Feb 14 2014

Basic Survival Skills – Butcher and Prepare an Animal in the Wild

How to Butcher and Prepare an Animal in the Wild using Survival Skillsfish cooking on an open fire

By now your basic survival skills will be improving to the point where you know you can obtain food in the wild.

However, you must know the safe procedures to butcher and prepare the food once you have managed to trap, snare or have caught some fish.

Any game or fish you catch in the wild must be processed and prepared almost immediately – especially in warm weather, to prevent spoilage.

  • You only have a matter of hours before that food is inedible.


animal guttingIt is highly recommenced to field dress any game you catch on the spot.

To remove the entrails, start at the tail/anus and cut into the belly and up to the chest cavity.


You must take care as you slice into the belly to ensure you do not puncture the entrails. A good skinning knife will come in very handy here – especially a knife with a “gut hook”. 

Some good skinning knives like the Buck 691BKB Zipper will have a “gut hook” expressly for that purpose –  they only penetrate far enough to cut open the layers of skin.

Bury ALL the animals entrails immediately – that way you will not attract any predators and insects.

  • Leave the skin on until you are ready to process the meat for cooking.
  • Cut the head and feet off and spread the cavity open and prop with a stick then wipe the cavity out.
  • You want the meat to cool as quickly as possible so never leave the entrails in any longer than necessary.

Wilderness Survival WILL require you to do things you are definitely not accustomed to doing.!

The only way to increase your knowledge and thus become proficient at processing any type of wild game is to actually have hands on experience – you must go out and practice.cooking animal over open fire

Using your Basic Survival Skills you must now start a camp fire and then make two  “Spit Poles” by pushing two forked sticks into the ground on either side of the fire.

Using a slender sapling, simply skewer the animal along its length and lay across the fire supported in the forks.

Next you will need to construct a small platform using green saplings – positioned close to the heat, but not over the flames, this is to be used as a curing/drying rack for any of the meat you cannot eat right away.


Skinning the animal is easier by hanging from the hind legs.

skinning a rabbit Using a sharp good skinning knife, make a slit the skin along the backside of the hind legs.

Then start to peel the skin off the animal by starting at the hind legs and then working forward, you will pull the skin inside out essentially.

The skin can be kept for curing, if you know how, otherwise it must be buried as soon as possible.

To take the limbs off, simply cut through the joints.  On small game, the legs will have very little meat on them, however, they must be kept as they can be placed in water and boiled to produce a protein rich broth.

Make an incision either side of the backbone and right through the ribs – this will free the breast meat. If you intend to dry some of the meat, place it to one side on the drying rack, otherwise skewer the animal and place over the heat.



If you have more meat than you can eat lay it across the drying rack, as it is essential to cure any extra meat you have and to preserve it for later.

Having these type of wilderness survival skills such as knowing how to process wild game is an essential skill to prevent sickness and to make sure you eat well.


 Skinning and gutting an animal can be done with just about any survival knife – however, bring prepared for everything, in the wild means having some specialist tools and a combination of a good Skining Knife and a a good Gutting Knife will make your life a whole lot easier.


Price Disclaimer
Price Disclaimer
List Price: $87.74 Price: $79.99 You Save: $7.75

Buck 691BKB Zipper – Gutting & Skinning Knife

“This knife features a 4 1/8″ stainless steel, drop point blade with an additional Gutting Hook – a really nice looking knife”.

Just oozes quality with brass finger guard and pommel – razor sharp, straight out of the box. Blade stamped and endorsed – made in the USA


List Price: $62.68 Price: $62.68

Buck Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife

“Coming from a top manufacturer like Buck Knives, this is one of their best ever skinning knives”

Lightweight, with a 3 1/8″ razor sharp blade and a perfect shaped handle – I love this little skinner.

Best of all – made in the USA



  •  If you are venturing out into the wilderness, I hope this article on How to Butcher and Prepare an Animal in the Wild using Survival Skills has helped you and given you the urge to just go out there and experience the great American wilderness.
  • If you’re really serious about learning these skills its well worth considering a full outdoor kit with all the essential butchering equipment rolled up into one – they certainly make life easier to have all the equipment needed on hand.