How To Field Dress A Deer

Learning how to field dress a deer is not always the easiest thing to learn. It is great if you have the opportunity to watch someone do it a couple of times but the best way to learn is by doing it yourself. After doing it a couple of times, you will develop the touch needed to do it cleanly and in a timely manner. The most important thing with field dressing is to have a routine or a timeline that will make the process as easy as it can get. The steps below are what we do when it comes to field dressing deer.

Make sure you have at least a knife, a saw, and rubber gloves.

how to field dress a deer

Step by step – How to field dress a deer

1. Tag the deer.

2. Cut off the tarsal glands if you plan on using them as an attractant during future hunts.

tarsal glands

deer tarsal glands

3. On a buck cut off the penis. On a doe remove the mammary gland.

deer penis

deer penis removal

4. Feel where the pelvic bone cavity is with your fingers and cut around the anus of the deer. You will want to cut with your knife parallel to the wall of the pelvic bone. The pelvic cavity will resemble the hollow of a large soup can.

deer anus

deer pelvic bone

5. Separate the anal tissue that is attached to the pelvic bone with your knife and fingers. If you desire, this is a good time to tie off the anus with a ty rap or string to prevent waste from contaminating the meat.

field dressing deer

6. Cut the center of the crotch meat (inner leg meat) down to the pelvic bone.

split the meat

7. Barley and carefully penetrate through the deer’s skin and abdominal muscle wall with your knife either directly above the pelvic bone or under and up into the ribs. The goal is not to cut through the intestines or the stomach.

field dressing a deer


8. With your knife upside down, carefully make a center cut from crotch to the bottom of the sternum (center of ribs) or vice versa.

field dressing knife

deer dressing

field dressing cut

9. Move innards away from top of pelvic bone and saw parallel on center of the pelvic bone til it breaks.

pelvic cut

broken deer pelvic bone

10. Free pelvic bone contents so they will pull out easy.

11. When not mounting the deer, saw the sternum all the way to the upper chest area.

cut the sternum

12. Cut the diaphragm from the rib cage. While doing this, run your knife parallel with the inside of the rib cage. As the deer lays on its side, cut the diaphragm on the top half of the deer then flip the deer over to cut the other half.

deer diaphragm

field dress

13. Reach in and cut the windpipe that is above the heart. (neck side)

cut windpipe deer

14. While grabbing the heart and windpipe, pull all of the internal organs out of the body.

pull out guts

15. Cut with your knife as needed to make sure you have everything removed.

dressing a deer

dressed deer

16. If needed, turn deer upside down and drain all remaining fluids and tissue.

17. Remove the inner loins at this time if you plan on eating them. Failure to do so may result in this precious meat drying out.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of how to field dress a deer. It takes time to develop good field dressing skills. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t go as planned the first couple of times. Most deer hunters are a little sloppy at first but after time, it gets easier. Eventually it will become a fairly easy 10-15 minute process. Good luck!