How to Gut a Deer in the Field

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After you've shot that trophy buck, you must gut the deer to transport it back to camp. Gutting the deer in the field is not only the clean way to transport the deer but also makes it much lighter if you have to carry the deer out from a remote location.

Roll the deer to its side. With your back to the deer's head, step on the right rear leg with your right foot to hold that side of the deer down. Place the left rear leg of the deer on the outside of your left knee. The deer should be fully spread between your legs and under you.

Grab one of the deer's teats near the crotch area on the left side of the underbelly. Lift up the teat to raise the skin from the intestines, then carefully slide the point of the knife into the deer and up toward the crotch. The knife depth should be an inch or less to cut through the gut membrane only. Do not contact the intestines.

Cut the main opening all the way to the anal cavity. Pull the skin away from the body as you proceed. You should be able to see into the gut cavity. Take the shoestring and tie off the intestine just below the rectal opening. This will keep fecal matter from exiting the rectal opening. Cut around the anal opening, being careful not to cut or nick the intestines.

Slide the knife to the chest joint of the rib cage. Be sure to support the skin up and away from the intestines. Allow the guts to fall out onto the ground. Stand with your face toward the deer's head, grip the knife tightly, and cut up through the rib cage. Be sure to thrust the knife through the middle of the rib cage joint. This area is the most vulnerable to cutting, as it is all cartilage. All of the guts should be free of the deer at this point.

Harvest the liver and heart and place them in the plastic zip bag. This will make it easier to clean later. Use moist wipes to clean your hands and the knife. Don't leave any man-made trash, such as the wipes or their packaging, in the woods. Leave the guts and entrails, however; they'll make a feast for wildlife such as wolves, coyotes and possums.


  • Clean any metal used in the gutting of a deer, as blood will damage metal over time.

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