This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: I harvested a nice doe this morning, and the first step to processing the venison is removing the hide or skinning the critter.
GRANT: Most whitetail hunters hunt on their farm or public land close to their truck, and it’s so much easier to bring the deer in where you can hang it and you got a water hose close by to keep the meat clean – that’s why we hunt to provide meat for our family – versus dressing in the field.
GRANT: If you’re one of those guys that’s packing way back in the Adirondacks or somewhere like that, then you may want to field dress a deer. But for the rest of us, it’s much easier to bring it in where we can hang it and dress here.
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GRANT: I’ve got the deer hung up. But right before I did, I skinned out from the tip of the sternum to past the collarbone. It’s easier to do that laying down, and it makes getting through the rib cage much easier if the skin is removed.
GRANT: After I skinned out the sternum, I cut between the leg bone and the major tendon, and that gives me the hole to put the gambrel in. Now be careful and don’t cut through that tendon or you’ll have no way to hold the deer up.
GRANT: I prefer processing a deer with the rear end up, hung by the back legs. I find that’s much easier and cleaner than if it’s hung by the front legs.
GRANT: Once I have it in this position, the first thing I want to do is trim around the anus, get that hide free; so, when I’ve done this, the hide will remove easily.
GRANT: To clean the skin around the anus, I simply put my finger in there and I can tug it either way and then I skin really close to the hams on both sides, all the way around in a circle and that way it’s free. So when I get ready to pull the whole skin down, there’s nothing impeding me from pulling the hide all the way down.
GRANT: I finish simply removing the skin around the anus all the way down into the inside of the pelvic girdle. This is just bone and muscle right here. And I go in about as far as my knife blade will reach. That way when I go to remove everything inside the deer, it’s not attached here. It will come out very cleanly; not putting anything I don’t want on the meat.
GRANT: Once this part is completed, it’s time to make a ring around the top of the leg so I can then start removing the hide from the hams of the deer.
GRANT: Whenever possible when skinning a deer or any game species, you want the knife blade, where it’s safe, sticking out. If you’re cutting in, you’re cutting through hair, and you’re putting more hair on the meat. If you have the knife blade out and you’re kind of pulling out, you’re going between the hair – almost like combing; you’re not cutting hair, and there will be much less hair on the meat.
GRANT: So once I get started, I just work my way around – all the way around. This is so much easier having this hung up where you can stand around a deer than rolling this all over the ground and getting leaves and debris all on the meat of the deer.
GRANT: Put my knife under there. There we go. So, I’m free all the way around. And I just repeat this with the other leg.
GRANT: Okay, I’m all the way around.
GRANT: I’ve freed the hide around the anus, and I’ve freed the hide around both legs, so now it’s real easy just to follow this natural line between the brown and the white to tie in here and here, and that way the skin would just start coming off.
GRANT: It’s ideal to stick your knife right under the hide so you’re not cutting into the meat, and that’ll just keep it cleaner.
GRANT: Once you’ve done a little bit of tedious work of freeing up the hide here, then you can make progress quickly by simply pulling the hide out and taking your knife – it should be very sharp – and just laying where the hide connects to the muscles. You don’t want to turn into the muscles or you’ll cut in there. And the more you cut in there, the more dirt can get on the inside of the meat you and your family are going to consume.
GRANT: Once I’ve removed the hide from all around the hams, I’m at a point where the tailbone is actually connected, and the hide won’t go around it unless I skin out the tail. I don’t want to do that, and I don’t need the tailbone, so I just put pressure down on the tail and free up the hide around it – even below the tailbone here.
GRANT: And now I’m at that point. I don’t want to dull my knife, so I get a really good grip on the tailbone. I lift up, and I go, and you’ll hear that. And when I did that, I separated – the tailbone is actually a bunch of smaller fragments – and you can just do it once or twice and then stick your knife right between the joints, so to speak. Let me find it right there. And that way you don’t have to dull your knife. It just goes right through without putting a lot of pressure.
GRANT: And once you’ve got that, you got this nice handle now, and you can pull down and remove the hide pretty quickly or you can take your time – if you’re saving it as a pelt – and just free it on down.
GRANT: One trick I’ve learned, it’s easier to skin out the front shoulders before you get this too far down and it’s in the way. Then you’re trying to do this and hold the hide up at the same time.
GRANT: If you’re using a hoist like I am, you can raise the deer to a height to where it’s comfortable to work here. I’ve got mine at a height I like, and I just hold the leg between my legs.
GRANT: There’s hardly any meat here. I want the shoulder meat, so I’m simply gonna skin right up the white-brown line – just like we did here – and then free the hide where it can peel all the way down to the neck and expose all the meat I want to put in the freezer.
GRANT: With this hide removed and free all the way down to the neck, it’s really easy now to pull this on down and expose the entire shoulder and making it easy to remove that meat.
GRANT: I have finished removing the hide all the way from the deer except where it joins the head. I’m gonna carefully cut that off. And I’ll have that tanned and present the hide as a gift to someone. That’s one of the many usable parts of a white-tailed deer.
GRANT: I wanted to share this easy technique on how to remove a hide from a white-tailed deer, and you can apply this to many other species. If you want to, you can tune into our next video where I’ll show you how to remove all the organs and get ready to process the meat.
GRANT: Fresh venison is just one of the many blessings of getting outside and enjoying Creation. But we receive our biggest blessings when we take time every day, be quiet, and listen to what the Creator is saying to us.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.