CA Elk Hunters I have a question

jryoung

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So I'm looking to hunt my first elk in CA, and just received my first point from the proverbial point pot. I was wondering though what some of you sucessful hunters have done when you bag an elk.

The hunts that I have looked at FHL, and Cache Creek are in areas that can be quite warm during the hunts. I grew up in WA and have hunted elk for the last 20yrs, but those hunts are mostly in Nov./Dec. in the Cascades with temps always below 40. So with the hunts above, how have you worked to get your meat into a cooler in a reasonable amount of time.

Gutting is roughly 30min, dragging to a truck is highly variable, skinning is another 45-1hr. If I'm on a Sept. hunt I could be seeing temps in the 90s. What have you done, or what do you recommend?

Any advice is appreciated, thanks.
 

Glass eye

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First of all, GOOD LUCK drawing a tag.
Most Californians will go their entire life and never draw an elk tag.
It took me 15 years of applying. However, it's all about pure luck. There was a 12 year old girl that made the cover of the Game regulations proudly showing off her Grizzly Island Tule Elk. You must be at least 12 yrs old to apply so she drew on her first try.
On my hunt, my bull fell 20 yards from a dirt road and on flat ground. A local shed hunter assisted me on the hunt and he let me use his walk-in freezer. I had my meat hanging in his freezer within 1/2 hour after loading him onto the truck.
Maybe someone who had a tougher hunt can answer your questions.
 

rodngun

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Last year my partner and I drew a Marble Mountains elk tag. It was 92-95 degrees during the peak heat of the day. My partner killed a big bull on opening morning at 9:20 am in a clear cut 50 yards from the nearest trees. The sun was blazing hot as we worked on that elk. I don't gut elk anymore. I part them out. Doing this quickly after the kill will get the animal to cool off even in the heat of summer.

Cut the skin from the belly to the back in the middle of the elk, then down the spine. Now skin each half back over the shoulders and hind quarters. Make sure to fold the hair against hair so the meat stays clean. Take the hindquarters and front quarters off, bag them and hang them in the shade of trees. Even on the hot days there will be some breeze that will keep the meat cool. Cut out the backstraps, tenderloins, neck meat and any other hamburger meat you want. and put them in two more elk quarter bags. (Yes, I carry 6 quarter bags). The extra elk bags allow separation of the meat chunks for quicker cooling. You really need to watch someone get out the tenderloins from the top of the elk. There is no explaining it here. All that's left afterwards is a rib cage with the guts inside and the neck bone. No gutting also means less blood on you and the meat, which also helps delay spoiling.

After hanging all the meat, we went and got help to get the elk out. It was after 8 pm before we got off the mountain with the elk. We hung him overnight and drove him into the nearest meat processor the next day. We didn't lose any meat to the heat.

The key is to get him hanging as quick as possible and then get him in the cooler as quick as possible. Another fun part of hunting the heat are all the yellow jackets and bald faced hornets that keep you company while cutting up the elk! There is no shortage of critters that enjoy elk meat.
 

jryoung

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rodngun, that makes me tired just reading that. Looks like I need to go get me a new hunting rig. :rotflmao:



 

weekender21

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Just like hunting deer in CA, get the job done fast and get the meat in the shade! If you're far from the cooler then boning the elk out is highly recommended.
 

AimHigh

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I will add just one thing to rodngun's. Butterfly the hindquarters right down to the bone from the inside. Each hind quarter on these rosies weighs between 100-140lbs. They take forever to cool off, even in a cooler.
 

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