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I'm planning to field dress & quarter deer in the woods this season. I'd like to pack them out on foot. I've skinned and butchered a lot of deer but I've never started in the woods or worked on the ground. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. What has worked well for you?
 

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I’ve always called it suitcasing a deer. Done it for years…get a outdoor edge knife that swings to the under the skin knife blade. It will save you a ton of time…biggest thing is hair dulling blade and getting on meat but I alway took the backstrap first and the pull the skin down towards the legs and remove the front and back on one side, roll over to other side and repeat…never open the guts. You can access the inner tenderloins through the back bone where you removed the back leg and hip..never have to open the inside the animal up…after a couple of times it gets easier..good luck
 

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I’ve done it a few times back when I was younger and had no four wheeler. RONIN gave you some good advice as far as procedure. I used to backpack in unscented garbage bags but I only had to walk maybe 3/4 of a mile with them so wasn’t too concerned about the meat going bad. I took a good sharp knife and a small bone saw back when I did it. The saw isn’t necessary though.
 

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Yep, RONIN79 has the right idea. My old hunting buddy in FL taught me how to do that on pigs. If you have a hard time visualizing it, think of it as skinning only one side from the spine down to the belly (but leaving the skin attached all along the belly. Remove that side's backstrap, leg quarter, and hind quarter. Then, pull the skin back up and roll the deer onto its other side and repeat. When you are done, the only thing left will be a skeleton with relatively little meat and the skin still attached to the belly.

As far as a saw, GMC is right too. You can sever the hocks from the quarters with a knife (look on YouTube because the joints are not where you would expect them to be).
 

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I personally don’t get everyone’s aversion to the guts. I understand it exists but I’m not effected by them. If you don’t nick them they don’t get gross. Nick them and I’m right there with you. As a young guy I nicked them whilst carving out the back strap in a supposed gutless method and when I work the back straps out My face is usually pretty close to the meat as to get as much meat as possible, the buzzards and coyotes cuss me. Anyways I nicked it and it began to hiss right back at me and boy it was rank. So I have an aversion to leaving them in and trying to avoid nicking them.
 

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I personally don’t get everyone’s aversion to the guts. I understand it exists but I’m not effected by them. If you don’t nick them they don’t get gross. Nick them and I’m right there with you. As a young guy I nicked them whilst carving out the back strap in a supposed gutless method and when I work the back straps out My face is usually pretty close to the meat as to get as much meat as possible, the buzzards and coyotes cuss me. Anyways I nicked it and it began to hiss right back at me and boy it was rank. So I have an aversion to leaving them in and trying to avoid nicking them.
No aversion to guts for me. Got to do what you got to do..for me I was just addressing his questions for some knowledge on suitcasing a deer…no need to go inside at all that way unless u like organ meat..some people do like deer heart and other organ meat…basically I guess it’s whatever your after really…but I usually try my best to not bust the stank sack as much as possible…I’m going to test that though being I’m a bit of a joker…next deer we kill on camp and start to skin as the boys are drinking and watching attentively I’m going to stab the guts right off the bat with great intention just to see their reaction now…🤣🤣🤣
 

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Bangswitch, my reason for not opening the gut cavity when I have to pack a deer out in quarters is blood and general "cleanliness". When I have the luxury of a skinning shed with running water, it isn't bad and I can extract the heart but in the woods it's just too much trouble to deal with a lot of blood. I can skin and quarter a deer leaving the gut sack intact without getting my hands all bloody or having blood run all over my boots. It's just much easier to deal with like that when you have to backpack everything out.

BTW, this field carving is why I stopped hunting public land and joined a club. I'm 63 years old now so packing out a deer on my back isn't reasonable anymore.
 

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I don't know exaclty how they do it, but it sounds like what you're looking for is how they typically quarter and field dress elk. May want to check out a few of those videos/books.
 
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No aversion to guts for me. Got to do what you got to do..for me I was just addressing his questions for some knowledge on suitcasing a deer…no need to go inside at all that way unless u like organ meat..some people do like deer heart and other organ meat…basically I guess it’s whatever your after really…but I usually try my best to not bust the stank sack as much as possible…I’m going to test that though being I’m a bit of a joker…next deer we kill on camp and start to skin as the boys are drinking and watching attentively I’m going to stab the guts right off the bat with great intention just to see their reaction now…🤣🤣🤣
Bangswitch, my reason for not opening the gut cavity when I have to pack a deer out in quarters is blood and general "cleanliness". When I have the luxury of a skinning shed with running water, it isn't bad and I can extract the heart but in the woods it's just too much trouble to deal with a lot of blood. I can skin and quarter a deer leaving the gut sack intact without getting my hands all bloody or having blood run all over my boots. It's just much easier to deal with like that when you have to backpack everything out.

BTW, this field carving is why I stopped hunting public land and joined a club. I'm 63 years old now so packing out a deer on my back isn't reasonable anymore.
I’m tracking with you guys. I’m always amazed at the faces I get at the skinning rack when I take all the guts out without nicking anything. I mean it ain’t my favorite thing to do either but I want those inner tinders (every gram of them) and if it’s big enough and I want the ribs and I want to inspect the wound channel and more or less necropsy the deer particularly the runners. When you run off with sucking chest wounds I want to know what if anything did I do wrong.

I definitely get trying to cut down on how big a mess you make if you don’t have water or something in the field to clean your hands. I would probably be equally careful about taking neck meat and leaving the neck bones and blood vessels it always seems to get me the messiest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I’ve always called it suitcasing a deer. Done it for years…get a outdoor edge knife that swings to the under the skin knife blade. It will save you a ton of time…biggest thing is hair dulling blade and getting on meat but I alway took the backstrap first and the pull the skin down towards the legs and remove the front and back on one side, roll over to other side and repeat…never open the guts. You can access the inner tenderloins through the back bone where you removed the back leg and hip..never have to open the inside the animal up…after a couple of times it gets easier..good luck
Like this?

I'm liking the looks of this method. The only problem is it looks a little tricky to get the heart out. I'd kind of like to eat that before walking out.

This is really clean, though. You wouldn't even need a bone saw, just a good knife. Also, there's not much chance of digestive innards and turds getting on the meat.
 

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I have often done this with a hog, start at the top of the back and remove skin going toward the stomach... I then remove all the meat and stuff it into an unscented garbage bag. Its a lot easier to haul out 30 pounds of meat in a back back than to drag a 100 pound hog a mile through the woods.
 

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Lots of great ideas here. I’ve always used gallon ziploc. She and just leave them open till the heat leaves and usually don’t seal them till the next day.
My kids clean them on the ground all the time. De-Boning is the way to go. Don’t need a saw and you end up with just what you need. It’s a learning curve, but after you do it a couple times you’ll never go back.
1- Large trash bags for ground and individual bags for meat.
2- I’m a fan of the outdoor edge knives with extra blades or keep your knife sharp and carry a sharpener.
3-latex gloves just to make your cleanup easier before you pack out.
4- Headlamp!
 
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