GEAR & SUPPLIES
I won't attempt to cover all the possible equipment and supplies that you may need (or think you need) for your deer hunt. That is simply not possible given that different environments impose different demands on the hunter. This is only a reminder of a few items that you may want to consider in light of your desire to field dress and butcher your own animal.
Rope: I know it
seems obvious, but you can never have enough. Make sure that the rope you
carry with you is not too small of a diameter. If you have to use it to drag
your deer, you don't want it to cut into your skin.
dragging harness: If you are going to have to drag your deer, you may need
some aids to help you get it out in a timely manner. It may not be practical
to carry the sled with you while hunting. If I need it, I'll walk back to the
truck, shed some clothes and other unnecessary equipment, then go back to
retrieve the game.
Ziploc bags: Of
course, you're going to want to recover the tenderloins, and you'll need
something in which to put them.
Latex gloves: Not
actually necessary, but when there is no water or snow nearby with which to clean
your hands, the gloves will do a pretty good job of keeping your hands
Rags: I like
surgical sponges, but any rags will be appreciated for cleanup of hands
and equipment after field dressing a deer.
Hemostat: A hemostat
with coarse teeth can be very helpful when making cuts around the anus. If
your knife is very sharp, it's not really needed. However, one year, I gutted
four deer without sharpening the knife. I really appreciated the hemostat
with that last deer.
Bone saw: There are
many varieties of saws. You'll have to find one that suits you. Don't get a
cheap one. It's difficult to sharpen saws, so get a good one that will give
you years of use. Some people cut the chest open with their knife. This works,
but you'll need a saw for the pubic bone, so you may as well use it on the
Large plastic bag or
tarp: If you have many miles of dirt roads to drive, you may want to cover
your animal to keep the dust and debris out, also it will help to minimize
desiccation of the meat.
Pen: I know this has
nothing to do with butchering, but it's helpful information. In South Dakota,
we have to sign our tags after fixing them to the game. It happens time and
time again that someone's pen doesn't work, or s/he doesn't have one. Most pens
gel-up when it gets cold. I have a Fischer Space Pen that is fantastic. It
hasn't failed me in fifteen years. It writes upside down, in a vacuum, under water, on
glass and in extreme cold. The next time that I'll need to butcher a deer in a
vacuum, under water, I'll have the right pen.☺
Fanny pack: I used to stuff my pockets with all my gear. The bulging weight was inconvenient when stooping and bending while dressing the deer. Now, I use a multi-pocket fanny pack. It keeps everything well organized, and I can take it off while working on my deer. It makes a great pillow too.