Tips for Cleaning Ducks & Geese

December 17, 2008 by  

Cleaning Ducks – Cleaning Geese – Wild Game Bird Cleaning

By Chris Hustad

This first step is to lay the bird on it's back, with the breat exposed.

This first step is to lay the bird on it's back, with the breat exposed.

This is one of my favorite ways to clean waterfowl, and I learned it around 15 years ago. It’s typically best for cleaning ducks, smaller Canada geese, snow geese and upland game birds. I do not recommend this method on big Canada geese, give it a try once and you’ll know what I┬ámean. But for smaller birds, they can be cleaned in just a couple minutes.

This method is especially useful when you’re cleaning a large bag. I’m demonstrating this method using a snow goose. I can do a 20-bird limit in under an hour. The end result will be the full breast with both wings. If you want the feet you can simply clip them off with a game sheer.

Place one foot right above the breast to secure the neck, and with your other foot secure the hind end right below the breast. The bird should be completely pinned down leaving the breast exposed.

Place one foot right above the breast to secure the neck, and with your other foot secure the hind end right below the breast. The bird should be completely pinned down leaving the breast exposed.

You really have 2 options with the next step. You can either pull away the skin and feathers first, or do it with the skin/feathers on like shown in the picture. I recommend pulling away the skin first to expose the bare breast (not like shown), simply because it's easier to pull apart. But for smaller birds it's really not an issue, only on larger geese.

You really have 2 options with the next step. You can either pull away the skin and feathers first, or do it with the skin/feathers on like shown in the picture. I recommend pulling away the skin first to expose the bare breast (not like shown), simply because it's easier to pull apart. But for smaller birds it's really not an issue, only on larger geese.

Stick 3 or 4 fingers in the body cavity from the bottom, and stick 3 fingers on your other hand underneath the top of the breast through the neck. You will then essentially rip the breast and both wings right out from the rest of the bird.

Stick 3 or 4 fingers in the body cavity from the bottom, and stick 3 fingers on your other hand underneath the top of the breast through the neck. You will then essentially rip the breast and both wings right out from the rest of the bird.

The end result will be the entire breast and both wings. If you're going to be transporting the bird, simply cut off one of the wings. If you haven't taken the skin and feathers off yet, you can do so now. The last step is to rinse off the bird and package it as you choose. I like to buy gallon ziploc bags in bulk and stick a bird in each individually.

The end result will be the entire breast and both wings. If you're going to be transporting the bird, simply cut off one of the wings. If you haven't taken the skin and feathers off yet, you can do so now. The last step is to rinse off the bird and package it as you choose. I like to buy gallon ziploc bags in bulk and stick a bird in each individually.

We use this method to bring our ducks and geese across the Canadian border, and use a marker to write the date when the bird was harvested. We have found that wardens appreciate our attention to detail and the ease of tracking bird harvest.

A similar method would involve pulling the skin and feathers away from the breat, up around the neck and part of the way down the back. With the back of the bird facing up, you can use a sheers or a good knife and cut down each side of the backbone. Then you can simply rip the neck and all of the guts right out of the bird. The end result is the same thing, a full breast and 2 wings. This is a good method for those who don’t want to bend over.

I hope you enjoy this method, it has saved us endless hours over the years while cleaning our geese, ducks, pheasants, and grouse.

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Comments

4 Comments on "Tips for Cleaning Ducks & Geese"

  1. Henry Wiggins on Mon, 2nd Mar 2009 9:41 am 

    What happens if you clip off the legs and they are not attached to the wing?

    I hate wasting meat and the legs/thighs on those geese and mallards are huge and well worth saving. I was always under the impression that a wing or the head must be attached to every piece of meat you are transporting. Have you ever been in this situation and what was the wardens response?

    I also would love to take the legs/thighs from other hunters that are wasting them and tossing them overboard. I wonder what response I would get if I were bringing home a full limit and extra legs/thighs that were being tossed in the garbage.

    I just made a huge pot of gumbo yesterday from the legs and wings of 8 mallards that yielded 12 large bowls of gumbo. Thats a lot of food in my opinion.

  2. Vpad on Wed, 25th Apr 2012 7:34 am 

    I don’t waste anything:

    1. Using 2 fingers insert into the ducks anus and pull out all the organs…save the liver…good eating.

    2. Using hatchet or knife cut the wings and head off.

    3. Then from the neck peel back the skin…pull hard keep it in tact like taking socks off your feet all the way to the feet. Leaving you breast and legs with a whole duck to roast ;)

  3. duckslayer464 on Thu, 15th Nov 2012 6:24 pm 

    A friend of mine thinks u can leave ducks sit for 4 to 5 days w the guts in them until he cleans them. Anybody want to comment on this?

  4. Mohammad Jangda on Wed, 12th Dec 2012 2:11 pm 

    another way will be to hold the wing (thumb under arm area and remainder of the fingers over the wing. use the other hand to hold thigh/leg area then pull both hands opposite direction till you hear the tear under the arm area (under the wing where the wing joins the body. do the same for the other side/wing. then peel the skin off like a sock. after the skin is off slit the below the chest bone V shape. then with two fingers tear it open and remove the entrails. then slice and dice the way you want or keep it as a whole. chop off the head and feet/legs (not the thighs). Good hunting !

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