Off The Grid: How to Butcher Your Own Deer in a Survival Situation

September 28, 2020

One of the wonderful thing about living off of the grid in the manner of our hunter gatherer forbears, is the fact that you can expect to be completely self sufficient. At some point though, you will find a place of satisfaction in your wanderings. It could be a sunlit glade or a sleepy hollow, it could be a quiet valley or a snowy mountaintop. Wherever you decide to settle in for a bit you will at some point need to create a semi permanent encampment and in so doing will need to prepare for your survival, as well as get ready for the next time that you will want to strike out for parts unknown.

One of the biggest chores in survivaldom is that of butchering and preparing meat for food supply later. We will get into the preparation of wild meat for survival later. At some point I will write about making jerky and pemmican. But before you can ever do that, you have to know how to get the meat to begin with. This means more than just killing a deer, bear, or a moose. You also need to butcher the carcass, because you can't just stash it like an old cougar or a bear, and then come back to it over a period of several days until you've either eaten it or it's gone bad or been repurposed by a different carnivore.

The butchering of a large animal is surprisingly simple. Believe it or not, you don't even have to have a saw or a knife for that matter. It is perfectly feasible to butcher a carcass in a completely paleo situation... using nothing more than sharp rocks. Here are the important keynotes to butchering your own deer.

1. Joints are held together with tendons. And the carcass can be disassembled by cutting in between the joints of the bones. Though the tendons and ligaments are somewhat tougher than the muscle, they are all easily cut, even with a sharp stone.

2. The muscles are attached in groups. These groups can be cut loose from the bone group by pulling them away from the rest of the group and severing each end where the muscle group will be attached to the bone with ligaments.

3. You should separate each group and deal with it independently. There is no need, in a survival situation, to try to cut fancy chops or steaks. Your cuts are going to be spent one of four ways; either to be minced for pemmican, hung for jerky, boiled or roasted for stews and kabobs, or roasted en masse for a large gathering or meal.

4. Cuts should be simple and purpose driven. Cut in long strips with the grain for jerky, the thinner the better. Cut against the grain for steaks, pemmican and stews. Just cut whole groups from the bone for large roasts, and don't be afraid to net it together somehow as the groups tend to fall apart while cooking.

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