First deer on new permission

I'm not very experienced with shooting deer, in fact, I think this is my 5th one ever (roe doe). Was in their high seat from quite early on - annoyingly disturbed a roe as I was approaching it but they waited until I was freezing cold before showing again (I even broke open my emergency HotHands handwarmers, which didn't work as they're too old and had gone solid. Was wearing 4 layers with gloves but legs and hands were getting chilly). There was a group of 3, possibly 4, just the other side of a wire stock fence on the woodland boundary. The one I shot (.308) wasn't perfectly presented - she was 3/4 on - but was from only about 40 yards away. Shot through the right hand side shoulder. She ran off but fortunately died with her white tuft facing my direction so I saw her almost the moment I went into the woodland. There was a lot of blood and a fairly large exit wound. I think I pierced the heart and lungs. Fortunately still quite light (16.30) but was almost dark by the time I got back to the house.


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I'm wary of your reaction to my gralloch, having read some of the comments on the fast gralloch video. I had trouble removing the head but eventually got it off. From what I could see, the liver was in perfect condition and the guts weren't pierced. Made a real mess trying to remove everything else - need more practice. Got blood on my jacket (combat smock, so designed for it!) as well as my rucksack. Nice to have warm hands, though, Star Wars didn't lie to me! Used a combination of my bushcraft Spyderco and my Mora Roe knife, which is much easier to clean afterwards. I removed the front forelegs but left the rear ones on so I'd have something to carry/drag her by.

Landowners were really pleased and helped me carry the carcass some of the way back and get her into the car. He's coming over tomorrow to help me skin and butcher it (blind leading the blind!). Carcass is in an old fridge at the moment but it's cold enough outside that probably doesn't need to be.

As well as looking at some tutorials, I need to pack more plastic bags in my rucksack as I only had one. Might look at getting a folding gambrel so I can do a suspended gralloch next time. Should also have taken my petrol handwarmers and thermal underwear (wearing Decathlon hunting trousers). Maybe a small blanket to put over my legs as I do suffer from cold. I have too much stuff in my jacket pockets but I've emptied it out so I can wash it.
 

Jimbob39

Well-Known Member
Well done! It’s all learning and the more you do the more confident you become. I did my first solo stalk and gralloch a couple of weeks ago and I was nervous! Just take your time and look what you are doing. Like removing head and legs, look where you have cut and if it’s not worked look where you should have cut. Plenty of good videos out there and don’t rush!! Main Thing is bleed it then you can take your time on the rest. This time of year as it’s cold you can learn on the job without fear of flys and heat. Personally I find the suspended method far easier but last time out I didn’t have anything to hand or extra hands to suspend so had to do it on the floor. Keep learning and ask for help, plenty on here to offer advice.
 

75

Well-Known Member
Heated waistcoats get good reviews but I just wear an old down jacket under my stalking jacket, and some fleece thermals on the bottom half.

I found suspended gralloch easier to start out as gravity helps but you’ve got to be careful of nicking intestines when opening them up and cutting ribs (I’d not bother suspended unless the whole lot was coming out).

IMHO - no point bleeding a chest shot deer, but that’s a whole other thread (and been covered many times on here before!!)
 

Donkey Basher

Well-Known Member
Can totally recommend the BDS DVD 'Gralloching from field to larder' - you'll learn a lot watching that.

Suspended grallochs are the way to go, gravity works wonders once you've mastered the art of using the back of your forearm to 'keep it all in' while you sort the breast bone. And, you don't need a folding gambrel, a couple of large stainless steel 'S' hooks & some non-stretch braided line will get the carcass in the air with the help of a handy branch or even any tree trunk from a 4" diameter upwards!

Well done, it'll all get better with practice.
 

ColinBr

Well-Known Member
Have a look at Scott Rea's vidoe on butchering a deer on youtube for some help on the butchering. Its how I learned.

Well done on you Doe, and you will get there with the gralloching, it just takes time, and possibly get someone with more experience to give you some guidance if need be.

Either way. Enjoy your well earned venison meals, it makes it all worth while
 

spandit

Well-Known Member
Heated waistcoats get good reviews but I just wear an old down jacket under my stalking jacket, and some fleece thermals on the bottom half.

I found suspended gralloch easier to start out as gravity helps but you’ve got to be careful of nicking intestines when opening them up and cutting ribs (I’d not bother suspended unless the whole lot was coming out).

IMHO - no point bleeding a chest shot deer, but that’s a whole other thread (and been covered many times on here before!!)
My top half wasn't too bad. I had a long sleeved T-shirt, a shirt, a lightweight thermal fleece and my jacket. Could have worn a fleece gilet too.

The carcass was flooded with blood so not sure how much more there is to come out!

Can totally recommend the BDS DVD 'Gralloching from field to larder' - you'll learn a lot watching that.

Suspended grallochs are the way to go, gravity works wonders once you've mastered the art of using the back of your forearm to 'keep it all in' while you sort the breast bone. And, you don't need a folding gambrel, a couple of large stainless steel 'S' hooks & some non-stretch braided line will get the carcass in the air with the help of a handy branch or even any tree trunk from a 4" diameter upwards!

Well done, it'll all get better with practice.
Thanks, I'll have a look. Good idea about the S hooks. I have some Dyneema braid that will take the strain as well as some pulleys (which might not)
 

spandit

Well-Known Member
Have a look at Scott Rea's vidoe on butchering a deer on youtube for some help on the butchering. Its how I learned.

Well done on you Doe, and you will get there with the gralloching, it just takes time, and possibly get someone with more experience to give you some guidance if need be.
Ah, a friend of mine already recommended Scott Rea - that's my homework for tonight!

My local shooting friend (& mentor!) was working today so couldn't give more than moral support.

Just thankful it was a swift death as I'd hate to cause unnecessary suffering
 

baguio

Well-Known Member
Well done mate. No one is born an expert so don't expect to be one after 5 deer. The head cut is perfectly in line with the back of the ears. Cut all the way around, hold the chin up at 90 degrees to the neck and twist. If you have cut to the spine all the way around it will twist off easily.
If you ask, they may be someone on here near you who will show you the whole gralloch. All deer are the same so it matters no which deer is in front of you. Personally I would get a fixed gambrel and some thermals. Anyone can be cold and cold isn't fun!
 

spandit

Well-Known Member
Lots of great advice on here - thank you - wish I'd watched the videos before heading out, though! Looks like a crime scene in the field - but then I suppose it always does no matter how experienced one is.

Was pleasantly surprised at how little it smelt compared to rabbits. The land owners were frustrated with deer damage in their woodland so even if I don't maximise the amount of meat off the carcass, she didn't die for nothing.

I was running dead with that shot placement.

Took me a while to realise you meant "It" :p
 

Jimbob39

Well-Known Member
Heated waistcoats get good reviews but I just wear an old down jacket under my stalking jacket, and some fleece thermals on the bottom half.

I found suspended gralloch easier to start out as gravity helps but you’ve got to be careful of nicking intestines when opening them up and cutting ribs (I’d not bother suspended unless the whole lot was coming out).

IMHO - no point bleeding a chest shot deer, but that’s a whole other thread (and been covered many times on here before!!)
Yes I’ve read a lot about the bleeding. My experience so far has shown there is still a lot of blood in the cavity on chest shot deer. For what it takes I do it on everything.
 

supersport

Well-Known Member
Don't beat yourself up about anything you've done with this deer the end results is a successful stalk. You'll find your own technique in gralloch videos give a general idea On what to do my advice is take your time no rush the deer isn't going anywhere enjoy the experience remember practice makes perfect.
 

spandit

Well-Known Member
Don't beat yourself up about anything you've done with this deer the end results is a successful stalk. You'll find your own technique in gralloch videos give a general idea On what to do my advice is take your time no rush the deer isn't going anywhere enjoy the experience remember practice makes perfect.

Thanks. Was lucky it was still light (although I had a head torch) and dry. If it was wet and dark I'd want to speed things up a little...
 

Utectok

Well-Known Member
Watch a few videos about cutting the head off if your not careful you’ll stab yourself lol. Seriously it is easy if you cut the back of the neck level with the ears to access the atlas joint. Then cut round the neck inside to outside a quick twist and slice and your done. Like I say watch a video on YouTube
 
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