You’re On Your Own

How to Skin and Clean a Deer

 The original (and complete) article this excerpt was taken from “Skinning and Cleaning a Deer” was written by Bryan Hendricks and can found at the Missouri Conservationist Online website.


“Cleaning” refers to removing the internal organs from the deer’s body cavity.

· You should do this immediately upon killing a deer.
· Venting the body cavity and removing the organs and blood allows the carcass to cool quickly.
· This slows the decomposition process, which begins the moment a deer’s respiratory and circulatory functions cease.
· A deer’s body is amazingly well insulated and can retain heat for a long time.
· The sooner you clean a deer, the better the meat will taste.
· Removing the viscera significantly reduces the weight of the carcass, making it easier to drag, heft or carry.


Your first step in field dressing, if you’ve killed a buck, is to remove its genitals.

Cut them free to where they emerge from the pelvis.

Cut a circle around the anus and partly free both connecting tubes from the pelvis.


Next, insert your knife point under the hide only and make one long, single incision up the belly continuing the incision all the way to the hollow, fleshy junction of the neck and chest cavity.

Do not plunge the knife through the skin. Otherwise, you’ll likely pierce the intestine and spill its contents into body cavity, which could contaminate the meat!!

Instead, apply only enough pressure, with short, repetitive strokes, to crease the skin, fat and abdominal muscle tissue.

As the tissue separates, use your fingers to enlarge the opening. This exposes most of the organs of the lower abdomen.

Sever the diaphragm to complete the opening.


At this point, use a camp axe and a small sledge hammer (or a quality survival knife and a brick sized stone) to separate the rib cage and pelvis.

Wedge the lower edge of the axe into the sternum, then pound the back of the hatchet with the sledge hammer. (The force of the blows will drive the edge of the hatchet through the ribs easily.)

Pull the ribs apart to enlarge the opening in the chest cavity, but be careful not to cut yourself on the sharp rib edges. You now have easy access to the lungs and heart.

You can use the same axe edge and sledge to break open the pelvis bone.

Be extremely careful not to pierce the intestine or bladder because the contents of either will taint the meat and make an unpleasant mess.

Wedge the hatchet into the opening you’ve created and rock it and twist it from side to side to open the pelvis, making it easy to remove the lower intestine and bladder.


Make an incision in the neck, just behind the jawbone, and open the neck all the way down to the opening in the chest cavity.

Then, sever the windpipe as close to the jawbone as possible.

Lower your hands into the chest cavity and remove the heart and lungs.

Draping them over the outside of the carcass will keep them out of the way and make it easier to work.

Next, sever the connective tissues that hold the stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver, bladder and other organs to the diaphragm, and then pull the entire mass of organs back toward the pelvic opening.

Continue severing connective tissue and rolling back the viscera until you reach the pelvis. Carefully sever the tissue around the anus until it’s free. Then, guide it through pelvic opening until the entire viscera is free of the carcass.

With these organs now out of the carcass, guide the lower intestine through the pelvic opening you created and carefully separate the anal opening and sphincter muscle from the carcass.

You should be able to pull the rest of the intestine from the body without spilling any of the contents.

If you plan to eat the liver, heart or kidneys, separate them now and place them in separate, sealable plastic bags.

You can ensure the best flavor by putting them in a cold ice chest.

Next, take two bags of ice from an ice chest and lodge them inside the carcass. Then, close the carcass around the ice by tying it with rope or twine. This cools the carcass swiftly.


If you’re going to process your deer yourself, you’ll want to give it a good rinsing.

Start by hanging the deer from a tree by the neck.

Use clean water to wash out the carcass of blood, bone splinters, dirt and any other impurities as well as you can.


Use a hacksaw to sever the deer’s legs at the knees.

Then, use your knife to make incisions on the front side of each leg to the abdomen.

Peel the hide away from the legs and use your knife to begin separating the hide from the carcass.

Once you get a good opening, use one hand to continue peeling away the hide while your other hand continues to slice through the connective tissue between the hide and the carcass.

Once you’ve removed a sufficient portion of the hide, gravity will help with the rest.

Once you remove the hide, you’re ready to process the meat.



October 12, 2007 Posted by | "How To" - Survival Skills, Food | , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Make a Solar Still

Water is one of the most essential components of life. In most circumstances, you can survive without it for no longer than a week. In desert or extreme heat areas, your survival time can be cut down to two or three days.

You should always carry water when you travel, and your survival kit should include one gallon per person per day. However, if you find yourself stranded, lost, or otherwise in the boonies without water you can still get it where there appears to be none.

The solar still is often (almost always) touted as the most reliable method of obtaining water from a virtually non-existant supply.

However, some experts decry it altogether even going so far as to say that you will not get as much water from it as you lose building it. (see David Alloway’s “Desert Survival – Myths and Facts” he suggests you try it yourself and even tells you how to evaluate it) 

One attribute of the solar still is never disputed. The water it produces is clean and pure. At the very least, you can use it to purify dirty water, salt water, or even urine.

How to Build a Solar Still

What you need:
Plastic sheet 6×6 feet (2 meters x 2 meters)
Entrenching tool or shovel (or survival knife, hatchet, strong stick, etc.)
Receptacle (cup, coffee can, anything that can catch the water)
Small stone
Optional: 4-6 feet of plastic tubing (such as found in a fish tank)

Step 1: Find a very sunny location, preferably in a valley or depression where the ground can be dug with the tools you have available.

Step 2: Dig a hole three feet wide and two feet deep. For best results, the hole should be dug down to where it is damp.

Step 3: Place your receptacle firmly in the center of the hole so that it will not fall over.

Step 4: Place the end of the plastic tubing into the receptacle and run the other end out of the hole. (This will be what you use to drink the water that accumulates in the receptacle.)

Step 5: Lay your plastic sheet over the hole. Lightly press down on the center of the plastic sheet until it is a few inches over the receptacle.

Step 6: Put the soil removed from the hole onto the plastic sheet around the edges of the hole. This should be done in a fashion so that the hole is made air tight. (The plastic tubing should extend out of the sealed hole)

Step 7: Place the small stone in the center of the plastic directly over the receptacle.

Most sources say that condensation usually begins forming after a few hours of sunny conditions. Estimates vary as to the quantity of water you can expect, but many say as much as a quart (almost a liter) per day.


◊ Urinate in the hole between steps 2 and 3 – The urine will be purified into clean water.

◊ Put some chopped up green plants (especially succulents) into the hole.

◊ Pour seawater into the hole – If seawater is available, it is probably available in abundance so don’t skimp on it. Thoroughly saturate the hole until you have a puddle of saltwater in the bottom.

DO NOT add radiator fluid – the poisons will condense along with the water and KILL you.

October 8, 2007 Posted by | "How To" - Survival Skills, Water | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How to Make and Use a Bow-Drill to Start a Fire

Believe it or not, there was a time when humans could start fires without matches, lighters, butane torches, or any other manufactured products. And believe it or not, IT STILL WORKS!

Although man can survive without fire, it is still usually considered to be a necessity. Whether used to stay warm, cook food, heat water, cauterize wounds, frighten predators, or roast marshmallows – it definitely improves life by orders of magnitude.

Here is one way you can create it (with some practice) without a trip to Wal-Mart.

This post comes from 2 articles.
How to Make a Bow-Drill for Starting a Fire, and How to Start a Fire Using a Bow-Drill

Part 1 – How to Make a Bow-Drill for Starting a Fire

Step 1:Understand that a bow-drill; consists of four parts: the bow, the hand-hold, the drill and the fireboard. The hand-hold and the fireboard are held on either side of the drill, which is spun by the bow to generate friction, heat and, finally, fire. Rub your hand together back and forth to understand the concept of generating heat through friction.

Step 2:Make your bow from a light sturdy sapling, slightly longer than your arm from shoulder to fingertip.

Step 3:Tie a piece of nylon cord from one end of the bow to the other, like a bow for archery. If you don’t have a nylon cord, you can use string, a shoelace, a strip of cloth or whatever is available.

Step 4:Use a dry, soft wood such as cottonwood, willow, larch, cedar, sassafras, alder, aspen, poplar, box alder or basswood to make the other parts of the drill.

Step 5:Make sure the hold piece fits into your hand snugly and firmly. Carve a small depression in one side of the hand-hold for the drill to ride in.

Step 6:Cut your drill from a branch 3/4-inch wide and 6 inches long. It should be round and straight. Carve both ends of the drill to a dull point.

Step 7:Make you fireboard about a 1/2-inch thick and flat on both sides. Make a depression in it, like the hand-hold, for the other side of the drill to ride in.

Step 8:“Burn in” your apparatus before using it to start a fire (See Part 2 – How to “Burn in” your apparatus).

Part 2 – How to “Burn in” Your Apparatus.

Step 1:Place your fire board on the dry ground and place your left foot across it to hold it stable, with your right knee on the ground. If you’re left-handed, do the reverse.

Step 2:Wrap the string of your bow around the drill once.

Step 3:Place the bottom end of the drill in the notch on your fire board. Hold it in place by putting the top end of the drill into the handhold notch and pressing down on the handhold.

Step 4:Hold one end of the bow in your right hand, with the string side facing inward, toward your left knee.

Step 5:Lean down over your left knee and press down slightly on the handhold with your left hand. Move your right arm back and forth in a sawing motion, causing the drill to spin back and forth.

Step 6:Increase the speed of the sawing motion and the intensity of your handhold pressure until the fire board begins to smoke.

Step 7:Do this for a while to grease your handhold notch and “burn in” your fire board to prepare your apparatus to start a fire.

Part 3 – How to Start a Fire Using a Bow-Drill

Step 1:Prepare a small tepee of twigs in your fire pit. Make sure you have enough fuel readily available.

Step 2:Gather a palm-sized ball of dry fibrous vegetation, such as dry grass or inner tree bark. Wad the material together to form a nestlike tinder ball.

Step 3:Keep your tinder ball near your fire board.

Step 4:Place your drill in its fire board notch.

Step 5:Operate your apparatus until your fire board begins to smoke.

Step 6:Give it about 10 more strokes.

Step 7:Lift your apparatus carefully away from the fire board. Notice that a small piece of coal has developed from the wood dust worn off by the action of the drill.

Step 8:Use a small twig to nudge the coal from the fire board into the tinder ball, like an egg in a nest.

Step 9:Blow gently on the ball until flames develop.

Step 10:Place your burning tinder ball inside your twig tepee and carefully fuel your fire.

October 7, 2007 Posted by | "How To" - Survival Skills | , , , | 1 Comment