How to Skin a Deer in 6 Steps

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap Print Recipe
  1. Most people hang their deer upside down from a gambrel on a meat pole to skin them. This is a good, easy way to complete the chore. You’ll need to punch a hole in the skin between the deer’s knee and rear tendon for the gambrel, then hoist it up and secure it.
  2. Begin your initial cuts around the bends of each leg. Join these cuts with longer cuts along the interiors of the legs that meet your field-dressing cut on the deer’s belly. The idea is to prepare the hide so that it can all be pulled away as one continuous piece.
  3. Begin carefully working the skin away from the hams / rear legs, both by pulling it and by separating it from the muscle with the edge of your knife blade. The sharper your knife, the easier this task becomes.
  4. When you have enough skin for a good, purchasing grip, roll the hair side underneath itself and start pulling. The skin should pull away pretty easily clear down to the front shoulders.
  5. At the front shoulders, you’ll need your knife again to separate the remainder of the hide from in and around the various joints. Continue skinning it away all the way to the deer’s throat.
  6. From there, use your knife or a bone saw to cut off the deer’s head and completely remove the hide. (Obviously, if this is a buck you want for the wall, the skinning process will need to be heavily modified to preserve the cape. Check out Tony Hansen’s caping videos here and here.)


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