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Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by Atroxus, May 24, 2010.
Nor about "how did you feel this morning when you woke up."
If it's really warm out and you don't get the meat cooled off quickly enough, it's sort of like the bones warming up too much (or not cooling off) and "souring" the meat from the inside out.
Happened to me for the first time last year with a bull elk. It was late October when we were still having that really warm weather. Due to circumstances, hide wasn't off for probably 4 hours, and elk wasn't completely cooled off for another 4 or 5 hours. Saved the majority of the meat, however.
15625 Hunter - Heat is the biggest problem we as hunters have when it comes to handling our kills. An Elk is a lot to handle no matter where it is put down. I can understand you having problems with an animal that large. I killed a Bull that required over twenty four hours to move out of the woods.
Going in to the hunt, required I cross a stream that could float the rig! Small poles were placed side by side for it's full width, this spread the stream to a width three or four times it's normal allowing me to cross it with my Pickup truck. The next day only small repairs were required to cross it again or it may have been a good part of that day also to get him into the barn sixty miles away. I consider twenty four hours pretty good time for that Kill.
I worried the whole time about the meet. I pulled him up to the pickup by driving the pickup short distances and re rigging my gear, then on to the upper side of a summer logging road using the winch, Propped him in place, backed the truck under him and just put the winch in forward then into reverse, thump he was loaded in one piece. On his back with sticks holding him open I never lost the meat. We do what we do and I for one am no expert but the thing is I have done it.
It is more difficult to skin a cold animal and you are entitled to skin them in the field if you wish. Many and most of my shots are at long range, 600+ in the coast hills with no roads back to my point of aim, or after walking in the forest for hours, the rig is usually a long distance away. Ever try to pack out a bear going down hill sliding it through a stream for a day, I have.
Having spent years customizing my rifles, rounds and Glass. I understand Hunting is not a sport for the weary and all of our circumstances vary, I will never skin any animal regardless of the species until it is in my barn.
I guess your way is OK for road hunters . . . (Folks that are close to a road or mechanical help)
The only thing we skin in the area of the barn is something we get from the pasture or one of the steers we raise for the freezer.
I have a nice ranch here and I prefer leaving the wild life to themselves. I more enjoy watching the elk in my pasture and the deer we feed at the front door, than I do shooting them under my apple trees.
I just pretend I am the IRS and once in a while I collect Income Taxes . . .
Dozens of deer, a few elk, a couple antelope. Skin as quick as you can, preferably at camp/home if you can get it out within a reasonable amount of time. Hang overnight to allow it to cool and butcher the next day. Antelope I quarter out and ice immediately and cut when I get home. If I was out of state I would butcher and freeze in camp.
Wild game meat and salmon is way to valuable to me to chance any spoilage. I spend a bunch of my budget chasing game and it helps offset some of the cost. To risk any loss just isn't worth it.
You guys. There's nothing better than a properly prepared, fresh deer liver. And don't forget the kidneys. Wrap each one in par-cooked bacon, skewer it with a sprig of rosemary to hold it together, and grill it over charcoal--you can thank me later. With offal, it's always best eaten the day or evening of the kill. Get the liver, heart, kidneys soaking in ice cold water asap.
I don't know about aging for flavor but hanging for a few days sure firms up the meat and makes it much easier to butcher. I've done it no problem in 50-60 degree weather 3-4 days
Proper and timely dressing and Keeping meat clean is a priority, pulling the hide off with a winch is the best, cleanest way to do it. I always wash out with salt water, cut out any dirty or bloody meat around the bullet wound and never cut through the silver membrane covering the meat. That membrane firms up and keeps bacteria out !
Side note I was at sportsmans in caver a few years back it was jaw dropping how nasty some of those animals come in some people have no clue.
We took three nice bulls during first season elk this year, the closest to the rig was a mile and a half. Lots of quarters to pack and keep clean, old sheets work well to lay the quarters on and to wrap them in and pillow cases to put the rib, neck and back strap meat in. The weather was actually quite good for a change, below freezing most times
Most of us do as we were taught during our first hunts. I hunted in edge of Wilderness area (Eagle Cap). The old timer I went with had taken a buck dear in the same meadow on opening day 28 years straight. I did also for another 5. We gutted and drug or carried 2+ miles back to camp and immediately threw in the stream to cool down for 15 minutes to 1/2 hour.( I had heard to never do this by others). Hung upside down to skin (worked great!) . Covered +wrapped during the day with sheets and old sleeping bag to keep cool, pulled bag off at night. Left hang 2-4 days most hunts, usually cut up back home in PDX unless weather was warm, then we butchered in camp and packed in coolers. Never had 'gamey" meat. The old timer said the most important things to remember, esp. Elk, was to get the meat cooled off asap (skin off helps to cool), and to keep clean. Don't know if there is a better way, but always worked for me so thats what i still do.
I try a well known style and then start trying my own and developing a favorite method.
I did not read all of the other posts so I apologize if someone has mentioned this. The state of Wyoming has published some excellent studies on elk and deer carcass handling. They are definitely worth reading.
http://www.wyomingextension.org/agpubs/pubs/B594R.pdf for the elk.
http://www.wyomingextension.org/agpubs/pubs/B589R.pdf for the deer.
Well I guess this is kindo old school, but with a deer I would get the body cavity open and gut and recover the liver, etc.
Then, after transporting the carcass to camp I’d skin and bag the creature.
Then either in camp or more probably at home, I would hang the deer in the night then wrap it in a sleeping bag and lower it to the cool garage floor during the day. Repeat for 3-5 days then butcher and wrap the cuts and freeze the product!
I always enjoyed every second of the processing and I miss it even today! ...............................HAPPYNESS IS A WARM GUT PILE!!! .......................
The amount of great info in this thread reflects the amount of variables; being flexible and fast seems to pay off.
A couple more examples..
Georgia White tails; I'd gut the lower half...and on the tailgate it goes; either home or to the local processor (hide and all).
I've harvested a fair number of Oregon Blacktails up in our Woodlot; where phase two is just like slaughtering a steer, or lamb (I helped my grandpa from age 8-18).....I have them hanging in the meat fridge in less than an hour.
I haul them in the back of our two seater, or wheel barrel them to my shop, cut the feet off at the lowest joint, skin, then gut. Hang for 7 days, then de-bone, butcher for steaks, grind for burger, vacuum pack, and freeze.
I've done the gutless technique on deer and elk when I'm a ways from the truck. I won't carry any bones out; not even the lower jawbone...
One thing I have not seen in this thread is the threat of meat cooling too fast. I have experienced it in several animals I have shot where I had to debone and only pack the meat out due to the distances involved to pack out of wilderness areas. What can happen with the muscle groups seperated in smaller chunks away from the bone is it will contract in such a way if the temps are cold enough and the meat cools too fast, it will make the meat tough. If you are in a situation where you must debone the meat, try not to let the meat get below 50 degrees or so for the first 5 hours or so after butchering in the field to avoid this phenomenon. It can also happen in extreme cold sutuations on whole animals where they are skinned quickly and hung whole. It is more of a pain to skin while cold but if it goes from field to meatpole in a short time frame and the temps are below 10 degrees or so, you may be better of leaving the hide on until the next day or even until you get home. Remember the hide also insulates from warmer temp swings once the meat is cooled down initially.
Aging Meat? I saw the title and I thought we were discussing how I feel some mornings when I crawl out of bed.
While I would not challenge anyone's personal experiences, I might question their conclusions if only to gather more information about those experiences.
I cannot disprove the possibility of cause and effect in Osprey's contribution, but can only offer my own experiences as running contrary: Having been raised in Montana and Nevada, the process of the meat cooling (too) fast in those regions during the hunting season months, cannot in any way be prevented (on the contrary, with any care at all including leaving the skin on, the meat cools VERY fast in the majority of cases). The extreme examples would include a deer or elk shot in sub-zero temperatures with high winds to boot. (This scenario is not uncommon, rather closer to the norm where I've hunted most of my life.) For packing or trophy considerations, frequently the entire skin is removed at the kill site. In the Bob Marshall Wilderness at 15 below with a 20 mph wind, meat cools VERY fast, skinned or not. I have never experienced tough meat (nor did clients) that could be isolated to this "cause".
There IS a well-known cause of tough meat, and that is not hanging to age in ideal conditions. Sometimes circumstances dictate that this aspect of meat care has to take secondary importance (particularly in cases where deboning is done in the field or killsite as Osprey related), and the meat is butchered with no opportunity to hang. Warm weather with no option to get to a cooler may also mandate butchering immediately. We are all familiar with Rigor Mortis. Rigor Mortis also reverses itself after a brief time period. It is my experience (and that of others) that meat butchered during the time period before reversal results almost always in meat tougher than it might otherwise have been. Once again: I cannot challenge anyone's experience, and perhaps Osprey has witnessed numerous occasions where the sole cause of tough meat can be specifically isolated to cooling too fast. His deboning scenarios, however, introduce this other possible cause.
It is my experience that in many scenarios we can never cool our meat fast enough. In those cases where the location and environment happily (and rapidly) eliminate this concern, I have seen nothing but benefit.