How to Process Deer Meat at Home

Hunting deer is a tradition for hundreds of people. Every year around Thanksgiving we grab our best rifles, strap on our hunting knives, and trek out into the woods in the hopes that we can catch one or two deer along the way. We aren’t always successful – but when we are it means that we have dinner for a few months.

Most people will send the deer they caught to the nearest processing center. There it will be skinned, chopped, and packaged. By the time you see the deer again it will look like something that you bought at the grocery store. Some people might confuse it with other meats at that point. The problem with this is that it can be expensive. Why not broaden your skills and save yourself money and do it yourself?


  • Gambrel
  • Sharp knives
  • Knife sharpener
  • Butcher paper
  • Permanent marker
  • Plastic wrap


You first need to find a place where you can hang up the deer upside down. It is often easiest to hang it from a tree limb nearby. Just make sure that your neighbors are fine with this. If they are not than try to use a beam in your shed or garage. If you are indoors place a plastic tarp underneath it so the blood will not stain the floor.

Use the gambrel to hand the deer. Take a sharp knife and cut through the skin between the tendon and the bone that is set below the knee on both sets of legs. Insert the gambrel at the end.

To skin the deer begin by butting the skin that is around the knees. Be careful not to cut the tendons that is holding the deer up by the gambrel. Make cuts on the inner parts of the legs heading to the pelvis. Slowly peel the skin away till there is a few inches hanging from the back. Fold it over a small rock and tie a rope around it. Tie the other end of it to the back of your truck. Drive away and the rest of the skin will come off.

Remove the meat starting from the shoulder. Use the membrane set between the muscles as your guide when pulling out sections of it. Cut all the way to the bone.

Place all of the meat on a table and trim away the fat and tissue from the muscle. Wrap everything you have cut in plastic wrap and butcher paper. This will help to prevent freezer burn. Label each package with a permanent marker. The rest of the deer should be cut into small pieces and tosses far into the woods.