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Thread: Skinning a Hanging Roe Deer

  1. #1

    Skinning a Hanging Roe Deer

    Everyone has their own way of skinning and their own preferences but as I had a camera handy I thought I'd capture how I skin roe deer whilst hanging. You won't need a winch, a machete, an air compressor or any other props, just some gloves, strong fingers and, to a lesser extent, a small sharp knife.

    Before we go any further, yes I am doing it in my garage not a dedicated larder and yes, it is for my personal consumption!

    I take the deer, still on the gambrel on its back legs and hook it over the rail for the garage door. It stops it twisting about, but still allows enough swivel either way to see what you are doing.

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    The first step is to force your fingers under the skin on the inside of the hind legs. Force your finger up as far as you can and make a fist, slowly working the skin away from the leg. Hook your finger around any connective tissue you can find under the skin and simply tear it away.


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    Next, take your knife and put it up behind the skin and cut it up the inside of the leg all the way into the hole where the gambrel passes through the hock. Cut upwards not towards your face! You are cutting from inside out to minimise the amount of hair released by the cut. I am using a tripe knife here as the special blunt end helps prevent damage to the haunch.


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    Work your fingers under the skin all around the hind legs until you can reach right under the skin all round. Sever the skin about half way up the leg, leaving enough to get a firm grip of.


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    Then grasp the remaining skin and pull upwards and it will remove the remaining skin from around the gambrel without having to unhook the deer.


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    Continue to work your fingers under the skin, pushing your fist under and hooking out any connective tissue until you get down to the tail. Cut the tail off with your knife between the first joint and continue working the skin down to the mid section.



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    The skin can be quite sticky here. If the meat starts to tear or the connective tissue won't give just run the tip of a sharp knife along the fold and the tissue will part cleanly, then pull it down a bit more.


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    Roll the skin under itself as you pull to prevent too much hair getting on the meat and continue down until the shoulders.


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    The shoulders can be a little tricky and some people prefer to part the skin down the leg like we did on the hind legs but on a small deer you don't really need to. Work your fingers and fist around the shoulder as much as possible until you get the skin over the elbow. Then keep burrowing with your fingers until you can get right round the leg. You might need to help this along with the knife.


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    Holding the leg up with one hand you can now pull down on the skin and deglove the front leg.


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    Continue working down until the neck. The skin again becomes quite tough here and you might need to use tip of the knife to gently sever any stubborn bits of connective tissue.



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    One final heave down on the skin and the rest of the neck should de-glove leaving you with a skinless deer.


    With a bit of practice this process doesn't take long at all, can be performed anywhere you can hang the deer securely and requires no lifting or moving of the carcass at all.

    As I said before, this is just one way of doing it that I find easiest but the key is to try it and modify as appropriate to your own requirements. Hopefully it will be useful to someone who has found themselves with a deer hanging in their garage for the first time!

    Comments, suggestions, other input very welcome!


    Alex

  2. #2
    Nicely done Alex mate.

    It`s very similar to how i do mine. I must admit to thinking about getting a tripe knife as they are a great tool in getting that skin off without damaging the meat.

    That looks like a nice clean carcass too.

    Well done again.

    wadas

  3. #3
    Alex, I had not thought of cutting off the skin when skinning the back leg ! Thanks for the tip. As for the tripe knife, I was given an EKA swingblade and would not be without it now.

    Do you skin your deer while fresh, or after hanging in the chiller?

    ft
    Blindness to suffering is an inherent consequence of natural selection. Nature is neither kind nor cruel but fiercely indifferent.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by wadashot View Post
    Nicely done Alex mate.

    It`s very similar to how i do mine. I must admit to thinking about getting a tripe knife as they are a great tool in getting that skin off without damaging the meat.

    That looks like a nice clean carcass too.

    Well done again.

    wadas
    Cheers Wadas. Yes, they are quite a handy tool for getting under the skin up the legs. Chris Howard makes good use of one on his gralloch DVD for opening up the abdomen and cutting the skin across the sternum too but I don't think I could be bothered to carry one in the field with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by flytie View Post
    Alex, I had not thought of cutting off the skin when skinning the back leg ! Thanks for the tip. As for the tripe knife, I was given an EKA swingblade and would not be without it now.

    Do you skin your deer while fresh, or after hanging in the chiller?

    ft
    ft, I don't have a chiller at home at the moment so I tend to get on and do them pretty sharpish so I can break the carcass down and get the meat refrigerated. If I was going to hang in a chiller I'd probably leave the skin on though to stop the carcass going dry and crusty, even though the skin is harder to get off after it's been chilled. What I would do though is the first step of getting under the skin on the inside of the hind legs. I'd just loosen up a pocket on each leg so it would give somewhere that's easy to get started when it comes out the chiller.

    Alex

  5. #5
    Does this mean you got one on Saturday??

    Very informative, wish I had a garage in London!!!

  6. #6
    Patrick,

    Yes, got one yesterday. You have email incoming!

    Alex

  7. #7
    There are still some left Patrick, Alex is leaving some for you
    Did you notice the bullet strike ? that was the purpose of this post really wasn't it Alex to show off your shooting skill
    Joking aside, that was a very good shot, well earned purely for the patience you had waiting for it to present the correct angle before taking the shot. Congratulations on a job well done.

  8. #8
    Thanks Eddy, that's kind of you to say so but it did end up a little too far back as you know! (more obvious on the other side) so no fishing for marksmanship compliments on this one!

    see you soon,

    Alex

  9. #9
    If you get your thumb up under the flankand push upwards onto the leg before pulling the skin ,pulling the skin out rather than down will reduce the chance of ripping the carcase,think you left a lb of sausage on the skin

    Nell

  10. #10
    . I'd just loosen up a pocket on each leg so it would give somewhere that's easy to get started when it comes out the chiller.

    Alex[/QUOTE]
    Good thinking Alex.
    Cheers for the tip.
    S

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