We recently talked about Field Dressing Tips and Tricks with Jessica Kinamon on our Miss Pursuit podcast.
- What’s the first thing to do when you harvest an animal.
- What should you keep in your field-dressing kit.
- What to think about when caring for your meat.
- What you need in your pack to field dress.
- How to avoid puncturing the stomach.
- Tips for keeping your meat clean when you’re in the field.
What’s the first thing to do when you kill an animal?
Always punch your tag first! Set aside separate gloves and scent gland removal knives. These are only to be used for scent glands. Remove scent glands and discard gloves and knife; you don’t want those gloves or knives touching the rest of the animal.
Does and even bucks that are not rutting have gross scent glands – just remove them.
Remove gloves and set the knife aside.
Use a new knife to cut around the rectum (yes – the butthole!) as deep as you can go. Go along the hide up between the legs to the ribs. Then you can start gutting.
Knick the stomach area right above the pelvis to get your starting place. You can then use two fingers with your blade in the center to cut the skin up. Your fingers can be used to guide the knife so you don’t puncture the stomach. Go all the way up to the sternum.
Cut the esophagus and pull it (all the guts will follow!) all the way down to the rectum. Push the rectum all the way through the pelvis towards to guts/stomach. Make sure all the tissue is disconnected around the rectum to be able to push it through.
What should you keep in your field-dressing kit?
- Two replaceable blades and a fixed-blade knife are a must. One replaceable blade is for scent glands, the other knives are for the meat and skin.
- Electrical tape for tags.
- Gloves for scent gland removal.
Some people use hatchets for breaking bones.
How do you avoid puncturing the stomach?
Use your fingers to push down the stomach. You can use your knuckles to push down the guts while using your fingers to guide your knife. Your blade should not be pointed down; it should be angled up.
What are the best tips to keep your meat clean when you’re in the field?
Place it in the snow or the cleanest place possible. Never lay exposed meat directly on the ground. A game bag is a cloth bag that keeps the meat from directly contacting anything gross. They are convenient and allow the meat to breathe (air circulation keeps the meat from spoiling).
Get your meat as cold as you can and as fast as you can. Get as much hide off as soon as possible. You can put splits in the muscle to allow airflow to the bone and help the meat to cool.