How to Properly Skin a Deer: Step-by-Step Instructions From blog: How to Properly Skin a Deer: Step-by-Step Instructions From

The experts at understand that skinning a deer can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are so many things to remember, and naturally, you want to keep most of the hide intact. Fortunately for you, there are ways to simplify the skinning process, even if you are a beginner. So take the following details into consideration after your next big deer-hunting trip.

What You Will Need

Before you begin the skinning process, the experts at recommend you gather the necessary equipment. To skin a deer, you will need:

  • Three to five bags of ice.
  • One large bucket (that holds approximately five gallons).
  • A sharp knife and a bone saw.
  • A large cooler.
  • One box of gallon-sized Ziploc bags.

You will also need to be sure that there is sufficient space in your freezer before skinning. Furthermore, if you don’t have a knife available, it is acceptable to use a small hatchet instead.

Three Simple Steps to Follow

  1. To start, hang your deer upside down from a meatpole. To ensure that your deer is properly secured to the pole (especially if it is a larger one), make an incision in the flesh between the knee and the rear tendon (for a gambrel). Carefully and slowly make your first cuts near the bends of each leg. When doing this, you will want to make long cuts so that each cut intersects with the main cut along the deer’s abdomen. This will ensure that the hide can be removed in a single piece with minimal tearing.
  2. Slowly begin removing the skin from the deer’s rear legs. To do this correctly, you may need to use your hands to pull some of the skin away from the tougher muscles. If you are uncomfortable using your hands to do this, and you own an extremely sharp knife, you can try using the edge of the knife’s blade to separate skin from muscle. Once you shave off a sizeable amount of skin, start pulling the skin down to the front part of the shoulders. At this point, the skin should peel away fairly easily if you have done the previous steps properly. The experts at note that you may need to roll some of the hair out of the way to do this.
  3. After performing the steps above, start at the front of the shoulders, and use your knife to remove the rest of the hide from around the joints. Continue doing this until you reach the throat, and use a bone saw or sharp knife to decapitate the deer and finish removing the hide. Finally, if you intend to keep the head of the deer, recommends you do your best to keep the cape intact.