View Full Version : Need Advice on Meat Care?

03-08-2012, 03:06 PM
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...


03-08-2012, 03:58 PM
Debone it and use dry ice in your coolers

03-08-2012, 04:03 PM
Debone it and use dry ice in your coolers

I've heard to wrap your dry ice in newspaper to make it last longer.

03-08-2012, 05:29 PM
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

03-08-2012, 10:10 PM
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.

03-08-2012, 10:23 PM
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.....


03-08-2012, 10:48 PM
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!

Old Hunter
03-08-2012, 11:10 PM
Not sure you needed to mention to not use the engine/tire cleaner. :)

03-08-2012, 11:10 PM
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!

03-08-2012, 11:30 PM
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.

03-09-2012, 06:54 AM
I'm going with BKC as top notch advise (aside of the soap and tire cleaning comments :) ), not only is it spot on it is also the most realistic option when hunting in the hills. The only thing I would differ from is the tarp, I would use something breatheable. Keep it out of the sun at all times, find north facing heavy timber. Washing it like mentioned is key.

03-09-2012, 09:00 PM
It hasn't been mentioned yet, so here is some advice. It sounds like you are not going to be backpacking in and are hunting out of a large elk camp. Most of our western communities have meat lockers or someone with a walk in cooler. Usually it is only 5-10 bucks a day to hang your quarters at one of these places. If you kill your elk early, take the drive into town and pay the small fee to keep your animal nice and fresh for the remainder of your stay without having to worry about it.

06-01-2012, 07:00 PM
Hey everyone, I just picked this up off of craigs list. This is a cooler that fits in the back of your truck ( sometimes you see the guys driving thru the neighborhood trying to sell meat, fish or whatever). If you measure it and do the math, it is 570 quart size. You can see it sitting next to my 96 quart cooler that I have been using for years. If you get the real big ones from yeti they will only be about 300 to 400 quart size and cost you about 600 dollars plus. This will be perfect in elk camp and I also have a buffalo tag this year. It is not on craigs list but I know where another one is if any one is interested. The guy who sold it to me said to put a small cooler inside of it with dry ice and then every day take a piece out and put it in the cooler to keep the bag ice frozen. 7-10 days of ice. no problem35433544 I'm guessing 2 elk will fit no problem. If you boned them I bet you could get 4 elk. I better hold 400 pounds of bison because that is what I bought it for.

06-01-2012, 08:36 PM
That cooler would hold a ton of beer.

06-02-2012, 03:26 PM
Also...If it is hot you will def. want to debone, smaller pieces of meat will cool much faster. Hang in the shade, as mentioned, by a creek if possible, for cooler air. and I would recommend game bags also for the breatheability. Then you just have to watch the meat, and if hanging won't work during the day get it in the cooler with ice. Drain water as it melts. I use block ice with dry ice mixed throuhought...helps keep everything colder. Also be careful not to pack the dry ice against the meat directly...you can freezer burn your meat before it ever hits the freezer. That's how I do it, and it has worked nicely. I wish you luck this fall and hope you get the experience of packing meat home out of the mountains.

Colorado Cowboy
06-02-2012, 04:17 PM
I've always given the advice to my friends about game meat care and handling...."Treat it like it's the best, most expensive hunk of beef you can get!" Ask your butcher how they do it.

I always gut the animal (game & fish) as soon as possible. Get it cooled down asap. Keep it clean. I usually butcher all my game myself. I get the hide off, quartered/deboned and get the meat into muslin or cotton sacks/bags. (keeps the dirt and flies off). Once I get the meat home, I start to cut, wrap/package and freeze. One thing I do is remove ALL the fat from the tissue, IMHO the fat gives it a strong flavor.

06-04-2012, 06:57 PM
Freeze ice in 1 quart water bottles starting now as you take meat out of the freezer. Take your 150 quart cooler full of ice. in back of truck with topper an cover with old sleeping bag. On your trip. an a 40 quart cooler . When you get your deer or elk debone an put meat in cotton queen size slip cover for pillow 200 thread count per inch if you dont understand the pillow part ask wife or women an she can get you the slip cover. takes 4 or 5 for elk let elk hang in cool area over night than place in cooler after day or 2 you can cut up meat .Ive had ice last in my coolers this way over 2 weeks . live in michigan. hunted in col.an kansas brought elk home from col. an deer home from kan. this way. an works for me. I hunt early bow seasons.

06-19-2012, 05:39 PM
I have worked or a ran a butcher shop in Cody wy for the the last 13 years up until a few months ago I have shipped stored tons of elk. The biggest thing is get it cold fast and it will stay that way if you keep it on ice don't use dry ice until your on your way home. When you pack your elk for the ride home fill your coolers half full of your elk put paper bags down put your dry ice in paper bags on top of the dry ice then fill your cooler the rest of the way up cover the top with more paper bags close the lid duct tape the lid closed your meat will hold up to five days in 80 degree heat. Make sure to keep air out of the cooler the dry ice will disolve very fast if air gets in. The best thing after your hunt is take it to a processing plant and have them quick freeze it then pack your coolers as instructed whole muscle once cold will hold for a long time hope this helps if need more instructions on breaking it down for easier packing pm me good luck

09-13-2012, 12:27 PM
We Should pack clean and clear,and shuold be can keep in cool stuff.

FirstClass Foods Inc

09-24-2012, 08:32 AM
If you are near a spring or a cool water source, you can hang the meat over the water or if you can put the meat in a waterproof bag and place right in the cool spring water.