Skinning helps to lower the temperature of a game carcass. Skinning is easier when the carcass is warm. Care should be taken during skinning not to allow hair to touch the meat. The animal should be removed from the hunting location (bush, woods, forest) and hung prior to being skinned. This will prevent any dirt from contaminating the meat and aid in the cooling process, so the meat doesn't spoil.

If you do not intend on mounting the cape as a trophy, follow the recommended skinning procedure.

Skinning procedure

Skinning Step 1

Skinning - Step 1

With the carcass on the ground, begin by cutting the skin around the hind leg slightly above the hock. Carefully free the skin and pull it down over the tendon and the joint toward the hoof. This rolls the scent gland inside the hide where it is out of the way.

Although the scent gland stops functioning after the animal's death, gland secretions that contact your knife could spoil the meat. Repeat this process on the other hind leg.

Skinning Step 2

Skinning - Step 2

The hind legs can be sawed off above the joint, leaving the tendons intact. If possible, hang the animal off the ground using these tendons. An animal can be skinned on the ground. However, it is more difficult to keep the carcass clean.

Skinning Step 3

Skinning - Step 3

Cut along the inside of each hind leg to the centerline incision. Take care not to cut into the meat. Peel and cut the hide from the hind legs and cut the tail off at its base leaving it attached to the hide. Continue peeling the hide down the back until you reach the front legs. Little knife work is required as the hide can generally be pulled from the carcass with your hands. Cut the hide around the front legs at the knee joint. Cut the hide along the inside of each leg up to and through the bunched-up hide where you stopped skinning the chest. Peel the hide from the front legs and skin down to the neck.

Skinning Step 4

Skinning - Step 4

Remove the head and hide by cutting through the neck with a knife or saw. Hunters could also cut through the joint between the skull and first vertebra of the spine. The front legs can be cut off at the knee joint.

Skinning Step 5

Trim away all bloodshot meat.


If the head is to be mounted, the hide on the neck must not be cut. From the cut between the front legs, the hide must be peeled and rolled along the neck. This is done until there is enough of the neck exposed to allow the head to be cut off.