You’ve made the killer shot and located your fallen deer. Glory to you, but now the real work begins. The next step after successfully harvesting deer is to dress them in the field. Field dressing, or deer gut, refers to the process of removing the internal organs of a deer, such as the heart, lungs, intestines, etc. Leaving the interior of a deer inside for a long time after it has died causes harmful bacteria to grow and spoil the meat. Removing those organs not only eliminates this bacterial growth, but it also cools the deer. Cooling the carcass will help reduce bacteria.
Another benefit of dressing is shedding some of the extra weight, which makes it easier for deer to move from location in the field to base camp or car. This extra weight removed (internal organs) can be left in the field and will be eaten by the animals that live there, such as wolves and birds, making it useful for everyone involved – except, of course, deer.
Every angler new to our family’s fishing kit is blessed with a DIY, hand-assembled field digging kit. They are an important part of your everyday fishing package and should be brought on every trip. Details here.
This kit is specifically designed for field dressing of whitetail deer. Other types of fishing may have different needs. Keep in mind what to look for and what variables may play a role while assembling your hand drill kit.
pull the rope
The pull rope is usually the first thing out of the field dressing set, because deer may fall into an imperfect spot for the dressing process. Deer often rush into bush or heavily wooded areas, swampy patches and creek beds, or fall through tree stumps or other debris. Towing rope is used to pull deer from where they are to a flat and open area where they have a place to work. After dressing in the field, the same rope will be used to pull the deer the rest of the way. Some hunters have to drag deer a very long distance. One trick that can be used is to add a strap to the rope that attaches to the fisherman’s body to evenly disperse the weight during the draw, taking the pressure off the hands and wrists.
When cutting skin and tissue, it is necessary to use a very sharp knife. A dull knife will not only slow down the process, but will complicate it more than it should. Cutting with a blunt knife requires the angler to use more pressure. This can lead to slips, cuts, and muscle fatigue. Avoid all of that and bring a sharp knife.
Field dressing gloves
Some hunters choose to dress with their bare hands, but many do not. My kit always includes field dressing gloves, because your arms will be high up inside the body cavity, feeling the organs and cutting the tissue. There is nothing wrong with elbow-length gloves, they are best for keeping your arms as clean as possible during this process.
Every fisherman has his own way of removing the anus, but I recommend butt out a tool. It keeps the process clean and straightforward. The Butt Out instrument is a simple device that is inserted into the anal cavity. Part of the intestine is removed with a simple twisting and pulling motion.
Additional group items
Pen Bags, Tie, and Seal Bags: Including a pen and tie in your field digging kit makes marking your deer quick and easy. It is important to tag deer immediately after harvest. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement but making sure you meet all of your legal requirements is extremely important. Use the pen to fill in your mark and then use a tie to secure the mark to the deer. Zipper seal bags are optional. If you want to preserve the heart and liver for eating, having a clean place to store them during transport helps. A simple zip-up sandwich bag gets the job done.
headlamp: Many deer are harvested in the dark moments just before twilight, which means you’ll be getting dressed in the dark. The headlight will help illuminate what you are looking at without restricting your hands. Both hands are required to effectively dress deer.
hand wipes: Optional, but it’s fine if you have to get any leftover bits or fluids that may have been transferred during the gut process. Sometimes the gloves get leaked or even cut by those sharp knives and hands get dirty. A quick swipe with an antibacterial hand swab cleans any harmful bacteria that may remain.
As an extra tip, remember that the dressing process can be quite chaotic. If you’re posting any pictures of her on social media, it doesn’t hurt to keep to her taste and explain what’s going on in the pictures. To the untrained eye, it can depict all blood and guts hunting in a way that can easily be misunderstood.
Read more: 5 of the worst field clothing jobs you’ll ever see
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