Keeping Bugs Off Your Meat

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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.


hunter25's picture

Overall a pretty good tip

Overall a pretty good tip about an annoying problem. Here in Colorado at least even the hunts into late October can give you fits when it comes to the bugs. My number one defense is the game bags. But dont get those cheap cheese cloth looking things as in my opinion the do absolutely nothing at all. The heavier duty bags that are kinda stretchy and you can't see through are much better, get the quarters into them quickly and you will have no problems at all. They keep the meat clean, the bugs off and another big one is the magpies won't tear the meat up either.

Once in the bag the lemon is not needed as the meat is totally protected. In some cases when some of the meat is still exposed I will put some black pepper on it and that seems to help as well.

In this weather we need to start cutting the next day to keep the meat from spoiling and the bags would be good for much longer than that. A pack of 4 of these goes for 8-10 dollars but they can also be washed and used again.

AlpineClimber's picture

Nice Ideas

Just be carefull using too much lemon, orange or citrus related things on the meat.  The citrus acid actually starts a cooking process in meat and fish.  Most notably cerviche, but also the main basis for breakdown in marinades like carne asada.  In warm weather this can actually accelerate the process.

crowsfoot's picture

keeping bugs off you fresh kill

sounds like some very good ideas,thanks for passing them on.

Critter done's picture

Great Tips

Great Tips,Thanks for sharing.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the tip.

Thanks for the tip.

numbnutz's picture

great tip, thanx

great tip, thanx

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Nice tip...thanks!

Nice tip...thanks!