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Butchering a Deer - Part 2

Here's our next installment on butchering my deer.
There are 27 pics under the cut, and most are pretty yucky. 

After the tenderloins are removed, the next step is to skin the beast. 
I start at the hind legs, pretty much where the meat gets skimpy.  It's really hard not to get hair on the meat.  Well, I have a hard time with it, anyway.  Slice the skin all the way around the leg - not too deep - and continue towards the belly.  The skin should peel right off once you get it going.  It's a bit tricky to start. 

I use the skinning knife to gently separate skin from meat.  You just kind of rock the knife back and forth and let the sharpness do the job.
You've got to be careful or you'll cut right through the hide.  I want to try to get this one tanned, and I am glad to say I didn't poke any additional holes as I worked. 


I've got both haunches clear of skin. 

Since I wanted to keep the hide, I must cut through the bones of the tail with the hacksaw. 
If you cut too far, you'll cut the tail off. 

There, de-tailed and half skinned. 
As I said, it peels off easier than an orange.  You just grab and pull.
I have been told that rabbits are easy to skin also, they just slip right out of their skin.  I don't know, I've never killed a rabbit.
You can tell from all the fat on the back, this was a well-fed deer. 

Here on the ribs is the exit wound. 

On the other side, we see where the slug entered, with much trauma to the meat.  All that dark red is blood from bruising. 

Sometimes you come across nasty fatty tumors.  Generally they are nothing to worry about.
Only once we had a deer with what we think was an old wound that was all pus-filled and generally disgusting.  We left quite a bit of meat from that area alone.  But, the rest of the deer was fine.  Or I presume so, as I am still alive to tell the story.  

This is, to me, the most disgusting stuff.  We just called it snot, which is what it looks and feels like.  Yuck.
Since it's usually around the wounds, I presume it has something to do with the body's defenses. 


Still working the skin down and off. 
Another reason to wear gloves, you don't have to feel the snot.

My back was really starting to hurt by the time I got to the head.
Slice around the neck and forelimbs and then take a break.


The hide spread out - good job I must say.
I folded it up, hair on the outside, and popped it into a garbage bag and into the basement freezer. 

Don't you just hate hair on the meat?  I sure do. 


Once skinned, we will cut out the chops, or backstraps, another tender cut of meat. 
I take my larger knife and cut right along the spine, from close to the tail up to the shoulder blade.  It's pretty easy, as the blade just follows the bone of the spine, down the top of the ribs.   


 You can pretty much see where the chops end high on the ribcage.
Sometimes it's easier to cut halfway down, then cut up from the ribs.

Both chops are off.  They are a pretty large cut of meat. 
You can see the ribs of the deer, with the backbone being the white thingy in the center. 

Pop the chops into a garbage bag to take care of later. 

Then I cut off the front feet. 

And, off with his head!
Cutting through the spine requires some effort. Huff, puff.

Looking at the severed head.  Kind of cool - that white thing is the windpipe.


Ooooh, he's looking at you!

Almost done for the night.
I'm going to cut the front legs off, letting the knife follow the shoulder blade, around and down.  

Give it a yank and pull the leg down.  The ball and socket generally separate easily and you won't even need to use a hacksaw.  I did have to cut a bit with the knife.  
You can see some more blood trauma yuck.   

Tada!  One deer front leg.

Repeat with other leg and pop into a garbage bag.  Usually both front legs will fit into one bag. 


Here's what he looks like so far.  


I was pooped - enough for one night. 
I spent about 3 and a half hours working to get this far. 
It could have gone faster if I had help.
I covered him up because the garage is kind of dusty and staggered back to the house to collapse.


I'm working on the next set of pics. 


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 19th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
I don't think it's the large animal bit that makes me tired, I think it's my advanced age! It's just getting harder to do stuff.
Dec. 19th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
This is fascinating. I've always kinda wondered what's involved in that whole process. Having to try to keep hair off the meat was an aspect of that that had never occurred to me, but in retrospect of course you'd have to.
Dec. 20th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
I'm glad you find it interesting. I also love to see 'behind the scenes' stuff. I watch all the special features on my movie DVDs.

Yeah, hair on the meat is most annoying. I think in the next post I show how to take it off.
Dec. 22nd, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Butchering the deer
See, I said you might need a wetsuit - well, the rubber gloves are edging in that direction!

You are very skillful - no wonder your descriptions in Mudball sound so real!
Dec. 24th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
Re: Butchering the deer
Gloves, yes. Wetsuit, no.
You say wetsuit and I picture myself wearing one, standing in front of the deer who is just spraying me in blood, like you'd see in a comedy TV show.

For Mudball, I just pictured in my head exactly what I did and wrote it! Sometimes life experiences can be useful in fiction!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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