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Field dressing procedures for large game animals generally apply to smaller game animals. The key is to allow the meat to cool quickly and age properly to ensure optimum flavor.

Animals such as squirrels and rabbits can be skinned before making the cut on the underside to remove the entrails.

Skinning a Squirrel

Make the first cut under the tail, but leave the tail attached to the skin. Place the squirrel face up on the ground and put one foot on the tail. Tightly grasp the hind legs and pull upward, peeling the skin towards the head. Switch ends and pull the hide from the hips and the hind legs.

Skinning a Rabbit

Make a cut in the hide across the back. (See figure 1.) Grasp a fold of skin on each side of the cut and pull in opposite directions. (See figure 2.) The hide should pull away easily. Remove the head, feet, and tail to complete the process. (See figure 3.)

Dressing a Rabbit

You can apply this procedure to all small game: (See figure 4.)

  • Place the blade at the anus and cut through the skin and pelvic bone.
  • Cut up to the breastbone, placing a finger under the blade to avoid cutting any organs.
  • Reach into the body cavity and pull the esophagus and windpipe loose, then remove the entrails.
  • Wipe out the cavity and allow to cool.
Field dressing small game, Figure 1
Field dressing small game, Figure 2
Field dressing small game, Figure 3
Field dressing small game, Figure 4