Help- I’m squeamish

jpfrog

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Mar 19, 2011
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561
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TX
Hello all, long time shooter and fisherman (catch and release). I would love to start hunting elk, but I’m not too keen with blood and guts. Sad, but true. Several buddies have offered to help me clean it, but I kinda feel if I shoot it I should process it.
Anybody else ever had a problem getting used to blood and guts? Any and all advice is appreciated. Thanks for your help.
Welcome! I started hunting fairly late in life- I was 26 or 27. My folks never took me, but my buddies did when I reached that age. I was squeamish a bit as well. I started small, learning on dove. Later that season, my first whitetail. I didn't go it alone- I had ZERO idea what I was doing so I took the help that they offered. Sure, there was some fun poked in my direction, but I tried to learn from it...mistakes are a good thing. Learn from them, and you don't do them again. I also really love to cook, so once I made the connection between good processing practices and the direct impact it has on the meal I prepare, I got really serious about processing in the best, cleanest way possible to avoid ruining my future meals. After a couple of deer, it got easier, and now, 13 years later, I teach new folks how to do it (though, I'm still slow...I like to take my time and make sure I'm not messing up any of the cuts for later).

Sounds like you have some buddies willing to help, and you sound willing to learn, so things should be good!
 

Knife River

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Dec 3, 2019
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North Dakota
Easiest method PERIOD...:p:)
There is a concern with the "quick cut" method, which you call the "Indian Method". What is left looks terribly wasteful. I said "looks". In areas where there are a lot of other people using the "woods" it can cause a negative reaction to hunting. If there is an opportunity to drag what is left of the carcass out of plain view, do so. Also be thorough in claiming edible meat as some "wanton waste" regulations are very stringent. But as you say, it keeps you out of the innards. It is important especially with elk and other large animals to accomplish the field care quickly to preserve the meat which is the responsible thing to do. I personally think field dressing is interesting and amazing. It is a chance to see how wonderfully made these creatures are. Also, it is encouragement to make good shots, so as to lessen the damage. Good luck with the elk hunting, it is fantastic hunting and sport.
 

epoletna

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Jan 10, 2015
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Northern Nevada
I had an interesting "squeamish" situation once. I was elk hunting with a friend who is a veterinarian. You'd figure a vet could see and handle all parts of a dead animal and not bat an eye, right? Wrong. He had taken a very nice elk and I helped him cape and butcher it. All was going well until I had finished caping it and suggested we cut the skull cap and antlers off so we could save the pack horses some weight on the way to the truck. He said "sure," and I grabbed a saw and began to cut the top of the skull off. When I got to the brains and they began to squish out of the saw cut, he turned and puked. Said he never could tolerate the look or smell of brains. I figured that was the least smelly part! And he was a vet!
 

Shane Lindsey

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Jul 13, 2010
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The first deer I ever gutted out wasn’t even mine. I asked a buddy if he would mind letting me cut so I could learn from someone in the know. He stepped aside and said giddy up...Maybe start there. I think you would be surprised how it is. I am a little squeemish too. I won’t let the kids talk about animal planet at the dinner table, but I can gut a deer. Go figure!!!
You will probably be so high from your first animal that you won’t be bothered.
 

BountyHunter

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Jun 13, 2007
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Wilmington NC
Go to youtube and look at the gutless field dressing methods. My buddy and I use gambrel and hoist. Simple gut hook to make incision down each back leg to chest. Peel hide down to head, take out tenderloins, front quarter, small incision at top of gut at pelvis, reach in and pull out inner loins, then use a filet knife to remove each hindquarter. The hindquarter is the only tricky part until you learn where to make the cuts. No blood other than bullet hole and no guts. You can take out the neck muscles too if you want. Cut thru the knees on each quarter and make it all fit in med cooler. We can do it complete in 10 minutes.

Here is one method laying on ground.
 

IHFarmer07

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Dec 29, 2013
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124
As a farm raised boy to now 29 and still on the farm, there are days that it’s been really hard. I’ve been a hunter from age 8.....it never really affected me until later in life that it got me thinking, man I just took the life of that animal. I’ve had to kill pets, cows that were broken down that wasn’t worth the vet bill, kill a bunch of the critters getting in the crops ect... it has gotten to me a few times to have to shoot baby coons and I feel bad about it but it’s pest control. My dad used to have to shoot the cows but he’s turned “squeamish” if that’s really the term for it, I guess it’s kind of a spiritual thing for him and now turned it over to me.....it sucks terribly but that’s life on the farm. Sometimes farming is tough, you have to make very tough decisions

You have to get your mind set that this is for a reason and not just for the thrill, most times that’s what I do.

In a way I’m “squeamish” too but only to my blood or big injuries, little cuts, scrapes not a problem....animal blood has really no affect to me and to be honest, I like cleaning the animal almost better than killing it. Sometimes my sorrow gets the better of me with killing Gods creation but meat on the table pushes that away.

Like most said take someone with you, just dive in and DON’T OVER THINK IT......it’s hard but sometimes to do things you want to do you have to push past your weaknesses and move on.
 

wv270wsm

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May 10, 2016
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275
Nothing wrong with being squeamish and wanting to hunt . As long as said animal don’t get wasted in the process. Go with your buddies let them help and guide you through the process a time or two. I personally would not start with birds of any feather they have a very different odor that may not help matters none .
 

Bingoc

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Nov 16, 2011
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As you can see from the posts we are all different depending on our experiences, but we have all made changes over the years as to how we handle our game, For example the first deer that I took as a young man hunting alone, was bled at the throat, field gutted, dragged for what seemed like miles through the Ozarks forest and a stream in Missouri, placed in a car trunk and driven to a processor- just as I read it should be done. As he viewed the deer, he told me to go out back and hose out the cavity and clean it out. This all happened in a matter of hours, and the temperature was in the 30 s.

When I got the frozen, packaged meat back, I presented this beautiful piece of tenderloin to my bride on Saturday evening to be used for Sunday dinner. We had only been married for a few months and were both raised in the city. I was proud of my achievement and looking forward to dinner. She set the frozen tenderloin out to defrost Saturday evening, and we awoke on Sunday morning to find it in a sea of blood. Drained the blood and found that it continued to bleed throughout the day. We prepared the tenderloin and cooked it as you would for a piece of medium- rare beef. We then gagged it down, tried a couple of more cuts with the same results and decided to donated the rest to Good Will.

As we moved to Idaho one couldn't drag anything anywhere. Then I learned to bone the animal on the spot, put the pieces into plastic bags that went into a alfalfa sack and on to a pack frame for the trips out. As I hunt alone this usually entails many trips depending on the game and you never go back without your rifle i,e., eight trips for a bull elk and twelve for a moose depending on the terrain. You also have to make sure that you have ice chests at the truck so the meat does not spoil. All meat is then trimmed out at home and placed in a freezer - no more processors. There are some pretty good presentations on UTube, but if you can find a butcher that will take a few minute and show you how he takes the animal apart it will go a long way to help. Remember the first few times that you do this, the process will seem awkward, take time, seem like you are making a mess, but experience will make you a professional.

Give it a try. Hunt with many friends with grit and strong backs. Good luck!!!
 

freddiej

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Aug 10, 2010
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420
Location
Carson City, NV
Desert Ed, I will as gentle as possible😄Yes, Elk and Moose are sweeter than deer. there are some things about deer hunters that irritate me to no end when it comes to meat processing and hunting in general. they think that they can leave a deer on the ground for hours and the meat will not go sour. it takes 5 to 10 minutes for the bladder to start letting uric acid to spill back into the meat and this makes a taste that I am sure you would never want to taste. I think that is why you do not like Venison. as for Elk, yes, its a big deer and it tastes wonderful. yes, you are probably not going to dive right in. I would say if you are squeamish then start with trout and processing your trout, if you like to eat fish. I love trout. fresh caught trout. Here in Northern Nevada we have some of the best cold water streams from out of the east side of the SierraNevada mountains. one in particular really makes for wonderful trout(rainbow) . up farther in the mountains we have "Cut-Bow" trout, and some cut throat, and I am told tiger trout roam the waters up farther than I have been in the east side of Lake Tahoe's rivers.
I have been processing fish, ducks, geese, venison, cotton tail, and elk most of my life. it took me a while to go from fish and small creatures to Deer and Elk. For me it was a confidence and ignorance of how to do it. I had to have a friend help/guide me through it. I made mistakes and I made errors. After a few times I was comfortable processing bigger game.
My suggestion is your go out with a friend that processes his own, hunt with him for a couple of years and more than a few Elk harvests. assist him, have him instruct you how to go from the first incision to the final boning and quartering.
I hope the best for you in your quest for Elk and maybe if you get good results with deer, you might want to take some deer and have that. you can process a deer or elk all corrrectly but too late and the meat will be taste off.
 

emp1953

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Sep 29, 2013
Messages
145
My 3 kids are one year apart. 2 boys and a girl. One morning I went hunting and on the way to my spot I had a deer run into the side of my truck. I loaded it up and went to the insurance company with the evidence then dropped it off in my side yard. I lived in a congested suburb outside of Philly. I went to work, leaving the deer in the yard covered with snow. The kids got home from school and let themselves in the house and called me first thing like they always do. Kept me on the phone til the sitter walked up the driveway. They were 9, 10 & 11. I informed them that there was a deer in the snow alongside the house and I'd appreciate it if they took the skin off of it. From their response I knew it wasn't going to get done. When I got home the deer was hanging in the garage, skinned and gutted, Everything in a contractor trash bag in a trash can. So apparently they had been watching real good, I never asked them to help me. The boys were boy scouts and had their knife chits so I could feel good about their safe handling of the knives. They got it up via my pulley system and 8 other neighborhood kids whose parents never forgave me for the messy clothes. From that day on they took an interest in all the butchering activities. I retired to a farm and we make huge family weekends out of butchering hogs or a steer, even 50 chickens. They thought it was gross at the time but they did it on their own and apparently enjoyed it. Never had to get them psycho-analyzed over it.
 

2Rope

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Mar 6, 2015
Messages
44
I made the field dressing an anatomy lesson for my kids. It made the process interesting and a challenge to ID parts, not a “gross” chore. I explained how the animal I shot will sustain our family and they really liked the fried blackstrap, biscuits, and gravy!
Go hunt! Take a buddy along to help and join the brotherhood...!
 

Joe Hooker

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Sep 12, 2017
Messages
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Just dont name the animals you’re going to slaughter. Sorry Porky, you too Dinner, Foghorn? I say boy, boy can you hear me?
Dinner, was actually Dennis.
 

epoletna

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Jan 10, 2015
Messages
153
Location
Northern Nevada
Speaking of anatomy lessons, I was hunting in PA one year when one of the guys shot a deer. I suggested he take the liver back to camp so we could have it for dinner that night. He said "ok" and cut out the lungs. It takes a special level of ignorance to mistake the lungs for the liver!
 

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