A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Hunting

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Heading out into the wild with the intention of hunting a whitetail, elk, mule deer, or even a bear, to fill your freezer with clean organic meat and sustain your family for the remainder of the year may sound idyllic.

But it is not that simple.

There are many facets when it comes to hunting, from governmental rules and regulations to equipment, hunting methods, and the different species available to hunt.

All this required knowledge can overwhelm new hunters.

Being self-sufficient through hunting is a great way of living and is a great skill to know if you ever find yourself in a survival situation.

However, there are restrictions, and there is certainly a right and a wrong way of doing things.

Thankfully, this guide will break down and simplify the entire process of hunting for food.

You will get all the insight you need to get started and become self-sufficient.

Which Species Are Available To North American Hunters?

Before we dive into issues of equipment and best practices, let’s first highlight which game species are available to hunters and which of those make the best table fare.

Whitetail Deer

beginners guide to hunting identify whitetail deer

By far the most common and popular species amongst meat hunters in North America is the whitetail deer.

Whitetail live throughout the entire US, north to south, and from public land to private land (which is another topic we will discuss later).

Often categorized as medium-sized game, the whitetail is often the first animal a new hunter will target.

The male whitetail, known as a “buck,” is easily distinguishable from the females by his antlers and larger body size. 

Both male and female whitetail deer are suitable for eating but regulations as to when each can be hunted is specific to certain seasons and state game regulations.

A mature whitetail buck should weigh from 150 to 200 pounds, depending on region, and achieve an average dressing percentage of 70%.

Note: What Is Dressing Percentage?

Dressing percentage, also called carcass yield, is how much of the animal’s weight remains after the blood, guts, skin, legs, and head have been removed.

Therefore, a buck weighing in at a solid 170 pounds will have a carcass weight of 120 pounds.

But that does not mean you get 120 pounds of meat. There is still the actual meat processing to come, and we go in depth on that later.

In terms of taste, whitetail and most deer species, for that matter, vary from region to region.

This is because the flavor of the meat is determined to a large extent by the diet of the animal.

Descriptions range from “like beef” to a heavy game taste with an almost sour aroma.

Deer that feed in corn fields are believed to taste best, according to many hunters1.

It really depends on the area, personal preference, and how the venison is prepared.


should novice hunter go after elk other deer species

A freezer filler for sure, the mighty elk is a chunky animal that will give you lots of meat.

Mature bulls can weigh anything from 700 to 950 pounds.

That is a lot of meat to process and is enough to keep a family of four well fed for an entire year. 

Be sure to have either a good group of hunting buddies happy to help you pack out this big beast or a truck close by. You will need it when going after elk.

Hunting an elk is high up on every hunter’s species list.

They tick all the boxes that meat hunters are looking for:

A large animal that lives in beautiful surroundings, a challenging hunt, good eating, and a high dressing out percentage.

Not to mention they make for an incredibly impressive trophy for those hunters wanting to preserve the memory of that hunt.

Elk is certainly one of the healthiest and leanest red meats available to hunters because they are low in cholesterol and as organic as you can find.

The taste is similar to beef, but some would say a touch sweeter.

Mule Deer

how to tell mule deer from other species

Not as common as elk or whitetail, the mule deer offers the hunter a real challenge and sense of great achievement when successfully hunted.

Slightly larger in body than a whitetail deer and smaller than an elk, the mule deer is the perfect medium sized animal for those hunters looking to stock up enough venison in their freezers for only a couple months before the urge and excuse to go hunting comes around again. 

Like whitetail, the region, age, and diet of the Mule deer will affect the overall taste of the animal.

Many hunters swear by taking only does or young bucks for meat because the older matured bucks have a mustier taste and less tender meat.

It must be said that mule deer bucks hunted during peak rut season will have a strong odor to them which will affect the meat’s flavor.

Pronghorn Antelope

pronghorn antelope north american hunting species

If ever there was a physical definition of fast food, then this unique animal would be it.

The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in North America, capable of running up to almost 60 mph2.

This is a small to medium sized animal. Males weigh up to 120 pounds. 

Unlike elk and deer, pronghorns do not have antlers. Instead, they have permanent horns.

The females lack these horns, making them easily distinguishable from the males.

The meat from the Pronghorn is mild-tasting and finely grained with fewer calories than beef.

Pronghorn venison is very accepting of spices and marinades, so care should be taken not to overpower the flavor of the meat.


moose largest north american deer species

There isn’t any ungulate larger than a mature bull moose.

This incredible animal will do more than fill your freezer. It will most likely fill your hunting buddy’s freezer, too!

Reserved to the northern states and up into Alaska and Canada, the moose is a special hunt, as an animal of this size requires not only experience but the correct equipment from start to finish.

You wouldn’t want to be caught out in the wilds of Alaska with a downed moose and no way of getting it out of there.

It weighs the same as some cattle and the meat is a similar color and flavor to beef.

However, moose meat is a lot more lean than beef.


bison largest hunting mammal prey american buffalo

If big steaks are your thing, then hunting a bison is the animal for you.

But be warned, you will need a lot of freezer space for these gigantic animals.

Hunting them requires weaponry that packs a punch.

.30-06 is on the low end for hunting bison. Most hunters prefer .338 Win Mag, .416 Rigby, or .45-70.

For a bow, you will need a strong bow and heavy arrows to penetrate through the thick hide and solid muscle of a mature Bison.

Bison are becoming increasingly available on more and more ranches throughout the Midwest, making them a little more affordable and accessible to the everyday hunter.

Private ranches that have Bison on them would more than likely have the correct facilities and equipment to handle such a large carcass, making the job easy for even a novice hunter.


caribou reindeer great hunting animal alaska canada

For those hunters living in the lower 48, hunting caribou (also called reindeer) may not be a common occurrence.

Think of it as an adventure of a lifetime with the added bonus of bringing home some unique meat you can share with family and friends.

Your biggest concern with hunting caribou for meat, or any animal far from home for that matter, would be the storage and transportation of the meat for the long trip back home.

Make sure to do your research and have the necessary resources available such as coolers, dry ice, and freezer bags.

The added effort and hassle of bringing caribou meat home will be well worth it, as the meat is likened to finely grained venison with mild flavors.

Some insider knowledge with regards to hunting caribou for meat is to try and harvest them outside of the rut, which generally runs from mid-September through to mid-October. 


black bear large game hunting can eat trashbear

Bear may not be the first animal that comes to mind when someone mentions venison or wild game meat, but the truth is many people do hunt bears for food and will gladly choose it over whitetail or elk.

Described by some as “sweet beef,” the flavor of bear meat will vary between the black and brown bear sub-species as well as the time of year you hunt the bear.

One important factor that needs to be highlighted is because bears are omnivorous it is not recommended to eat raw meat or under cooked meat from a bear.

For this reason, many bear recipes suggest preparing bear meat in stews, chilis, slow cooked roasts or well-cooked sausage.

Some advice from an Alaskan hunter:

Avoid hunting bear for meat during late fall because this is when they start eating anything they can to acquire sufficient calories for hibernation. Some hunters call late-season bears “trashbears.”


turkey popular hunting bird for beginners challenge

Who doesn’t enjoy eating turkey?

Whether for Thanksgiving or just a big roast over the weekend, a single turkey provides plenty of lean meat.

This big bird is high up on the preference list of hunters and just because it is a big bird does not mean it is any easier to hunt than waterfowl or upland birds.

If you want to hunt them correctly then you will have to learn how to speak their language.

Calling in a bearded tom to within 20-yards while it gobbles and parades is a cool experience.

Wild Hogs

wild hog pig boar hunting Texas is the meat good

There is no shortage of these tough critters in the US, and although they are viewed as complete vermin by many down in Texas, they still can’t be overlooked as a good source of protein. 

Chops, roasts, ribs, cured hams, smoked cuts, bacon, trimmings for chili, and sausages can all be cooked from a quality hog.

With numbers in excess and the naturally destructive habits of these animals, young hogs and sows should not be overlooked when wanting to shoot one for food.

Large boars will most certainly have a sour taint to them and will not produce the best tasting meat no matter how long you cook it. 

Looking to do a full hog, slow roasted over a BBQ fire for a family gathering?

Then a juvenile hog will be the size to target.

The ratio of meat to fat will be ideal and should provide more than enough for a gathering of 20 to 30 people.

Sheep and Goat Species

wild american bighorn sheep goat hunting

The sheep and goat species, such as the Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Dall Sheep, and Stone Sheep, are generally viewed as trophy species as opposed to general meat hunting species.

That isn’t to say they are not edible.

Quite the contrary. If handled and cooked correctly, they can be delicious.

However, the rugged nature of where they occur, the rarity of drawing a tag, and general trophy prices have pushed them outside the limits of your everyday meat hunter.

Should you be fortunate enough to draw a tag or have the means to hunt anyone one of these incredible animals, chances are you will be targeting a mature male past their prime.

If this is the case, it would be helpful to read up on how to best handle the meat, which cuts are less desirable in older rams, and what are the best cooking practices for wild sheep.

There may be a lot of aging the carcass and soaking of cuts in various marinades to get the desired taste and textures.

Smaller Game and Birds

wild rabbit hare squirrel other small game good choice for new hunters

Let’s not forgot that hunting for food is not only reserved for the medium to large game species.

Although they do provide more sustenance, there are also many out there who live happily off the smaller creatures.

Rabbits, hares, beavers, squirrels, prairie dogs, quails, pheasants, doves, and ducks are all edible and should be considered by those hunters who would like to remain strictly self-sufficient but also would like a variety of meat in their diet.

The real advantage of focusing on the smaller animals is the sheer variety in flavors, smells, and recipes you can experience, not to mention hunting methods and seasons.

Take the time to experiment and learn from others along the way on how to get the best quality flavors from small game.

Many of the older generational hunters grew up in households where these tiny animals were staples in their everyday meals and the skills and knowledge of how to prepare them should not be lost.

What’s Needed for the Hunt?

More than likely your choice in which animal to target for a food source is largely determined by what is found closest to your home.

Be it deer, elk, pronghorn, turkey, or prairie shicken, you have read up on each animal and decide on which animal(s) you want to hunt.

Now, what exactly do you need in order to hunt that animal?


Not all animals are created equal, and neither are the firearms required to hunt them.

what do you need to hunt rifle gun shotgun bow equipment

Centerfire Rifles

Your choice in rifle and the associated caliber will be largely determined by which animal you intend on hunting the most and the conditions under which those hunts will take place.

There are two primary goals of a meat hunter:

  1. The first is to ensure the animal is killed in the quickest and most ethical way (Studies show that wounded animals or those that produce excessive adrenaline have a negative effect on meat quality3)
  2. The second is to recover the highest amount of meat possible from the animal.

That means choosing a rifle that is accurate enough to hit the animal’s kill zone at a distance that the hunter is comfortable shooting at, without causing excessive damage to the carcass.

If you are getting consistent groups of 2-inches at 100 yards with your .243 rifle and your aim is to shoot a whitetail from a hunting blind overlooking a feed plot, then you are good to go.


For waterfowl (such as ducks and geese), doves, pheasants, grouse, and turkeys, you would use a shotgun.

12 gauge and 20 gauge shotguns are commonly used for hunting these animals.

20 gauge shotguns are lighter than 12 gauge shotguns.

However, this is proportional to the ammo’s recoil, so they can recoil as much as (or even more than) a 12 gauge shotgun of the same type.

Shotguns can also be used to hunt some medium and large game, making a 12 gauge a versatile choice to cover everything from ducks to whitetail deer.

All you need to do is have a variety of chokes and select the right ammo.

Rimfire Rifles and Airguns

For small game such as hares, rabbits, squirrels, and beavers, a .17 HMR or .22 Long Rifle gun may be your weapon of choice, or possibly even an air gun.

It wouldn’t make much sense to use a high caliber rifle on this category of animals as there would be too much meat damage after the shot.

Some airguns are powerful enough for hunting. A few are even strong enough to take down a deer, though this may not be allowed by your local hunting regulations.

Choosing the Right Caliber

It’s important to choose the right ammo when hunting for meat, moreso than when trophy hunting.

Medium and large game has a wide variety of calibers you can choose from, ranging from .222 Remington to .338 Lapua.

Other equally suitable calibers include examples such as .243 Winchester, .260 Remington, .270 Winchester, 7mm Weatherby Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and .300 Win Mag.

You need to do considerable research into what it is you are wanting to achieve with your rifle before deciding on a caliber.

Also, you need to choose the right weight and type of bullet for what you’re hunting.

Let’s take the .300 Win Mag as an example, as it is a popular choice amongst hunters.

The .300 Win Mag as a cartrdige is capable of successfully hunting anything from whitetail up to moose, but with a range of bullet weights from 150 grains up to a self-loaded 250 grains, not every .300 Win Mag bullet may be the best choice.

A 250 grain bullet may be too heavy for a small deer, causing significant meat damage to the carcass. The lighter bullet is the better choice.

However, against a moose, that additional weight and added ballistics is just the right amount to reach the animal standing 350 yards away while still holding enough kinetic energy to achieve deep penetration.

Another example: If elk is your animal of choice and you want to hunt a mature bull once a year in the hills of Montana, then you will need to choose a rifle cartridge that can deliver strong ballistics at distances of 300 to 400 yards with very little bullet drop.

In this case, you would be looking at something like a .338 Lapua.

Note that .338 would be too much gun for even an elk if taken within a couple hundred yards.

If you are hunting for whitetail deer from a blind overlooking a corn feeder and the maximum distance you’ll be shooting is 120 yards, then a smaller cartridge such as .243 Winchester is ideal. 

Bow Hunting

Meat hunting is not only reserved for gun hunters.

Bow technology has come a long way over the decades and modern bows are impressive at downing even large game.

Although the method of hunting with a bow can be vastly different from that of a rifle, the objective remains the same.

Killing the animal effectively, ethically, and with minimal meat damage.

As with rifles, you need to have the correct bow and arrows that meet the requirements of the animal you will be hunting.

From poundage to arrow weight, and broadhead choice, it all counts when it comes to bow hunting.

The best piece of advice would be to discuss the various aspects of bow hunting with those hunters that have been doing it for many years in your area.

Get advice from bow shop owners, fellow hunters, join bow clubs, and partake in 3D shooting competitions to get a better understanding of what type of gear you will need.

It is no secret that the success rate with a bow is considerably less than with a rifle, for the simple fact that a rifle provides the hunter with more distance and power.

Animals 80 yards out are too far to be ethically and effectively hunted with a bow.

However, any animal within a 600-yard radius is well within reach of some rifle.

If time is of the essence and you need that meat in the fridge as soon as possible, then hunt with a rifle.

But if you are wanting a real hunting challenge and that sense of truly earning your food, pick up a bow and head on out there.


Good quality optics are invaluable for hunting.

Whether they come in the form of binoculars, rifle scopes, range finders, or spotting scopes, optics are a piece of equipment no hunter should be without in the field.

You can’t hunt your quarry if you can’t find it. And when you do, a good pair of binoculars will help you identify the species and confirm there’s a safe backstop behind your prey.

It can also help you choose your target with precision.

With the naked eye, a whitetail buck at 250 yards looks to be like any other buck, but with good optics you can easily identify it as a young buck with a good set of antlers.

Impressive yes, but not the old 10-point you were looking for that your trail camera picked up 3 days before the opening of hunting season. 

Having just that additional piece of information will save you time and effort in stalking the animal only to find out later that it isn’t the intended target.

Although the wounding of an animal is never something a hunter wants to do or experience, it does sadly happen.

Having a good pair of binoculars or spotting scope will assist you greatly in glassing over an area to find the wounded animal or even having a closer look into a herd to see if the wounded one is in the mix.

starter hunting equipment day backcountry optics binoculars


It’s not just camo styled clothing you will need when going hunting.

There is more to it than simply trying to blend in. (Though this is important!)

Your comfort needs to be at the core of your decision-making process when choosing the correct clothing for your hunting exploits.

If hiking long distances through rocky terrain is part of the adventure, then be sure to invest in good boots that hold your feet snug while offering enough protection and stability to your ankles.

Rain, snow, sun, and strong winds are all part of the experience when you are out in the woods.

You’re going to need the correct clothing to handle those conditions.

Hiking three, four, or even five miles in sopping wet clothing is not fun by any means.

It can even put your life in danger.

The best hunting clothes are the ones that keep you comfortable, not the ones with the latest and greatest camouflage pattern.

Knives and Bags

There isn’t much point in hunting for food if you can’t cut it up and process it correctly.

A high-quality knife is invaluable when the animal is down on the ground and the work of processing it begins, not to mention the endless list of other uses a knife can provide.

One knife won’t be enough, and you will need various knives to perform different tasks.

Such as a short, angled skinning knife for removing the cape of the animal partnered with a longer thinner deboning knife for instance.

Apart from having a set of knives, there are a few other handy items to bring with on the hunt:

  • A ground sheet, to keep the carcass clean of dirt while you cut it up and process it
  • Ropes with a pulley for exsanguinating (draining blood from) the carcass
  • Meat bags
  • Five gallons of clean water
  • Latex gloves

Specialist Equipment

Hunting for your food is not as simple and certainly not as boring as heading down to the local grocery store and picking out a piece of meat.

It’s an adventure, an opportunity to get outdoors, learn new things, form bonds with fellow hunters or family members, and really create a strong connection with the where and how of being self-sufficient.

Heading miles into the backcountry on horseback, loading up the tents and camping equipment for a week-long hunt, putting up trail cameras to see what is out there and learn the different habits of each species, or climbing into an ATV and heading over to a deep valley that you just know is teeming with big bucks are all examples of hunting techniques that require more than a typical day hunt.

Specialist equipment can not only help you in your hunt, it can take you places where others can’t go.

Even something simple like having an electric cooler in the back of the truck will help preserve the meat once hunted.

When you have your basic equipment such as rifle or bow, clothing, optics, and knives all sorted out, then start looking at what types of specialist equipment could aid you in your hunt.

If buying this specialist gear sounds expensive, though, keep in mind you don’t have to get in this deep.

Going for a day hunt at nearby walk-in public property is a valid way to start hunting.

Hunting Rules and Regulations

Unlike a grocery store, you can’t just head out anytime and grab the food you want.

Hunting is well regulated, and for good reason.

It is a natural resource that needs to be managed for the benefit of everyone and for future generations.

Hunting seasons vary from state to state and within those seasons there is often a bow season, a rifle season, and a black powder season.

Just because it is officially hunting season and you have a rifle at the ready doesn’t mean you can head out and start shooting.

It is your responsibility to first educate yourself about the regulations of your county and state.

Make sure you know the answers to the following questions before heading out:

  1. Are there licenses that need to be purchased?
  2. Do you have to enter a lottery and draw a tag?
  3. Are you allowed to hunt only a certain number of animals?
  4. What are the legal hunting times?
  5. What date does bow season officially end and rifle season begin?
  6. Is the feeding or baiting of game allowed?
  7. Are there restrictions on calibers or bow poundage for certain species?

Regulations may differ between public and private land, too.

With private land hunting it is more a case of: If you want it, you can pay for it and have it.

Now, that’s not to say the hunt is any easier.

It’s simply a matter of paying the landowner for access to their land. Or paying a hunting outfitter for a guided hunt to try to track down specific animals. 

A private land hunt is more expensive than hunting public land, but your chances of success are greater.

It often comes with added benefits such as having the correct equipment already supplied to you, a guide who will skin out and process the animal for you after the hunt, and even a cozy lodge to rest up at the end of the day.

Many hunting outfitters even provide lunch!

Hunting Basics

ambush still spot stalk stand hunting blind

The beauty of hunting is that it is open to everyone and there are many ways to go about it.

The two main methods are spot-and-stalk hunting or ambush hunting.

Most people find ambush hunting easier.

Also called still hunting or stand hunting, it’s when you hide yourself and let the deer come to you.

Sitting high up in a tree stand or having a blind setup near a feeding plot is a great start to hunting.

The advantage of hunting from a blind is that it allows the hunter ample time to get correctly set up for the shot.

This lets you range your potential shooting distances (how far away is that line of bushes from your tree stand?).

The ability to call in your game whether it be through a mouthpiece, rattling antlers together, or even using a scent strategically on the wind, will again be a huge advantage in ensuring you will be in the best possible position for the shot.

Then there are the hunters that prefer the long stalk, the hours of glassing, and the crawling through the open grasslands to get within range.

It’s a difficult battle of your skills versus your prey’s senses, but many hunters find it more difficult.

Whether you’re stalking your deer or waiting to ambush it, there remain the basics of hunting that every hunter needs to follow in order to be successful:

  • Each of the animals mentioned has a keen sense of smell, eyesight, and hearing. While hunting you need to be aware of your scent moving downwind, any noise you’re making, and how to position yourself so the animal won’t see your outline.
  • Hunting is something that should never be taken for granted and, as a hunter, you have a duty to ensure the animal you are targeting does not endure any unnecessary pain. If wounded, you must do all you can to retrieve the animal.
  • Safety for you and others should always be a priority.
  • Be prepared. Do your research before venturing out, learn about the animal you are wanting to hunt, the area and terrain it lives in, and the conditions you may encounter. The better prepared you are the more adaptable you can be should the unexpected arise.
  • Shot placement. Head shots are tempting because they can put down the animal instantly and without ruining any meat. However, it’s extremely difficult to hit such a small target, especially when it’s moving and 300 yards from you. The correct shot placement, most of the time, should through the heart and lungs.

Post Hunt Practices

Congratulations, you got your animal!

Now what?

Well, if your number one objective was to hunt the animal for food then now begins the most important part of that process.

This is called field dressing the animal and will ensure you preserve as much of the meat as possible.

To make things easier, we will break up the post-hunt procedure into steps.

Cool It

The minute an animal is killed, the process of decomposition begins.

It is up to you to slow down that process by a significant amount of time in order to save the meat from spoiling.

Heat will be your biggest adversary and the main objective is to keep the animal’s carcass as cool as possible.

Most hunting seasons occur within the winter months, which is great as the cold outside temperatures will be of assistance.

If perhaps it happens to be a usually warm day, then you can keep the animal cool by dragging it into a shaded spot while you retrieve your truck, ATV, hunting partner, or pack horse.

Gut It

The internal organs, especially the stomach, need to be removed from the animal as soon as possible.

By opening the animal and removing the organs you are also allowing body heat to escape, which will rapidly cool the carcass down.

Take care when extracting the stomach and intestines, making sure not to break them and contaminate the meat with acidic digestive fluids that can spoil the meat.

Skin It

It is easier to remove the internal organs and skin with the animal hanging from a tree or hoisted in a gutting shed.

The added benefit of hanging the animal is that excess blood and fluids will drain from the carcass.

This may not be possible with larger animals such as elk and moose out in the field, so the skinning process will need to be completed on the ground.

A suggestion would be to make use of a ground sheet or tarp, to keep the animal clean from dirt and bacteria.

Clean It

Now the skin and internal organs have been removed, the carcass can be washed down with clean drinkable water.

Use the water to remove blood, dirt, grass, foreign material, possible digestive juices, and meat damaged from the bullet impact.

Quarter It

Unless you have a sled or are close to your transport vehicle, you may need to separate the carcass into sections to remove it from the wilderness.

This is done by removing large portions of meat from the carcass.

Hang It

If possible, an animal carcass should hang for a minimum of 3 days at temperatures of 40’F.

After this, you can either process the meat yourself or have a qualified meat processor do it for you.

Don’t Forget to Record It

Make sure you register or even notify all relevant authorities and landowners about your kill, depending on local regulations and agreements.

This may be a mandatory requirement if you hunted an animal on public land with a drawn tag or an over-the-counter license.

You may also be required to affix a portion of your tag to the animal until it has been processed.

Carcass Handling, Meat Processing, and Trophy Handling

There is of course the trophy side of hunting. Every animal is to be cherished, from the does and spikers all the way up to the record-breaking big bucks.

For you to preserve the animal’s skin (cape) in such a way that it can be used by a taxidermist to create a mount, it should be handled in a similar way, with a few additional steps, to the carcass in order to keep it fresh.

There are two main options available to a hunter that wishes to have their animal preserved in a mount.

The first is to deliver the entire animal to a taxidermist/meat processor.

If your hunting grounds happen to be closer to a town with a taxidermist that can do meat processing, you can arrange for the animal to be delivered there for complete processing.

Keep in mind the animal will still need to be cooled and gutted out in the field otherwise it’ll be spoiled before making it to the taxidermist.

Experienced hunters or those that prefer to process their own meat but may not have the skills or time to do their own taxidermy will often remove the cape from the animal with the head on and freeze it.

Freezing the cape prevents decomposition and stops the hair from falling out.

When the hunter is ready, they can then take the frozen cape to a taxidermist, who will finish the product off into a beautiful mount.

It is important to note that when removing the skin of an animal you intend to have mounted, you make certain cuts to do so.

Discuss this with your taxidermist beforehand and have them explain to you exactly where you should cut to remove the skin without it affecting the quality of the mount.

Carcass Processing Tips

Take the time to remove any muscle tissue that was damaged by the impact of the bullet or arrow during hunting. That meat is likely the first to spoil.

This can usually be done just after you have gutted and skinned the animal.

A sharp knife will come in handy here as not all the meat will need to be cut away. But at the same time, some bone fragments may also need to be removed.

There are many video tutorials and articles on just how to butcher an animal correctly.

However, it remains a skilled craft, and will seem altogether different from what you saw on YouTube when faced with a giant chunk of meat, bone, and cartilage hanging in front of you.

For those relatively new to hunting and especially meat processing, it is highly recommended to have a professional process your meat and then have them show you where the different cuts are to be found on the carcass.

You will need to decide beforehand what cuts of meats or final products you want, such as tenderloins for throwing over an open fire, enough pieces to make jerky for family and friends, burger patties for the kids ,or a leg roast to slow cook during those special holidays.

If you want to make a wide variety of meat products from your animal yourself then you will need specific pieces of equipment.

Sausages and patties need a grinder, mincer, patty press, and sausage maker, along with the desired casings and spices.

For jerky one needs spices, salt, and drying racks.

Because of this investment, if you will only shoot one animal a year, it’s best to have the carcass handled by a professional.

Final Thoughts

Hunting has been part of the human heritage for generations.

It also requires a certain set of skills and knowledge.

Every new hunter should learn as much as possible before heading out into the woods.

However, there’s nothing that will give you as much of an advantage on your first hunting trip as teaming up with an experienced hunter.

Any of your hunter friends or family would love to help pass on their skills to you. And, if you don’t know anybody who hunts, local hunting organizations may be able to team you up with a mentor.

With the right gear and attitude, I know you’ll be able to bring home a deer and feed your family!


  1. https://www.trapshooters.com/threads/best-tasting-deer.832229/
  2. https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Mammals/Pronghorn
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823487/


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  • 5 Modes (Low, Medium, High, Strobe, and SOS)
  • IP66 Rated – Durable Enough to Handle Any Situation 

*Inventory is limited, offer only good while supplies last