Field dressing (hunting)

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First an incision is made around the anus so that it moves freely from the rest of the carcass. Then a cut is made from that incision to the breast plate to allow the stomach and intestines to be carefully removed. Now the anus can be removed by pulling it down or using a specialized tool called a butt-out.
Next, the windpipe is cut and all of the upper organs like the heart (in hand), liver and lungs, are removed. Deer is ready to be dragged from the area.
Last, usually at a different location, the deer has its front legs placed behind its skull and it is hung from a tree branch or a "buck pole". The last bits of undesirable parts can be removed. A stick is then used to prop open the rear legs. A cup of cold water is splashed up into the body cavity and the deer is allowed to hang in order to cure the venison before the butchering is done.

Field dressing is the process of removing the internal organs of hunted game, and is a necessary step in preserving meat from animals harvested in the wild. Field dressing must be done as soon as possible in order to ensure rapid body heat loss, and prevent bacteria from growing on the surface of the carcass. Field dressing helps maintain the overall quality of the meat. It also makes it considerably easier for a hunter to carry larger game from the hunt area.


Most hunters use a sharp knife to accomplish their purpose. Other tools can be used such as axes or saws. However, the fact that harvesting locations are generally in remote areas makes the transporting and use of larger tools impractical.

Using a knife specifically designed for field dressing and the use of surgical gloves can greatly aid in sanitation.

Risk of disease[edit]

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a rare neurological disease and has been found in a minute percentage of deer and elk in certain geographical areas in Canada and the United States. Although there have been reports in the popular press of humans being affected by CWD, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that "[m]ore epidemiologic and laboratory studies are needed to monitor the possibility of such transmissions."[1] The epidemiologcial study further concludes that, "[a]s a precaution, hunters should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas where CWD has been identified."[1] Tests have also been developed to check for the presence of CWD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Belay, E.D.; Maddox, R.A.; Williams, E.S.; Miller, M.W.; Gambetti, P.; Schonberger, L.B. (June 2004). "Chronic Wasting Disease and Potential Transmission to Humans". Emerging Infectious Diseases. CDC. 10 (6): 977–984. PMC 3323184Freely accessible. PMID 15207045. doi:10.3201/eid0905.020577. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 

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