Do you gut your deer in the field or in camp?
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  1. #1
    Gun Wizard
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    Do you gut your deer in the field or in camp?

    Hey all,
    Do you gut your deer in the field or in camp?
    How does this drive your gear and hunting knife selection?

    Reading the books and magazines... You would think field dressing and breaking down a deer in the field is how everybody does it... But in real life - the ONLY time I ever see folks doing this is if they have to pack out an animal many many miles on their back.

    Nobody I know that hunts these days in a hunt club or local public land even bothers to field dress them until they get back to camp and can do the work at the meat pole.. In fact - the VAST majority just haul the deer straight to a processor... No gutting, no meat pole... Just drop it off and they do the rest....

    We do all that work at the meat pole - our gear reflects this. We mostly use sheath knives that are easy to wash for gutting, skinning, and cutting meat, then use a bone saw and tree loppers to hack through the bones and heavy gristle... We have a hose handy for cleanup as well as a sink with hot water and dish soap for washing up afterwards....

    All the guts and extra stuff goes into buckets that we haul off for the vultures and critters....

    Story time:
    25+ years or so back - when I got my 1st deer... I had done all the scouting, hunter education, and read plenty about hunting - but I had never actually been hunting where anybody got an actual deer in real life... So literally everything I had encountered said you ALWAYS field dress the deer out in the field - then bring it back to camp for the rest.

    So out I went with a group of experienced hunters in my family.... Shot my deer... Dragged it to the clearing they had dropped me off at and field dressed it..... They showed up with the SUV...

    "Great Job!! You got your first deer!!!"
    "Thanks"
    "Are you ok? There's blood all over you?
    "I am OK, I had to take care of the deer."
    "Why is there so much blood all over the place? Did you have to finish it off with your knife or something?"
    "I field dressed it?"
    "What? Why would you do that? You aren't putting that bloody gooey thing in my truck!!!"
    "How am I going to get it back to camp?"
    "You will have to figure that out yourself.."

    And that's when I learned a valuable lesson about hunting in real life and how it isn't like the magazines....
    Last edited by truckjohn; 11-11-2019 at 02:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Gun Wizard
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    I have done both, but lately we just load it up in the truck and do it at camp.
    truckjohn and turbobug like this.
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  3. #3
    Wrangler
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    In the field.
    Best Regards, Tim.

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  5. #4
    Gun Wizard
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    For you guys who do it in the field - how do you handle clean up? Washing off hands, knife, and such?

  6. #5
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    Yes, I field dress the deer in the field. The gut pile is gone by morning. I always carry the knife on my belt that I intend to use for field dressing. You will find varying opinions on this issue. I consider it wise to field dress the animal as soon as possible.

    When I return from a successful hunt, my truck has lots of congealed blood in the bed. That's what trucks are made for. Opening weekend this year, it was full of blood and covered with mud. Now it's clean again and ready for another hunt.

    Here's a pic from a couple seasons back. We had a good "daily double" morning. Both deer in the truck have been field dressed. We then take them to another spot farther from where we hunt to skin and quarter. T.S.

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  7. 11-11-2019, 03:14 PM

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  8. #6
    Gun Wizard
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    Always field dressed the deer, just the way I was taught to do things.
    It's what you learn after you know it all that makes a difference.

  9. #7
    Gun Wizard
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    My friend - I understand the sentiment about field dressing.. But that's the reality here on the East Coast...

    It sounds crazy at first - but many times the processor is less than 30-minutes from camp...

    And around here at least - they only knock off $10.00 if you gut/skin/quarter them vs just drop off the whole deer.... So since it's only $10.00 more - guess what folks do?

    Almost all my hunting is ~4 hrs from home.... So I skin/gut/break down the deer and keep it on ice in my cooler until I can get it to my local deer processor.
    Last edited by truckjohn; 11-11-2019 at 03:34 PM.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by truckjohn View Post
    For you guys who do it in the field - how do you handle clean up? Washing off hands, knife, and such?
    I carry a bottle of water, gloves and some paper towels in a small pack along with a little zip lock bag containing a ball point pen and some tape to use in tagging the deer. In Texas, you are required to tag the deer before you move it from where it was killed.

    T.S.
    NRA Endowment Member, Texas State Rifle Association Life Member, Firearms Accumulator, Native Texan
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  11. #9
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    I deer hunt on a private farm 45 minutes from my house. When I kill a deer, I gut it there. I have disposable plastic gloves that cover my hands and extend up past my elbows. After field dressing, I put it on the HitchHaul on the back of my truck. I usually have hand cleaner, water, and paper towels in the cargo bed of my truck. I don't wash the knife until I get home. When I get home, I get online on my desktop computer and register the deer with the state DNR. I do not process (butcher) deer. There is an excellent commercial processor mere minutes from my house, so, the next stop after my house is the processor. If it's an afternoon and the processor would be closed by the time I'd get there, I just take the deer off the HitchHaul and put it on the garage floor overnight and open up the chest cavity. If it's warm I'll put a bag of ice in the chest cavity.
    Last edited by Judson; 11-11-2019 at 10:43 PM.

  12. #10
    Deadeye
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    I wouldn't call it camp but we have a spot near the entrance to our propery where we field dress. Then we usually run it past the house to rinse it out, take it to the CWD sampling station, and off to the processor.
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