A hunter starts field dressing his deer harvest in this image.

After the Kill: How to Field Dress and Handle Wild Game

"As many hunters know, after any successful hunt is when the fun really begins. The tagged game is ready for field dressing."

Let's get to it!

If you're an avid hunter, chances are you should know the basic steps on how to expertly field dress a deer. Even after successfully bagging your prey, there's still crucial work to be done before it can be hauled to your truck and chilled in coolers. Depending on the kill site, a basic field dressing might not be enough. But worry not, we've streamlined the process to make sure you tackle all the necessary steps with outdoorsman finesse.

Understanding the Importance of Field Dressing

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of field dressing a deer, let's understand why it's such a crucial skill for us hunters. Field dressing means gutting a deer right after harvesting it in the field. This process helps preserve the meat and keeps it top-notch. Plus, it makes transporting the deer a whole lot easier and reduces the risk of spoilage. Now that we've established the importance, let's get down to business.

A hunter field dressing a deer after his harvest.


Prior to heading into the wilderness, it's crucial to have all the necessary tools and equipment for the delicate art of field dressing a majestic deer. Here is a list of the essentials you'll need:

  1. Razor-Sharp Blade: A top-notch, razor-sharp blade is absolutely crucial for achieving pristine cuts.
  2. Protective Gutting Gloves: These gloves not only shield your hands from harmful bacteria and potential diseases, but also ensure your safety.
  3. Reliable Plastic Bags: These trusty companions are a must-have for carrying organs and other waste material with ease.
  4. Sturdy Rope or Game Hoist: This invaluable tool will assist you in effortlessly suspending the deer, making it more accessible and convenient.
  5. Trusty Bone Saw: A reliable bone saw proves invaluable when it comes to slicing through the ribcage and pelvic bone.

After gathered all your gear, onto the hunting grounds for a smooth harvest and seamless field dressing experience.

A Top Pick Amongst Most of Us Western Hunters... 

Field 2.0 being used to field dress an Alaskan moose, on a hunting trip. A knife known since its debut in 2020 to be "a go-to knife" for hunters of all skill level.
For a versatile and reliable blade, I highly recommend the FORLOH Field 2.0. Having had the chance to test it as a new product in 2020, it quickly became an indispensable tool for me in the field. It's not just me, though. Hunters in my area have embraced this knife to the extreme, and it has sparked conversations among a wide range of individuals I know. The FORLOH Field 2.0 has made a name for itself in the outdoor community. 



Step-by-Step Guide to Field Dressing a Deer

Alright, now that you've got all the essential tools, let's dive into the nitty-gritty portion of it all: 

    1. Get the Deer Ready: Start by laying the deer on its back and securing it firmly with a rope or game hoist. This will make your job a whole lot easier.
    2. Make the First Cut: Take your sharp knife and make a shallow incision from the anus to the chest. Be real careful not to puncture any organs.
    3. Take Care of the "Private Parts": Cut around the genitals with caution and remove them, making sure not to nick the bladder or intestines.
    4. Open Up the Chest: Extend the initial incision up to the chest, giving yourself enough room to reach the insides.
    5. Remove the Guts: Start by cutting the diaphragm and separating the chest and abdominal cavities. Then, gently take out the organs, being real careful not to puncture the intestines or stomach.
    6. Clean Up the Mess: Rinse the cavity with cold water to get rid of any blood or debris. Wipe it dry with a cloth or paper towel.
    7. Get the Heart and Liver: If you want, carefully take out the heart and liver to enjoy later. Just make sure to pack 'em up right for transportation.
    8. Seal the Deal: Bring the legs together and use the extra skin to close up the cavity. Secure it tight with a zip tie or butcher's knot.

Over time, you will become highly skilled in the art of field dressing a deer. Might not be today, but the day will come when you become the trusted expert within your hunting crew.

FORLOH Field Knife 2.0S used at the FORLOH Deer Farm during harvest.

Avoiding Amateur Mistakes:

To execute your field dressing properly and avoid any mishaps, here are some essential steps to keep in mind:

- Be Prepared: Familiarize yourself with the process beforehand and practice your knife skills.
- Work Clean: Keep your tools, hands, and the deer as clean as possible to prevent contamination.
- Stay Organized: Use plastic bags to store the organs and waste material properly.
- Take Your Time: Rushing can lead to mistakes. Take your time and focus on each step.
- Be Respectful: Treat the animal with respect throughout the entire process.


That's a Wrap, You Can Add "Field Dressing a Deer" to Your Outdoor Knowledge Now.

It's not rocket science, but it's certainly helpful to know a field dressing guide that every hunter should have, refer to, and always be prepared for. As a hunter, doing so is a vital skill for outdoor enthusiasts.

By sticking to the basics, utilizing a step-by-step guide, gathering the right tools, and keeping safety front and center, you'll become a pro in no time. Remember, learning takes practice, but luckily there are plenty of deer to go around!

Now, go stock up your freezers, folks. Happy hunting.