Debone it and use dry ice in your coolers
I'm a flatlander from IL - hoping to get my first Elk with bow soon (0 for 2 so far).
I'm not used to having to care for meat potentially for a whole week before it would get home...for a tent style Elk camp, let's say we get an Elk with 4 days to go before we'll be home, how do you recommend caring for meat? Transporting Meat?
When icing in coolers is it best to have meat in ziploc type bags on ice?
Any suggestions appreciated - sure want to get meat home best I can to share with others...
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Debone it and use dry ice in your coolers
If you put a layer of dry ice at the bottom cooler, put newspaper or cardboard on top then a bag of ice on that it will last a real long time. As far as 4 days after a kill with warm temps you will need to get the meat out ASAP if you don't have access to a cooler. Also depending on were you are hunting you might be able to find a butcher or maybe someone that has cold storage for you to put you meat in while you continue to hunt, if you trust a stranger with your meat
I have always had good luck during the earlier seasons "Sept-October" by hanging the quarters at night and then rolling them up in a tarp and keeping them in the shade during the day. Even when using coolers and ice its a good idea to keep your stuff covered with something and kept in the shade during the warm days. Another thing we do if it's getting cold enough at night is open the coolers before you go to bed and close them up in the morning, the cold night temps will re-freeze some of your ice and will make it last much longer.
Water and meat dont mix very........well. Dry ice, in the bottom of an ice chest covered with newspaper, will stay cold for about 3-4 days, depending how cold it is outside. You can even go re-supply with more dry ice for an additional few days. Many times, if the weather is cool, you can hang your game outside in the shade, possibly extending your trip. You really just have to pay attention to the meat. Heat is bad, cool is ok, cold is good.
When you get home, properly wash the meat, in cold water. Important (DRY) Wrap in meatwrap and eat within 6 months.....
Ok guys this is going to sound a little red neck, but here goes. You should be able to keep your meat cool to cold by hanging it at night and rolling it up in a tarp or a blanket or ? during the day and keeping it in the shade. This is as a previous post stated,You can do this with the hide on or off, your choice. I would not keep it in a cooler as this tends to keep meat on the warm side and may start the spoil process a little sooner and also traps water next to the meat. OK, Here is the redneck part. As soon as you get to a town with a car wash, spray off the concrete in one of the bays, flop your meat on the cleaned concrete and hose off all the hair off the meat. If you have not removed your hide, this might be a good time. Cut away any wound damaged areas and put cleaned quarters, backstraps into a cooler and dump ice on top of it before you start your trip home. I think this is obvious, but I better say it, DO NOT use soap, or tire/engine cleaner, or clearcoat! Just use the rinse. To me making sure the meat is clean of all hair is the key to good tasting wild game. You can do this at home, if you have a pressure washer, but the neighbors look at you kinda funny and you get every stray cat in the neighborhood hanging out at your house for a couple of days. I can't wait to see some of the replys!
Not sure you needed to mention to not use the engine/tire cleaner.
If you use a cooler the key is to keep the ice out of the melted water. Drain the water frequently. Keep the coolers in the shade, try not to open the coolers. Use dry or block ice. Insulate the ice from the warm meat. I have done river trips in the middle of summer for 6 days and we can come off the river with ice (100 degree temps) if you manage your coolers.
Crushed ice will not last as long, and you will end up with a great start for stew. Dry or block ice is much better. Keep the meat out of the sun, always in the shade. If you are in an area that has a creek/river find a shady spot and hang it there. Cover it with a tarp, or create shade with a tarp, don't lay on ground. Want cool/cold are to circulate around the meat.
Good luck on your hunt, may you have piles of tasty steaks!
I have on many occasions hung meat in a tree or a meat pole for several days with no problem. Of course you need to keep it covered with a good game bag, kept in the shade, and the weather needs to be cool to cold. We have transported deer and elk just covered and out of the sun for as much as 6 hours getting home. An opened sleeping bag makes a great cover in a pinch! I think the longest we have ever had meat hanging was 5 days with great tasting aged elk as a result. Good luck with whatever you do.
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