Skinning the Deer

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After you have field dressed your deer, you’ve got to skin it before you can quarter and process the meat. Read on for complete instructions, or click here to watch the video.

How to Skin a Deer

In the field, you removed all the internal organs. But there is a little further prep work you need to do before quartering it. The deer needs to be hung up, skinned, and the forelegs removed. All of this can be done with a knife, but I also use a pair of limb trimmers and a bone or hack saw for quicker work.

You hang the deer from its hind quarters, so you will need a gambrel and pulley system, which you can find at any hardware store. Before I hoist the deer, I lay it on the ground and make a cut through the skin, starting on the inside thigh and going down toward the ankle. I angle the cut so as to be on the outside of the ankle when I get there in order to avoid the thick hairy area know as the tarsal gland (this is very important because the glands produce a wicked scent and the deer pee on this hair to help scent their surroundings, so meat that comes in contact with it will taste awful).

Once you have made that cut, go below the ankle and cut through the hide all the way around the lower leg. Don’t cut through the long Achilles tendon. Now you are ready to pull and cut the skin away to expose the tendon coming off the ankle and heading to the hoof. Free the skin, pulling it back toward the deer’s body.

Repeat on this process on the other side.

Now you can put your gambrel between the leg bone and the tendon.