How To

Guide for Calculating the Live Weight of Your Deer

Whitetail. Photo: Emery Way

There are a couple of different methods to estimate the live weight of a deer. The first is to calculate the live weight by multiplying the weight of the deer after it has been field dressed (or dressed and skinned, or fully processed) by a coefficient, resulting in the estimated live weight. The other popular method is to measure the girth of the chest and determine the live weight from a chart.

Either method is reliable, but remember that it is still an estimate. Poor shot placement may result in more wasted meat, and just as is in people, there may be individual variation in body types that result in one animal weighing more or less than a second animal with the same girth measurement.

Or you can do what my friend always does: do all the different calculations and then claim the one that works out the largest!

 

 

Field Dressed Weight Calculation

You can use the field dressed weight (with lungs and all viscera removed), the hanging weight (field dressed deer without head, feet and hide), or the edible meat weight (total of boned meat) to calculate the live weight. The most accurate will be the field dressed weight. The hanging weight will vary depending on exactly where the head and legs are removed, and the edible meat weight can also vary greatly depending on how much meat is spoiled and exactly how it is boned and processed. (Weigh the meat before processing into sausage, jerky, etc.)

Field dressed: Multiply field dressed weight by 1.26 to determine live weight.

Hanging weight: Multiply hanging weight by 1.33 to determine live weight.

Edible meat weight: Multiply edible meat weight by 1.35 to determine live weight.

For instance: Your deer field dressed is 150 pounds. Multiply 150 by 1.26 and the estimated live weight is 189 pounds.

Under the best conditions, and if there is a minimum of waste, you can expect to get about 1/2 of the live weight in edible meat.

Chest Girth Chart

Here’s a table to estimate your deer’s live weight. Measure the girth of the chest in inches just behind the front legs.

Girth (in inches) Estimated Live Weight (in pounds)
24 55
25 61
26 66
27 71
28 77
29 82
30 90
31 98
32 102
33 110
34 118
35 126
36 135
37 146
38 157
39 169
40 182
41 195
42 210
43 228
44 244
45 267
46 290
47 310
48 340

Photo: Emery Way

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • forgold

    These calculations are so far off. You can’t get 100 pounds of meat from a 135 pound deer. You might get 35 pounds of meat from a 100 pound deer.

  • Overkill1971

    How is it mathematically consistent to use a factor of 1.35 times the edibile meat weight, and then to speak of “1/2 of the live weight in edible meat”? Wouldn’t that be a factor of 2.0. A recent example in PA yielded 114# of edible meat and had a chest diameter of 43″ which would be consistent with a 228# live weight. Your factor for calculating live weight from edible meat weight of 1.35 only comes up with a 153.9# buck from 114# of edible meat. Something here does not compute!

  • Overkill1971

    I posted a comment with the correction to the instructions above, but it does not appear. Here is the corrected instructions for calculating the live weight from either field dressed, hanging or edible meat weights.

    Field dressed: Multiply field dressed weight by 1.26 to determine live weight.
    Hanging weight: Multiply hanging weight by 1.33 to determine *FIELD DRESSED* weight.
    Edible meat weight: Multiply edible meat weight by 1.35 to determine *HANGING* weight.

    In other words, from the known weight of edible meat there are three calculations required to yield the estimated live weight, and from hanging weight there are two, not just one as in the post above in each case.