How to Skin a Deer on the Ground

How to Skin a Deer on the Ground

The hanging method is often out of the question for backcountry hunters due to either a lack of suitable trees or an animal that is too heavy to budge let alone hoist into the air. This method uses many of the same techniques as the hanging method, but the animal is obviously positioned very differently and there’s a much greater risk of getting the meat dirty.

  1. For on the ground skinning, you’re going to do the animal in two stages: right half, left half. Start by cutting through the hide around each ankle on one side of the animal. (In this case, we’re working on the left side first.) Then, on each leg, run an incision through the hide that starts at the ankle and follows the inside of the leg all the way until it joins the gutting incision.
  2. Extend the gutting incision from the sternum all the way up to the base of the chin. Then cut through the hide all the way around the animal’s neck, passing just behind the base of the skull. (Refer to hanging method images for additional views.)
  3. Position the animal so that the left side is facing up, and finish skinning the left legs. By peeling and slicing, remove the hide as though you’re pulling back the covers on a bed. Keep skinning until you reach the backbone and the upper half is completely skinned out.
  4. At this point, you can remove the front leg, rear leg, backstrap, neck meat, and ribs from the left side of the animal. You can also remove both the left and right tenderloins. (Make sure to store the meat in a clean place while you continue your work.) Refer to the sequences outlined in the section on breaking down a carcass.
  5. Stretch out the freed portion of the hide like a tarp and roll the animal over, so that the skinned-out left side is lying on the hide and the un-skinned right side is facing upward. Repeat the process while working on the right side.
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