CLEANING A DEER
Position the deer with its belly facing upward. The head should be higher than the rest of the body. Propping the animal against a rock or tree will make this easier. Use a very sharp four-inch blade to slice a two-inch deep opening starting from just above the deer’s nether region, and finishing at the bottom of the ribcage. Be as precise as possible, as not to nick an artery. Roll the deer on its side and let gravity remove the organs. Finish that part of the job with your knife by cutting out connective tissue.
Carve out the diaphragm. This will be situated below the lungs and the heart and above the intestines. There will be a tube hanging between the heart and lungs, this is the esophagus. Grab that tube just above the heart and cut it away. Do not cut the heart. The rest of the organs are now ready to be removed, and should be easy work. Depending on what type of land you are hunting on, you may be required to dispose of the gut pile as well.
Skinning the deer is best done back home. The longer you work afield, the better chance of a bear deciding to steal your kill.
Lasso the deer around the neck and suspend it at head height. This should be done in a cool spot where critters won’t interfere. You may want to let the deer hang like this for a few days to cure. After no more than four days, it’s time to get back to the work of cleaning.
Use your knife to cut all the way around the deer’s neckline. Intersect with the earlier cut which cut open the deer. Peel away the hide from the body. Your knife will help you if you cut away the fascia as you go. Peel the skin over the shoulders, and then twist, cut, and tug until you have removed the forelegs just above the joints of the knees. Keep working the hide off until you reach the tailbone. You will have to cut through the tailbone before you can pull the hide off down to the inner thigh patches. These will be dark patches. Lastly, you will cut the hind legs off just above the glands.