Keeping meat????

BOWUNTR

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I'm seeking some help from you experts on how to keep meat from spoiling on a long backcountry hunt. My buddy and I are heading to Kodiak Island the first week in August to bowhunt Sitka Blacktails. It will be 10 days from dropoff to pickup. There is the potential to shoot 6 deer (3 each). Weather can and probably will range from 70 degrees to freezing. Right now my plan is to bone out the meat, place it in large 3 gallon ziplock bags and sink it in a creek or lake with rocks on top of it. Hanging it in a tree early in the trip doesn't seem like a good idea. Keeping it from the bears is a whole nuther problem. Any help would be appreciated. Ed F
 

SDHNTR

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A big studly dude like you should just eat it all on the mountain and bring back the horns.
 

suavegato

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This is a good question… I have had similar questions for back pack hunts in bear country. When camping out of the trucks we have always just hung our deer or meat at night letting it, “cool out”. Then first thing in the AM we would take them down and put them in the tent & wrap them up in sleeping bags to insulate them during the day, repeat the process the next night. It works VERY well to keep them so long as the night time temps get cold enough… the colder the longer you can stay using that system. We can go for about a week as long as it gets down to about 45 or less at night. We’ve never had a problem with bears in camp during the day getting into the tents. Probably because the camp is established and there are plenty of bear hunters & dogs etc. too. They do come round once in a while at night though, so we hang’em high…

Now for packing in, that presents a whole other problem… We could still hang the deer and or meat bags at night but what about the day? Surely a bear would come into our unoccupied camp during the day and tear into our tents & bags to get at the meat… We thought about bringing a dog to leave in camp but were afraid it might run off and or follow us. Thought about leaving it on a leash, but then it would be defenseless from lion or bear… So we came up with a plan…

We bought a piece of 3/32 inch. Aircraft cable 100 feet long and put crimped loops in each end and used it as follows. We’d throw a nylon line through a crotch in a tree at least 20’ feet up. Used a nylon gear bag with a rock in it to throw it. Then pulled the cable up and back down. We then wrapped the cable spiraling down around the trunk of the tree and secured it back to itself with a carabineer around the base. Then we did the same thing with the other end of the cable, making sure that is bowed enough in between the two trees that we could reach it… We clipped one of our back packs onto it to make sure it didn’t pull up… Also, make sure that the two trees are at least 20’ apart. Then when it came time to hang our food or boned out sacks (pillow cases) of meat, we just used carabineers to clip the bags to the cable in the middle and then went to the lose end of cable. We used a thick branch as a handle and just walked away pulling the bags etc. up into the air (at least 10’ high – you may need higher though for brown bears). When we pulled as high as we could, we either spiraled around that trunk of that tree, wrapping the cable as we went and then clipped it with another biner or we found another tree near by to anchor it to… if the line wasn’t level and we thought the packs might slide down towards one tree or another, we just made a little loop in the cable before pulling it up and stuck a “stop stick” through it… We used the cable because we have had bears chew through nylon webbing, rope and paracord in the past… They aren’t chewing through the steel cable! It’s not too heavy either, 100’ of it was just under two pounds. Not light but well worth saving all of the meat!

So, at night, hang your food etc. and the meat just in the light bags, so it can “cool out”. Then, first thing in AM before you head out to hunt, lower the cable, you’ll want to get food anyway, and wrap up the meat in your sleeping bags to keep it cool during the day. Pick a place where it will be in the shade. If it gets down to freezing at night, you won’t even need the sleeping bags on it during the day probably…


Hopefully my description makes sense? If not, let me know and I can try to draw a diagram?

As for the zip locks in the water… bad idea. First off, for meat to “age” and season… it needs to dry cure, the zip locks will hold in the moisture and heat and that is bad. Also, a bear will be able to find it in the stream… We put some sodas in plastic bottles in a stream once, in the rapids, to keep them cool. Bears found them that night in over a foot of rushing water!

Anyway, that is just what we came up with, if anybody else has any other ideas, I’d like to hear them too!

Good luck,
biGjOhn
 

DEERSLAM

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I have done the bag it and sink it in the creek thing before. Cooled the meat first over night then bagged it and sunk it. Seemed to work ok for me. The meat was only in the creek for 2 days both times I've done it. Nothin bothered the meat in the YB's but something tried but failed in D5.
I guess if you can shoot 3 each maybe you can save some of it from the bears
 

EvBouret

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I like the Kiwi method of preserving meat. They use a mosquito net type 'meatlocker' with a tarp over the top and places to hang meat inside. It keeps all the flies off and the meat can hang in the shade and out of bug's reach.

We usually dont go for trips quite that long. We salt the meat pretty heavily after it drains and let it cool as thouroghly as possible. Goat meat will last 2 days or so if hung out of the heat. I am talking about humid Hawaiian heat though and temperature that dont drop below 60, even at night. Different from what you'll have to deal with in Kodiak. I would imagine goat and deer meat to be pretty similar. Pork is hard to keep for more than a day or two without it getting rancid on you.

Another option is to build a makeshift smoker. Smoke the meat and you can almost guarantee that the meat will be good after 10 days if you keep it cool. It'll taste delicious too. I was reading some old army survival manual and they showed how to make one very easily with an army poncho and a tipi of sticks. A cotton sheet might be better than a poncho. Make a fire pit, a small covered ditch running from the pit into the smoker. Voila...smoker.

I believe that salt is crucial in keeping meat edible. Just look back in the days before refrigeration. Salting and smoking were the most common methods of preserving meats.
 

BackCountryHNTR

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Man, that's a lot of meat to be keep for a long time...It will be a lot of work regardless, but make sure you cool the meat before put in the water and double and triple bag it and remove all the air from it before you close them...heck, there are some of those giant bags that are supposedly waterproof and that you can "vacuum" the air out...LOL just an idea...

You may want to use also the Wild Gamekeeper Spray to inhibit bacteria growth on meat from Hunter's Specialties...

 

Sigma

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Not sure about wrapping up meat in my sleeping bag....bears will smell even a faint trace of it.
 

bpnclark

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I hunted in Kodiak before and it was in Dec. All the bears were sleeping. If I were doing a drop off camp in August I would hang those things in a tree far away from camp.
 

Oregon Archer

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id arrange for a meat haul in the middle of your hunt if you can afford to do so. that or pack a couple of big 120qt coolers with dry ice and try and stash them from the bear lol.
 

Shane

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That would be tough enough WITHOUT bears in those temps. What about a stout cooler or two and locking them to something near shore? Then make trips back to drop off boned meat.

Dry ice won't keep that long. Block ice is good, but don't let the meat soak in the ice water.
 

JNDEER

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if you are having a dropoff.....what does he suggest? i am sure it is not the first time he has done a dropoff for some amount of time, he probably has some good suggestions as well as the ones posted here
 

BOWUNTR

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Thanks for all the input. This is going to be the toughest part of the trip. We are going to have a base camp at the dropoff lake then spike camp from there. So, all of the meat will have to make it back to the base camp, at some point. I'm worried about the deer we kill at the beginning of the trip. A meat pickup would cost at or over $1000, round trip in a float plane. This really drives up the cost per pound. The transporter says he's seen it all... large coolers, ice, dry ice, creeks... Keep the suggestions coming. I'm hoping to be prepared with a few options up my sleeve and use whatever works best. Ed F
 

jackrabbit

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Give it up!! Take in a generator and an electric powered jerky drying machine from Cabelas, make jerky with each trip, and then carry the lightweight jerky on your back during the whole trip -- oh, and take a Big Rifle with that jerky on your back too!!!! Who's the baddest? you or the bears!!! Just kidding of course, but maybe you should research how folks used to make jerky in the old western days.
 

hatchet1

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ed,you bringin a bang stick with you,or are you going to geek that big grizzly with an arrow when you try to take HIS meat from him and he rushes you
 

bpnclark

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I recommend bringing a rifle for the deer. I’m not sure where you will be hunting in Kodiak, but Larson Bay has lots of open country on top of those mountains. On our trip the average shot was +300 yards. But people every year kill those deer with bows.


Dont worry too much about the bears. When we were there, we were told a bear hadn't killed a hunter in 20 years. Then I get home and I see a story on the Discovery Channel about a hunter getting killed by a bear on Kodiak Island. So it’s like the lottery you never want to win.

Just look on the bright side – if you get killed by a bear you will be famous and they will make a Discovery Channel show about you.

 

SierraFool

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Ed, bring pepper and salt mixture. More pepper than salt. Rub a ton of the mixture over all the meat and hang it high in trees.
When you get it back cut the dry parts off. This will keep all flies and yellow jacketst from laying eggs in meat.
 

SDHNTR

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Telling Ed to take a rifle is like telling the Pope to pray to Allah.
 


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