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)|
Photo: Emery Way