Game Bags

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Game bags sounds pretty much like common sense.  Most hunters will take these afield, especially elk hunters, to pack their animal or quarters for transport home.  However, most hunters also take the cheap cheesecloth type bags that are good for only a single use.

Cheesecloth bags work great to keep the bugs and flies off of your carcass, but they do little to keep small bugs, like ants, off of your meat--the cloth is too porous to prevent these smaller critters from helping themselves.  And if you're camped by a busy dirt road, your meat gets a nice coating of dust after only a single day while hanging in camp.  And then don't forget the drive home with the meat in the back of the truck.  Cheesecloth does little to keep most of the dust off the meat.

If you spend about twice as much (it's about $4 for a cheesecloth bag) you can get much higher quality game bags that remind me more of stretchy t-shirt material than cheesecloth.  These bags hiave a much finer mesh to them as well--they keep out the smaller bugs and also work well as a dust barrier.  They are also much stronger material than the cheescloth and don't easily tear.  We generally find them at Wal-mart in a 4 pack, each bag the perfect size for a quarter of elk.  However, the best feature of these higher quality bags is they are re-usable.  Once home, I simply rinse them out with a hose and then run them through the laundry.  They come out looking like new.  

We have a set of these bags that have been used 5-6 times and they still don't show too much wear. Check 'em out, you'll be glad you did.


KegRiver's picture

  I see this is an old thread

  I see this is an old thread but I though my idea might be worth sharing.

Back when I wa sworking as a big game guide, the outfitter I worked for had his wife sew him game bags made from linen bed sheets.

We found it was best to remove the bags as soon as we got back to camp, to aid in cooling and to let a dry skin form on the surface of the meat. For transporting the meat nothing worked better.
They kept out even the smalest of flies, they kept the meat clean and they were reusable, after washing of course.

Best of all we could make them whatever size we desired. It was often difficult to find bags big enough for Moose and Moose was our main target species.

I tried using this one and I

I tried using this one and I observed that Cheesecloth does little to keep most of the dust off the meat.

groovy mike's picture

I think you are smart to plan for a bag that can stand up!

COMeathunter - Game bags definitely make sense if you are hunting away from home.  But I have rarely used them.   Like Manofthe fall I generally don’t skin the animal in the field and rarely hunt anything that I can’t bring out field dressed but otherwise whole.  In fact I would say that in 99% of cases when I have successfully hunted,  I field dress the animal, take it home and start putting it in the freezer within hours unless the temperatures are so cool that I don’t have to worry about bugs or decay. 

I did have an opportunity to use the cheesecloth type bags good for only a single use on my last hunt in Washington.  I had brought two gallon zip-lock style freezer bags to put deboned meat in for transport home across the continent but I had not planned for hanging the meat in camp.  As it turned out it was a good thing that my hunting partner (site member Arrowflipper) had thought ahead.  The are that we had pitched our tent in on public land had previously been used for  some sort of activity that was horse related.  There was a large amount of straw and horse manure left behind.  This seemed to breed flies despite temperatures near freezing every night.

The cheesecloth bags did work great to keep the flies off of the hanging deer carcass while it chilled the evening after harvest.  Luckily I didn’t have to worry about transport in an open truck bed or worry much about dust.  We removed the cheesecloth, deboned and freezer wrapped the meat the following morning storing it in a closed cooler until we could drop it in a friends chest freezer for deep freezing prior to transport home. 

It definitely makes sense to buy the re-useable bags if you plan to use them frequently.  Thanks for the tip, I’ll definitely check WalMart for them if I am planning a large animal hunt away from home any time in the near future – especially if hunting something larger than an eastern white tail deer!

Thanks for the idea of watching for end of season sales too SGM.  I’ll do that and try to pick them up on clearance if I can – even if I don’t have a hunt planned right away.  It is far better to e prepared and have an item that you might need, then to need it and not have it….

Retired2hunt – having just dragged a muley several hundred yards last week – I think you are smart to plan for a bag that can stand up to dragging!  Those critters are HEAVY!

numbnutz's picture

Great tip. I take both the

Great tip. I take both the cheese cloth type bags and the thicker more durable bags. I will first used the single use bags when hanging either the quaters or boned out meat. This way it keeps the bugs off and it will allow for better air flow and cooling of the meat. After the first 24-36 hours I will remove the cheese cloth bags and put the meat in heavy duty bags for better protection. It may be a bit exesive but so far it has worked great for me. I dont worry to much about smaller critters getting to the meat in the crappy bags as I have the meat 10-15' off the ground with no way for them to get to my meat. after the meat is cooled i will then place in a cooler with ice for up to a week draining the old water as the ice melts and refill with fresh ice. Then it's time to cut it up and take what I want processed to the meat shop.

hunter25's picture

I use the game bags that were

I use the game bags that were mentioned from Walmart for most of my animals. They hold up very well and have been used many times over and over after washing. I have found that if you split the end of one of them you can cover a whole hanging deer with two of them. Just slide th efirst one all the way up and than tie it at the top and than slde the next one up to overlap. In cold years I didn't ever use them on hanging deer but any more it seems there are always flies around that need to be kept away. I always stick a bag of 4 in my pack when elk hunting to get the quarters out with out getting all dirty. Forgot one year and had a really hard time keeping them clean. I tried those cheese cloth ones the first year I ever used them but will never waste the money on those again, in my experience they won't even keep the flies off so serve no purpose at all as far as I can see.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the tip. Sometimes

Thanks for the tip. Sometimes spending those couple extra dollars is well worth it. I have never had to do that because here in Ohio I think most if not all of us drag our deer out whole. But if I ever get to experience any hunts out west I will definitely keep this tip on my mind.

SGM's picture

Good tip and totally agree.

Good tip and totally agree. I used those cheap bags once and only once. To me the second most important thing to do for your meat is get it covered and keep it clean. This is only beat out by gutting/quartering the meat as fast as possible. Sometimes you can find the higher quality bags on sale after Christmas and or hunting season so keep an eye out as they go fast. When I do see them I stock up on them. I rearly use them more than twice so I like to keep a stock. Even if you only use them once it is still far better so your meat gets cooled yet is protected from all the dirt, bugs or other stuff that can ruin the meat.

Retired2hunt's picture

  Great Tip on game bags


Great Tip on game bags CoMeatHunter!  I  reviewed many different brands of game bags and finally decided on the Alaska game bags.  They are more expensive than the regular brands but definitely held up to the dragging I did with my muley.  I have a set of bags ready for my elk hunt this weekend.  I also used black pepper on top of the game bag and that worked well for keeping the flies, bees, and ants off of my animal. 

Great tip on game bags and thanks for sharing with us!