(Illustrations by Mike O’Brien)
There are a lot of ways to skin a deer. Other than the presence of a knife, no two ways are alike.
But nowadays deer hunters are busy. We don’t have time for the agonizingly slow process of hanging a deer with gambrels and peeling off the skin, slice by slice.
The need to quicken the pace of our skinning parties long ago gave birth to “the golf ball method,” a tried-and-true piece of redneck lore that will be passed down through generations.
It’s a trick every deer hunter must have up his or her sleeve. Here’s how to skin a deer with a golf ball.
- This process starts with the right setup. You’ve got to find an area that has a suitable tree or other vertical brace that also allows you to easily maneuver a vehicle in and out. The tree or brace you choose must enable you to hang your deer high enough (by the neck) that it does not touch the ground. The average whitetail deer is about 82 inches in length and will be much longer than that when hanging. So you’ll need a tree with a proper tie-off spot preferably 8 to 10 feet off the ground. That tie-off will need to have a large load-bearing branch that is capable of easily holding the deer’s mass while withstanding the pulling force of your vehicle (test the branch using your own weight first). The tree will need at least a 50-yard clearing in one direction to allow you plenty of room to drive forward. I’ve seen the golf ball method carried out to perfection in suburban yards and in staging areas at backwoods deer camps. Finding a spot will surely take some redneck ingenuity, but it can be done in most places. Now that you’ve got a spot picked out, you’ll have to gather the necessary tools for the job. This doesn’t really take much: a vehicle with a ball trailer hitch, a knife, a length of rope, a golf ball, and a buddy or two to help with the work. The trailer hitch can be pretty simple, as even the cheapest are tested at 60 times the weight of a deer. You can pick up a 2-inch drop starter towing kit at your local hardware store for $25. The rope and the knots you tie with it are likely the most important parts of this equation. Don’t be afraid to overdo it with the strength of rope here; I would go with a synthetic winch rope tested at 3,500 pounds. You’ll need two lengths, a minimum of 6 feet to tie from the tree to the deer and a minimum of 12 feet to tie from the hide to the trailer hitch. As for the golf ball, I prefer a Nike One Platinum. That’s what Tiger Woods uses, and I always like to go with quality.