This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Paul B
So you decided to try hunting and being the prepper type you went all in for the big package. You have got the shotgun and will be a part of the orange army that heads out the first week of December to try to get a deer.
Well, that is all well and good, but there are some things you need to do if you want to be successful. Deer follow fairly set patterns and until a lot of people start pushing them around they will follow those patterns day in and day out. We are most concerned with the pattern they will show during the early winter months.
At this point most fawns are all brown and are old enough to survive should the mother be taken. Some guys are fond of year old deer as they feel they will give the best meal. I usually try for a 3-4 year old deer. The does will yield about 60 pounds of usable meet. Bucks in this age will dress out at the 160 to 240 range depending on where they are shot.
Since we mentioned the shot, where is the best place to shoot a deer? Usually a double lung shot will kill the deer very quickly and you will not need to track a deer shot in the lungs very far. The best place to shoot a deer is cover by a nine-inch pie plate placed with the bottom of the plate on the breast bone (very bottom of the deer) and behind the front leg. This is the optimum place to hit your deer. There are many places that are fatal, and you will find them if you hunt more than once, but this is considered the best place to hit your deer.
While we are on the shooting part, you need to practice with whatever weapon you are going to use till you can consistently place a shot within a nine-inch circle at whatever range you plan on shooting your deer. 80 yards is a good starting point.
Ok, let’s get back to how we can find a deer. Deer are what are considered corpuscular creatures. They are most active in the low light found in the morning and evenings. They will also be very active if the sky is overcast as that makes a lower light situation. In the evening they will go from a timbered location to open fields.
In the morning they come in from the fields to the timber. They will transit from the timber and to the timber in the same locations. These are most commonly found where two timber lines coming into a V. They are also around places where a creek will come in or out of the timber.
Deer are consummate sneaky creatures. Sometimes you can be looking at a patch of weeds and see nothing till an ear twitches, then the deer will snap into focus. It is like they appear fully formed from the ground.
Anyway you have found a good trail and you have set up by a tree before sunup. As the sun comes up some deer come into range and you shoot one. Now what are you going to do with it. That is the goal of this exercise, getting some meet for the freezer. Depending on what you do in the next little bit will help with this goal.
Go to your kill and prop it up on its back. Since they are very narrow it can be difficult to keep them on their back, but it will be key to success. Usually it is best to start at the anus. Your first cut will be to cut into the deer around the anus. You need to get it free from the surrounding skin so you can pull it back into the deer when needed.
After you have cut the anus you need to back an incision in the soft spot that is where the breast bone stops. I usually make this cut with the blade up and it needs to be about one half-inch long. I usually point the knife towards the head as well. The stomach is in the area and you want to be very careful and not knick it or the bowel.
I use a Gerber Wyoming gut hook to open the abdominal cavity from the incision on the breast bone all the way down to your cut in the anus. Be sure to cut through the muscles as you make this cut. At this point the guts should want to spill out. That is OK and should be expected.
We have a few more things to do before we can clear the cavity. I use a Gerber bone saw for the next steps, but any saw can be made to work. Short ones work best. You want to split the rib cage which we will do with the saw. It will go through skin and muscle as well.
Cut the rib cage from the bottom of the breast bone up to the neck using the saw. Then we will go down to the pelvis area and cut the pubic bone. You will see the intestine going into the leg area from the abdomen. This is the line we want to make the cut on.
Once we have split the pelvis you can pull the intestine from the anus back into the cavity. Be sure you do not squeeze any feces out at this step as that can contaminate the meat. Continue the pull of the intestines and get them outside the animal on one side or another. Now we can go back into the neck area and cut the wind pipe and the diaphragm
The windpipe is a corrugated looking tube that will go from the lungs into the neck. You need to cut it and be sure noting leaks out of this tube. Then toward the bottom of the rib cage you will find the diaphragm. Cut it loose on both sides. You can then grab the lungs and pull up and out to get all of the intestines out of the body cavity. It is a hard pull and you can use a knife, but the pull works best for me.
If we have done everything right, you will have a clean and gutted kill. The rest of the work will be done at a butcher shop or at your home. With this knowledge you can any 4 legged animal you find in North America. Steps are the same, just scale will change. I will address the steps in skinning and butchering in the next article.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.
Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.
Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.
Contest ends on March 30 2012.
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