How to Remove the Entrails or Gut Out a Deer

Gutting A Deer is not a complicated task for a deer hunter. But gutting out a deer is a responsibility that must be taken seriously and done right. It needs to be done as soon as you have located your whitetail deer or very shortly thereafter. This is also the time you would want to take any photos of your deer for keepsake, hunting albums, and deer hunting memories. Do that just before you remove the entrails or gut your deer. This way you have good, clean pictures of your deer without the stains that blood would leave.



Minimal Mess

Removing a whitetail’s entrails, or gutting your deer, doesn’t have to be a messy, distasteful job. Done right and efficiently this process should only take 5 to 10 minutes. With years of success and practice, any whitetail deer hunter will master this gutting process. A sense of responsibility, duty, knowledge, and the right hunting equipment is all that’s needed. After reading and reviewing this article; click on this link and study this video of me gutting out a deer that I harvested with bow and arrow.

We took this picture, for memories, just before he started the gutting process.

As ethical whitetail deer hunters we need to know that gutting out a deer is as much a part of deer hunting as the act of shooting a deer. In most advanced hunting courses this is taught through diagrams and or pictures. It is not pleasant for the squeamish or those who have weak stomachs. But again, it must be done and done properly. If you have shot a buck you will first need to cut off the testicles and penis, discard them. After doing that I turn the deer over on its back, brace its hind legs open with my knees. I then pull the hide up, and away from the stomach. This allows the internal organs to fall back away from the hide. With a sharp knife, I then open up the lower chest cavity by cutting through the hide, careful not to cut the stomach or rumen. Decide now if this is a trophy deer in which you will want a shoulder mount done by a taxidermist.

If it is, then I would cut the hide forward towards the neck no further than where the front legs would be when the deer is standing (note approximate location of Mike’s left hand in picture). Now, while holding the rumen down, with the knife blade facing up, I cut the hide open all the way up through the chest cavity. On a large deer you may need to use a bone saw to the brisket to get to the esophagus (wind pipe). I then need to reach as far as I can into the throat and cut the esophagus off. After this, note the membrane lining on each side of the rib cage (by right thumb and left finger tips), cut that as close as possible to the ribs all the way down to the backbone
I now proceed down to the pelvic area (by the tail) of the hind legs. I carefully (do not cut the bladder, this will taint the venison meat) cut the hide back to the anus area. I now use a small bone saw to saw through the pelvic bone while holding down (away from the saw, and yes, my brother Mike is not doing this) any flesh, glands, or intestinal tissue. After this I go back up into the chest cavity, get a good hold of the esophagus and start pulling back, towards and through the hind legs. Everything should come right out with a little effort. You may have to trim some membranes along the rib cage; but if you pull hard continuously, all the entrails will come out. Once done, I roll the deer over to drain out any pooled blood. Now I would make a plan as getting my deer back to camp. Take care not get your deer dirty or bruise the venison meat.


When deer hunting, it is a hunter’s duty to accept this part of the hunt. We owe this process of removing the entrails, or gutting our deer, to the game we hunt and those deer hunters we have fallowed, and the deer hunters who have mentored us. By gutting your deer as soon as possible, we allow the venison meat to start the important process of cooling down.


Many articles and diagrams have been written and published on the process of “gutting out a deer”. There may even be a good video of “Removing a Whitetails Deer’s Entrails” or “Gutting your deer.” If you’re lucky, you have been taught how to gut out a deer by your father, an uncle, a brother, or another deer hunting partner. Note the type of hunting equipment they have used.

Hunting Equipment Needed

All that is really needed to gut out a deer is a good sharp hunting knife, small bone saw, and field-dressing gloves. Many knife manufactures make high quality knives and saws. I use “Buck” and/or “Gerber” equipment; both are reasonably priced. It is important to keep you hunting knife razor sharp. You can do this with a good knife sharpener like “Chef’s Choice” or a set of “Smith’s Stones”. It is also a good hunting tip to have a small foldaway bone saw or other cased bone saw in your daypack for gutting your deer.

Protective gloves can be found in sporting good stores or even drug stores that carry medical gloves. If you are allergic to latex materials, you will need to find and use either vinyl or rubber gloves. These gloves will help protect you, the deer hunter, from potentially harmful bacteria and viruses that may be present.