Press Release

Recent field dressing and skinning class was a hit among folks in the Panhandle Region

Interested individuals from the public learned the basics of field dressing, skinning and cooking big game at a recent outdoor skills workshop

Fish and Game in the Panhandle Region recently hosted a class covering the basics of field dressing, skinning and cooking wild game, with a particular focus on big game such as deer and elk.

Live demonstration of field dressing and skinning big game
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Idaho Fish and Game

The class started with a short presentation by F&G Volunteer Services Coordinator Wendy Koons, where she taught participants about how to care for meat in the field, the health benefits of eating wild game relative to domestic meat, the “dos and dont’s” of cooking wild game and many other topics of interest.

Classroom teaching for field dressing and skinning big game
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Idaho Fish and Game

When asked why she decided to put on the class, Koons said, “I was contacted by a local butcher who asked if we ever hosted any similar classes.  He voiced dismay at the poor condition of big game carcasses he received last fall, and he expressed interest in teaching folks the basics of butchering.”

That was enough for Koons to begin organizing the effort.

“I could hardly believe it.  Within a day of posting the class online, all 30 spots were filled!” said Koons.  “Clearly, folks are interested in learning how to do this on their own.”

It’s also no secret in the Panhandle that butchers are overwhelmed this time of year.  In fact, last fall butcher freezers and coolers were overflowing, to the point they were turning down customers and people were left to figure out how to deal with the meat they harvested. 

In short, there’s no better time than now to learn how to handle your own game meat.

What made this class different than watching a video on YouTube, you might be asking?  For the second half of the class, Fish and Game partnered with the butcher to do a live, hands-on demonstration on an animal he was already planning to butcher.

Skinning a big game animal
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Idaho Fish and Game

Participants were able to watch, ask questions and learn as the butcher demonstrated how to properly remove the hide , front and rear quarters, backstraps, neck meat and edible internal organs from the animal. 

Live demonstration of skinning a big game animal
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Idaho Fish and Game

He also demonstrated how to use the “gutless method” and how to field dress (remove the internal organs) of the animal.

When asked what they most enjoyed about the class, several participants said they have taken hunter education and taken their gun to a range to practice, but they have been hesitant to go hunting because they had no idea what to do if they actually harvested an animal.

“There are so many things to learn when it comes to hunting,” said one participant.  “Now I feel like I could go into the mountains, harvest an animal and ethically and successfully take care of the meat.  I’m excited to go hunt now!”

Live demonstration of field dressing and skinning big game
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Idaho Fish and Game

For some, hunting is a way of life, almost as if they were born into it.  For others, the many facets of hunting seem overwhelming, daunting and perhaps unattainable.  But rest assured, you can do it, and we want to help!

We offer online and in-person hunter and trapper education courses, and we also offer a variety of outdoor skills courses that are focused on the various facets of hunting, outdoor survival and more.  If you missed the class, make sure to check here for new class offerings in the future.

Perhaps most importantly, we also offer a “hunting passport” as part of our mentored hunting program for new hunters.  Hunting alongside a knowledgeable mentor is an incredibly valuable experience, so consider giving it a try!

If you’d like to get a feel for what the Fish and Game mentoring program is about, check out our Maiden Hunt Series videos on the Fish and Game YouTube channel.

More resources for field dressing and skinning wild game

Please contact your local Fish and Game Regional office if you have any questions about field dressing and skinning a big game animal.

Follow the Panhandle Region Facebook page for regular news and updates on when additional outdoor skills classes will be offered.

Skinning a big game animal
Creative Commons Licence
Idaho Fish and Game

Skinning a big game animal.