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Thread: "Gutless" Moose Field Dressing-pt 1

  1. #1
    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Thumbs up "Gutless" Moose Field Dressing-pt 1

    Nearly all my friends use this method to field dress any big game animal--I'm certain that many Forum members do, also. For lack of a better name, I'll call it "gutless" field dressing. It is a method that avoids having to spill a critter's gut cavity until the end of the process, rather than at the beginning. Advantages to this are: 1) Avoids having gut contents around your feet as you field dress the animal 2) Avoids meat (especially the quarters) from potential contamination of gut cavity 3) If an animal has been accidently "gutshot" this method offers greater salvage of uncontaminated meat

    My partner and I have been using this "gutless" method for well over twenty five years. The only time we will gut an animal first is when we cannot complete the field dressing in a timely manner after the kill. Dennis Confer, in his book, "Hunt Alaska Now", was the first to write about this method of field dressing (at least the first time I've seen it documented).

    I was fortunate enough this moose season to obtain my moose in the early hours of a very pleasant day and I was able to document highlights of this process on film. Pictures work way better for me than any verbal description. In the following posts, I'll try to attach highlights of this process.

    The only tricky part to this process is cutting the rear hinds away from the hip. Slow careful cutting here will ensure that the gut cavity is not accidently punctured. Moose are not easy to handle when field dressed solo, but I have been able to utilize this "gutless" method solo on numerous occassions. Hope this may help....
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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Thats kinda how we have done it as well. I can't imagine someone would want to mess with the guts right off the bat...

    Careful cutting is right! I always seem to booger something up down there...

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Smile "Gutless" part 2

    This is the only tricky dressing part. One is wanting to locate and cut through the ball joint of the leg where it joins at the hip. The cutting here is very close to the gut cavity near the groin of the moose. It really helps to have a partner (bungee cords/rope and a nearby tree work okay, also) lift the leg up and away from the moose's body. Short knife cuts and patience here will really help first-timers.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I did a cow with this method and didn't like the amount of guard hair I ended up with in the meat. I take the hid of from the belly though I bet that I do the rest the same as you. Cutting along the belly leaves any hair from the hide cuts ends up on the belly viscera. I just start along the brisket and just take my time as I cut to avoid nicking the belly and spilling the guts.

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Talking Gutless pt 3

    Here's the first hind removed and bagged...
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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Cool Gutless-pt 4

    Almost half-way...
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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I did a cow with this method and didn't like the amount of guard hair I ended up with in the meat. I take the hid of from the belly though I bet that I do the rest the same as you. Cutting along the belly leaves any hair from the hide cuts ends up on the belly viscera. I just start along the brisket and just take my time as I cut to avoid nicking the belly and spilling the guts.
    Couple of tips.

    I use a roofing blade in an utility knife, it opens skin like a zipper. Great for making nice straight cuts.

    If you get hair on the meat, a small propane torch works great for flash burning the hair off the meat. Just takes a few quick passes, don't try to cook it.

    I use the same method and feel that I get much cleaner meat this way.
    This is a photo of Tim's bull with all the meat and ribs removed from one side and we were ready to flip it over and do the same on the other. The loins are EZ to get to after you remove the ribs.



    Great post.

    Steve
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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Cool Gutless-pt 5

    Really helps to have a hunting partner to roll moose...
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    Here is the same method except i call it "flaying".

    4. The method I prefer is called “flaying”, you do not have to remove the guts.
    After skinning half the moose I remove a front leg and put it in a bag.
    I debone the neck and I put the meat in a separate bag. The reason I do this is neck meat in a rutting bull can contaminate the other meat.

    Next I remove the ribs. If you want to keep the ribs and meat together, using a small sharp knife or saw you can remove the ribs by cutting the joints at the top and bottom of the ribs or you can debone them. The best way I have found to debone the ribs is to remove “all” the meat in one piece. Yes it can be done and it is very easy to do on a moose.

    I start at the bottom rib, let’s call it #12.
    The first Cut is along the length of the rib.
    Then cut under the meat next to the top of the rib, separating the meat from the top and then cut down the opposite side. You will also need to cut along each end of the rib freeing up the meat. The 12th rib is now clean of meat. Holding the meat up, cut under the length of 11th rib and down the opposite side removing the meat. Then cut along the ends of the rib. Continue process for rib’s #10, #9, etc.

    If you roll the meat into a log it will help keep it clean.

    You now can remove the back leg and put it in a bag.
    Don’t forget the back strap and tenderloin and make sure they are put in a separate bag.
    You now have to roll the moose over, lifting one leg you roll the moose over guts and all, it’s that easy.
    Continue removing the front leg, neck meat, ribs, back leg, back-strap and tenderloin. If you want the liver and heart this would be a good time to get them, and don’t forget the tongue.

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Talking Gutless-pt 6

    Hard parts all done...
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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Default Gutless-pt 7

    Nothing left now, but clean-up...
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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Wink Gutless-pt.8 (final)

    Thank the Great Spirit for wheelers!! There will be dancing in the wig-wam tonight!!
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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    LuJon: We used a knife this year called a "swing blade" by Outdoor Edge (Sportsmans carries them, but they're on sale at Cabelas right now for $45) to do the hide cuts along the back and down the legs of the moose. As long as you run with the hairs, it doesn't cut any guard hairs for the ripping of hide. The blade swings from a gut hook to a skinner. Very impressed with rookie performance of the knife--just wish the gut hooker blade was a bit bigger (it's more a deer size cutting blade, although it worked fine on moose). Never done the belly cut, but can see where it would avoid the longer hairs and tougher hide along the back.

    Stid: Guarantee that your roofing blade cost a whole lot less than my partner's "swing blade". I'll check one out!

    Rutting: Yea, getting those ribs off before rolling would make rolling way easier, also.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Love it! Do wish I could read some of the red words on the background, however.
    How long does it usually take two guys to do this?

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    pretty much how we do it.. average is 2 hour a moose
    "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

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Have Gun Will Travel View Post
    LuJon: We used a knife this year called a "swing blade" by Outdoor Edge (Sportsmans carries them, but they're on sale at Cabelas right now for $45) to do the hide cuts along the back and down the legs of the moose. As long as you run with the hairs, it doesn't cut any guard hairs for the ripping of hide. The blade swings from a gut hook to a skinner. Very impressed with rookie performance of the knife--just wish the gut hooker blade was a bit bigger (it's more a deer size cutting blade, although it worked fine on moose). Never done the belly cut, but can see where it would avoid the longer hairs and tougher hide along the back.

    Stid: Guarantee that your roofing blade cost a whole lot less than my partner's "swing blade". I'll check one out!

    Rutting: Yea, getting those ribs off before rolling would make rolling way easier, also.
    Great post, with lots of good photos.
    Here is a photo of the blade I use for cutting hide.


    Steve
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  17. #17
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Great post, with lots of good photos.
    Here is a photo of the blade I use for cutting hide.


    Steve
    any good knife with a gut hook will also do it.. just ALWAYS go with the grain of the hair and clean your knife out every few inches.. (~10ish?)
    "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

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    I apply the same method on road-kill whitetailed deer here in Michgan...slip in and get a quick tenderloin and the ham from the undamaged side

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Nuskpvich, you can't be serious? are you? What other roadkill do you go after and is it even legal? Doesn't the meat belong to the state? Cause if it did not, everybody I know would have a battering ram kind of bumper on their rigs!!! When you see meat crossing the street, you would just hit the gas rather than the brake. I guess it would save a guy from having to go hunting, you could just go driving!!!
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Member sharksinthesalsa's Avatar
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    being from michigan myself...i will confirm what kuskovich is saying....i would bet that about half the venison in my freezer in those days were from roadkill deer....if you hit it and you want it you can call the police file a report for insurance and they will give you a tag for the deer....if someone else hit it and its in your yard or whatever you can call the police and get a tag for it...if someone else hit it and your a passer-by you can call the police and get a tag...these do not count against your bag limit unless you dont' want to wait for the cops and are able to tag the deer...unofficially i knew lots of guys that carried their wives/girlfriends tags in their glove compartment for just such occasions......it really was not a big deal down there, so many deer are hit by vehicles everyday....there are actually county workers that are paid to go around and remove the roadkill from the roadways and ditches...lots of people just hate the deer because they are always in the road....old lady's will hit big, huge bucks and just drive away....


    @LuJon on your cow did you start your dorsal cut at the head and go to the tail? this would cut less hair....also holding the knife so blade cuts from the inside out and using a pushing motion from head to tail will cut less hair....however your way will make for a much better hide if you were to want to keep it and tan it or make leather or something


    @Rutting Moose do you always take your ribs before the backstraps and inner loins?......it has always seemed easier for me to take these first
    "early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies"

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