Prolonging meat life for packing out

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by proload, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. proload

    proload Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,

    I'm planning a hunt this spring in the mountains in the south island of New Zealand, and am hoping to shoot a red deer for the freezer. The area that I am planning on going to is very very remote, and aircraft landing is not permitted, so it's a case of walking in, doing the business and walking out. The walk out will take 2 days at normal tramping/hiking walking speeds. Some of the walk will be at alpine altitude (crossing mountains), but most of it will be below 1000m above sea level. Temperatures at that time of the year would be between 18-25 deg C.

    I normally cut the meat off the carcass once it has cooled and pack the meat out (without the bones) and then butcher the meat at home. Because of the long walk out, I am concerned about the meat going off, and was wondering what you guys suggest in order to prolong the meat life. I was thinking of using zip-vac bags to remove the air for around the meat and packing it in 1-2 kg packs.

    Once out of the mountains, I still have to get a flight home, from the nearest town, but I will be able to re-pack the meat in ice for the flight, so that should not be too much of a problem.

    Any suggestions on how to prolong the life of the meat, or on how much time I would have before the meat starts turning bad?

    Cheers

    Proload
     
  2. Snubbie

    Snubbie Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty warm. I've heard of people using citric or citrus acid sprinkled on the meat to prolong the life before refridgeration but have no knowledge or experience with that.
    A quick Google search turned up this;
    Why and How to Use Citric Acid on Game Meat by Larry Bartlett

    Citric acid seems to preserve the surface agains flies and bacterial growth but I don't know if it will preserve the whole of the meat for two days at those temperatures. Of course getting it cool as quickly as possible and keeping it cool with some air circulation is key.

    I've also heard of people using natural cooling through evaporation, i.e. putting wet cloths over perishables and as the water evaporates it produces a natural cooling process. Not sure how much it will cool but I'd also look into that.
     

  3. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    I backpack hunted for years in the coast range in California where a average day is 75-100 degrees. I have never spent two days packing meat out but learned that plastic bags is a bad deal. Meat gets warm and the plastic bag holds it in.

    Here is what I would do. Once the meat is cooled and boned I would pack the meat in my pack using a cloth bag such as a pillow case. That night unpack the meat and lay it out on top of the meat sacks to stay cool all night. Repeat for the second day and get into a cool box or ice chest when you can.

    I have taken Blacktail skinned them out and left them hanging for a couple days before packing them out in the heat mentioned above and have never lost a deer due to heat spoilage. If you get the meat into your pack while its cool your bag becomes a insulator along with the cloth meat sack. It will stay pretty good all day.

    How you gonna get a Red Deer out in one trip by yourself? They are like our mule deer right?
     
  4. proload

    proload Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Jim,

    I'm trying to convince a mate of mine to join me for the trip to share the load, but if he can't make it, then I'll probably pack as light as possible and just take out the deboned hind quarters and the loins (and shoot a smaller female or spiker). I just don't see how one could carry more than that for that distance ... thats most of the good meat anyway.

    I'm also considering the time of year and thinking of going in spring while there is still snow on the mountain pass ... the only problem is that the risk of avalanche is higher at that time of year, so I'm trying to find out more info on those risks.

    I was also considering drying the meat in the field for a few days ... a bit like jerky or biltong (South African version of Jerky), but I'm not sure if that would work.

    Cheers
     
  5. brentc

    brentc Well-Known Member

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    Treat the meat with a citric acid and water mixture to develop a crust for curing meat and to help keep the flies off. Then bag the meat in good breathable game bags, and then hang in the coolest and most well ventilated area available and let it cool as often a possible. The meat will collect and hold heat when it is in your pack. it is imperitive that you stop periodically to hang the meat and allow all the heat to escape.

    Heat is the enemy. If you have your meat well treated and bagged, controlling the heat is the biggest chore.
     
  6. MuleHunter

    MuleHunter Well-Known Member

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    I went on a hunting trip with my brother and he shot a nice mulie. We were in the high country and it was in the 70's F. We used black heavy duty plastic contractor bags stuffed inside pillow cases. After we deboned the mulie we stuck the whole sack in a creek overnight. We packed it out the next day. It was the best deer meat we have had to date.

    I would say sack it up and cool it in a creek at the start of your trip out until all the meat is cooled. Then on day two try to find another stream or snow pack to cool it down in if you notice it getting warmer.
     
  7. proload

    proload Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all this advice. It all makes a lot of sense. I'll update you on how I go ... It's a few months off before I go (October/November), but I'll post an update here on what my experience is for anyone intersted in the future.

    Cheers
     
  8. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    What we used to do when I backpacked a lot with a cousin was when one of use took a good buck the hunting was done and we packed it out in one trip sometimes a very long day. I don't understand going as far as you talk about then taking a doe or spike. Find a buddy and go hunt the big guys. Good luck with your hunting.
     
  9. proload

    proload Well-Known Member

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    Fair comment .... But half the fun for me is getting out to the wild places and being able to see the deepest untouched resesses of our beautiful country .... Hunting and bring home the bacon is the other half.

    But I do agree with taking a mate and going after the big boys .... because the area I'm talking about has big boys ... and hence my interest.

    Cheers
     
  10. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    I know this is an old post but... .

    Carry salt and cheeze cloth with you.

    Roll it in salt, pack it in cheeze cloth, and keep it shaded and where it has good air flow.

    Our ancestors did this for many centuries prior to refrigeration.