Keeping Bugs Off Your Meat
So it's early September and you just took your first elk with a bow! Chances are you are feeling pretty good at this point. You get all your trophy pictures taken and the adrenaline starts to wear off. Now you start to think about the massive chore at hand. You have your work cut out for you! This early in the fall, chances are it's going to be hot when you go to field dress your animal. One of the complications that hot weather brings forth is BUGS. They will land on you and your animal, lay eggs on the meat and bite the heck out of you. It is unpleasant to put it mildly. Here are a couple ways to help alleviate this complication.
First of all, you want to get the meat into game bags as soon as possible. One great way of keeping the bugs off your meat is to treat it with a mixture that repels insects. Yeah, yeah... I'm not talking about spraying your meat down with Off Bug Spray. I'm talking about something a little more edible. I have heard of guys sprinkling regular old black pepper on the meat to keep the bugs off. I have put lemon juice into a spray bottle and sprayed the meat and game bags down and it did seem to keep the flies off. They definitely wouldn't stay on it long enough to lay eggs. A variation of this method that I haven't used yet is to soak your game bags in lemon juice prior to going afield and letting it dry.
I know a guy who swears by bringing fly traps into the field to help deal with the problem. I guess if you were willing to bring one along a hornet trap could prove beneficial. The bees and wasps were the worst part of field dressing my bear. I was stung so many times that my hands looked like they were going to pop. Any of the ointments used for treating stinging insect bites would have been nice to have as well.
Lastly, I like to set up a diversion about 20 yards away from the animal. I take some gut contents and trim meat and put it inside of an open plastic bag away from the carcass. This serves to pull bugs away from you and over to the scraps. It seems to work since the bugs get what they want without being pestered by all the hard work you are doing to the carcass.
Insects are pretty darn unpleasant when it comes time to field dress your animal. Keep these tips in mind when it comes time to pull out the knives and game bags.