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I have never been hunting. I have been fishing but have always given our catch away. Therefore I have never gutted anything. Is there a book that can teach me how to gut a good variety of animals?

Gman303
 

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I actually have the book pictured below it has nice detailed photos of butchering small game and livestock as well as instructions on how to make sausage and cure meat.

Butchering.jpg
 

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i have the SAS survival handbook and the us army survival handbook. i know the SAS handbook has it cant remember if the army one does or not. i do know theres a link on this site where you can download all army manuals,and the survival one isnt restricted so it should be there. its FM 21-76 i just grabbed mine and it does cover skinning a little enough to get a basic idea. and its really kinda easy once you do it a few times.
 

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YouTube is a great option to give you some basics, but try to find a couple of good books to keep in your library. My uncle gave me an old copy of the "Pocket Guide to Field Dressing Game'' --- by Ron Cordes and Steve Gilbert --- a few years back and it is a great little resource for quick, clean field dressing of big game and game birds. It covers some of the basics that you really need to know. In my personal opinion though, this is a skill that you need to develop and the best way to do that is to actually do it. Find anyone that is familar with what you need to learn and ask them to teach you. You will be suprised how many people are willing to pass down their knowledge. I started by learning how to skin squirrels when I was 5 or 6. Of course, that is how pops raised us.
 

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You Tube is your next best bet, better than a book not as good as having someone who know what they are doing show you the "how to". I' My suggestion is to start out with fish and small game birds...before tackling anything larger...
 

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It's not difficult...Using a sharp knife slit the wrapper peel it back to expose the meat and then discard the styrofoam tray...just kidding!
You need to get with somebody who know how and have them show you...
 

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Good question and thank you to those who provided good advise... I just purchased the book in amazon it was 15 bucks....
I am always on youtube, but id rather have a book to fall back on in the event my internet is not working.
 

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Once you've cleaned and dressed a few animals they are basically all the same. Don't puncture the guts, don't pop the bladder or let feces touch the meat.
 

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Ahhh,ya just wash it off. All experienced hunters have slipped with a knife or gut shot an animal--especially when using a shotgun
Me and my pals these days we just cut loose the backstraps, all four legs and cut off the head.
 

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mmh, learn what animals have glands, if you actually want to skin animals for use of their skins look about tanning and skinning just do a google search. It is all pretty straight forward
don't cut a part you want to use, and then you scrape off the fat then you reapply it later. I found a good book in the local library it was a series called ontario trapping

the key really is to make sure you remove the glands properly before you cook the meat. skinning itself is fairly easy.

each animal will have its own means but they are all basiclaly the same only at different scales.

gutting is pretty self explanatory.
 

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Have you ever cut up a whole chicken even - I mean one from the grocery store? You have never filleted a fish either?

Butchering meat is pretty easy, and a chicken is a great place to start to learn. You can move up from there, but I would start with a whole ("fryer") chicken.

If you have never done this before, you need to be aware it is a messy, smelly, bloody process. If you cannot handle seeing blood and gore, you may need someone to teach and initiate you.

That is why I say start with a grocery store whole chicken. It has already been disemboweled (gutted) so all that is left is meat, skin, cartilage and bones. Good way to learn the ropes.
 

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The trick is to keep it from becoming messier than it has to be...which is already bad enough. If the person showing you the the ropes makes it look easy then you've found yourself a good teacher.
 

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Ok, it is really not that messy

1. after the kill it is best to hang your meat, everyone does it but it is essential to relax and fix the meat in the traditional hanging configuration by suspending the game. Also this drains the carcass of blood and firms the meat up, never let it lay on the ground any longer than possible.

2. Don't you just love my lists hehe

3. Let the meat age for an appropriate time, the warmer it is the less time you need to "age" it but it will help the tenderness. For example at 80 degrees maybe 12 hours, at 40 degrees about 5 days, this allows the bacteria the chance to tenderize the meat. (yes I know its more complicated than that but the result is the same) In Montana it is not unusual in cold weather to hand game for 7 days with the days at 40 degrees and the nights around freezing.

4. My preferred method of butchering is to take the meat off the limbs in "loaves" which is just separating the muscle groups off the animal. With a cool piece of meat just use a knife to cut along the white lines in the carcass and stick your finger in and separate the muscle groups from the animal. No bones to saw, and no grizzle to chew. Until you get to a bone, there is very little knife work needed, just use your hands.

5. Each muscle provides a "roast" or slice it to your desired thickness for a "steak". If you want jerky slice it thin and dry is over a fire (easiest to get thin pieces when the meat is partially frozen). I usually leave the "loaves" as large as possible and then thaw them when I know what I need.

6. You will get a lot of meat that isn't big enough for steaks or roasts, I call this "trim" and you can use that for stews or grinding into hamburger. It isn't necessary to have fat in your hamburger (the white stuff on game usually isn't fat but tallow so don't use it), the fat helps hold the burger together for grilling but we don't add that. For most meals like meat loaf, or hamburger helper you just need to add a bit of cooking oil so it doesn't stick to the pan.

7. If you are freezing the meat, wrap the "loaf" in plastic wrap, then freezer paper and it will keep for years. If freezing is not an option learn how to "salt cure" your meat and you can keep it in 80 degree temperatures for months. Google it, it is not hard you just need to be prepared (i.e. learn what a nitrate is). Another option is jerky which is super easy to make, you can fire dry it, dehydrate it, oven dry it, little chief smoker it, very tasty.

8. Canning meat is easy but you need to cook it first, put it in the canning jar, add beef broth to about 1 inch from the top and pressure cook for 90 minutes. Don't add any spices as it makes a bitter taste.

As said before it is a lot easier if you can find someone that takes game and just "help" them butcher their animal for a season or 2. I would love help if someone was interested, unfortunately my sons got enough "education" when they lived here, now all they want is to show up and mooch the finished product hehe.
 

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I am sorry to disagree but it is very important to do two things as quickly as possible with game.
1. gut and clean it.
2. cool it as fast as possible and keep it cool.

Failure to do these two things is what makes the meat taste gamey. Meat will begin to spoil very quickly above 40F and hanging it at 80F for twelve hours will cause spoilage. You wouldn't let you steak or roast sit out at 80 degrees for twelve hours.
Aging is important but it is supposed to be done at low temps from 33 to 37F and yes it takes a while to properly age the meat. When I cook a venison steak it tastes like a very lean, tender piece of beef. I use only a little salt and pepper for flavor.
More venison is ruined in the field and during dressing than you can imagine.
 

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I am sorry to disagree but it is very important to do two things as quickly as possible with game.
1. gut and clean it.
2. cool it as fast as possible and keep it cool.

Failure to do these two things is what makes the meat taste gamey. Meat will begin to spoil very quickly above 40F and hanging it at 80F for twelve hours will cause spoilage. You wouldn't let you steak or roast sit out at 80 degrees for twelve hours.
Aging is important but it is supposed to be done at low temps from 33 to 37F and yes it takes a while to properly age the meat. When I cook a venison steak it tastes like a very lean, tender piece of beef. I use only a little salt and pepper for flavor.
More venison is ruined in the field and during dressing than you can imagine.
Sorry for assuming everyone didn't know they need to gut the animal (sic)

The friendly natural enzymes that break down the meat are time and temperature sensitive, the warmer the animal the faster the breakdown.

AGING TIME at TEMP
12 days at 32 deg
6 days at 40 deg
4 days at 48 deg
2 days at 56 deg

As the temperature increases the enzymes work faster, if you are hunting in hot country it is possible to shoot your animal in the morning and butcher it in the afternoon and have received a lot of the benefits of these enzymes. I've done this with antelope before as early October on the plains can be in the 80's, so we shoot them in the morning and start butchering them into coolers in the afternoon as we have no refrigeration available.

The magic 32-37 degrees is what the commercial guys do as the longer process does draw a lot of excess water out of the meat enhancing the flavor, they will age 2-4 weeks at those temperatures. If the SHTF you won't have walk in coolers, hanging for shorter times at higher temperatures is the norm for my area.

So to recap, if it is hot, butcher earlier around 80 degrees that will mean the same day. As the temperature gets cooler you can hang the animal progressively longer.

Oh and on a FRESH kill I would let the meat set on a counter for several hours at 80 degrees, I wouldn't do that with a steak that had already been aged 2-4 weeks.
 
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