animal telechecked before removing the head or hide.

    So that pretty much rules out the quartering possibility on 75% of my place. As cell service really sux in my part of north Christian & Todd.
  4. SmokeShow

    SmokeShow 10 pointer

    Nov 11, 2013
    I've seen that before. Never utilized it but its appealing because I gag, and sometimes puke, when dealing with a ruptured stomach. Ugh.
  5. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

    Feb 20, 2011
    the swamps of Western KY
    Here's another couple of good videos. Also, in the Fall 2016 edition of KY Afield magazine there is an article on field quartering starting on page 30.

  6. KYT

    KYT 8 pointer

    May 3, 2008
    Eastern Ky.
    JD, I would think as long as proof of sex is left attached you would be OK. You could at least cut one in half with out a problem.
  7. JDMiller

    JDMiller 12 pointer

    Jun 12, 2005
    " Between the Rivers "
    You may be right but accordingly proof of sex only applies to elk.. but not deer.

    Which the way I interpret it concerning deer you can't remove head or hide until telechecked. So I take it you can't quarter until you called it in. Don't know how cutting one in half would be

    A copy & paste from KDF&WR....

    Deer must be telechecked before removing the hide or head.

    If the hide or head is removed from the carcass of a harvested elk before the animal is telechecked, the hunter must demonstrate proof of the sex of the elk.,-Checking,-Tagging-and-Transporting.aspx

  8. KYT

    KYT 8 pointer

    May 3, 2008
    Eastern Ky.
    My guess is the KYFW's intent for leaving the head and hide on until telechecking is to prove what sex it was. Out west quartering and backpacking meat is much more common than here. Here if you can't take the whole animal and drag it out or to a 4 wheeler some people think its impossible to get the deer.. Most hunters never even consider quartering them. I have cut bucks in half and made two trips dragging . For someone 65 it is much easier. If I had to i would quarter it with proof of sex left attached where I could and go with it. If you get an unreasonable CO who thinks that's afoul of the rules, and doesn't care you can't telecheck in the field, well, it is an imperfect world, huh?
  9. JDMiller

    JDMiller 12 pointer

    Jun 12, 2005
    " Between the Rivers "
    I don't disagree with your thought process here .. just relaying how the laws / regs are written ... and my own interpretation.

    Which when I started deer hunting it was when we had actual check stations and you were required to bring the deer whole. From then to now .. I've never really heard of anyone not expecting to their deer out of woods whole.

    Which I hunted LBL a lot and have had some pretty rough drags there and will say even a few at our farm. Some have taken several hours to accomplish or even had to recruit some help.

    I figure this aspect is something every hunter that deer hunts needs to think about and plan for concerning how to retrieve your harvest. A 4-wheeler/ atv is best but a good game cart works wonders and I pretty much have one or both with me when I go deer hunting. Also say which one is legal to use as some places like LBL doesn't allow atvs unless your hunting in the ORV area.

    Which I'm not saying the regs/ laws don't need tweaked to allow quartering of deer with proof of sex. But until then hunters need to be cognizant of that aspect prior to putting theirself into a position where they might have extreme difficulty in physically getting a deer out of the woods whole or not being able to check in the field.

    Been several places at LBL I've just avoided hunting for that very reason. Especially bowhunting where the deer may travel some distance before expiring.
  10. KYT

    KYT 8 pointer

    May 3, 2008
    Eastern Ky.
    Agree. Good luck to you this season.
  11. Snareman2

    Snareman2 12 pointer

    Feb 25, 2007
    I think the new Ky Afield Magazine had an article about this.
  12. WaterDog88

    WaterDog88 10 pointer

    Jul 28, 2008
    Old pillow cases make for good game bags.
  13. KYBOY

    KYBOY 12 pointer

    Apr 21, 2005
    Hunting on WMA's were I cant get a vehicle of any kind in Ive quartered deer to get them out..Ive always telechecked mine first but Ive had my wifes phone on me..

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