As you’re reading this, I will (hopefully) be getting up close and personal with a bull elk. September is my favorite month for many reasons, and the chance to hear an elk bugle is close to the top of the list. Once you have a bull bugle in your face, you’ll find any excuse possible to experience it again. It is like a drug.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that elk taste pretty good, too, but they are big critters and facing the task of field-dressing one is daunting to say the least. Once I learned the gutless method, the job got a lot easier. Skinning the hide back on one side creates a clean surface to work on, and exposes the quarters, backstrap, neck roasts and all of the scrap meat that goes into the grind pile. I’ve used it on both elk and caribou in backcountry situations where I have had to pack the meat out on my back or via an ATV. When it comes to deer, I still dress them the old-fashioned way, though I know several guys who have gone gutless on them as well.
In the video, Corey Jacobsen and the Elk101 guys do a great job of illustrating just how to go about processing an elk in the field without having to open it up. Pay particular attention around the 10:30 mark, as it shows the easiest way to remove the tenderloin, which is the first thing people new to the method ask about.