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Joined: 02/22/2010
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Packing out game

I bought an archery elk tag for Diamond Creek Zone in Idaho. I was wondering if a guy is good enough to get an elk, how much time do you have before the weather steals your meat? Or, has anybody had an problems with wolves, bears or lions when you are carrying lunch on your back?

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Joined: 03/15/2010
Posts: 53
Re: Packing out game

I,ve come accross fresh bear tracks when wearing a pack of meat weighing about 100 lbs left my .44 i n the truck I was so tired I would have been helpless next time the .44 will go along I did have a freind along and we both had our rifles so the danger was not that serious never the less in grizzly country take the .44

exbiologist's picture
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Re: Packing out game

If you're meat is clean and hung in the shade it will probably last a week.

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Joined: 02/02/2010
Posts: 28
Re: Packing out game

I agree completely with exbiologist. Futhermore. Hang branches or a tarp over the meat(birds). The first to spoil will be the neck or hams. The neck will be opened when you quarter the animal. After you hang the hind quarters, cut the hams all the way to the bone. Does not have to be a long cut just deep. Take two sticks per ham and insert into hole. Put one stick on either side of the bone. This will help imensely with letting the heat from the bones out. I would suggest taking the fronts out first and let the hinds hang over night. They will cool better that way instead of on your back directly after the kill. If you go to a processor he can show you how to debone an animal. If you have to travel over steep terrain or a long ways, Hang the animal quartered and bone him out as you pack him out. Bones weigh alot.

bitmasher's picture
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Re: Packing out game

On a related note, if your planning on packing out yourself, do yourself a favor and get some sort of pack frame.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
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Re: Packing out game

If your planning on packing it out yourself you've got a lot of work ahead of you. But depending on the weather your meat should be good upto 4 or 5 days if everything goes in your favor. Problem is that in elk country the conditions never adhear to our needs and that meat even covered still needs to breath which means that there is going to be a way for something big or samll to get into it. For the sake of good table fair I'd get those quarters out of the woods and into cold storage ASAP (within a couple days).

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Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 41
Re: Packing out game

If you plan ahead, you should be good for at least several days. You need to take items with you each day afield that will increase your chances for getting your meat home in good condition.

A 5x10 or larger piece of 3 mil plastic sheeting to keep the meat from touching the ground and getting dirty. 6 pieces (50 foot each) of parachute cord to hang the meat in trees as it is butchered. 5 pillow cases or other tight weave bags to hold the meat and keep bugs out.

Once you find the animal take care of it. It can not wait until morning. Get the meat off the bone as quickly as possible and get it into the shade to cool. We do not gut the elk and we usually just bone the meat off the animal one side at a time – quarters, backstraps and tenderloins are all easily removed. The meat is off quicker and cleaner. Once it cools to about air temperature, bag it and get it up in a tree. Be sure that your tree location is out of the sunlight.

Animals killed in the am will obviously force you to deal with the daytime temperatures, but shade will still really help you. A cool steam nearby can help too if you can bag the meat temporarily in plastic bags.

You will now have time on your side for hauling your meat back out to storage.

Use a good pack frame to haul the meat. Keep your load from shifting – or you will shift with it and fall down.

As for bears, we have had a few encounters with bears – but these were black bears and not too aggressive. For protection, I would consider the effects of a good bear spray vs. the gun. Can you aim a gun well enough at a charging bear to stop him?

WesternHunter's picture
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Re: Packing out game

Bear spray doesn't work well. And if the wind isn't in your favor then guess who also ends up getting sprayed? Best to stick with tried and true methods - firearms. If anything the muzzle blast might scare it off or make it retreat long enough to get a clear aim. If a bear charges you that spray isn't going to take instant effect anyway. Like I always say: Adreanaline is an amazing thing, more powerful that the most potent narcodic. A raging bear may not even know it's been sprayed until after it's already incapacitated you. But I guess this is a whole other discussion.

Alamosa's picture
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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
Re: Packing out game

It is not unusual to be a long ways in and late in the day when you kill an elk.
If you find youself in that situation one of your first considerations will be how long your headlight (or daylight ) will last.

I've had bears pull elk quarters down out of trees before. I've always been able to recover them with very little damage. Maybe half of my kills have been visited by bears. Pine martins and skunks have been far more troublesome and persistent to me than bears but thankfully they are less prevalent. Colorado bears seem to often times be just as interested in the gut pile as the meat.

A few years ago I had a shot opportunity very late in the day. I took it because it was a bull I wanted. Late into the night I was down to using my last batteries that I had removed from my GPS to put in my headlamp. This area was loaded with bears and all of the trees nearby were scrubs. I set aside one hindquarter to carry out and, since I couldn't hang the others I tied the remaining pieces onto trees. That actually worked really well. The next day it was clear that this bear had spent some time working on stealing meat (with no luck) but he had also had made quite a project of feeding on guts and building a mound of leaves over his gutpile claim. He was still very closeby the next day. The dogs were going nuts. My experience has been that these local black bears are looking to steal a meal but also go out of their way to avoid any confrontation.
Idaho could be a whole lot different.

A pretty good rule of thumb for me has alway been 'take the best and the most meat first'. Usually that has meant carrying out a hindquarter on my back after getting the rest of the animal as well field dressed and situated as it was going to get.

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Location: Clovis, Calif
Joined: 02/21/2010
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Re: Packing out game

I carry 2 small 2.5 oz. bottles of chili powder in my pack. I have been bowhunting elk for 30+ years and the weather can be warm, so the meat bees and flys are out. Flys will blow on any place there is blood, but will not even land where there is chili powder. Sprinkle the powder lightly on the meat as you cut it up to pack out and put into good game bags. Also sprinkle on any blood areas,like entry,exit wounds,nose, mouth to detour flys and meat bees while working on your elk[or any big game]. In 1999 it took me 3 days to get all my meat off the mountain,and I never lost a ounce. I laid the bags of meat up against a mossy old log that was very cool and the sun never hit. I sprinkled chili powder all over the outside of the bags and started makeing trips. On the 2nd day there were bear tracks 10 yds. from my bags and he never touched them. The chili powder washes off when you prepare it for packaging and will not hurt the taste of the meat. It only stains your game bags a little orange. Carry the side arm where states allow during archery season while packing. Bear spray can back fire on you in the wind.

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Location: western co.
Joined: 08/23/2009
Posts: 128
Re: Packing out game

i always drape something i was wearing like my longunderwear top over it to by some time. Think

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