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Location: Colorado
Joined: 08/03/2009
Posts: 30
Question on field dressing

I am new to elk hunting and have a question on field dressing. After you have finished removing the meat and hide, what should be done with the carcass and entrails?

Never had this problem with deer as I took the animal out whole, this time I will be backpacking several miles into the woods and after a much larger target...Don't really feel like humping a 600 pound pack...

Thank you for your advice... Big smile

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Question on field dressing

Welcome to BGH!
We normally just hunt near water so we can use the animal as a raft and float it down to the next put-in where we can drive a truck up to it. But you have to plug the holes up first Big smile
Or you can just bring all cooking gear with you and sit down and start eating, could take you while.
So you don't even gut your animals out in the field before dragging them out of the woods?
Seriously, you need to debone the animal. Beats the heck out of quartering and carrying some really heavy bones with you. Entrails you leave as presents to the scavengers, minus any organs you might eat (liver, etc). Takes 2-4 hours depending on how clean you try to keep things.
Really ambitious guys will drag a gutted elk out, but that's not smart if you're more than two or three hundred yards from a road or you only have two guys.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife produces a video to teach you how to do debone.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
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Question on field dressing

The bears, coyotes, and other creatures great and small are grateful for the hearty meal you provide them after you've boned out your elk and taken the meat (and if the case horns) home.

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Joined: 09/16/2007
Posts: 8
Question on field dressing

on my bull it was taken out pretty much whole...and after skinning it and cutting it up we hung it in a cooler for 9 days before we processed it. When people De-bone an elk..do they still age the meat, and how do you do that now that its deboned?

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Location: SW Mtns. NM
Joined: 05/04/2008
Posts: 227
Question on field dressing

The Ravens pick it clean... I still age boned meat in bags in cool place.But I'd rather age on bone to keep from contracting too much.Elk is always good but deer can all turn to stew or burger meat if too tough.If you can leave it hanging on leg bone for at least a day it helps.IMHO

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Location: California's Gold Country
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 9
Question on field dressing

Wings,

" backpacking several miles into the woods and after a much larger target...Don't really feel like humping a 600 pound pack"

You pack it out...the miles you are able to pack several loads of 50lbs +/- should determine how far in you go. If it is typical, 150-200 lbs of meat. Sawed off antlers 15-40 lbs...hide 20-40 lbs...your gear...You get the picture? Use common sense. Also, some states consider leaving the heart and/or liver as waste.

Bitteroot,
"do they still age the meat, and how do you do that now that its deboned"....
Yes. Hang it in bags or on smaller meathooks in a cooler. The older the bull, the longer it HAS to age. Ask your local processor, he can give you an idea of times, prices, etc.
HTH
Dave

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 08/03/2009
Posts: 30
Question on field dressing

Thank you for the replies. Deboning certainly sounds better than bringing the entire carcass, even quartered, out. (Though floating out on the river sounds more fun... lol )

All of my previous hunts were for deer and on a private ranch with access to ATV's for getting the animal out whole so I am venturing into new territory now. Alas, the ranch was sold and the new owner has a bad attitude about hunters.

One follow-up concerning game bags. On a typical elk, how many game bags would you use? I have several of the Alaska Gamebags in various sizes.

I usually put around 200 miles under my boots while backpacking each summer and carrying about a 55 pound pack, so that part of the trip shouldn't be an issue.

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Location: SW Mtns. NM
Joined: 05/04/2008
Posts: 227
Question on field dressing

I take 4 lrg good ones and a couple extra lt for backup

hellomcfly's picture
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Location: Denver Colorado
Joined: 04/29/2007
Posts: 324
Question on field dressing

i carry 4 as well. alaska game bags will work good for ya. personally i've found that old pillow cases work really well as game bags too

Alpine_Archer's picture
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Location: Martin County NC
Joined: 08/10/2009
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Question on field dressing

After you kill a elk leave the gut pile where you killed it then go grab you a OTC bear tag. Wait a day or so for the guts to get ripe and you got the perfect bear hunt situation.

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
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Baiting

Alpine_Archer wrote:
After you kill a elk leave the gut pile where you killed it then go grab you a OTC bear tag. Wait a day or so for the guts to get ripe and you got the perfect bear hunt situation.

A sad thing is that here in Colorado that would be considered baiting which is illegal since the gut pile doesn't occur naturally and was placed there by a person. It sounds like it is stretching the law a little but I know of one hunter that got ticketed for it.   

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