Rumen Forensics: Easier Than You Thought


“Rumen-alysis” is a great way to make deer hunting more than a random encounter event. In case you have never had the “pleasure” of opening up a deer’s rumen, here’s how you go about it, and believe it or not the rumen is not all that awful to poke around in:


1st You isolate the rumen from the other internal organs. It’s the big vein wrapped green-blue-gray watermelon. Stay away from the intestines and any and all tubes

2nd Move yourself off to one side, puncture then slit it open. The off to one side part is to avoid any nasty junk which may blow out (from built up gas) of the initial incision.

3rd Grab a cup or shovel or something and put a couple of cups most of the goop in a dirt strainer (trappers use them) or course sieve (cooks use them).

4th Flush out the nasty stuff with a hose (not in a sink or you will be calling a plumber)

5th Dump what remains on a clean surface and start pawing through it. Most likely you will find multiple foods


Rumen-alysis” is a great way to make deer hunting more than a random encounter event.

If you unzip your deer in the field you  can get a look at most of the contents of the rumen by picking around in the rumen with your knife tip it’s not all that tricky to identify what your deer had for dinner since much of the food will be somewhat intact. If you know the locations of these foods on the property you hunt or on nearby properties, you can pretty much figure out where the deer has been feeding and how he has been moving. So, go ahead, open it up, a little rumen forensics will identify what’s “hot” and what’s not.

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Craig Dougherty has been a staple of the hunting industry for over 35 years. He has held senior executive and board level positions with multiple archery and firearms companies, and industry organizations. He was Chairman of the Board of the Quality Deer Management Association and was instrumental in the formation of the National Deer Alliance. He has and his son Neil have published books on deer management and hunting, and have written hundreds of articles and appeared on hunting TV and at countless sportsman’s events. The pair founded NorthCountry Whitetails a deer hunting and property management company, where they manage over 300,000 acres of deer hunting property for clients across the nation. visit: