Weighing dressed deer tricky


Mar 11, 2001
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Weighing dressed deer tricky

By JOE MACALUSO, Baton Rouge Advocate

The first deer are in and going to the skinning sheds.

Following right behind the deer and deer hunters are persistent arguments at hunting camps about how much a deer weighs.

Most times hunters field dress deer in the field. That’s not as redundant as it sounds. Some hunters retrieve a deer and remove the viscera at the skinning shed.

Others prefer to eviscerate their kill in the field, which is an especially good move these days when temperatures climb into the 60s almost as soon as the sun rises. Veteran hunters know the quicker you cool the animal, the better chance you have to take quality venison home for the table.

This week’s opening of the modern firearms season throughout the state — and the extended Thanksgiving Holiday weekend — will put more deer on the ground than during muzzleloader or archery seasons, and the warm temperatures makes it mandatory that the deer be cooled quickly to preserve the wholesomeness of the meat.

But, field dressing a deer away from camp or club means camp recordkeepers will have a tough time filling out forms that require things like the deer’s weight, estimated age (taken from its jawbone) and antler size.

A story in Advocate Outdoors several years ago carried a note from an Arkansas biologist about determining a deer’s weight.

A study indicated field dressing removes about 22 percent of a deer’s total weight.

So, after you’ve removed the viscera and you want to weigh the deer, you have to add more than 22 percent back into the weight at the camp to get the on-the-hoof weight.

To the field-dressed deer, you should use a factor of 1.28 to find out the original weight. That means multiplying the dressed weight by 1.28.

It means a field-dressed deer weighing 150 pounds weighed 192 pounds, or a 101 pounder on the scale weighed 130 pounds in the field.


Other formulas

Live Weight X 78% = Field Dress Weight X 75% = Hanging Weight X 75% = Edible Meat Weight

Here is an example of the formula:

100 Lbs. Live Weight X 78% = 78 Lbs. Field Dressed Weight X 75% = 58 Lbs. Hanging Weight X 75% = 43 Lbs. Edible Meat

You can use the following formula to work backwards.  If you know the weight of edible meat, you can calculate the hanging weight, field dressed weight, etc..  You can calculate from any weight.  If you know the hanging weight, than you could estimate the field dressed weight and the live weight.

Edible Meat Weight X 1.35 = Hanging Weight X 1.30 = Field Dressed Weight X 1.25 = Live Weight

Here is an example of this formula:

25 Lbs. Edible Meat X 1.35 = 34 Lbs. Hanging Weight X 1.30 = 44 Lbs. Field Dressed Weight X 1.25 = 55 Lbs. Live Weight

I've also used  girthing charts where you measure the chest around the heart to get live weight. The girthing charts where pretty close to actual deer we weighed and what the butchers estimated too.

Girth/Inches       Live Weight
                       (in pounds)
24                      55  
25                      61  
26                      66  
27                      71  
28                      77  
29                      82  
30                      90  
31                      98  
32                      102  
33                      110  
34                      118  
35                      126  
36                      125  
37                      146  
38                      157  
39                      169  
40                      182  
41                      195  
42                      210  
43                      228  
44                      244  
45                      267  
46                      290  
47                      310  
48                      340


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