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Best Way to Skin a Deer – Animal Skinning Guide into the Wild!

Whether you want to eat your prey deer after you shot it dead in the woods or you want to pack it and bring it home, we always want to have its carcass clean and ready to eat. So, the ideal solution for this is to know the proper and best way to skin a deer. That way you will able to butcher, store, or eat the meat of your prey deer right away in the middle of the wild.

In this blog post, we will guide you on the proper way of skinning a deer. From the appropriate tools and equipment that you need up to the best method of doing the skinning process, we all have it here. So, if you’re ready to shot dead a deer and skin it out, you’re on the right track!

Initial Steps Before Proceeding on the Way to Skin a Deer

Actually, skinning a deer is just a part of the entire process of deer preparation. Yet, it is very challenging to do so and it generally requires certain skills and knowledge to make the job well done. Aside from that, you also need to have the right tools and equipment for this meat preparation.

Before we proceed to know the best way to skin a deer, let us first find out the other necessary steps that will take us to skin a deer.

1-Prepare the Equipment

The following are the tools that you need within the process of deer meat preparation. Make sure to prepare it all before you jump in starting out the best way to skin a deer.

best way to skin a deer
  • Chain or rope – this will be used to hang the deer’s carcass
  • Water – it should be fresh and clean
  • Container – make sure that the size is large enough in order to store organs and waste
  • Knife – it should be of good quality and really sharp; you may consider using uluchet, a small, curved knife that is better for skinning animal meat
  • Saw
  • Clippers – made of stainless steel material
  • String – you can also use elastic bands
  • Gloves – latex type

Now that you already prepared all of the materials needed, keep in mind the following tips before performing the best way to skin a deer:

  • The best way to skin a deer is better to be done in a clean area. So, as much as possible make sure that the area is clean enough for the process. Clear the area of any loose branches or rocks if there are any. Those area distractions may let you stumble.
  • Moving the carcass to another location necessitates its wrapping into a cloth or a tarp. This will highly ensure the protection of the carcass from insects and dirt. The best way of transferring the carcass is by dragging it rather than carrying it over the shoulder. You can generally use the horns or the antlers of the deer to pull it along the way.
  • Make sure that you do not wear any watch or jewelry as you do the process of skinning a deer or other parts of the meat preparation process. This will actually prevent the damaging of the deer’s head especially if you wish to mount it.

2-Hang the deer

In general, hanging the deer is an important prerequisite activity before performing the best way to skin a deer. Most hunters opt to hang their prey in a head-down position. Well, it might be good but hanging it from the neck is more advantageous. This is because it will let the deer take off a little bit easier without affecting the chest cavity.

Another hanging position is the butt down which offers an easier way of rinsing and draining the blood and other internal liquids of the animal. Basically, the method of hanging the deer gives better access to the animal’s organs and intestines. Also, in that way, removing the bladder while remaining intact would also be easier.

Well, you can do this successfully by tying a rope or a chain in a tight manner. Put it around the neck of the deer and check if it traverses beneath the chin.

However, some hunters are having doubts about using the hanging method as one of the best ways to skin a deer. The possible reason for that is the absence of trees to hang the animal. Another thing is that the deer is heavy enough to hang up making them gasp for air. So, they tend to skin a deer in a lying-down position.

Obviously, the position tends to be different. Ground skinning of the deer actually has two stages – the right half and the left half. But, one drawback of utilizing this method is that the deer’s meat is at a greater risk of acquiring dirt.

3-Field dress the animal

Before proceeding to the best way to skin a deer, it is important to field dress the animal. Basically, field dressing is the primary step in preserving the meat. It functions by cooling down the carcass and slowing the process of bacterial growth. This is actually the process of taking off all the animal entrails and internal organs. Aside from that, doing this also takes off the blood and the stomach content.

In order to successfully field dress a deer, check on the following steps:

Field Dressing Step #1:

Place the deer in a back position and spread out its hind legs. Make sure that the legs remain to spread out. You may ask for help from someone by holding the deer’s legs. If you are alone, you can also try to use a stick or give your weight in keeping the legs apart. Also, in that way, you can have an access to the deer’s belly.

Field Dressing Step #2:

For bucks – cut along the testicles and remove it out. That will serve as a starting point to open the cavity.

For does – incise on the point where the hindquarters meet just behind the belly area.

Create a sufficient, deep cut in order to penetrate the hide and the muscle. Moreover, make sure that the stomach will not be punctured.

Field Dressing Step #3:

Lift up the hide off within the stomach using your fingers. Also, do this by slicing the belly to open it up and then open the cavity until the sternum.

Field Dressing Step #4:

Once the stomach cavity is already open, take out all the internal organs of the deer through cutting. Incise from the lower portion of the intestines, the point where it connects to the anus. Moreover, to completely remove it, be very careful not to get in touch with the feces.

Field Dressing Step #5:

At this time, the lower cavity is already empty showing off the diaphragm. The diaphragm is actually the wall of the animal’s muscle that is usually thin. That separates the chest area from the stomach area. Once you already identify it, cut within the inside portion of the ribs to take off the diaphragm and show off the heart and the lungs.

Go way up and incise the esophagus of the deer and take it off together with the heart and the lungs. Consider using a bone saw in cutting through the sternum so that you can open the cavity. This is actually an easy way to remove all the internal organs of the deer during field dressing.

Field Dressing Step #6:

Afterward, cut along the pelvic bone. Again, be very careful and ensure not to taint the animal’s meat. Through the pelvic cut method, the remains of the intestines, bladder, and anus will also be trimmed.

Field Dressing Step #7:

Finally, roll the deer over through its belly and get it from the head. That way, it will drain out the remaining blood within the deer’s cavity.

Basic Steps to Follow on the Best Way to Skin a Deer

The best way to skin a deer is to start doing it from each hoof within the elbow joint. However, as an initial step, you must have to prepare the deer’s skin in pulling off in one piece. Cutover the bends of the legs through a knife. Lengthen these small cuts with longer ones until the inside part of the legs. Continue the cuts up to the point of the field dressing cuts within the belly of the deer.

Here’s how to start skinning a deer successfully:

Skinning a Deer Step #1:

Basically, you need to begin the process slowly. Pull out the skin of the deer away from its back legs. Keep in mind that your objective here is to keep away the hide from the muscle. This would be easier if you are using a good quality, sharp knife.

Skinning a Deer Step #2:

In case you already have sufficient skin to grab off, roll the deer’s hair in an inward motion. After that, begin tugging it away. Keep in mind that the skin of the deer must come all the way downward without any resistance over the chest and shoulders.

Skinning a Deer Step #3:

When you already come down on the deer’s shoulder, separate the skin of the deer from its joint through the use of a knife. Take it away farther.

Skinning a Deer Step #4:

Now, remove the deer’s head by using a saw.

Skinning a Deer Step #5:

Wash the carcass using clean water. That way the water will cool down the carcass and help in the removal of hair or spillage from the meat. Don’t forget to always wash the carcass through clean cloths.

Best Way to Skin a Deer – the Alternative Option

If you think the above method is a little bit harder for you, worry no more as there is another method of skinning a deer. The things you’ll need are the following:

  • Length of rope
  • A small piece of rock, a golf ball may also do
  • Car or any vehicle
best way to skin a deer

The steps of doing such process can be done by the following steps:

  1. Loose the skin surrounding the neck of the deer. Make sure that it is loose enough to roll down the rock or golf ball within the skin flap.
  2. The second step is to attach one end of the rope into a loop over the rock. Put on the other end of the rope into the vehicle.
  3. Through a gentle motion, drive the vehicle far from the carcass.
  4. Pull the car into a direction that can swing the carcass. You will be able to know that once the rope around the rock or golf ball tightens up.
  5. After that, pull off the skin of the deer slowly.

Generally, this alternative method way to skin a deer does not keep any hair on the carcass. More so, if it is carefully done, the skin of the deer may not be torn off.

Frequently Asked Questions:


A: Generally, just like humans, the skin of the animals is the best natural insulator that keeps them to survive the drastically cold weather. The animal’s skin is most likely helpful during the winter season. Yet, killing a deer allows their meat to cool off once you protect that protective layer. So, it is better to removed it as fast as you can.


A: Warm temperature basically ages the meat and it helps in softening the tissues due to bacterial growth. However, make sure that the temperature is not too warm. On the other hand, if the surrounding temperature is under freezing temperature or just an average, it is better to leave the skin of the deer on. Allow it to stay or hang for a couple of days up to a week.


A: The temperature above freezing but not more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit is the maximum temperature for hanging deer meat. Mostly, lots of people make it a habit to hang the deer into the garage. However, the condition in that area is too far from the standard or required condition to hang deer meat. There is also the presence of a number of contaminants and pests. Aside from that, you may also experience fluctuations in temperature due to the uncontrolled environment.


A: Well, once the deer freezes while it is still in its hanging position, the deer is fine provided that the hide remains intact. Usually, the hide of the deer is an excellent insulator that keeps the deer from freezing. However, if the deer is already frozen, thawing it will also cost you more time.


A: You can generally prevent the deer meat from freezing while it hangs. This process will allow you to do that:

  • Cut some pieces of cedar.
  • Place it in the base part of the cooler. Doing that will generally keep the blood of the deer out of the meat.
  • Put a hose and let the spout drain and run on the outer portion. Don’t forget to elevate the other end of the cooler so that draining will smoothly go.

Moreover, do not yet skin or perform any processing for the deer’s meat as it is still frozen.

Final Words

After being shot by a gun and get killed, the next big thing to do for your dead prey is to skin it out and store its meat. Well, for a prey deer, most hunters find that the hanging method is the best way to skin a deer. However, for some who haven’t able to find any trees or branches in the area, ground skinning is the technique that they generally employ. Yet, whatever method you opt for, both of them still use similar steps to follow through. Just strictly do what is indicated in the procedure and you will skin a deer properly. After that, you can already enjoy eating it as a reward for your hunting escapade.