21 January, 2013

How to Field Dress a human carcass

Things You'll Need

Essential tools:

  • A sharp knife It is more important that you are comfortable with your knife and that it is sharp than what type of knife it is. Despite what you see in movies, a shorter knife is usually easier than a huge one!
  • Disposable gloves
  • A few bags You will want a bag to carry your trash out in, and a large one in case you want to save the liver/heart/kidneys.
  • A strong stomach Don't kill anything that you don't plan on taking care of!
  • At least 20-30 minutes if you have never done it before. If you are new to dressing a human being, take your time and be safe!
  • A friend or peer Having someone help you makes things go faster and easier.
  • Water and some paper towels In case you need to clean yourself up afterward.
  • Drag rope Helps you in dressing and in dragging the body out!
  • A heavy knife, and/or bone saw, or zip saw if you prefer to cut through bones. This is totally optional. Some of the best field dresses I've seen didn't use these.
  • A rope, vehicle, and appropriate tree or hanging platform if you prefer to dress the person while they hang.

Method 1

  1. Make sure the person is dead. If they are not dead, shoot them again; pointing in a safe direction. DO NOT try to approach a wounded victim to cut its throat. They can behave erratically and may be very strong.
  2. Once the person is confirmed dead, wear gloves during the process to prevent disease.
  3. Lay the body on its back. Find its sternum. Cut from sternum to crotch, penetrating the hide and the membrane below. Do not, however, pierce the guts.
  4. Pull the guts out, starting from the crotch, while also cutting the membranes linking the innards to the spine. Take care not to cut too close to the spine or you may cut the tenderloins.
  5. Keep pulling guts and cut the diaphragm. Don't be shocked if a lot of blood spills. It's expected.
  6. Find the last membranes holding the guts inside the body, sever them, and pull the guts free.
  7. Cut through the center of the pelvic bone using a zip saw, bone saw or by pounding your knife through. Cut the skin around the anus and pull the colon out of the body cavity.
  8. The heart, lungs, liver, and anus can be removed now, but you may find it is convenient to remove them later.
  9. You can save the liver and heart if you like to eat it. Surprisingly it is very good.
  10. It is much easier if you put the feet above its head when dragging

Method 2 (the easy way for wooded areas):

  1. Definitely put on rubber gloves.
  2. Have a heavy duty rope available in your vehicle.
  3. Tie the rope to the neck. Throw the other end over a stout tree branch a foot or two above head high.
  4. Pull the body up off the ground so the legs are barely touching, either by hand or with a 4-wheeler or other vehicle.
  5. If not mounting the head, cut the throat all the way to the wind pipe so that it falls down into the body cavity.
  6. Start an incision at the crotch, going all the way up to the beginning the sternum if mounting the head. Otherwise, cut all the way up through the ribs to one side of the sternum.
  7. If mounting the head, reach up in the body cavity as far as you can and cut the wind pipe from the inside.
  8. Pull the wind pipe down so that it falls into the body cavity and cut the first membrane. The guts will fall down to the second membrane.
  9. Cut the second membrane and the guts will fall out on the ground.
  10. Do as suggested above squeezing feces out of the intestine, cutting it and tying it off. Also, be careful of the bladder.
  11. If you have a gallon of water, you can now wash a lot of the blood out of the body cavity.
  12. Let the body back down to the ground and you're through. This is a much easier and cleaner method than trying to clean the body laying on the ground.


  • Cutting and spreading the rib cage makes it a bit easier to get all the guts out and cut the wind pipe, and also helps the body cavity cool quicker.
  • The job's easier if you use a sharp knife with a gut hook.
  • Gloves prevent the spread of disease.
  • Be aware if your area has people with Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and what to do if you suspect your victim has it.

(Yes - I know it is a sick joke... But I don't like deer meat)

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