Field Dressed weight vs. actual weight


November 25, 2008, 09:26 AM
I finally got a scale this year for weighing my deer that I take. Last week I got a small 8 point. I estimated the weight at 160 lbs. from visual. I weighed the deer after (field dressing) gutting it I was surprised to see the weight at only 110lbs. What do you estimate the guts weigh? Maybe I have just been off in my weight estimations for all these years, but this was a good sized deer. Not huge, but certainly not skinny by any sense of the word. Deer taken in upstate NY.

I know I could just weigh one before I gut it, but my mother-in-law is pretty insistant about gutting it before I bringing it into the garage for hanging and cleaning.

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November 25, 2008, 09:39 AM
I think that your estimate is pretty good as I believe that the guts amount to about 1/3 of the total weight on the hoof.

November 25, 2008, 09:44 AM
110lbs. gutted but with the hide (which is heavy) still on - I would guess its' "on the hoof" weight at about 150-155 lbs. I usually figure the carcass without the guts and hide will be around 60% of live weight. That can vary quite a bit though depending on the gender, age and physical condition of the deer. I don't think you weretoo far off.


November 25, 2008, 09:53 AM
I worked in a butcher shop when I was in undergraduate school. I couldn't recall the extra ratio, but found one here:

A hunter can obtain a ball-park estimate of his deer's live weight by multiplying its field-dressed weight by 1.28.

To that end, and considering that a buck is approximately 40% meat, the buck that net me 65 pounds of boonless meat should have weighed in the range of 166 pounds live.


November 25, 2008, 09:55 AM
So add a third... That still puts you around 140. Not too far off.

Personally, I figure about 35lbs for guts, I'd rather be light than heavy when I start telling deer stories.

November 25, 2008, 10:05 AM
The answer is about 1/3 the way down the page, on the link I posted:

Mature Buck




percent Meat:

Further down the page, there is far greater detail including hide, blood, etdc.


November 25, 2008, 10:43 PM
I certainly concur with the percent meat. Of the four bucks I have taken this year all returned from the butcher shop finished meat products that weighted 41 to 42% of the deer's on the hoof weight.

I really believe most hunters over estimate the weight of their deer, just like fishermen do their fish. I certainly did before I started weighing all my deer. The size I used to estimate at 135 I now know weigh only 115. The ones I estimated at 150 really weigh only 135. This one weighed a shade over 150, and under my previous estimation method I would have put him at 170...

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 26, 2008, 11:25 AM
I've heard that the blood and guts (don't forget the blood - it weighs a lot) weigh anywhere from an additional 28% up to as much as 40% of the body weight field-dressed. I don't know which is correct.

But adding 33% would make my 146 dressed buck from Sunday come in right around 195 lbs on the hoof. Adding 40% would make him 204 lbs. Pretty good sized for what I'm guessing is a 3.5 yr old. But he may have been 4.5 yrs. I will be examining his teeth to find out for sure. I took one lower jawbone out and saved it. The other one was in the trash can, and my dog brought it to me this morning after getting it out of said trash can.

November 26, 2008, 02:24 PM
When you guys talk about how much a deer weighs you go by live weight??? When we say a 215 lb deer here in MN that means one that has been gutted.

November 30, 2008, 03:36 PM
I shot a deer that weighed 189 on the butchers scale field dressed. That would be just over 240 lbs live weight? It had hung for a couple days so would it have been maybe 250?

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 30, 2008, 04:03 PM
When you guys talk about how much a deer weighs you go by live weight???

I think *some* people refer to their deer's weight as being live on the hoof, but the standard acceptable way, I believe, you don't specify, is that the weight is after field-dressing or "hog-dressing" (i.e. minus the blood & guts). But if someone doesn't specify, you pretty much have to ask what they mean, because in different locales in the country, I think the standards are different.

November 30, 2008, 05:56 PM
Here's a chart to answer all questions using the Deer's girth measurement.

December 3, 2008, 04:25 PM
Thanks for all the info. So, I see the formula from DEER and DEERHUNTING Magazine at 1.33 and the other formula said 1.28.
So best bet is a range of between 28-33% of weight is taken off by field dressing (gutting and partially bled out) so I can call it good at taking 30.5% or the average of the two estimations. Thanks again the info and good hunting. BB

December 3, 2008, 06:11 PM
So my deer was 189 on the scale. All organs, windpipe to ****, had been removed and he was bled out and hung for a couple days. 250 would be a reasonable estimate of live weight. 240-250 for sure.

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