Packing meat out

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by Daveinjax, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    I am planning to try my first hunt for elk in 2013. I have started planning and gathering equipment for a solo DIY backpack hunt in the Flat Tops wilderness area. I'll be 45 years old then and I'm worried about packing an elk out 5 to10 miles before it spoils. I am wondering if there are meat pack out services in the area and the usual and customary charge for this. I don't need me and my camp packed in, just the meat and hopefully some horns.:) I see there is a good herd in the area and almost no private land for them to run to. I know the chance of seeing a large bull is slim to none ( slim is out of town ) but thats fine. A chance for a cow would be what I look for. As this is the first time, I'm there to get an education. Plan to be there two weeks before and stay until I tag out or the end of second season. I don't have a bunch of money and other than good advice I want to do it on my own. I know I can hunt and be alone for long stretches , the only thing I can't work out in my mind is getting the meat out of BFE in time. I'm in Florida and can't prepare for high altitude so I'm leaving time to get adjusted and know I will have to go slow.
     
  2. Hntelk

    Hntelk Well-Known Member

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    What time of the year? Early or late....either way when I hunt NM in Oct..it can be 80 degrees and then cool,off to the 30's at night.

    Get hide off your meat and into some meat sacks...find shade and keep them cool as possible...make sure when you put them in shade...they will stay in the shade as the day goes...get to cooler as soon as you can....

    If you have some extra $$ hire a local to help you pack out meat or contact a few of the local outfitters and ask them?... if you kill an elk is there any of the guides or family of guides that would want to make a few extra bucks packing out meat.

    Physical fitness wise....just get your pack on your back with some weight in it and hit the stair climber...

    I would also plan-- make sure you have enough water when you go out...or way to get more water cause it sure is dry out there!,..lol

    There is alot more to this but I am just hitting the highlights....it's all going to be trial and error till you go for yourself and find out. Half the fun of the hunt for me is the planning...

    Good luck
     

  3. minute of elk

    minute of elk Well-Known Member

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    some of this has been mentioned, and i'm sure there's more advice to come...

    1) get the hide off asap- and try not to let it get too dirty. it gives you a clean work surface for deboning, and gives you a clean place to lay your game bags while you pack out.
    2) get the meat off the bone- look for videos on fast deboning methods & study them. i haven't gutted or quartered an elk for years & have no intention of doing it again unless i can drive right to the kill sight.
    3) stretchy game bags that can be hung will help alot & keep some of the bugs off- get extras.
    4) hang/lay the full game bags in the shade & if at all possible make sure the wind can get to them. i like deadfalls for this- i lean a few cut branches up against them to make shade, then lay the cape down under it, and lay the bags on it.
    5) get used to hauling 75-100# of weight on your back before you go- you'll be grateful you did, trust me. and don't be afraid to make pads to go under your pack's shoulder straps. strips cut from those cheap blue sleeping pads work great for easing heavy loads.
    6) i've been known to stash full game bags in creeks & sort of leap frog the load out. say i have 5 miles to pack, but there's a creek half way there- i pack each load to the creek first, then pack them out in order so they all get nice & cool between trips. i've read that it's not a good idea to get the meat wet, but i've had good luck with this a few times in archery season when the temps were in the 60's & 70's.
    7) leave a few good coolers full of ice at the truck. i like to freeze a dozen or so bottles of water & leave them in the coolers, so i can drink them when they melt- i hate wasting ice.
    8) have spare socks at the truck & put on fresh ones between trips- you'll hike better with happy feet.
     
  4. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    I have cleaning covered no problem. Deboning an elk is the same thing I have been doing to deer for 20 years and over 200 deer , just a lot bigger! I plan to have a piece of tyvek to lay the meat on and muslin to wrap it up in. The problem comes in when I go to pack out. I have had two back surguries and have to keep the weight on my hips and close to my body. Loading a pack up and out to the rear would be a problem. I am wondering about paying for a pack out service. I see drop camps but not just pack out sevice advertised. Someone must offer this. Who and how much?
     
  5. jimbires

    jimbires Well-Known Member

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    I've hunted the flat tops two times '07 and '09 . 2007 I was close enough that I used a dead sled and my pack .my one hunting partner hired sombrero to pack his elk out . 2009 I was back in pretty far and hired a guy that had hunters in my area at a drop camp . this was second season 2009 . if I remember right he charged me $200 . it would have been $50 more if I didn't already have the head out . have you thought about renting a horse for the entire hunt ? I think you could rent a horse for about the same amount of money as paying for a pack out job , and use the horse to pack in too . these guys rent horses , and are located in Meeker .Trail rides & Horse Riding in Colorado, Colorado Horseback Riding Jim
     
  6. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    Renting a horse is an option. I have not been on a horse since middle school but my best friend and his wife have nine. If I want to learn to ride and keep a horse I can use theirs'. I worry that trying to keep a horse and hunt by myself might be more than I can handle. The logistics of horse feed and care seem like a lot to take care of. I can see me hunting with camp on my back and using a sat phone to call for a pack out. A few hundred dollars seems like a bargin if I can hunt and olnot worry about getting the game out. So I should be able to arrange for that for $200 to $300 ? I wouldn't think twice if I can get it done for that.
     
  7. shortpants

    shortpants Well-Known Member

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    Not sure how you've done deer in the past but if you have not ever field dressed one using the gutless method you should really think about using it on elk. If I have my way I'll never gut an elk again. Most people start by gutting their big trophy elk like they have done for years with other game and then your stepping in a 150lb gut pile while trying to process the rest of the carcass. You should be able to do a Google search and find info on the gutless method. Best of luck and be safe!
     
  8. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Horses eat grass, not processed feed. Processed feed is for horses that spend their lives in a barn or stable. Take a hose or a muls and you turn it out on a line and it munches...feeds itself. Just provide water and shade.

    Speaking of water, take plenty. it's all about hydration and it's all about a good pack that fits and carrys well. There are very few good packs out there and a whole bunch of crappy ones.

    Give me an Eblrestock anyday. BTW, Len sells them here on this site in his online store....
     
  9. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    I have not gutted a deer in over 20 years , not going to start on an elk. :)
     
  10. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    Five to ten miles in I would not be too worried about the meat spoiling. My main concern would be my legs. Getting that much meat out that far back in the mountains is gonna kick your butt especially if there is any uphill pulls! It's doable. The last bull I packed out on my back and I only had to go about a mile straight up to where I could get to it with a quad took three days including the half day to bone it out and get it hung in the shade.

    Horses is the way to go so if you could line someone up to pack your meat before you go I would. I would advise against doing a horse thing yourself unless your experienced with the handling of horses and the horses your using have some mountain time on them. A inexperienced horse in a rough mountain setting will get you hurt.

    Hope things turn out well for you on your hunt.
     
  11. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    I'm in agreement 110 percent on that statement.

    Horses are much like people with a much shorter attention span (in most cases)...LOL, that is.

    Flatland horses are lost in the mountains and vice versa. The horse needs the ongoing experience of a particular type of terrain and how it negotiates it with a rider aboard. Most good mountain horses need little if any rider input to successfully negotiate terrain that would immediately befuddle a flatland horse and keep in mind that horses have what I call 'horse monsters'. That is, a horse that becomes disoriented can do anything, most of which will hurt you.

    If possible, lease/rent a local horse or better yet, a mule. While not fancy or fast, a mule is like a 4 wheel drive truck and they are very sure footed.
     
  12. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    Thats what I thought about a horse. I think it will be all I can do to haul me and a camp around. Everyone I know who has been said they spent the whole first week gasping for air with the least bit of a climb. I plan to go two weeks before season to get accustomed to the altitude and scout for sign. I can see just making a half mile on the first day and having to make camp and rest until the next day. I am going to count on being able to hire someone to pack the meat out to a cooler. I have not let myself get a fever like this for the last 17 years. My son will be 18 and off to college next year. He has prepaid college program and some scolarship money so he is on his own mostly. I plan to spend the $8000 a year that was my half of his private school cost on my dreams :)
     
  13. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    For what it's worth when I was young I lived in Ca right on the beach and hunted out of state in Utah at 9,000 feet plus. It takes only about three days to acclimate to the altitude if you are in good physical condition to start. Just don't run at that altitude before you have adjusted or you will be hanging onto a Aspen tree losing your lunch....been there done that.
     
  14. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    I am leaving way more time in my plans than I will need hopefully. If I set my time table long and my goals moderate I won't get frustrated. I don't make good decisions or think clearly when I get stressed out. I'm going to take it slow and have fun. I plan to take a flyrod and a guide to edible plants with me. I have been picking wild salads off my hunt club. Last week I ate a huge wild salad with a pile of wild blueberries covered in olive oil I brought with me for lunch at my club. Makes my hunting even more complete. I have not got to studying what is edible up there yet but elk over the fire with native greens like the early explorers would have eaten would be cool. I have been looking at the flat tops area but if you guys who live and hunt there have a better sugestion I am all ears. I was looking in the gmu75 , gmu74 area also but looked like a lot of roads and pressure.