Store-bought field dressing kits often include a bunch of unnecessary items for a hunter who’s faced with gutting a deer and getting it home. This D.I.Y. kit fits into a gallon-size plastic zippered bag, which also serves as a handy place to put down a knife while you wrestle with a transcending colon. At the truck, stash 3 gallons of clean water for rinsing out the body cavity, and a hatchet if you want to open the pelvis.
Latex Gloves: Lots of field dressing gloves go up to your armpit, to turn blood away from clothing and any open cuts. But wrist-high gloves are form-fitting for a better feel and grip and still prevent blood and nicked guts from infecting small cuts.
Zip-Seal Bags: Have two gallon-size bags for the heart and the liver.
Paper Towels: I like to keep 15 paper towels, folded up, to use as cavity and hand wipes.
Bandages: Pack these for knife nicks.
Ibuprofen: If I’m farther than a few hundred yards from the truck, I make my back happy with a dose of Vitamin I within minutes of pulling the trigger.
Zip Ties: Tie off the intestinal canal with one hand. Snazzy.
Gut Hook: Tons of small gut hooks have hit the market. The Buck PakLite Guthook provides a firm, safe grip ($32).
Butt Out 2: It works. Enough said ($12).
Deer Drag: Store-bought deer drags have a handle that makes them too bulky for this kit. Tie a loop in each end of an 8-foot length of 9mm climbing rope. Now you can slip a choker loop around the doe’s neck or buck’s antlers and cinch the other end of the rope around a sturdy stick for a handle.
Hand Sanitizer: Bring a small bottle for field treatment of knife nicks, and overall cleanup.
Parachute Cord: P-cord has a million uses. But in this situation, keep a 5-foot length of cord in the kit and use it to tie one leg to a sapling and hold it out of the way for easier gutting.