Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25

Thread: Field Dress A Moose

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    690

    Default Field Dress A Moose

    Found this on the 'net; seems pretty good and thought it may help some newbies out there. As always, comments are welcomed for variations or improved procedures.

    Clear Your Working Area
    Clean the immediate area around the animal so that you have room to move, and to roll out the entrails. Plan ahead, choosing the lowest ground around the animal for the entrails. Move the carcass if necessary. Also clear an area leading away from the carcass, in the direction you wish to move the animal away from the entrails for transportation or quartering. Place the animal on its back, spreading the rear legs using ropes or having your partners hold them apart. If you have several people, or additional rope, do the same with the front legs.

    Bleed The Animal

    A heart-lung shot usually provides adequate bleeding. However, to ensure bleeding, insert a sharp knife into the shallow cavity at the base of the throat and slice across the main blood vessels with a wide and deep, crosswise cut. This opens the jugular veins that run from the heart to the head. Since the animal is dead, blood flow is by gravity. Allow the blood to flow away from the animal, clearing the ground when necessary.

    Preparatory Skin Cuts, Throat to Anus

    Starting at the breastbone, just below the rib cage, use a sharp knife cutting the skin in a straight line to the neck and base of the jaw. Complete the process by cutting through the muscles to the bone of the ribcage and higher, exposing the windpipe and gullet. Cut the skin from the base of the ribs downward over the middle of the belly, in a straight line, to the anus, taking care to cut around the genitals slightly. The genitals must be left on one hind quarter in Ontario, for sex identification. Once these cuts are done, prepare to eviscerate the animal.

    Break the Breastbone
    With the breastbone exposed, use two axes to cut through the breastbone. Use your sharpest axe as the cutting tool, the second as a hammer, driving the cutter from the base of the ribcage, up the middle of the breastbone, through the top ribs. As the cut enlarges, pull the front legs apart opening the chest cavity.

    Sever the Wind Pipe and Gullet from the Head

    With the chest cavity open, sever the windpipe and gullet as close to the head as possible, pulling it clear of the carcass, cutting where necessary. When free of the neck, lay in the chest cavity.

    Open the Abdomen to the Anus

    With the chest spread open, and the neck area clean, move to opening the abdomen. From the base of the ribcage, carefully cut through the abdominal muscles, exposing the stomach and intestines, without puncturing them. Have your partners spread the abdomen to open the area for easy work. As you approach the pelvic area, take precautions to avoid cutting the bladder. Cut through the muscles to the pelvic bone, exposing it for the next procedure.

    Split the Pelvic Bone
    Starting at the top of the pelvis (closest to the abdomen), using the two axe method described above, split the pelvic bone, taking care to stay clear of the genitals. Avoid cutting the urinary tract, which could release urine, tainting the meat.

    Cut the Diaphragm from the Cavity Wall

    This procedure is one that requires patience and care. You must start at on side of the chest cavity near the base of the ribs cutting the diaphragm at the chest cavity wall. As you move deeper into the cavity, you may need help from a few hands to pull the organs to one side so that you have rooms to see and cut. Cut as far back along the cavity wall as is possible. Switch to the other side of the chest cavity, repeating the actions. Most likely, some of the diaphragm will remain attached. Leave the remainder for later.

    Free the Anus and Bladder

    The most important procedure is the separation of the anus from the carcass and the pelvic area. Extreme care must be taken not to cut the intestines and the urinary tract, which could taint the meat. At the opened pelvic bone, use a sharp knife to make cuts to free the large intestine and rectum from the pelvic area. Extra hands are helpful to pull the organs to one side or the other to clear the working area. Proceed until working in this area until the rectum meets the muscle tissue near the anus. At the base of the tail, use a sharp knife to cut a circle the skin about one or two inches from the anus. Once completed, use the knife to cut through the muscle tissue to the inside of the pelvic bone, towards the top of the pelvic bone, to free the anus and rectum. At times, you may have to work both from the anus area and from the opening of the split pelvis to free the organs. Once free, pull and hold the anus, rectum and lower intestine free of the cavity

    Roll Out The Abdominal Organs with Anus Attached
    With the Anus and Rectum free and held clear, slightly roll the carcass to the lower ground, and allow the intestines and the stomach to fall to the prepared ground.

    Remove the Neck and Chest Cavity Organs

    Grasp the windpipe from the chest cavity, and pull the heart and lungs out toward the entrails on the ground. Cut the remaining tissue holding the diaphragm to the back of the chest wall freeing the organs from the carcass. Allow any blood to flow from the cavity. Roll the carcass to drain as much blood as possible.

    Clean the Body Cavity

    Now that the body cavity is clear of organs, use absorbent material to wipe it clean. This can be cloth rags you have prepared in your hunting pack, or clean grass, moss, or leaves at the site. Avoid using water in the process, which may contain soil or bacteria which could lead to spoiling you meat. A carcass cavity wiped of blood this way will seal the meat with a thin film of body fluids that dry quickly. Using water dilutes this fluid, and introduces unnecessary microbes and creates an environment for bacterial growth.

    Prepare the Carcass for Cooling, Quartering, or Transport

    Repeating the introductory note at the beginning, cooling the carcass is a first priority. Depending or the time available to you, and the weather conditions you may decide to move directly to transporting your animal whole, quartering, it for transport, or leaving it to cool some hours. Quartering and transport is covered later. Here, the focus is preparation for cooling, should you decide to leave the carcass for some hours. The assumption is that the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Should the temperature be higher, seriously consider transporting your meat to your camp or butchering facility for hanging and cooling immediately.
    Depending on the size of the animal, cooling can present you with several problems. A large animal cools more slowly than a small animal, because the mass involved and the surface area of the animal. A rabbit cools in minutes, a moose, in hours.
    Efficient cooling is a matter of air circulation, a transfer of heat from the surfaces of the carcass to the air, and away. Leaving the animal in a heap risks meat spoilage, in violation of most provincial and state game regulation. Attempt to provide as much air flow around and through the carcass as is humanly possible. The most effective strategy is hanging a quartered carcass, thereby increasing surface area and air circulation to a maximum.
    The next best approach is hanging the entire animal. This may not be possible, depending on the help, materials and tools available at the field dressing site. Failing these first two methods, the next alternative is to provide free air circulation between the ground and the carcass, laying on its back, the body cavity open but protected from possible rain or snow.
    Provide air circulation by placing the carcass (with a moose, rolling the carcass) on logs or some similar supporting material. Ensure free air circulation by providing several supports along the backbone area, so that the animal is indeed off the ground. Ensure it will not roll by tying off the legs to surrounding trees or other anchors. If direct sun, rain or snow is a high, probability protect the moose by placing a framework of spruce, balsam or pine boughs above the carcass, leaving at least six inches of free space for air travel.
    At lower temperatures, if the next hours are not expected to be warmer and when snow is on the ground, it may not be necessary to lift the animal. Only after you have made provisions for cooling can you take some time to rest and celebrate in what can be called recreational celebration.

    Additional Notes and Generalizations
    A small field saw, such as the Browning Folding Saw might be used for splitting the pelvic bone and the breastbone. For animals that are smaller than the moose, for example deer and bear, the breastbone and the pelvic bone might be able to be split with the knife alone. Any sharp quality hunting knife with a five to seven inch blade is adequate for moose, as well as smaller game.
    Effective hunting axes are those with a sharp two and one-half pound head, with handles 24 to 26 inches in length.
    Four 15 foot lengths of 3/8 inch ropes allow stabilizing and tying off the legs while field dressing or carrying quarters.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

  2. #2
    Premium Member jmg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    At the end of the cul-de-sac
    Posts
    927

    Default

    Alaska Fish and Game has a video on field dressing moose that shows you how to skin and quarter the moose before you actually bleed and gut it out. Haven't had the opportunity to put it into practice, but when the opportunity arises, I think I'll give it a shot. Seems like it would be much less messy than the above method, although I think the above method will get the heat out of the body cavity a bit quicker. I recall there being some good feedback on that method around here before. Great video and I think it comes with the "How to Judge a 50" Moose" video as well for about $15.
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  3. #3

    Default

    jmg, I've used that method on a moose and caribou and it's worked out great. I used nothing but a sharp knife to cut all the meat off the carcus, you don't even need to pull out the guts to remove the tenderloins. Other methods previous hunting partners would use seemed to take longer and was noticably messier. Cleanly pulling the bladder always seemed like a glorious moment with them. I don't see myself dressing another moose or caribou differently.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Valley trash.....and proud of it.
    Posts
    813

    Default

    I like the part about just move the animal if not in suitable terrain. thats a good one.

    One thing I do is when I gut them, I do it over a tarp, then I drag the guts away so it is nowhere around. I like to get that crap out of the way, just makes things easier.

  5. #5

    Default

    Iíve processed quite a number of animals in the field, and I seldom gut an animal unless I only have a short distance to pull it back to my transportation.
    The video from ADF&G is good with the following exception: Instead of splitting the hide along the backbone, split from the belly. That way the hide itself protects the unskinned meat from the ground when you turn the carcass over.
    By not initially removing the guts, I avoid stepping in the large gut pile, I can easily move around the carcass to work on it, and I donít get all covered with blood and mess.
    The entire process is summarized in these steps:
    1) Split the hide along the belly from neck to anus
    2) Split the hide on each of the four legs from the knee joint to the belly cut
    3) Skin the upper legs (one front one rear) and the entire carcass as far as you can (down the back as far as possible)
    4) Skin the remaining legs as much as possible
    5) Cut off and bag the front quarter
    6) Cut off and bag the rear quarter (be careful not to cut into the abdominal cavity)
    7) Cut off the upper side backstrap
    8) If you want to take the entire rib section, cut it free then remove the tenderloin, otherwise remove the meat from between the ribs.
    9) Trim off all remaining meat, ribs, neck, other scraps.
    10) Cut off the head
    11) Spread the hide out behind the carcass, grab the remaining legs and flip the carcass over onto the spread hide
    12) Skin and cut the second side just as you have the first.
    13) If you did not remove the rib section and tenderloin (removed only rib meat), split the belly to allow the stomach to fall out, split the skin section behind the ribs and enter the abdominal cavity to get the tenderloin. Flip the carcass and remove the tenderloin
    14) At this time, cut free the liver and heart

    With this process the quarters should not even touch the ground. It keeps the meat clean and keeps you clean.

    I hope I havenít left out any key parts of the process, and I hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,279

    Default

    The last deer i shot last fall took me 4 minutes to do a good job field dressing it. I dont think i would be half way done with a big moose in 40 minutes!

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Kenai
    Posts
    1,725

    Default

    I'm with Jmj & Water Gremlin.
    The no-gutting method is a lot slicker. Faster, easier, cleaner. The F&G video is worth the price.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    The last deer i shot last fall took me 4 minutes to do a good job field dressing it. I dont think i would be half way done with a big moose in 40 minutes!
    dude - for a big moose, think between 2 and 4 hours. it's a big job. and hopefully you've got a buddy or two to help!

  9. #9
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    4,891

    Default

    I do it the way RLK7 does. It's nice to not have to deal with a gut pile.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  10. #10
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    11,600

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jmg View Post
    Haven't had the opportunity to put it into practice, but when the opportunity arises
    *ahem* You don't say? You haven't had the opportunity?


  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,995

    Default

    My hunting partners and I skin and quarter moose like RLK7 does, except that we debone the ribs last. After skinning everything on the top side, we remove the legs, back strap on that side, scrape any meat on the side of the ribs (for hamburger meat and such), and also the neck meat on that side. Then we roll the moose on the other side, and remove the same parts and meats from that side. The final step is to drag the carcass' end to a low spot on the ground, gut it, remove the tenderloins, and all the meat from the ribs (or cut-out the rib cages if that is what you want).

  12. #12
    Member DMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Wasilla, AK
    Posts
    1,320

    Default

    How do you take the rib cage without the guts ending up everywhere anyway?

    _____________________________________________

    How I do it for what it is worth. I am the most concerned about the amount of meat that gets exposed to the air, the less exposed the less has to be trimmed. Hopefully I can explain this. This is if you are not packing it but hauling it out.

    You want the moose to be butt downhill and head uphill if you can.

    1. Start by cutting hide from anus to the neck.
    2. Skin around the evidence of sex to ensure they are left with a rear qtr.
    3. Cut between the legs to expose the pelvic bone, cut down each side of the pelvic bone about two inches. You will expose the point of the pelvic bone.
    4. Cut down each side of the pelvic bone removing about a 2 inch wide piece of bone, you have to stick the back of your hand against the guts as you saw to see clearly and to not jam the saw into the cavity. At this point each rear qrt will lay flat on the ground.
    5. Skin back about 4 inches on each side of the original slit to the neck.
    6. Cut the breast bone down the middle.
    7. Cut the esophagus at the base of the head and then cut around it to where you have it in your hand and it is connected into everything in the diaphragm.
    8. Go ahead and open up the stomach.
    9. Tie a string off to the end of the esophagus.
    10. Have your partner stand at the butt of the moose and start pulling on the string, as he pulls cut the diaphram and everything free. He will pull harder and harder and it will almost skin out the guts. As he pulls and you cut the guts will roll right out the back and the trough in the pelvic area. We typically pull the hole mess about 10 feet down from the moose. At this point you should have a very clean cavity with minimal blood that will just run out the trough.
    11. Skin out each side of the moose being careful to leave the hide out on the ground to keep the meat clean.
    12. As you skin out each front qtr go ahead and remove.
    13. Once the rest is skinned out remove the tenderloins
    14. Cut through the back bone just above the rear qtrs.
    15. Flip the rear end over and cut down the back bone to the tailbone essentially splitting it in half.
    16. Cut off the head
    17. Flip the rib cage over and saw through the backbone splitting the ribs in half, be careful to not drift into the back strap. Guys you obviously need a good saw, I carry a meat saw that is like a shark tooth saw. As you saw and you get to the base of the neck just come out one side leaving the neck on one side of the ribs.
    18. Get it hung and sprayed down with a citris spray or something like Mtn View Sports sells to keep the flies off.

    Oh I forgot obviously take the legs off at the knees when you remove them. I like to saw below the knee so that the tendon stays connected and give a nice way to hang.

    It might sound like allot but it is super simple!!!! With a good saw this takes two guys about 45 - 60 minutes for a moose, yes I have timed it several times.

    HERE ARE THE BENNIES! You can get the gut pile out of your way completely, don't even have to worry about accidently puncturing it while working on everything else. Since most the hind qtr is still attached to the pelvic bone you loose less there when you trim and less meat is exposed to the air. The back straps are completely incased by the outside fat and bone, you get 100% of the back strap when you cut it out, no trimming precious meat!

    For what its worth. Super simple...... Just need a good saw.
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  13. #13
    Member MARV1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Kotlik
    Posts
    640

    Default

    One thing I never ever do while butchering a moose to pack out is no axe, there is no need to use one only to clear brush or chop off the antlers in the end. When I'm in a rush I don't worry about skinning until it is in the boat.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

  14. #14
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time
    Posts
    8,992

    Talking up shot to the messy way

    the other side of the fence is that when you have a buddy that is unexperienced he will get all messy. and leave trails of blood and gore every where.. he'll wear blood soaked rain gear all week..more sent trails... ALL you have to do is get up high and watch his back trail.... this all works fine until he wises up to what your doing but if your lucky you'll fill that big bear tag. but no napping you may have to find a new buddy
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  15. #15
    Member MNViking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    746

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jmg View Post
    Alaska Fish and Game has a video on field dressing moose that shows you how to skin and quarter the moose before you actually bleed and gut it out. Haven't had the opportunity to put it into practice, but when the opportunity arises, I think I'll give it a shot. Seems like it would be much less messy than the above method, although I think the above method will get the heat out of the body cavity a bit quicker. I recall there being some good feedback on that method around here before. Great video and I think it comes with the "How to Judge a 50" Moose" video as well for about $15.
    I'm very interested in this method. I've done it the long way with whitetails and it gets tedious. I'll be picking up those video's as soon as I get my household goods. In fact, I'll have date night with my girlfriend and we can watch it together over some appetizers.
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,883

    Default

    I've never used the Fish and Game method on a moose yet. I have used it on a lot of caribou and it works great. I've split the hide at the back and just flipped it back over what's left before turning the animal over. Since the hide is still on the off side, the meat stays clean. Only have to mess with the guts to get access to the tenderloin.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Southeast
    Posts
    12

    Default Citric Acid

    What type or brand of citric acid do you use on the meat?

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    49

    Default Skinning

    When skinning I never open the gut. I cut along the backbone and skin from there. Only open the gut when it is time to remove the tenderloins and ribs. Much easier and no mess.

  19. #19
    Member Roger45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    804

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKFred View Post
    Only open the gut when it is time to remove the tenderloins and ribs. Much easier and no mess.
    Why???? Makes no sense to me. Brake the bottom two ribs next to the spine, use your off hand to *lift* the gut sack, and cut the loins out...LEAVE THE GUTS INTACT is my motto! I use a Wyoming saw to cut the rib plate out if I have to have it, otherwise I prefer to bone out the rib meat.

    BTW, last year there was a section on this forum for "Field dressing big game animals". Whatever happened to that???
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  20. #20

    Default

    Sounds like work! If you are able to get your mode of transport in close, do an old guy trick! Would never leave home without my sharp knives and a 18 volt sawsall. (recip saw)...nothing better when you want to whack off the legs or split a critter up. Use a course blade, (long as possible) sure takes a lot less time and energy! Should be able to hack up a couple critters on a charge...........Desertdog

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •