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Skinner

Nathan the Machinist

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We do skin game but never gut it anymore. The gutless method works great with way less chance of meat contamination.

Yeah, other than the tenderloin there's really not a whole lot going on inside of the animal that would require gutting it if you've got a way of hoisting it up and processing it immediately after shooting it
 

Big DJ

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You can butcher an animal on the ground without a problem gutless , the tenderloins are easier to get to with a 2nd set of hands however.
Elk and Oryx are really big and would be hard to hoist an entire animal in the field.
 
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ManOfSteel89

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Yeah, other than the tenderloin there's really not a whole lot going on inside of the animal that would require gutting it if you've got a way of hoisting it up and processing it immediately after shooting it

The thought of those tenderloins with duck eggs from the coop out back makes gutting my deer worth it every time.
 

SpyderPhreak

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Gutless is great under the right circumstances. Quartering and deboning methods have their place too. But when I can get the animal home to hang up in the garage and work on it there, within a couple hours of the kill at most, I'll gut it and rinse it in the field everytime.
 

Big DJ

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Gutless is great under the right circumstances. Quartering and deboning methods have their place too. But when I can get the animal home to hang up in the garage and work on it there, within a couple hours of the kill at most, I'll gut it and rinse it in the field everytime.

I understand but we're always miles from my truck, hours from home and I'm tired of packing out big bones.
 

SpyderPhreak

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I understand but we're always miles from my truck, hours from home and I'm tired of packing out big bones.
Totally. If I'm miles back and hours from home, I'm deboning that Elk so I can make the fewest number of trips back to the truck. I'm not packing bones that are just going to wind up in the trash.
 

JustinFournier

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Some of the skinners were around .010" at the edge, ground above tangent (like a straight razor) and sharpened around 13 DPS in hard D2. They would flex some over your thumb nail and a couple would ring a little when stropped. They'd pop a free standing hair and would slice through meat and hide like a light saber. When pulling the hide off the rib cage there's a few little muscles that attach the skin to the flanks that you sometime need to cut or they'll tear meat that you may or may not care about. These could be severed while under tension with a tiny little tap of the blade. When pulling the intestines and other bits from inside the pelvis (I don't cut these, I tie them off) there are bits of connective tissue holding them in place than could be severed with the lightest touch of the blade. I'd hold the butt of the handle in the palm of my hand and extend the blade out along my index finger like an extension of the finger and disconnect bits without pulling on them like a magic wand. These blades were sharp and stayed sharp though an entire season of use (no need to resharpen during a hunt) but you did not want to use one to split a rib cage or pelvis, they weren't built for that and you'd loose a chunk out of the blade.

I don't really skin a deer with a skinning knife so the name is a misnomer. The real work is done by hand (or if you're prone to hand cramps, plyers). There is a cut around the anus and reproductive bits (which get tied off) and cuts along the belly and down the front of the rear legs, but the rest of the skin is simply pulled free by hand or with a pair of plyers with little use of a knife. The skinning knife is used to make these initial cuts held edge out, controlling the depth of cut with the angle of the drop point. Once the hide starts cutting it feeds itself over the edge. Once you learn to unzip a deer this way you'll never want to use a clumsy gut hook again. Gut hooks can bunch up the hide and get hair on the meat. Other than the initial cuts, the skinning knife isn't really used much for skinning, but it is used to process the deer in the field. After the initial cuts in the skin the real use is cutting tendons pulling out the major muscle groups and cutting though fascia and connective tissue around joints. I leave the pelvis on the carcass so I need to separate the femur from the hip which requires cutting the hams free of the pelvis and lower spine and slipping the blade into the ball socket of the femur and cutting a tendon connecting the two inside of the joint. The front legs are easily cut free from the carcass by pulling the shoulder blades and cutting all the little tendons (there's surprising little holding a front leg on). The "back strap" is the real prize on a deer. This is the New York strip and it's large, tender and tasty. But you have to cut it free of the spine in a bunch of places. Substantial bone contact is unavoidable along the spine and this is one of the things that led me on my edge stability jihad. The tender loin is two small muscles on both side of the spine on the inside wall of the carcass which is easily bruised and torn if handled roughly. There are lymph nodes here you want to separate without disturbing them. A skinning knife that is more of a scalpel is helpful here. There's a gland in the rear legs too, hidden between a couple muscle groups. When using a thin fragile blade I don't bother splitting the rib cage or the pelvis, they're discarded in place. Unless you're into organ meat there's really nothing inside of the rib cage worth messing with. No need to remove the head either so I leave the skin attached at the neck. It's worth noting that with some practice you can pull the skin off the deer in a few minutes, and pull the meat off in about 10-20 minutes and get it chilled quickly, and at no point is the digestive, reproductive or excretory system ever actually cut. On an animal held upside down from its Achilles tendons it's possible to put your chum bucket under the deer and drop everything down into the bucket but leave it attached, remove the meat and discard the rest without disturbing it. I almost always shoot the brain rather than heart/lungs (the accuracy required to do this reliably is what led me into reloading and bench rest shooting because when Jo and I lived in Georgia some of these head shots were 200 yards) so the process is actually pretty quick and tidy. If I'm carful to avoid getting hair on the meat I've found that I can pack my deer in plastic in the cooler without even needing to rinse anything. I have neat tidy sections ready to age laid out in the old beer fridge. All of this is what led me to make my D2 skinners, because I hadn't found a knife with all of the attributes that I wanted (blade shape and geometry and edge retention), and lead to the heat treat optimizations for that D2 (these optimizations are widely adopted in the industry now, but were considered blasphemy back when I was first developing them 20 years ago) and in a round about sort of way this is all what started us out down this path we're on now. I had a little machine shop and I did small tool and die work at the time so I already had a heat treat oven and was doing heat treat but it was conversations with Cliff Stamp and Alvin Johnson over at rec.knives that lead me down the heat treat rabbit hole 20 years ago and I'm glad I listened to them and started experimenting outside of the box by utilizing a rapid quench and a quench to ~.100 to address retained austenite rather than needing to utilize the secondary hardening hump. <-- that's where it all started and that was these D2 skinners. A lot of history there.

Thanks for the detailed post. I enjoyed reading it.

Couple questions, when are you holding a hunting clinic that we can attend?

And did you know....

If you are all about the head shots, with a .50BMG, you can shoot very close to the head, and completely miss the deer, but the deer’s brain and eyes will be destroyed instantly and the deer will fall on the spot with 0 visible damage other than the eyes/brain. Meat is all perfect.

So in summary, the bullet travels by the deer’s head, but does not hit the deer. Deer falls dead on the spot. 0 meat damaged.

Edit: I have never personally done it and it’s controversial! May be BS.
 
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jlauffer

Tempt not the Blade
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Thanks for the detailed post. I enjoyed reading it.

Couple questions, when are you holding a hunting clinic that we can attend?

And did you know....

If you are all about the head shots, with a .50BMG, you can shoot very close to the head, and completely miss the deer, but the deer’s brain and eyes will be destroyed instantly and the deer will fall on the spot with 0 visible damage other than the eyes/brain. Meat is all perfect.

So in summary, the bullet travels by the deer’s head, but does not hit the deer. Deer falls dead on the spot. 0 meat damaged.

Had heard similar stories, but this seems to disprove it.

https://www.wideopenspaces.com/can-the-shockwave-from-a-50-bmg-really-kill-you/
 

JustinFournier

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The link won’t open for me. I’m not sure about humans, is that what they imply in the ”you”, I’ve never tested that. Is that what they say? As far as deer I guess it might be a heart attack or some other explanation.

Up here we’re basically taught never to do head shots. There is a big focus on ethical hunting and they teach a head shot as bad practice.

I have seen a deer that looked to be shot in the jaw, I didn’t shoot it but it was not bleeding and walking around by a house. I worry a bad head shot ends like that.

I know of head shots with subsonic .22LR on farms are night which is against the law here but done to cull pest deer. It doesn’t do much damage but they do drop on the spot.

I have seen a neck shot before, and it didn’t make any crazy damage or any exploding deer. It made a good hole and the deer ran much further than expected. It bled like crazy though.

D5CD10E6-587F-4349-A1F5-C3184FD4E9AB.jpeg
F88664A2-4A05-41A1-99C3-9B6026D237F0.jpeg
 

jlauffer

Tempt not the Blade
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The link won’t open for me. I’m not sure about humans, is that what they imply in the ”you”, I’ve never tested that. Is that what they say? As far as deer I guess it might be a heart attack or some other explanation.

Up here we’re basically taught never to do head shots. There is a big focus on ethical hunting and they teach a head shot as bad practice.

I have seen a deer that looked to be shot in the jaw, I didn’t shoot it but it was not bleeding and walking around by a house. I worry a bad head shot ends like that.

I know of head shots with subsonic .22LR on farms are night which is against the law here but done to cull pest deer. It doesn’t do much damage but they do drop on the spot.

I have seen a neck shot before, and it didn’t make any crazy damage or any exploding deer. It made a good hole and the deer ran much further than expected. It bled like crazy though.

View attachment 1419994
View attachment 1419997

They test the shockwave theory by shooting near things like a stack of red solo cups, house of cards, even a small flying drone...nothing moves. They even shoot one of the cups and it moves a bit but the stack doesn't topple.
 

JustinFournier

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They test the shockwave theory by shooting near things like a stack of red solo cups, house of cards, even a small flying drone...nothing moves. They even shoot one of the cups and it moves a bit but the stack doesn't topple.

That’s consistent with the neck shot. Like I said it made a hole, nothing blew up like some speculated. I’d read that it’s not ethical because of the loss of meat. Lots of talk is made about that.
 

bluemax_1

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Jan 17, 2014
Messages
1,580
Thanks for the detailed post. I enjoyed reading it.

Couple questions, when are you holding a hunting clinic that we can attend?

And did you know....

If you are all about the head shots, with a .50BMG, you can shoot very close to the head, and completely miss the deer, but the deer’s brain and eyes will be destroyed instantly and the deer will fall on the spot with 0 visible damage other than the eyes/brain. Meat is all perfect.

So in summary, the bullet travels by the deer’s head, but does not hit the deer. Deer falls dead on the spot. 0 meat damaged.

Edit: I have never personally done it and it’s controversial! May be BS.
If you were asking for real, the answer is, "No. The guy who made that claim is an idiot".

There was a partial video of it. The bullet hit the deer's head from the side, going in one eye and out the other. There was a short segment where examining the dead deer, you could see the top of the skull move.

If he'd skinned the skull and cleaned it, we'd have seen that the bullet impact had fractured the top of the skull (and the through-and-through bullet hole going through both eye sockets). No, the shockwave didn't kill it. The bullet did.
 

JustinFournier

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If you were asking for real, the answer is, "No. The guy who made that claim is an idiot".

There was a partial video of it. The bullet hit the deer's head from the side, going in one eye and out the other. There was a short segment where examining the dead deer, you could see the top of the skull move.

If he'd skinned the skull and cleaned it, we'd have seen that the bullet impact had fractured the top of the skull (and the through-and-through bullet hole going through both eye sockets). No, the shockwave didn't kill it. The bullet did.

In one eye and out the other, pretty crazy shot!
 

bluemax_1

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In one eye and out the other, pretty crazy shot!
I once did that by pure luck, 'slingshot fishing' when I was a dumb kid.

Me and my buddy came up with the dumb idea after seeing something about bowfishing. We took the strongest fishing line we could find and tied it to a ~3/8" lead fishing weight, then tried to shoot fish in this really murky lake we used to bike 30-45 minutes to.

The water was murky enough that we'd only see the fish in the split second when they came to the surface, so the task was made even more difficult by trying to react fast enough to the ripple of a fish randomly surfacing to snatch a bug, and trying to hit where we thought the fish might be :rolleyes:.

Dozens and dozens of shots of 'not even close' (and we discovered the dangers of trying to take shots further than the length of line tied to our slingshots, as the deep sea fishing line turned into a giant rubberband and the lead weight came whizzing back past us).

We were about to head home when I decided to try one more shot, and decided I'd aim lower and to the right. Waited for a ripple and snapped off a shot. I felt the weight on the line when I went to pull the line back in. The lead weight had gone in one eye and out the other and the line was strung through its head. Don't even remember what kind of fish it was, but fish that live in murky/muddy water don't taste very good :(
 
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JustinFournier

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May 7, 2012
Messages
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I once did that by pure luck, 'slingshot fishing' when I was a dumb kid.

Me and my buddy came up with the dumb idea after seeing something about bowfishing. We took the strongest fishing line we could find and tied it to a ~3/8" lead fishing weight, then tried to shoot fish in this really murky lake we used to bike 30-45 minutes to.

The water was murky enough that we'd only see the fish in the split second when they came to the surface, so the task was made even more difficult by trying to react fast enough to the ripple of a fish randomly surfacing to snatch a bug, and trying to hit where we thought the fish might be :rolleyes:.

Dozens and dozens of shots of 'not even close' (and we discovered the dangers of trying to take shots further than the length of line tied to our slingshots, as the deep sea fishing line turned into a giant rubberband and the lead weight came whizzing back past us).

We were about to head home when I decided to try one more shot, and decided I'd aim lower and to the right. Waited for a ripple and snapped off a shot. I felt the weight on the line when I went to pull the line back in. The lead weight had gone in one eye and out the other and the line was strung through its head. Don't even remember what kind of fish it was, but fish that live in murky/muddy water don't taste very good :(

And at that moment, you discovered your true talent!

Thanks for sharing the story!

You are gonna be like my CPK forum Snopes.
 
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