5 Ways to Clean a Duck in the Field

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5 Ways to Clean a Duck in the Field
5 Ways to Clean a Duck in the Field

Learning how to properly clean a duck carcass reduces residue, waste and helps you better enjoy the meat you've prepared by doing it correctly. Depending on what you want to do with the meat, you can clean it using some field method, skin the duck at home after it has aged to improve its quality, or you can use hot wax to pluck the bird and save it. the skin, a highly desired prize in the kitchen. See Step 1 for more information.


Method 1 of 5: Preparing the duck

Field Dress to Duck Step 1

Step 1. Find out how your area's identification regularization works

In some regions, duck carcasses need to have an entire wing intact for the species to be identified by the ranger, while other locations allow you to keep the heads and entrails separate for identification. Since this does not affect how you will clean your birds, it is important to find out how the animal will be checked when the ranger comes to do such a check.

Duck hunting regulations vary immensely. In some areas you will only be able to collect a certain number of ducks per day, so the idea is to be up to date on the regulations specific to your area

Field Dress to Duck Step 2

Step 2. Clean the ducks immediately after collecting them

After you hit a duck, it will be floating in a lake, in the mud, and probably in a golden retriever's mouth for a few minutes before you catch it. In other words, it will be pretty dirty and it's important to take a few minutes to clean it up a bit before packing it or starting to take the meat off so it doesn't spoil.

  • Clean any dirt or fecal matter from the feathers, especially in the duck's tail region. Dry it completely and refrigerate it. Or start stripping meat immediately, depending on your intentions. Below 4.5° C, a duck carcass can stand for 3 to 5 days in clean conditions, without doing anything.
  • Locate the bullet's location. The meat around the area where she entered will be burnt and less than appetizing. You should take care to remove any shooting areas from the carcass and get the meat around it at some point, so it's a good idea to clean up as soon as possible.
Field Dress to Duck Step 3

Step 3. Mature the duck for 1-2 days in less than 4.5°C

Letting the meat dry a little will intensify the flavor properly, reducing the odor and making the duck more succulent. Under the right conditions, you can ripen the meat even without removing it from the carcass. Likewise, it's okay to do this with a clean duck.

  • If the temperature is right, you can hang the birds upside down by their feet to drain the blood, in a cabin or garage, as long as it's cool enough. Otherwise, keeping them in plastic boxes in the refrigerator is advisable, as long as there is sufficient air circulation.
  • Each hunter prefers to bone the bird at different points in the process. If you're out hunting, you're more likely to want to file them at the hunting ground as soon as possible to lighten your luggage. Another common alternative is to want to keep the duck whole, put it on ice quickly, and wait a few days before boning it under the right conditions.
Field Dress to Duck Step 4

Step 4. Decide whether you are going to skin or pluck the duck

Skinning the duck is easier and faster, especially at the hunting ground. Depending on how you like to cook the duck, however, some people prefer to leave the skin on, which means that more time will be spent removing the feathers. Both modes are perfectly acceptable and will be discussed below.

  • It is sometimes better to skin diving ducks if they are near salt water. The greasy skin can taste like fish and be slightly orange if the duck has eaten a lot of shellfish.
  • It's okay to pluck other types of ducks if you want to spend time on that. Gourmets and foodies agree: when cooked properly, the crispy skin of a roast duck can be one of the most sought-after parts of the dish. The skin is especially greasy, which means it can imbue the meat with a lot of flavor. If you have the time, keep your skin, many people will see value in it.

Method 2 of 5: Skinning the Duck

Field Dress to Duck Step 5

Step 1. Remove the feet with cutting pliers

Start by cutting both feet as close to the body as possible using cutters or a sharp knife. This is usually easier using something that works like a pair of scissors, as you can get them out quickly and cleanly.

Some people choose to throw their feet away, but you can keep them and use them to make sauces and broths if you want to get the most out of the bird

Field Dress to Duck Step 6

Step 2. Remove one or both wings if you don't need to keep them

With your cutting pliers, cut at the joint where the wings meet the body, as close as possible. Then use a sharp knife to run it along the skin separating the part that connects the wing and the body. Then do the same with the other wing.

  • Another alternative is to cut the wings at the middle joint, right where the longer feathers end, if you want to take advantage of the uppermost part with connective tissue where the wings meet the body. If doing this, cut the gasket, then run the knife underneath going from the wing to the "armpits" of the bird.
  • If you want to skin the bird at the hunting site, but have to leave the wings intact for identification, read the section entitled “Filetling ducks quickly”. You can skin the duck and keep the wings easily.
Field Dress to Duck Step 7

Step 3. Feel free to bone your chest with your fingers

On a strong, flat surface, lay the duck with its back down and feel the sternum. The easiest way to start is to cut the skin from the center and start with your finger, right where the bone appears.

You don't need to pluck the feathers to do this, but some hunters prefer to pluck a few from the chest area to pave the way to begin skinning. You will only have to remove a little before putting your finger on the skin, making it easier to do this all at once

Field Dress to Duck Step 8

Step 4. Use your hands and pull in the opposite direction, gently and firmly

It is very likely that you will have to start working hard here and will have to take out some feathers to actually get started. It's pretty cool, just try to put a finger on the skin and start opening it. Pull the skin in opposite directions, as if removing a jacket.

Another alternative that some like to do is to hold the duck so that its back is toward your chest and use your fingertips to tear the skin and pull it, as if you were opening your shirt. This is usually a better method when you are at the hunting ground, as you will likely not be able to lay the bird on the ground

Field Dress to Duck Step 9

Step 5. Remove the skin

Since you've removed the wings and feet, you can pull the duck's skin off, except in the neck region. Once you've opened the skin on the duck's chest, continue pulling it over the “shoulders” where the wings meet, and down around the tail. The tail feathers must still be there.

You won't need to use a knife, although the skin sticks a little closer to the meat on most ducks than on a rabbit. Try to pull as smooth as possible

Method 3 of 5: Plucking

Field Dress to Duck Step 10

Step 1. Remove feet and wings first

Use your cutting pliers or knife to remove feet and wings to give yourself a small area to pluck. If you need to leave the wings or other parts for identification of the duck, leave them.

Another alternative followed by some hunters is to leave the feet so that they can be held in the process of removing the bird's feathers. It's your choice. You can always remove them later if you wish

Field Dress to Duck Step 11

Step 2. Pull the large feathers and tail feathers in the direction they are growing

There's not much secret to removing the layer of large feathers: just start pulling. They won't budge easily, so you'll have to pull them one after the other, or a few at a time, pulling them straight from the carcass.

Field Dress to Duck Step 12

Step 3. Remove the small feathers from the torso against the growth direction

Small feathers are quicker to be pulled in piles at a time, working from the bottom up towards the neck with movements contrary to their growth direction. If you have enough arm strength and good leverage, you'll be able to get many of these feathers out much more quickly with a little practice. Use your thumbs and forefingers to start pulling them out of the skin.

You will not be able to remove all the feathers this way. There will be a thin layer of extra-soft, velvety feathers that will be practically impossible to tear off by hand. Keep the feathers taken in a bag for easier cleaning. They are also excellent for mulching and other projects

Field Dress to Duck Step 13

Step 4. Heat water and wax where you will dip the duck and remove the feathers

In a large pot, boil enough water to submerge the duck and melt a block of wax found in most grocery stores and other stores. It should float in a layer on top of the hot water. When you're done, remove the water from the fire.

Use one pack or block of wax per duck. It's more likely that you won't actually need to boil the water to melt the wax, so keep your attention on it. When the wax is melted, the water is good and you can dip the birds

Field Dress to Duck Step 14

Step 5. Soak the duck

Quickly and gently dip the bird into the layer of warm wax floating above the water and then immediately immerse the duck in cold water to harden the wax. You don't need to soak the duck for more than a few seconds, and in fact, it's best to do it quickly. Before you remove the entrails, it is important not to overheat the carcass or you risk contaminating the meat.

Immediately after pulling the duck out of the hot wax bath, dip it into a bucket of cold water. You can leave the duck in water for a minute or two for the wax to set, but this process should take little time

Field Dress to Duck Step 15

Step 6. Peel the wax from the skin

Now there will be a hard waxy crust around the duck, which you can peel off to remove the velvety feathers. Squeeze the bird in the middle to crack the wax and peel it into as large pieces as possible. The skin should be very clean, like a chicken you bought in a store.

Method 4 of 5: Removing the Guts

Field Dress to Duck Step 16

Step 1. Remove the head

While you are peeling the skin and reaching the neck, you will have to remove the head before the skin comes off entirely without the need to tear. Peel away the skin to expose the point where the neck meets the body and use the cutters to cut as close to the body as possible and remove the head.

Field Dress to Duck Step 17

Step 2. Remove the tail

After removing the skin from the duck's torso, the tail feathers will be securely attached, attached to a small ring of fat at the base of the carcass. Use your cutting pliers and cut the feathers well into the fat ring from the rest of the bird.

Field Dress to Duck Step 18

Step 3. Make an incision on the side of the duck, below the ribs

There is no meat in the area below the duck's ribs, so the best way to remove the entrails is usually to cut the base of the breast, below the ribs, to separate the gut cavity from the good meat. Run your knife along the tip of the chest, making light, shallow cuts. When you reach the other side, grasp the underside of the bird and pull firmly to remove the entrails. The intestines must come out at once, clean.

  • You can remove the heart and liver separately, which you will need to take out of the body cavity and remove the gizzard from above. You can eat liver if you remove the gallbladder which has a green color like a gel pill. The heart is also edible, but rather small.
  • Another alternative preferred by other hunters is to remove the duck's gizzard and remove the rest of the entrails from the cavity there. It's a smaller space to work, however, and away from the intestines, which must be removed carefully to avoid contamination.
Field Dress to Duck Step 19

Step 4. Remove the meat from around the shot

Examine the duck's meat. There must be a section that appears to be burned, where the bullet entered the carcass. This will have to be removed, as this part is not so good. Carefully remove any shot from the meat and discard the roasted meat.

To finish the meat cleaning process, rinse the meat in water to remove any feathers or dirt. You can also wipe it off with a towel. Loose feathers can be difficult to remove

Field Dress to Duck Step 20

Step 5. Store meat properly

Duck meat needs to be kept chilled, in a dry place preferably around 4.5° C. Wrap the removed meat in butcher paper and store in a cool place when you are at the hunting site, until you can put it in a refrigerator. It will hold for about a week.

If you can get a lot of meat and want to freeze some of it right away, zippered thermal bags are the best method. Pack the duck meat cut into small portions for a meal and label with the date. Frozen duck meat should last from 6 months to 1 year under appropriate conditions

Method 5 of 5: Filleting Ducks Quickly

Field Dress to Duck Step 21

Step 1. Quickly skin the duck at the hunting site to save space

If you're on a serious hunting trip, you probably won't be able to carry a pack of several whole birds and many of them you'll be planning to discard. If you're just after the meat, getting it out of the carcass immediately by removing the breast and leaving the skin and feathers and other parts in the hunting area is very easy. You can also leave the wings intact with this method to comply with hunting regulations in your area.

If you have time, it's better to clean the carcass later and better. There is more meat that can be used, and the skin is a much-desired part of many cooks. This method should only be used at the hunting ground and when space is highly needed

Field Dress to Duck Step 22

Step 2. Open the skin on the chest

Start by opening the skin on the chest as you would if you were to remove all the skin from the duck. Feel with your fingers the sternum and tear the skin in the opposite direction, opening the chest like a T-shirt. Pull as far as you can to expose the chest fully, then place the carcass on its back on the ground.

Field Dress to Duck Step 23

Step 3. Stand with one foot on your head and the other on the duck's foot

Hold the duck with your feet putting one on the bird's neck and one on the bird's feet. You will pull the chest out and leave the rest on the ground, making sure the carcass doesn't move with your feet.

Field Dress to Duck Step 24

Step 4. Hook two fingers across the top and bottom of the sternum

With one hand, hook two fingers below the pectoral, near the wishbone (wishbone) above towards the neck. With the other hand, hook two fingers under your chest near your abdomen.

You should be able to lightly feel the chest on the duck. It is the part with the most flesh, just above the abdomen and a little more dark red because of the blood around the tissue

Field Dress to Duck Step 25

Step 5. Pull up firmly

Once you have hooked your fingers firmly into the chest, pull upwards, making back and forth sawing motions to help the chest come out. The wings must move together, because of the tightness of the joints. Done correctly, you will pull the perfectly clean breast meat, with the wings glued together, leaving the entrails, skin, head, tail and feathers all in the ground carcass. Perfect for keeping and even the guard can make identification if necessary.


Metal detectors cost about $20 and will make it easier to check firing areas


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