How to skin a rabbit? Expert advice.

Rabbit is innocent-looking creatures along with tasteful and healthy white meat. Its meat is described by some as a superfood that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high in protein, and low in calories when compared to any other meat. In this article, I am going to tell you the basics of how to skin a rabbit to get access to its tantalizing meat. 

Kill a rabbit painlessly

It’s the most important point to kill a rabbit in a more human-like way. You can choose to shoot the rabbit while hunting or harvest a farm rabbit. Choose a way to make sure it dies quickly and painlessly. 

The most effective method of killing a rabbit is to place a stick across the back of its neck, immobilizing it by the use of both (human) feet straddling the stick. Use a knife to slit its throat, or break its neck swiftly. There is no need to allow the animal to suffer.

skin a rabbit

Remove the head and hang it to drain the blood 

Before skinning the rabbit, it’s common to remove the head with a heavy knife, lay the rabbit flat on a cutting surface, and insert the knife at the base of the skull where it meets the neck. Push through with a firm chop. Hang the rabbit from its hindquarter, just under the hock to drain into a bucket. Bleeding out will, however, result in “cleaner” looking and in some cases more tender meat if you bleed the rabbit immediately after killing it.

Remove the feet from the rabbit.

  • There’s no meat in the feet, and it will be easier to get the hide off if you remove the feet first. 
  • To remove them, bend each foot forward.
  • Make a small cut across the back of the knuckle to loosen the joint.
  • Use your knife to cut through the rest of the way with a little bit of pressure. That’s it.

Make a small cut in the fur across the back of the rabbit. 

Pinch the skin near the shoulder blades of the rabbit to lift the skin up and away from the muscle. Make a small incision from side to side, perpendicular to the backbone. It should be long enough to get your fingers in. Be very careful to pull the skin up before piercing it. Make sure not to cut through the meat underneath it to avoid meat contamination.

Hook your fingers into the skin and pull in opposite directions.

Use your first two fingers from each hand to insert into the hole you’ve made in the hide, using one hand to pull toward the tail and one hand to pull toward the head. Keep working the skin off until it’s just connected at the neck.

Rabbit skin comes off quite easily, slipping off the muscle like a jacket. It’s quick work. You shouldn’t have to work a knife in, as with a deer or other larger game. Just pull it hard.

To save the pelt of the rabbit

If you’re interested in saving the pelt and keeping it in one piece, it’s better to make a longer incision in the belly after removing the feet, near the pelvis of the rabbit, then slip it back off the legs and up the back. This isn’t the most recommended method for beginners since it risks piercing the belly cavity and the entrails, and spoiling the meat, but it’s not hard once you get the hang of it.

Cut the tail to remove the skin of the rabbit

If the tail didn’t come off when you removed the skin from the butt side of the rabbit, you can also cut it off now, as close to the body as possible. It will make it easy for you to remove the skin as a whole.

Field dressing of rabbit

Field dressing is the process of the skinning game and removing the internal organs to preserve the meat for eating. Rabbits are some of the easiest and quickest small games to field dress. Since it’s usually easier to remove the skin of rabbits while it is still somewhat warm, it’s recommended to dress rabbits as soon as you get the chance.

  • Pinch the skin to raise it up off the organs underneath, and make an incision with your knife so you can remove the organs very carefully.
  • Up toward the ribcage, you’ll notice a small transparent membrane keeping the heart, liver, and other major organs intact. At the very top of the ribs, you might need to cut through the membrane to remove it slightly to make the organs come out more easily.
  • With one hand, pick up the carcass of the rabbit, so the back feet are pointing at the ground. With your other hand, insert two fingers at the very top of the ribcage and scoop the organs out with a gentle but firm downward motion. They should fall right out with the help of gravity, preferably into a bucket for easy clean-up.

Follow up points

  • Immediately rinse the carcass in cold, clean water. This will help to bring the temperature down and prevent spoilage, as well as to remove any stray bits of fur, blood, or other bits from the inside and outside of the meat.
  • If you’re in the field, pack the meat loosely in a cooler. Don’t wrap it in plastic yet until it’s cooled down fully, or it’ll sweat and promote spoilage. The carcass should be maintained at a temperature not exceeding 39 degrees F (4 degrees C).
  • If you want to tan the hide, rinse the fur off immediately and soak it in cold water to keep it safe before beginning the tanning process.
  • You can bury the entrails and fur if you want, or pack them out and dispose of them quickly. In some municipalities, however, it is illegal to leave entrails in nature. Check your local laws to know for sure.

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