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Didn't read every post, but you need a good first aid kit. One set up for cuts and not sunburn or bug bites or whatever because knives cut things and sorry to say, sometimes the thing that gets cut is you
As long as we're going to make recommendations for the obvious..... socks and skivvies are highly recommended, too!

Chaffing is no joke when you're 5miles from camp... and it's all uphill. 🤣
 
It has to make me wonder how well the venison you guys ate was taken care of. Or if you got ahold of some with the butchers bandsaw marrow slathered meats(?) Every bit I've ever eaten, that was properly cared for and processed was friggin delicious! 🤪

Certainly not "elk good", but highly tasty.
I had a similar thought. I had never had bad venison until my roommate in college fried us up some steaks. I could tell from the aroma I wasn't gonna be eating those. :eek: I could only conclude that he didn't take good care of it after shooting it. I've eaten venison from some pretty rutty bucks, but if you keep 'em cool, age them long enough, and watch out for those glands on the hind legs, they're still real good eatin'.

I differ on elk being better though. Don't get me wrong, I love me some elk. It just doesn't seem to have as much flavor to me. Depending upon who prepares them and how they are prepared though, there have been times I couldn't tell the difference.
 
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Nope, that was from bullet shrapnel. I noticed a shallow grazing cut on the gut-sack when I opened him up
The crazy bullet story.... I think I've heard this one before... 🤣






(It's okay. If you hunt enough... we've all nicked the guts before.)




(Or at least that's what we're supposed to say so no ones feelers get hurt... Right?):s0140:
 
As long as we're going to make recommendations for the obvious..... socks and skivvies are highly recommended, too!

Chaffing is no joke when you're 5miles from camp... and it's all uphill. 🤣
Surprising number of people don't understand that knives can cut them, but also maybe worth pointing out that you want your knife SHARP! Dull knives take more force to cut which makes slipring easier
 
It has to make me wonder how well the venison you guys ate was taken care of. Or if you got ahold of some with the butchers bandsaw marrow slathered meats(?) Every bit I've ever eaten, that was properly cared for and processed was friggin delicious! 🤪
the few folks Ive hunted with that claim deer meat isnt good I walked away shaking my head after watching them field dress and care for the meat.
Ive had one wild game butcher ruin a kill from marrow in the bandsaw. Now I pay them to debone it or I will butcher it myself.
Every deer Ive cared for directly has been friggin delicious.

if anyones interested, themeateater.com has an excellent pod cast where they brought in a certified actual "meat scientist" and went over every aspect to caring for meats and what does and does not affect meat taste, tenderness and quality. Its called Red Cutter Meat and well worth listening to.
takeaway spoiler, dont debone or freeze your meat until after rigormotise relaxes and you'll have excellent tender tasting meat.
 
The thing about a sharp knife is that it gets you good. Like ,stitches vs. Bandaids.
Probably should have had a couple of stitches, but my buddy still had a tag to fill and needed a caller. When I went to sleep that night, I thought the bleeding had stopped. I woke up the next morning with my hand stuck to the sweatshirt I slept in by dried blood. :s0092:
 
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....dont debone or freeze your meat until after rigormotise relaxes and you'll have excellent tender tasting meat.
Unless you're young and dumb...
One of your first elk hunts (cow)...
After running across a small herd in the final hours of the final day of a very hard 12 day hunt...
With temps ranging between 20 and 40 below (without the windchill factor)...
Where you hadn't seen a single hair until that moment...
And your eyes get too big and decide to pop the biggest one at the head of the group...
Which turned out to be an ancient old lead cow.

No amount of care or best practices would have helped her have any consistency better than mild shoe leather. It was rough and took a full year to eat through that old biddy! Let's just say we got our money's worth... in spades... out of our crock pot that year.:s0140:

On the bright side... I learned an incredibly important lesson never to be repeated. ;)


But typically speaking... that's incredibly true.
 
Unless you're young and dumb...
One of your first elk hunts (cow)...
After running across a small herd in the final hours of the final day of a very hard 12 day hunt...
With temps ranging between 20 and 40 below (without the windchill factor)...
Where you hadn't seen a single hair until that moment...
And your eyes get too big and decide to pop the biggest one at the head of the group...
Which turned out to be an ancient old lead cow.

No amount of care or best practices would have helped her have any consistency better than mild shoe leather. It was rough and took a full year to eat through that old biddy! Let's just say we got our money's worth... in spades... out of our crock pot that year.:s0140:

On the bright side... I learned an incredibly important lesson never to be repeated. ;)
age, stress, diet, trauma.... were all discussed as factors in the Red Cutter Meat episode. Some situations theres not much you can do. I dropped a young 4pt bull once that by all means should have been the best, but turned out to be only worthy in a croc pot. Took good care of the meat too. No idea why and also was a rough year to get thru that one.

 
Even more likely when you're cold, and everything is wet.
Never had that problem. It is the heat still in the carcass that is a little off putting to me. But daaamm, it was coooold this winter. I do carry an aid kit, though. Right about that. And I use latex gloves. Not like that helps for elk, I was indeed shoulder deep in the last one, even after using my quick zip to open the sternum.

It really isn't much different than gutting a fish, just a matter of scale. I'd be happy to go with you, but I will probably be too busy hunting myself or spotting/packing for my friends.
 
If you've done lots of small critters, I don't think you'll have any issue with big'uns.
A third shout out to the bearded butchers.
Have a way to touch up your knife blade!!! A very sharp knife is your best friend when breaking one down in the field.
X10. Also, a few blades that fit you and feel natural to use. Depending how you use it, blade shape matters.

It has to make me wonder how well the venison you guys ate was taken care of. Or if you got ahold of some with the butchers bandsaw marrow slathered meats(?) Every bit I've ever eaten, that was properly cared for and processed was friggin delicious! 🤪

Certainly not "elk good", but highly tasty.
My first venison was from the northern swamps of Michigan. You could not get the "seaweed" flavor out of it.
 
I can relate to that. We were always taught not to name livestock, but... they each have their own personalities and some you can really tell they have an attachment to you. That makes it a little more difficult when it's time to harvest them, but... once you get into the processing... and they are mixed up with the other foodstuffs in the freezer it doesn't last or affect your ability to enjoy them in the least.

With the exception of Elk, I really have no emotion over other larger game. Elk though are so majestic, beautiful and powerful animals with an incredible spirit. They can be mortally wounded yet still fight to run. Moose on the other hand... if they get a flesh wound they are more likely to just lay down and wait for you to walk right up and finish them off. I doesn't help either that they are my least favorite in appearance and flavor. They really fill up the freezer though... and well cooked moose ribs and tongue are extremely tasty.

I really do love venison, but elk are certainly at the top of the list in terms of flavorful goodness.

I can't speak to the emotional side much though. Some of my first childhood memories were holding back the legs or part of the hide on deer as the adults were field dressing them... while being instructed on exactly what they were doing. I think that tends to normalize a person to harvesting animals and never really felt remorse or sadness... except in the cases where a kill wasn't as clean as I would have liked. "Respect".... yeah... and gratitude, but not much else.

It makes it difficult for me to understand or relate to those that seem to have such an aversion to being a "first person participant" when it comes to harvesting an animal. To me, it seems more of a disservice to animals to be willing to consume/wear/use their "bits and pieces" without learning about the animal, really appreciating them or understanding what harvesting an animal "means".
I have butchered livestock that we raised from birth and it's a bit emotional for me, but it's part of life. If you ever have the opportunity, try some Antelope meat. It is superior to any wild animal I have ever put in the freezer.
 
As mentioned by more than a few here...
A good sharp knife...and well fitted and broken in footwear are a must.

Reading up on the game you want to hunt is also important...
Learn their habits and habitat....then after that...scout out the areas you wish to hunt in.
Watch and learn from the game you wish to hunt in the off season.

Also...

Practice shooting "hunting shots"...
As in off the bench and away from the controlled area of the rifle range.
Hunting shots :
Poor light , bad weather , improvised rest or no rest , off hand shooting , using a sling , when you are cold , wet , tired and hungry....

Practice carrying your rifle and hunting gear in the area where you wish to hunt...
What works well on the range or in your backyard , so to speak ...may be ( will be ) totally different when hunting.

Andy
 
For me, killing a deer is not that emotional. Except for the excitement of succeeding in doing that traditional thing with a handgun. What hurts me is killing livestock, an animal I have known personally, protected, nurtured. Who trusts me. It feels like a betrayal. With a deer, I don't know him personally. and he is usually some distance away . and we all gotta go sometime.
I recall the first hunt clearly. I was excited. I bragged about my shot placement, I was looking for recognition that I did things correctly.

I hit the lungs, through shot, it dropped in its place 300 yards out.

Got there in time for its last breathes. I watched it die in front of me at arms reach. It was a sobering moment for me. Seeing the aftermath of my action.

My mentor (much more religious than I) had me say a prayer with him and all that adrenaline and such mixed in with the prayer and how my mentor talked about the animal just was a lot at that age! It's still something I think about till this day. My boastfulness died quickly that day and reality kicked me hard!

Since that hunt I say a prayer each kill, even if it is something small like a squirrel.

I've never had to kill livestock, I know folks who have and speak similarly. I've heard milking cows can be especially hard.

I live in Oregon for a reason. I love nature. Maybe I went too hippy over the years living here, but these days I can't bring myself to kill out of sport anymore. I can provide food in other ways and I don't need to hunt much these days. I will teach my son when the time comes. Maybe I'll get back into it if he does. This past statement is in no way against hunting.
 
I have butchered livestock that we raised from birth and it's a bit emotional for me, but it's part of life. If you ever have the opportunity, try some Antelope meat. It is superior to any wild animal I have ever put in the freezer.
I do really love antelope too, but not near as much as elk. It's not really a reliable part of our yearly diet though. Tags are a bugger to get, taking an animal is pretty tough and really doesn't put much poundage in the freezer... even when successful.

You can go on those really spendy guided hunts out of state, but the return on investment is just too astronomical for my budget.

Canadian moose.... that's a bit more my speed in the bang for your buck department. It used to be every other year or so, but not so often in the later years. Once the kids where all of hunting age... freezer space runs at a premium trying to keep up with just the yearly "basic meat" influx. ;)
 
Practice shooting "hunting shots"...
As in off the bench and away from the controlled area of the rifle range.
Hunting shots :
Poor light , bad weather , improvised rest or no rest , off hand shooting , using a sling , when you are cold , wet , tired and hungry....

Practice carrying your rifle and hunting gear in the area where you wish to hunt...
What works well on the range or in your backyard , so to speak ...may be ( will be ) totally different when hunting.

Andy
Excellent points. To include uphill and downhill shooting as well as across small draws while on the opposite incline. They can all impact your internal equilibrium and the physics themselves can impact your shot placement.
 

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