Next, get you and your deer to a safe place where you have good light and gather your tools. This would include a knife with a good edge (take time to sharpen it) and a saw or hatchet. A source of clean water is handy for washing out the carcass, but this can be done later if necessary.
It is a considerable aid if you can hang the deer up. If you cannot, you can skin and dress it on the tailgate of your pick-up truck or on the ground. Cut the legs off below the “knees” and saw (or chop) off the head at the end of the neck. Skin it by cutting down the insides of the legs, then skin the haunches and cut down the middle of the stomach, taking care not to cut the intestines. Pull the hide off the carcass, and cut only when you must.
Then gut the deer ( see the following 3-minute video), wash the carcass, remove any damaged meat and process the rest for yourself and your pets. Boil any cuttings, and organs that you do not intend to eat (liver, heart and kidneys) for your dogs and cats. They will love it, even if you don’t think you can eat it. Deer liver and heart are good. There is a recipe for “Dear Heart Soup” in an earlier post.
Take your time. Wear gloves to work inside of the carcass and enjoy the experience. Every ounce of meat that you put into the freezer is an ounce that you do not have to buy by paying very high prices for an inferior product.
It may take an hour to skin and gut your first deer if you have never done it before and have no help. Don’t give up. You can do this.
Detailed instructions are found in my book, Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound that may be ordered from my website www.hoveysmith.com, Amazon.com and other E-booksellers.
I also have a 30-minute deer cleaning and skinning video for $25. This video is unedited and shows me struggling a bit to skin and gut a road-killed deer by myself. This may be ordered by sending a check to Whitehall Press – Budget Publications, 1325 Jordan Mill Pond Rd., Sandersville, GA 31082.