How To Skin And Butcher A Deer

Skinning and butchering one’s own deer save money and ensure that the process will be undertaken more cautiously.

Plus, it’s supremely satisfying.

Let’s find out how it’s done.

How to Skin a Deer

Here’s the step-by-step process for you.

1. Field Dressing

This is the process of removing the entrails and should be the first priority. The process preserves the body heat, which ensures bacteria won’t grow on the carcass’s surface.

2. Positioning

Using your cable hoist, hang your deer upside down. Lower it so as to make the hams level with your eyesight. The head of the deer should be touching the ground.

3. Skinning

Take up a high-quality deer skinning knife and start at the deer’s groin. Slip up the point of the knife under the deer’s skin with the blade facing upwards. Now cut a slit upward from the bottom of ham to at a point past the knee. Repeat on the other side.

4. Peeling

Use your skinning knife to loosen the deer’s skin. Cut the distance around each joint. Now, peel the skin from the deer’s back legs to its tail. Next, cut off the tailbone and peel down to the front shoulders.

5. Cutting the Legs

Take your shears and cut the deer’s front legs off from the knee.

6. Peeling the Legs

Now it’s time to turn to the chest opening. Create a long slit from the inner legs to the point where the leg was cut off. Now peel the legs, then the shoulders, then down to the base of the neck.

7. Beheading

Use your knife to slice through the neck of the deer. Then, use your bone saw to cut through the spine.

Butchering the Deer: First Half

Let’s go through the process step-by-step.

1. Butchering the Shoulders

The butchering of a deer always begins at its front shoulders. Pull it away from the deer’s torso. Your knife blade should be parallel to the rib cage when you’re cutting; this will allow you to go through the joint at the shoulder.

2. Butchering the Back Straps

First, you need to shave away any excess fat in this area. Next, locate the knobby point of the hip bone. Cut under the hip bone and the backbone on either side.

Once this first cross-section has been created, now you must cut down along the backbone, all the way through the neck. Now, you may begin peeling so as to free the back-strap from the deer carcass.

3. Butchering the Neck Meat

Remember the incision you made for the deer’s backstrap? Pull the meat back from there and skin off of the neck bone. Work at it from the top of the neck down to the windpipe.

4. Cleaning the First Half

By this, we mean the front half of the deer. Meat found along the rib cage can be carved out to make ground meat.

5. Sawing the Backbone

This will leave you with the deer’s hindquarters. Onto the next half!

Butchering the Deer: Second Half

To make things easier for you, here’s the step-by-step process.

1. Cutting the Sirloin

To do this, start at the hindquarter knee. Your knife must be parallel with the leg bone until the hip is reached. To finish off the cut, turn your knife 90 degrees.

2. Take out the Remaining Hindquarter

In this step, the hindquarters have to stay attached to the deer’s pelvic bone. Begin with the rear of the leg and just under the Achilles tendon.

This cut has to be worked around the knee so as to free up all the meat from the pelvic and leg bones. The resulting roast meat will be made up of the rump roast, eye of round, and bottom round.

3. Bone out the Hindquarters

Now it’s time to take out whatever meat has been left in the hindquarters. These cuts tend to be perfect for ground meat or stews.

4. Boning out the Front Shoulders

The upside-down T shape of the shoulder bone makes it so that you have to cut carefully.

Don’t use any cheap boning knife, that will get your catch ruined. Read this article to find out a high-quality boning knife.

5. Trimming

Trimming is the last step of the process. Get rid of excess fat, shiny/slippery skin, and tendon.


Skinning and butchering your deer is a time-consuming task that requires much practice, so be patient. May your venison always taste perfect. Good luck!

Brian Casey
About Brian M. Casey

As a food lover, Brian M. Casey developed a fascination for cooking at an early age. He soon realized that not only the ingredients matter but also the knives and the accessories used to turn those ingredients into a delicious dish. This way, Brian began his journey on the magnificent world of kitchen knives, outdoor knives, knife accessories, and much more. After years of experience with many ups and downs, Brian now wants to share everything he’s learned during his journey as an avid knife collector, a well-seasoned knife maker, and an all-around knives enthusiast.

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