Artemis in the Field: Tips for butchering your own deer

By Marcia Brownlee and Jess Johnson

Learning to hunt as an adult, you will probably find yourself wading through the plethora of butchering, field dressing, and processing videos available online. If you google “how to butcher a deer” a whopping 1,820,000+ videos come up. Now, I grant you that I did not wade through all 2 million videos, but I did wade through the first three pages. Not one of them was done by a woman. So, we decided to make one. As the saying goes, you can’t be what you can’t see. While I don’t agree with this entirely (there are some pretty BA groundbreaking people out there), images and examples do inform what we believe is possible. Artemis believes in diversifying the picture that comes to mind when people hear the word “hunter”.  Here are some examples of a woman butchering her deer by herself, and removing some potential misunderstandings about when and where pure strength is required. Here’s a drop in the bucket. 

This was shot on a smartphone in a backyard. Thanks for watching.

Key takeaways:

  • Cool it down
  • Keep it clean
  • Use safe knife handling
  • Be unafraid to make mistakes

Don’t worry if  your cuts aren’t clean and you are leaving a lot of meat on the bone. You can always go back, clean it up, and add the scraps to your stew meat or ground meat. Either way, it’ll get eaten. And you’ll get better with practice.

Cleaning the hair off.  Our first video talks about cleaning the hair off the meat so it doesn’t get manky. “Expect to learn as you go, and expect everyone to be a little bit different.”

Removing the shoulders and the tenderloins: “As with most butchering, generally if you find the muscle groups and follow those along with your knife you really can’t go that wrong.”

Removing the hindquarters: “Be unafraid to make mistakes and use safe knife handling! Get your hands in their and figure out the anatomy of a deer.”

Removing the backstrap: “You don’t need a ton of fancy contraptions.”

Processing your meat: “Don’t be afraid to try it. If you don’t have anybody around to talk you through it, just get in there and try it. It’s not a terrifying thing, and I think you’ll find some instinct kicks in once you get in there.”

Send us your questions!