Tools for quartering elk

pbthorne

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May 19, 2011
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If you need and/or want to use a saw, Wyoming saws are great when it comes to performance and pack-ability.
 

coj0502

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Aug 4, 2017
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I have always used a hatchet unless packing weight is concerned and then I use just a pocket knife. I have never really found the need for a bone saw unless I was able to get them out whole.
 

Whitesheep

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Aug 22, 2010
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It is interesting how varied the techniques are to field dress game. The best saw I have used is a Zip Saw. Cabela's has them here: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Zip-...browse.cmd?categoryId=734095080&CQ_search=saw

I suggest a spare "blade" and not to use this to create campfire wood, but it is better than any knife or hatchet I have used for field dressing game.

We only use this to get at the tenderloins on small game and bone everything else out using the gutless method (Javalina). For large game (Elk) I like to get the body cavity open to cool down the meat as I hunt in AZ. This Zip Saw will also allow you to get at the tenderloins or cut ribs. Joints are more easily worked with a knife in my opinion.
 

fmajor

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Oct 8, 2009
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Tagging for reference.

I've not yet taken an elk (each year brings new hope), so can't comprehend the enormity of hauling one out (even in pieces). However, i'd not want to haul any more bone-weight than necessary.

My only reference point to field dressing (undressing?) an elk is the process i've used for whitetails (deer and elk have similar skeletal structure but are deer much smaller).

In all the videos i've watched the gutless process seems similar to how i've done whitetails except in-the-field de-boning.

Seems like there's lotsa right ways to do the deed, just sure how much bone sawing i'd want to do (separating the head/neck i'd do with my larger field knife).
 
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RH300UM

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Absalutely no need for a saw!! Every joint can be cut through easily, even the spine can be severed faster with a knife than a saw. Bag the rib meat and back straps.

I would disagree bigngreen
A saw is needed to cut the skull plate and remove the antlers from the skull. Unless you like to haul needless weight. It comes in handy for other areas such as removing the ribs if one wants the ribs whole. They sure are good after coming out of the smoker.
 

bigngreen

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I would not agree with that but each their own, if I'm going to pack horns out from some place that it's on my back it going to be a hog and if I need to loose as much weight as possible I'm caping it out and loosing the lower jaw and anything else that can come out which makes the skull not that heavy and the best way to keep the skull plate intact, I intensely hate rolling around an elk head trying to hack out the horns with a small saw, I'll pack it to the nearest saws all!!
I really like ribs but no way I'm packing them out as a rack, that alone makes an extra trip and unless horses are available which would be packing more equipment like an axe and saw the ribs come out minimalist as possible but on a whole elk they go through the saw and are most excellent.
I have not figured out the guttless method on an elk which does not loose significant meat, by the time I'm done there is nothing holding the gutts in and they just get in the way unless removed.
 

jaeger19

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Apr 17, 2011
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Jaeger,

Can you provide some clarification on this? I was also taught the gutless method, but don't know anything about going through the neck to get the tenderloins. Do you have a link to a video or something?
I am terrible at linking. Basically i start with a slit in the hide just above the tailbone. Then run gerber metiolus through the hide to ghe base of tbe neck. Then using a havalon i skin on side of the animal . Once one side is skinned ... i take a filet knife. And take the backstrap. Then disarticulate the front shoulder since its just held by muscle. Then use my belt knife and cut hip joint and pop the back leg off. Usually i tthen start to skin the other side to expose backstrap and take this out. Then roll animal onto other side and finish skinning and repeat front leg and rear. Last i go at thoracic vertebrae 10. Basically 2 vertebrae up from the last two ribs. Use a knife to cut through the ligaments and disc between the 10th and 11th thoracic vertebrae. Reach in and grab spine and lift and tbe tenderloins will be there. Keep pulling jp like opening a soda can and when both ends of the tenderloin is seen. Cut ends with knife and voila... done.
 

bigngreen

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What about the many pounds of flank and side meat, I never see anyone mention taking that using the guttless method, that would be wasting a lot of meat!!
 

jaeger19

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What about the many pounds of flank and side meat, I never see anyone mention taking that using the guttless method, that would be wasting a lot of meat!!
A lot of the "side meat" comes off when you take off the front shoulder. Flank meat and neck meat are kind of obvious if you are doing an animal like an elk..moose or caribou. The onmy meat you leave thats is the intercostals and any damaged meat.
 

RH300UM

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Yep to each there own.
For me a saw is a must.
2 guys equals 4 loads each on a Alaskan moose and a large elk.
I'm leaving the skull with the carcass unless the client/hunter wants a European mount.
Deer require fewer loads. Of course.
 

COBrad

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Jan 4, 2004
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I've used only a knife and the "gutless" method for a number of years now. If a client wants the antlers I'll use a small folding saw to either remove them or the entire head. He usually gets the honor of packing that trophy out too, unless we can get a horse to it. I take the tenderloins out with a knife as well, no need for cutting any bone.
When I was doing everything horseback I carried a hatchet that was kept as sharp as a knife. One can quarter up an elk really fast with a sharp hatchet.
 

Timnterra

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Oct 18, 2012
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The gutless method is the only way to go! There is no need for anything other than a good knife and maybe a small tarp to keep the meat off the ground. Here is a quick video describing it. There are several different variations of the method some involve skinning half the elk first to use the hide as a tarp. I’d probably skin the elk in early season when it’s warm. Last year I shot mine when it was 0 degrees so I wasn’t worried about the meat cooling too slowly.

 

bigngreen

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If someone was hunting with us who left that much meat and made that big of a mess of what they took out they'd be invited to hunt somewhere else, what a sad waste!!!
 

mtmuley

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Apr 22, 2007
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montana
I'm not a gutless fan either. I can get them out in about 5 minutes anyway, so it doesn't really have an advantage to me. Besides, I'm a heart/liver guy. I do carry a lightweight saw, but can disassemble an elk pretty easy without one. mtmuley
 

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