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bigmike811

learn to skin game

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question for those who know or to point me in a direction of those who know ! ok so i stock food and ammo, i have a lil saved up, but it dawned on me earlier, if SHTF and after awhile when supplies are low or gone. when it comes time to hunt (i can do that-i like to think:D) BUT ive never skinned anything never plucked feathers off a bird, nada ! how does one learn to do so ?

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Mike,

 

I'd hook up with some country folk who hunt. Ask them if you can watch when they dress out some game. Take lots of notes but don't be a pain for them. Then go out and find a place to hunt (possible a State Game area) - kill some game - then practice, practice, practice skinning it.

 

One point - it is much easier to skin a critter immediately after the kill rather than letting it cool first. An example is a squirl (excellent flavor by the way). They are easy to skin while they are fresh but if you let them lay around on the ground until you get a few more, it becomes extremely difficult to get the skin off.

 

A personal observation - you will have more difficulty field-dressing than skinning. There are many Survival books that cover these subjects. I'd read up before trying to observe people who hunt. They will appreciate it.

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oh boy,, heres a subject i am really un familiar/uncomfortable with, i can do doves , quail, chickens start to get lost when it comes to things larger than rabbits although its been so long since i've cleaned anything i qualify for x-treme noob status..

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Reg5 has many links and our News letter has many links also.

Feathers,Grandmaw who did chickens is the one to ask.Start there and see the fun.Hot boiling water,dip in,pluck.Good luck.

I hunted pheasant in Pa. and more work to it than you would guess,save feathers for fishing and pillows.

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generally speaking most mammals and birds are field dressed in the same manner. Its interesting you brought this up because I was thinking just this morning of posting a thread on how to do this. If its a bird peel the feathers/skin off first, this also goes for rabbits and squirals, anything larger you can leave the skin on for the time being. Usually you make a little cut around the ankle so that you can get your finger under the skin and just start pulling. Once that is done, make a very shallow cut under the ribcage so that you can get in to pull the intestines out, this is the part where you have to be careful with your knife because you do not want to cut into the intestines or bladder and taint the meat. Take your hand and scoop out all the insides to be disgarded. The heart and liver are generally good to eat although one good habbit to get into when dressing animals is to look at the live before you toss it aside. If it is an odd color, other than a healthy purplish, red it could mean the animal is sick and you may not want to eat it. after all the insides are out, rinse the meat off with water and cook to taste.

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oh boy,, heres a subject i am really un familiar/uncomfortable with, i can do doves , quail, chickens start to get lost when it comes to things larger than rabbits although its been so long since i've cleaned anything i qualify for x-treme noob status..

 

If you feel that in the future you may need to hunt wild game for food, you need to learn how to turn a killed critter into food now rather than waiting until it is a food emergency.

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generally speaking most mammals and birds are field dressed in the same manner. Its interesting you brought this up because I was thinking just this morning of posting a thread on how to do this. If its a bird peel the feathers/skin off first, this also goes for rabbits and squirals, anything larger you can leave the skin on for the time being. Usually you make a little cut around the ankle so that you can get your finger under the skin and just start pulling. Once that is done, make a very shallow cut under the ribcage so that you can get in to pull the intestines out, this is the part where you have to be careful with your knife because you do not want to cut into the intestines or bladder and taint the meat. Take your hand and scoop out all the insides to be disgarded. The heart and liver are generally good to eat although one good habbit to get into when dressing animals is to look at the live before you toss it aside. If it is an odd color, other than a healthy purplish, red it could mean the animal is sick and you may not want to eat it. after all the insides are out, rinse the meat off with water and cook to taste.

 

Good description of how the process works.

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Im like BigMike I have never killed or skinned anything 4 legged before and I to would be interested in learning all that I can on this subject....I have read and watched many vido's on YouTube on how to skin deer, rabbits, and so on and also how to pluck and clean a wild turkey...but the way I see it....you can read all the books and manuals you want to and watch tons of vido...but there is nothing better than getting in there and getting your hands dirty....I have a good friend that is going to let me field dress the next deer that he gets....looking forward to that.......

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I hope everyone is having a good new year

 

I am attempting to recall this from memory so give me a break I remember when I see it

it harder when your typing it from memory..

 

Animals should be taken in the cool months of the year but in survival situations you

will need to check for anything that looks unusual infection cysts are not bad but check to see

if it is a worm sack heart for heart worms and between the hide for larvae and worms

the liver is one organ that telegraphs a sick animal spotted or erosion/ holes off color

eyes can be a sign also look for yellowing and clarity red rings around the pupil

too many ticks on the carcass looks under weight or cripple needs to be checked

I figure any animal a man can hunt without a gun is a short bus rider so it need to be watched

on approach and checked when taken.

 

There are other ways of skinning this is the fast way if you want to salvage the hide tube or bat wing

is better also feathers were kept for billows and bedding ans well as fetching for arrows writing quills

tooth pics and just about anything you can imagine so waste not want not.

 

first a head shot is the best shot heart lungs they's runs but a gut shot is not a good shot

 

wear gloves I use leather gloves to protect my hands from accidental cuts with my knife

large animals require heavier tools I like a hatchet and a folding saw with a stainless blade

a gambrel is nice but a i just carry a block and tackle the rope was replaced with paracord.

and cut a branch and spread the legs.

 

cut the throat or remove the head as close to the skull as possible to drain the blood

and to insure the animal is dead people have been injured by thought to be dead animals.

small game grab by their hind legs and rap the head against a rock or tree.

a sewing machine running over your body is kinder than a pissed small animal

 

when opening the gut or body cavity not to pierce the intestines or rupture the bladder.

 

birds can be skinned instead of picked easier but in cold areas you need the fat and oils.

rap the head in the same fashion as above birds go for the face.

some just rip out the breast and legs and leave the rest as animals have to eat too.

 

small game like rabbits and squirrels grab the back skin about the middle and cut through

away from you cross ways of the body a slit long enough to place three fingers in on both

sides insert fingers and pull one hand toward head the other toward hindquarters,

the skin should slide to the neck and the lower and the hump of the rump.

you need to keep pulling until the skin is at the wrists and neck cut the feet / hands off and

remove the head work the hide from the hind quarters to the tail and rear feet are the only

parts holding it on and cut the tail and the feet off.

 

you now have a skinned carcass at the solar plexus with a sharp knife point insert only enough

to pierce the muscle wall less than a 1/4 of an inch the edge upward point toward the groin

and carefully slice to the pubic bone tugging up on the knife as not to dig into the intestines

this allows air to go between the abdominal muscles and the gut so the point is not against the

gut.

 

you have now opened the gut cavity look for the bladder looks like a small semi clear plastic sack

located between the hips I pinch the top {it looks like a tear drop filled with urine} and cut it off

hold it so it does not leak into the cavity and throw it away.

 

look at the live if it has white or yellow spotting it has tularemia so discard the animal and wash

your self thoroughly this is why I use gloves. cut, clip, crack, the front side of the pelvic bone

below this is the annulus leading to the bung hole so be careful not to cut to deep i use a pair of

SS toe nail clippers pliers type and grab both legs knee joints looking in to the cavity and using your

fingers push the spine up while the palms are holding and moving the legs opposite of their normal

hinge this opens the bung area up circle cut around the anal vent /bung now you have freed the

intestine at its lower end now scoop out the intestines using your fingers to follow the muscle wall

do not squeeze cradle and pull you are pulling the mesentery cobweb looking strands that hold the

intestines in the body and in their place it is stringy but not tough to separate from the carcass,

pull out to the side at the solar plexus you force your fingers through and remove the organs in

the chest cavity heart and lungs with all this out or if you feel you need the room to work you can cut the sternum in half you want to got up to the esophagus and cut it loose.

 

now you have an eviscerated carcass the flesh has mesentery it looks like clear gel wash and remove

any hair and wash the cavity well using fingers to clean along the backbone any congealed blood.

if there is a lot of hair you can singe it in fire and ignore or rewash.

 

slow cooking is best for more flavor sear over fire or in pan and then stew

 

next I will attempt to remember all the steps for other game they have a few minor but important

steps some animals have musk glands and if you rupture these your meat is ruined as it would be hard

to stomach the smell and taste to eat it.

Gall bladder has a sack of green bile do not break this and is in on animals and out on birds "generally"

never cut the gland remove/ cut from its base and a bit more

 

Javalina are not pigs and they have a sent gland on their back at the butt area looks like a nipple

 

pigs - back side of the rear legs in between the muscles almost half way up

 

deer have it inside the leg and a swirl of hair inside the knee shows about where it is located

there is also a gland in the foot but seeing I don't eat feet .......

 

coons have pea size glands greasy yellow or whitish color inside the legs and arm pit crotch line and back

and spine the fat need to be removed also as it has a strong flavor. you can soak over night in light brine

baking soda and salt water w/ pepper or butter milk to pull out some of the gammy taste.

they are like our lymph glands.

 

goats eat the females and young kids boars well wait till they are not in heat..

 

dogs and cats and I have heard wood chucks have glands around the anal area

so look for any sack or fat looking blob and cut it at it's root.

 

musk ox only have foul smelling urine so as with all animals remove the bladder carefully.

 

bear hair is full of whatever the roll in like a dog so be careful not to get hair on the meat bear fat

goes BAD quick so remove

 

snakes have the glands around the anal vent i just remove the intestines and cut a few inches above

and the head the same hope its a big snake LOL

 

alligators have glands around the anal vent

 

crawdads or crayfish should be held live in a clear or fresh water over night to evacuate purge intestines

throw away dead and rinse and cook them live.

 

turtles cut the head off and do not break anything in the gut wash well skin the feet and

soak in salt water for a while helps remove the mud taste.

 

frogs gut and skin I just keep the legs as the rest is good for bait not enough meat to care.

 

fish I filet them no gutting or scale or skinning behind the head there is a hollow insert knife tip into

and follow along the spine when you hit the ribs skin over them behind the vent insert knife

all the way through and slid against spine and remove the filet and put skin side down

hold tail end with finger nails and use knife and slide with blade angling toward skin until meat is removed.

 

sharks have no bones just gristle spine and their skin will dull the finest steel but it tastes good

 

some other fish are just too bony like gar but people grind it or get as much meat to make gar balls.

 

birds have fat that can have a strong odor but has to do with diet not scent so much

birds are somewhat the same just do not have a bladder they process fluids differently.

but the do have gall bladder gall so do not break the sack

you can eat the brains,heart and liver even the stomach and tongue of all large animals.

but I check the organs by slicing them open and looking for worms or cysts in the heart and lungs

the brain needs to be whitish grey and not have any lesions I do not eat brains and the organs need

to look as good as grocery store or I save them for bait.

 

animals have lymph glands these are like ours they hold carry the scent and they look like white to yellow

balls of fat if you see things like this just remove it at is connective junction.

gall from the gall bladder and fecal matter needs to be kept from touching the meat

in a extreme occasion blown up intestinal track

you can save the back strap neck shoulders and hams and leave the rib cage and guts.

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continued from my previous novel

 

there are animals I will not eat unless i am near death skunk

 

possum armadillo {hoover hog}

crow mud duck buzzard water moccasin blue indigo hag fish and a

 

few others.

as I do not think its a good idea to eat scavengers or an

 

animal that produces so much musk as it stinks

the ocean is a deadly place nothing has a certain place it

 

lives not a day goes by that a species

that was considered only in one ocean is found elsewhere

 

certain shells are deadly or toxic

if sewage or pollutants are dumped into the waters as in times

 

of power failure everything would

be toxic including fresh water rivers lakes may not be but only

 

locals would know what feeds into the lake.

 

I have seen people do stupid things one is wiping blood on the

 

one who makes the kill,

or eating raw meat or organs from these taken in the wild this

 

is very dumb,

blood carries anything you can imagine uncooked it is not worth

 

the risk of it getting in a small

scratch I wear gloves when processing any animal a slip and

 

your cut and mingling your blood

with the animals who have worms and cysts yea you can eat all

 

meat raw you can also get worms

and diseases that will kill you 160 degrees no pink no blood

 

and I do not eat the marrow of the bones

unless they are cooked well and I am in a situation where

 

hunger or survival dictate I must.

 

blood can be mixed with lungs heart liver and "cleaned

 

intestine" to make a blood sausage

 

cleaning intestines turn wrong side out wash in scalding water

 

scrub against a rough surface

pull right side out and do it again and repeat soak in lye

 

water remove and wash in clear water

now you have sausage casings the stomach of grazing animals can

 

be done the same way.

 

lye can be extracted from hard wood ashes leached through with

 

fresh water caught in a basin

/ bowl not metallic as lye is an acid so wood fired clay glass

 

or stoneware plastic clean....

look on the net for soap making and you can find old ways of

 

extracting lye

 

this may sound crazy but the old saying was the only thing not

 

used from a pig was the oink.

I have seen arrow heads made from hooves and bone and all

 

matter of tools and jewelry.

 

I probably forgot something so..when I remember I will post it

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A small tool that I carry for field dressing small game is hand pruners. They are available at about any sporting goods store that sells hunting supplies for bow hunters to prune small branches from shooting lanes. I use them for cutting the feet off small game to save my knife's edge and it's handy for quartering a squirrel for placement of the meat in ziploc bags that I use for transport.

I read earlier where they said that squirrel is easier when it is still "warm"; I agree and also field dress all my small game in the field at or near site of harvesting. This allows the woods to quiet back down after the shot (if using a firearm) and allows me the job of skinning to be easier.

Depending on the circumstances, it will also keep the smell of guts from being near my "hide" or BOL which can alert hostiles or draw in scavengers which can lead to disease. Under friendly times, I try and save the entrails to use for trap bait for predators. I also found (by a inside joke with my hunting partner) that by placing the heads of harvested squirrels on broken branches, we effectively "scared" all the city slicks away from our favorite section of a public game preserve. The property manager asked me about it because they were going to office about the "barbarians" in the area...lol. We just started strategically placing them with thought after that for maximum effect.

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Guest kevin

i guess i can skin anything. started helping dad skin squirrel at about 4 years old. have done dozens of deer and more hog......my question is does anyone know how to EASILY remove silver skin?

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Kevin

 

well it is better to chill / short freeze it and then trim it off but each muscle is wrapped in silver skin

muscle sheath

so you would have to separate the individual muscles and it will be time consuming.

 

I have cut mine into steaks and then trimmed them like filet a fish make a cross cut use a sharp

filet knife and ring it it needs to be well chilled or you will have a lot of waste.

 

you can cut into steaks and when you take it out to cook you can trim while it is still firm.

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Guest kevin

yep snake i muscle em out for steaks too, and use the fillet knife also...we also always freeze our meat in serving sized chunks and wait to slice it til its about half thawed. its firm that way....but grinding the hamburger(chili die) is why i was asking....i hate stopping and scraping off the die after the silver skin clogs it....btw if anyone wonders why to seperate each muscle for steaks its the only way to cut the grain of the meat properly.....if you don't cut against the grain the meat will be Tough.

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btw if anyone wonders why to seperate each muscle for steaks its the only way to cut the grain of the meat properly.....if you don't cut against the grain the meat will be Tough.

 

You bring up a good point, for any beginners I'd like to recommend getting some laminated butchers cards for you processing stations. Good ones will show you critter anatomy, and show techniques for efficient cutting and separation. When I was a kid they were like posters on the walls of the processing station in the basement or garage of wherever we were living.

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Guest survival101

Weedeater says to pass along that he usually takes his knife and inserts it beneath the edge of the silver skin and once he has it in place he presses his outside thumb against the outer of the "skin" and pulls firmly with both hand and knife in the direction with the grain. It will get stuck in places and you will have to take a new "grip". As the fat melts from contact with your body temperature, it will get more difficult.

 

As to the birds, as the woman of the pack, I remind all the ladies the feathers can be removed faster if you have the luxury of a boiling pot of hot water. Quick dunk of the bird carcass (less than if you were blanching a vegetable) maybe 10 seconds? And the process of removing the feathers may go quicker.

 

Thanks gennulmen for the instructions. Having only ever de-feathered a chicken, and cut up an already gutted and bled carcass, this gives a lot of info to go to work on For your ladies who are squeamish, if you brine the chicken carcass sans innards, in cold salt water for a short time, maybe 30 minutes it will reduce any visible blood vessel in the flesh. After a while, you'll be comfortable with seeing it, and realize it doesn't hurt the meat one bit.

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As snake elude to there are real dangers to dressing some game, rabbits should only be taken between the first and last hard frosts, deer have several diseases that can be passed to humans so always be aware of the animals behavior when you take it, if it's not acting right pass on it. If its acting bad drop it and let it lie(it is important to let wildlife management or landowners know about sick animals when possible). Examine the animals appearance if it looks like it was sick, dont risk it and snake is correct the liver is the first thing you should look at when you open an animal if it or any organ looks bad clean up yourself and move away! While cleaning an animal use common sense don't do it if you have a open wound that will be exposed to any fluids, elbow length surgical gloves are a great tool for cleaning game but you still need to use caution, your nose WILL itch but you. Can't scratch it. Also I carry at least three knives when I hunt, one for just use around the glands, and other areas of contamination should be small and sharp, one for fine work like skinning and cutting the connective tissues around the organ and gut sacks and a strong larger blade for splitting pelvis and joints. As a country boy who has cleaned a lot of game and stock and also working a few years in a couple of beef packing plants, I find this discussion interesting, it is really hard to explain this although I could show you easily, I will tell you of the people I have taught the one thing that you should know, you just got do it, don't think to much either your go to do a good job or your going to massacre the thing either way just do it

Edited by DonDon

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