Top Tips for Skinning a Deer

Top Tips for Skinning a Deer

Getting Started

Open up the deer. With the carcass on its back resting in a stainless steel cradle, make an incision with a sharp knife down the centre to its neck to expose the trachea (windpipe). Cut the muscle away from the trachea so that it is no longer attached.

...get stuck in – and remember to keep your hands and utensils clean

Skinning the Shoulders

It is time to start skinning the deer shoulders. Keeping the carcass as square as possible in the cradle, hold the front leg between your thighs to help you see the line to work to. Take your knife and gently tease away the skin from the muscle using small strokes with the blade at an angle. The idea is to avoid cutting into the flesh. Peel back the skin, holding it taut as you work the knife.


Skinning the Legs

Remove the lower legs by making an incision in the knee joint and simply twisting it away. If you have made the cut in the correct place it should come away easily. Any remaining skin should now come away by gently pulling with your hands. As much as possible try to avoid hair touching the meat.


Saw the Brisket

Now it is time to saw the brisket. Cut from the bottom of its neck to back of its chest. Turning to the back legs – skin and remove in the same way as the front – making sure you avoid cutting the tendons as they are required for hanging. Use your knife sideways with your index finger resting on the top so that you can feel every stroke. Follow the inside of the leg to the centre of the deer.


Skinning the Back

Once all four legs are skinned, hang the carcass via gambrels running through the back legs. A good tip is to use the heel of your knife and your forearm to carefully pull the skin away. If the muscle catches use the tip of your knife to ease it away. To remove the tail use your knife to cut through the joint and pull. Then continue to remove the skin across the back of the carcass.


Checking for Disease

Next remove the bladder and vital organs to check for disease. Inspect the heart by cutting into it and looking for abnormalities. Also check the lungs for infection and the liver for disease. A good tip is to leave the kidneys inside the animal if you are selling the carcass as it gives the buyer peace of mind that the animal was healthy.


My closing tip is to not be daunted by this task – get stuck in – and remember to keep your hands and utensils clean.

Now watch Steve skin the deer in our video of skinning a deer | Watch the hunt harvest here |

Find out more about how to use harvested wild meat from our friends at Talking Game and follow our loin of venison recipe here