The Golf Ball Method: How to Skin a Deer in Less Than Five Minutes

The Golf Ball Method: How to Skin a Deer in Less Than Five Minutes

skin_deer_ban

(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.

Step 1: The Right Setup

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.

Step 2: Hang Your deer

From this point on, you should be able to hang, cut, and skin your deer in less than five minutes. Before you start, of course, you should have already field dressed your deer. Do not skimp on this task: Cut down to the brisket, remove the heart and lungs, and also crack the pelvis.

To hang your deer you'll need to start with it in the back of a truck. With your buddy driving and you standing in the bed, back the truck right up to the tree. Now tie off your first length of rope to the load-bearing branch using a Two Half Hitches knot or Bowline knot (if you don't know these, get familiar; they're simple). Stretch the rope tight and, with your buddy's help, lift up the deer's neck and tie a Bowline knot around the area just below the skull. Bowlines are great for this task: They can be tied with one hand and will hold steady when under tension.

Be sure to check your knots twice before standing aside to oversee the next step. Have your buddy slowly pull the truck forward with the tailgate down until the deer flops down and hangs by its neck, swinging back and forth. This is the perfect, safe, hands-free way to check your rope and knots.

Step 3: Make Your Cuts

Now that your deer is securely hanging from the tree, it's time to make the three necessary cuts. Make two cuts around the deer's front legs above the joint and pull the hide up a bit to ensure it's not still connected to the joint or lower leg.

Next, make a horizontal cut around the deer's neck about three to four inches below its ears. Free the skin from the neck and peel back until you have a good handful or a few inches of hide to work with€¦now grab your golf ball.

Step 4: Insert the Golf Ball and Tie Off

Place the golf ball in the center of the excess hide and squeeze the skin tight, firming up that ever-important connection between the two. Now tie the rope around the extra hide at the bottom of the ball. For this you can also use a Bowline.

Pull it as tight as humanly possible until the golf ball looks like a stressed-out eyeball protruding from the socket.

Step 5: Tie to Hitch and Drive Forward

Now, with the truck backed up to the deer, tie the other end of the rope firmly to the hitch using whichever knot you trust the most. (I would suggest a Bowline.) Have your buddy pull the truck forward and watch as the hide slides right off like a sock, leaving you the backstraps free and clear for the cutting. And that, really, is the fun part.

This works best when the deer is still warm. If it's not, you may encounter a few rough spots; be ready to jump in and help things along by cutting or pulling where needed.

Stay safe, be careful, and enjoy your newfound speed in the skinning game.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 8: Midnight Sun Grizzlies

Kevin Steele and CZ-USA's Jason Morton return to Alaska's arctic tundra for Kevin's second and Jason's third attempt on the legendary species. Things are looking up on day one but time will tell if the boys will get a shot a the king of the tundra.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 14: Swamp Bulls

With his Mozambique forest bull in the salt, Craig Boddington sets his sights on the Marromeu grasslands in pursuit of a swamp buffalo.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range hunting: trajectory, wind drift, impact velocity, and accuracy. Ammo

Is the .308 a Viable Long Range Cartridge?

Keith Wood

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range...

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in North America

Best Units for Hunting Western Mule Deer

Josh Dahlke

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in

From trajectory to penetration to recoil, we evaluate this cartridge for the big-game use case. Ammo

Is the .308 the Perfect North American Big Game Cartridge?

Richard Mann

From trajectory to penetration to recoil, we evaluate this cartridge for the big-game use...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

August is the perfect time to ensure your deer stands are secure and ready. Whitetail

September Is Coming: Now Is the Time to Check Your Treestands

Jeff Johnston

August is the perfect time to ensure your deer stands are secure and ready.

Is it ethical, and should you even try it? How-To

Should You Shoot Running Game?

Craig Boddington

Is it ethical, and should you even try it?

Learn the basics by chasing the most basic game. How-To

Can Squirrels Save Hunting?

Michael Pendley

Learn the basics by chasing the most basic game.

Mastering this art form can bring more big bucks to your treestand. Whitetail

The Science of Calling in Whitetails

Jeff Johnston

Mastering this art form can bring more big bucks to your treestand.

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.