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Thread: My annual Skinning moose and equipment and notes.

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    Default My annual Skinning moose and equipment and notes.

    Every year I post my Moose skinning equipment and notes adding any updates. If you have any suggestion or comment I would like to hear them.




    Moose skinning equipment and notes:
    When a moose hunter has to skin, gut and cut up a moose it can be a major problem if he is not prepared for the task. Just trying to hold up one leg can be a challenge with out help and trying to pull out 100 + pounds of guts is more fun than most people want in a day. Cutting up a moose can take 2 to 5 hrs depending on the size of the moose, your level of experience and the number of helpers. Knowing a few tricks can save you a lot of work I hope you find my information helpful.

    Field dressing equipment:
    Over the years I have been adding to a list of items I take when I go moose hunting. I do not carry everything on the list; I pick the items I need depending on method of hunting and number of hunters. I knew a hunter that could field dress a moose with only a knife so it can be done if you know what youíre doing. If I have someone to help hold the animal all I would need is a knife, sharpening stone and a saw.

    Knife and sharpening stone or steel, you only need a 4 to 7 inch knife to process an animal. If you want to save
    the hide, a skinning knife will put fewer holes in the hide.

    14Ē Carpenter saw, is the best saw I have found for cutting up a moose in the field. Hunter who do not want to spent the time using a hand saw are using battery power Sawzall where is less bone splinters in the meat and you do not need to worry about using oil. For the average hunter I do not recommend using a hand ax because of safety reason.

    9 Game bags, 6 large and 3 small ones. On extended hunting trip removing and washing blood soaked bags is
    essential to keep the meat from going bad. TAG game bags are the best bags for washing and drying in the
    field. I use heavy cotton bags.

    3 pairs of Gloves and rubber bands. The rubber bands help keep bugs out.
    Light 1/8 inch rope 50 feet, to help tie back legs while skinning.
    4ea., locking strap, one person can lift a moose hind quarter ham with one hand. The locking strap can also be used to tie meat to a backpack. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...h/100_0961.jpg.
    Tarp, >8x8, to keep the meat clean and protect the meat from rain and the sun.
    Come-a-long and 50 feet of rope.
    Headlamp and extra battery.
    Hand soap.
    Chain-saw, for cutting brush and quartering a moose (use vegetable oil)
    Insect repellent
    String to tie off the penis and anus.
    2 Candy bars
    Surveyor tape
    Head net
    Back Brace.
    Water to drink
    Fish j-hook, for pulling back the hide, or cut holes for fingers to pull back the hide.
    Citric Acid and a spray bottle.

    Golden Malrin fly bait and plastic bag for fly trap. The reason I carry a fly trap is in Alaska in hot weather it is possible to have your meat bags covered with thousands of flies. I knew of one person who had to bury their caribou meat under the tundra to keep the flies from getting to the meat, they can be a real problem.

    Golden Malrin fly bait is a poison that kills flies with extreme prejudice, if you know how to use it. The first and only time I used Golden Malrin on a moose hunt, I did not know what I was doing and it did not work. Like any trap you need good bait, flies are attracted to rotting meat. I was using meat scraps and it takes time for the meat to rot, what I should have been using was blood. The reason for the plastic is three fold, one you need to keep the blood wet so it will not dry out. The warmer the blood the more smell and you will need to remove the poison and the bag full of flies.

    When Iím processing fish and moose in my yard, there are a lot of flies trying to get on my meat. After I set my trap all the flies start dying, I will literally have dead flies all over the ground.

    I still carry my fly trap hunting and hope I never have to use it. You can buy Golden Malrin at Alaska Mill Feed and Seed. It only takes a ½ teaspoon per trap.

    I use a zipper bag for small items, and I know I have everything I need in one bag. Another advantage in having a bag is it gives you a place to put items so you do not loose them. I also flag everything I can.


    Notes:
    A moose is a very large animal; a single hind quarter could weigh 200#. I weighed and measured a 3 year old bull moose ham it was 105#, 20 inches wide, 52 inches long and 10 inches thick, this was not a large animal. Manhandling an animal under all conditions and having meat fit to eat takes a lot of effort and experience. There are several videos and pamphlets on the care of game meat. I recommend you learn everything you can before that special day. Having the right equipment will make the job easier.

    Skinning a moose:
    If you want to save the hide to sell or make a head mount I suggest you talk to youíre taxidermists for the proper method and amount of salt.

    1. The first thing I do when skinning a moose or caribou is to tie off the penis and remove the skin leaving the penis attached to the ham. The second thing I do is to cut around the anus and tie it off with string. The reason I do this is because this area can be very nasty and the possibility of contaminations is high. After I have finished working on the back end I wash my knife and hands or put on new gloves. I have also found if I start skinning a leg first, I will be tired and do a poor job when it comes to the butt end.

    2. The next thing I do is to make a cut from the butt to the neck and up and around each leg. On a moose the hide is very tuff and can dull a knife. For this reason I carry a 2nd knife, or I sharpen the one Iím using. Cut the skin from the underside out to avoid getting hair on the meat. If you want to make a mount you need to cut the hide along the back bone.

    3. When skinning an animal your hands become contaminated from touching the hair, do not touch the meat until you have removed your glove or wash your hands.
    4. Once you have removed the hide from one side of the animal you need to decide on how you want to butcher the animal.

    I have a problem with leaving the hide on a moose or caribou. Problems cause by leaving the hide on.
    1. Bull moose/caribou hair is cover in pee, how is it possible to keep the hair from the meat. Every thing the hair touches will be cover in pee, tarps, ATV, boat, you.
    2. You must cool the meat as soon as possible to keep it from going bad and have high quality meat. Leaving the hide on will prevent this.
    3. You add a lot more weight to your load.
    4. Removing the hide after the animal is cold is a lot harder.
    5. If you have the proper equipment and learn how to take proper care of the meat you would never need to leave the hide on.

    I prefer not to deal with the guts, if you have no choice you have to be very careful not to cut them. If you take the two fingers next to the thumb and make a ďVĒ and use them to hold the guts down; place the knife between them (blade pointing up) you can cut the skin with out cutting the stomach. Be very careful or you will be sorry.

    Four Methods of butchering:
    #1. I personally do not like deboning the animal because you lose too much meat to spoilage and waste.

    #2. The best way to keep game meat in warm or wet weather is on the bone. For several years I would bring out the whole moose in 4 pieces. After skinning and gutting, I would split the moose in half at the third rib. I would then saw the back bone in half making a total of 4 quarters. This was the only method I used on over 10 moose. Most of these were solo hunts, how I was able to this by myself tells me I was a very motivated person when I was younger.

    #3. There is another way you can cut up a moose and still keep the meat on the bone for transport and hanging; and the pieces will be a lot smaller. After skinning and gutting you will end up with 8 pieces.
    Four legs,
    Neck; the meat is left on the neck and is cut off just below the head and above the rib cage.
    Ribs; the brisk is split in half and the ribs were removed next to the back bone.
    Backbone; cut the back bone off above and below the back strap. You will have a single piece with both back straps and both tender loins attach to the back bone.

    #4. The method I prefer is called ďflayingĒ, you do not have to remove the guts.
    After skinning half the moose I remove a front leg and put it in a bag.
    I debone the neck and I put the meat in a separate bag. The reason I do this is neck meat in a rutting bull can contaminate the other meat.

    Next I remove the ribs. If you want to keep the ribs and meat together, using a small sharp knife or saw you can remove the ribs by cutting the joints at the top and bottom of the ribs or you can debone them. The best way I have found to debone the ribs is to remove ďallĒ the meat in one piece. Yes it can be done and it is very easy to do on a moose.

    I start at the bottom rib, letís call it #12.
    The first Cut is along the length of the rib.
    Then cut under the meat next to the top of the rib, separating the meat from the top and then cut down the opposite side. You will also need to cut along each end of the rib freeing up the meat. The 12th rib is now clean of meat. Holding up the rib meat cut under the length of 11th rib and down the opposite side removing the meat; then cut along the ends of the rib. Continue process for ribís #10, #9, etc.

    If you roll the meat into a log it will help keep it clean.

    You now can remove the back leg and put it in a bag.
    Donít forget the back strap and tenderloin and make sure they are put in a separate bag.
    You now have to roll the moose over, lifting one leg you roll the moose over guts and all, itís that easy.
    Continue removing the front leg, neck meat, ribs, back leg, back-strap and tenderloin. If you want the liver and heart this would be a good time to get them, and donít forget the tongue. The neck meat on a big bull will be very strong; it can contaminate the other meat. I always put it in its own bag and keep it separated.

    I process all my game meat for several reasons, the most important is I end up with the highest quality game meat, and it really is not that hard.

    I want to say one last thing about caring for moose meat. Moose will cover themselves in Urine to help attract the cows, itís very important to keep all the hair away from the meat. It has been recommended using a Blowtorch to remove any hair; this is a very good idea, it will not help the odd tasted Urine will give the meat. Trimming the meat will remove any contamination.


    Additional information:

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php?t=59689&highlight=rutting+moose

    Gut shot animal:
    If you find you have a gut shot animal on your hands, there thing you can do to minimize the contaminations.
    Remove the guts as soon as possible and try to keep the content from getting on the meat. Wash the area down with water or blood immediately, you do not want marinated meat and try not to spread the contaminations. If a bullet go through the gut and enter the meat it could spread contaminant in the meat if this happens cut out the infected area as soon as possible. I always hang my meat and one time I had part of a hind quarter get contaminated. The contamination was next to the bone, it stunk, and was green and slimy, after cutting out the bad area there was no problem with the rest of the meat. How the meat was contaminated is unknown, did I get urine on my knife from the hide I do not know. What I do know is I was happy I found there was a problem and fix it.

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    Thanks for posting this. Learned a couple things!

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    We don't normally gut moose or caribou. We splint them right down the backbone and take the skin off one side at a time. Then start butchering. When you get into the gut cavity two things can happen, and both are bad!! You can even take the loin without getting into the gut cavity. Jim

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    Agreed- once you do it this way, you'll never go back. Spilling out a huge gut pile right off the bat adds smell and contamination to the kill site, and as you said, frequently leads to bad outcomes. Get those quarters off the high side, remove ribs, etc. Much cleaner way to go.

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    An eye opener for sure for me. The Mrs drew a bull moose tag for Maine and we're heading out Oct 5th. This info comes in the nick of time. Thanks.

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    Lots of practical experience shared in your post Rutting Moose. Thanks.

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    My #1 tool is my tree trimmers .Snips the ribs with ease as I do not gut my moose either
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    how are you getting to the loin without gutting?
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    You still have to get dirty, you just do it at the end.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

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    It depends on if it a moose or caribou a moose is no problem the gut are not in the way. Just reach in and cut out the loins. The caribou are so small I can not get to the loins and itís so easy to gut a caribou I just gut them.

    Hay Roger do you us the tree trimmer to call moose? A friend swears he called in a bull using one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    how are you getting to the loin without gutting?
    I'll do my best to describe: After I remove the backstrap and quarters on one side, I go for the tenderloin. Position yourself above the moose's spine. At the back edge of the ribs: Just below the hollow where the backstrap was removed, begin slowly cutting in as high and close the spine as possible. The cut is parallel to the spine, and just below where the backstrap was removed. You're finding the edge of the vertebrae "wings" and cutting back up under them...again, parallel to the spine. Take your time and go slowly so as not to slice any intestine. Use your non-knife hand to hold anything back so you can see to proceed. You will be able to undercut the tenderloin and gently work it away from the underside of the spinal region. You basically just filet it off, making small back-and-forth cuts to get it out. If I recall correctly, your non-knife hand will be in contact with the intestines at some point, as you push or manipulate them down or back from the cutting area. Go s-l-o-w on your first attempt. You'll find it and get them out. I'm just a midwestern hayseed and I've done quite a number of them this way. No digging through piles of intestines and other internal goodies required!

    I should add: You might find it easier to position your body below the moose and work in from below. I don't like this, as it forces me to either kneel on the moose's abdomen, or make a longer reach with the knife. YMMV.

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    Good response K Dill. Look for the point of the hip joint and keep above it as close to the spine as possible. And do as K Dill says, "go slowly". Jim

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    TAG bags: one moose-size for each quarter, one caribou-size for each rib rack, and two add'l caribou size for neck and backstraps and flanks and tenders

    Knives: one sturdy D2 or other tool steel knife for skinning and parting heavy joints, one victorinox paring knife with small sharpener, and one havalon scalpel holder with half dozen blades

    Saw: one compass saw for rack and ribs

    Lots of twine

    I don't see what the big deal is. All you need in addition to sheep hunting stuff are some additional meat bags and a sturdy knife.

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    I know for those late season moose hunts some your hands can get pretty cold...I was told by an old timer to pack a dura flame stick and just light it when you start to dress it out and if your hands get cold hold them by the flame and when they feel better get back to work.
    I used this with my bou on the slope in oct it was only -15 so it wasn't horrible but when I was done I just warmed my bare hands up them putem back in my gloves it worked good for me. hopefully I dont have to use this on my moose, but if I do thats still okay!
    "Horns make pi$* poor soup"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    It depends on if it a moose or caribou a moose is no problem the gut are not in the way. Just reach in and cut out the loins. The caribou are so small I can not get to the loins and itís so easy to gut a caribou I just gut them.

    Hay Roger do you us the tree trimmer to call moose? A friend swears he called in a bull using one.
    Sorry did not see your post last week ,Must of been the small print LOL!!!! Never tried it ,I use them after the deed is done.
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    I'm assuming you can't salvage the hide if you start cutting down the back bone, is that correct?

    I don't understand how you take the ribs out on the bone without hacking or sawing the breast plate and thereby hacking/sawing the guts. Can't debone where I hunt. Guess I'm old fashioned; I gut first and then start removing hide and appendages. Good info in your first post rutting moose. Can't read your other post, the fonts too small for me.

    Tim

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    This is an excellent video that shows how to easily process game without gutting. After you've tried it once, you'll never go back...
    http://elk101.com/webisodes/gutless-video/

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    Tom,
    My list is similar to yours with a couple of differences. I use a handful of individually wrapped Handy Wipes instead of soap. That way I don't have to find water or use my drinking water. I have also found that a waffle-weave dish cloth is very handy for wiping hair, tissue, blood off the carcass. It grips better and can be shaken out or rinsed when necessary. I also put the smaller items in a large zip lock bag. I use the same bag to put any trash into when done.
    Patrick

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