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Thread: Butchering in Water: Newbie Question

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    Default Butchering in Water: Newbie Question

    I'm headed on my 1st AK moose hunt with Joe Shuster in a week. I'm hoping this does not happen but thought I would ask some experts on this subjuct here. Can anyone give me and my hunting partner some helpful hints if our moose (if were lucky enough) happens to fall in water? What techniques do you use to break the animal down? Thank you in advance for any information. danny

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    After butchering several moose, I suggest bringing a come-a-long and a lot of rope to at least get the quarter you are working on out of the water. I have had to butcher one side of a moose and then roll em over and butcher the other side. The problem is the meat starts to break down after it's been in the water for to long.
    I'm heading up that direction in a week also, where is Joe flying you into?

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    standswittaknife,

    Several old threads on this subject, here's one you may find useful:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ing-for-moose.

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    Is Joe Shuster a guide? If so, it's really not you're problem He will tell you what to do.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Joe is a guide, but we are doing an outfitted hunt so we will need to have any moose we kill broken down for him to pick up. Thank you everyone for the replies. All info is very helpful. He is flying us into unit 24 is all I know for now.

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    Having a come a long is definitley key to making this scenario easier....even four guys will have a hard time effectively moving a moose out of water.

    Another option is if it isn't too deep to get the top half off, then skid it up. I soloed my first two (dry thankfully) and even by myself I could at least flip a gutted moose with the top half of meat off. (cutting the head off so the antlers don't stick can help too as long as you can work out a decent way to attach to the carcass)

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    I soloed my first two (dry thankfully) and even by myself I could at least flip a gutted moose with the top half of meat off. (cutting the head off so the antlers don't stick can help too as long as you can work out a decent way to attach to the carcass)
    You can often use the antlers to assist you in turning over an unwieldy moose carcass. Turn the head and jam the tips in the dirt to anchor the head in a "loaded" condition. Rigormortis is not your friend in that situation though.

    Anything deeper than knee deep is a royal pain in the arse, i think. Doubly so if it's muddy or silty. A friend and I pulled a small spiker into ankle deep water with a bit of a grunt, but any bigger than that and you'd need mechanical advantage of some sort for sure.

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    Always a potential concern for us, being on a gear-light hunt. No real way we can easily add a 10+ pound come-along to our 70-some pound weight restriction.

    Interesting scenario and 2 questions: You're alone in the backcountry on a drop hunt...no mechanized gear at all. "Your" dying moose runs into water and is unretrievable. Fast, deep water. Lake. Bottomless swamp. Whatever...but no way you can get to him, or deal with him if you were out there with him. There is no reasonable way for you to get to this bull.
    1. How would you react at this point?
    2. Do you think "wanton waste" laws apply in this situation?

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    Wonton waste should not apply, its no different than a Goat going skydiving on its last breath or a Black bear running into deep thick willos with its paw flopping from your first shot and its 2 miles down to the river and more willows or a caribou runjning off with intestines in tow and 200 more caribou to mingle with..........good luck, do your best, but if its untouchable and unretrivable, thats the way it is.....you are not required to Die while Hunting.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Spanish windlass.

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    Yes, if the Trooper decides you should have known better or have been better prepared. I know a hunter that was given a ticket for killing a 2nd moose and had to pay the maximums. The hunter fired one shot and dropped a legal bull moose, a second later a 2nd bull gets up next to the first bull he fires again, killing a 2nd bull. There was no way he could have known there were two bulls, it did not matter.

    By the way a couple of years back a hunter needed to be rescue and was given a ticket for want and waste because his goat did a skydive and he could not retrieve it. How cold is that?

    Bottom line do not do anything wrong your fault or not if a Trooper find out you will be given a ticket. There are a couple of exceptions if I go there all hell will brake loose. 

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    Another trick that will work just as well as a come-a-long is one I learned in high school physics class a 'few' years back. Pack some sturdy rope, maybe 100' or so (50' might even work). In fact, if you bring more length of rope than a come-a-long has wire you won't wish you had the latter! Anyway, you simply tie one end to a tree as far from the moose as you can, tie the other end to the neck. Now simply grab the rope half-way between the two and pull perpendicular to the rope. Without getting into the physics of it, this will utilize the mechanical advantage of the rope's geometry and applied forces to your maximum benefit. Once that rope angle gets too great and you can't move the moose anymore, either tighten the rope up to the tree again or extend it to a further tree and tighten. Repeat process as needed. It sounds too simple to be true but we clearly demonstrated the ability of this method using a rope to move a school bus with minimal effort! Granted, you need to have a tree or two around but guess what, you need a tree for a come-a-long too, rope is much lighter! Give this method a try, you'll be impressed by its simplicity and effectiveness.

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    Default My experiences with moose dying in the water

    With the river hunting I have done for the past 30 years it isn't at all uncommon to have a moose end up in the water. The only way I've found to avoid it happening is to get close enough for a neck/spine shot to put the moose down immediately. But that isn't always possible, and beyond fifty yards I don't risk that shot and go for the lungs. After being shot in the lungs, if the moose is near the river he will often walk into the river because that is their flight/protection response to get into the water. This can happen near ponds/lakes too.

    Moose float, so what happens is if they collapse in water deep enough to float they will go downstream and hang up by the antlers at the next riffle or shallower area. I've had this happen a lot to me, and a lot when I used to hunt alone before my kids were old enough to help.

    Don't panic, remain calm, start a fire on shore and build it up so you can warm up at times while butchering. Usually where the 50" and larger range moose hang up is over my hip waders. I'll need those dry for most of the butchering, so if I have to get in that deep of water I'll strip down the lower half and wade out there butt naked <grin>. But usually what I do is use the canoe or boat and tie off short to one side of the antlers protruding from the water and work from inside the canoe or boat on the head.

    What you need to do to get the moose in shallower water is to cut the head off. It's a PITA to do it because much of the cutting of the hide is gonna be underwater. You really need to cut the hide all around the neck. If you can't find the atlas joint, use a hatchet or saw to cut the vertebrae. Once the head is off the moose usually will then float a bit farther into shallower water. Or you can drag it into a bit shallower water without the head attached. And usually that will be below your hip waders.

    Several options then on butchering. You can cut a shoulder and ham off with the hide on, or you can do like this and do the anus to chin belly cut (underwater) and skin the top half before pulling the quarters. If you're by yourself you won't be able to drag the moose into this shallow of water but gives you the idea:


    We remove the entire top side, shoulder, ham, flank, ribs, and the organs and guts. Once you do that you can drag the animal into even shallower water by yourself. You can use a lever pole to help if you aren't near trees and have a rope or other device.

    Ponds/lakes are more of a problem, a lot of times there is no shallows to get the moose into, and the bottom is mucky. But usually you can float the moose right near shore and near some trees so you use those with a rope to get the moose higher...sometimes it's better to leave the head on in those cases and use the antlers to pull from.

    One thing I have carried on my moose hunts is a "Mini-Hoist." It uses 550 cord and is fairly light, just a downsized double block and tackle. I carry it for hoisting quarters up for hanging but it's surprisingly effective for other uses:

    Here is the wife winching in a small bull from last season with that hoist, didn't have to cut the head off this guy first as his antlers weren't hanging up, actually the hoist is attached to the antler underwater pulling up on it, the other end to a rope tied to a tree beached on shore in high water:


    It's surprisingly powerful, that little hoist, with 550 cord. The two ends have quadrupled cord. Of course the small moose like this one are easy to deal with for sure compared to the big boys. Several other rope devices, spanish windless Sayak mentioned, the trick iturner mentioned too. You just have to have a long enough piece of rope.

    Good luck to all,

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    Great post Bushrat. Like he says don't panic, moose float. Have chopped up a few that have decided to take a plunge before dying. I float em to shallow water, peel the hide and make your cuts. I have actually found that it's easier and cleaner to cut them up in the water. Nice to pull the guts and float them away from your work, nice to clean the knives off, and NICE not to have any leaves and grass on your meat. Here's a pic of my oldest with her first moose. I'll dig up pics of the skinning process when I get home later..

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    Bushrat,
    were might one get one of these "
    "Mini-Hoist." that uses 550 cord? I googled it but only am getting hits back on chain hoists'. I am getting ready for the Koyukuk here and would like to get one or two of them to have. Thanks and good luck to all.
    Tony

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    Default Block and Tackle

    Here's a pretty good representation of pretty much what Bushrat said.
    http://science.howstuffworks.com/tra...ent/pulley.htm
    One could use some of that cord and rig up a sytem pretty easily and use some mechanical advantage to help pull out a moose with a boat, quad, etc.

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    Thank you a ton for the responses...bushrat that was very very helpful.

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    Google "Rope Hoist" Most any hardware or home improvement store will have them.

    Quote Originally Posted by tzieli22 View Post
    Bushrat,
    were might one get one of these "
    "Mini-Hoist." that uses 550 cord? I googled it but only am getting hits back on chain hoists'. I am getting ready for the Koyukuk here and would like to get one or two of them to have. Thanks and good luck to all.

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    Shot this guy a few years back and he ran right into the river.
    Attachment 52515
    Water was deep enough to tie his horns to the boat and tow him down river to a suitable place to come-along him out of the water.
    Attachment 52516
    With multiple come-alongs, rope falls, a mile of rope, and lots of help...... this task was much harder than expected. We won in the end ...... but it takes a lot of rigging and a lot of work.


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    Quote Originally Posted by iturner8 View Post
    Another trick that will work just as well as a come-a-long is one I learned in high school physics class a 'few' years back. Pack some sturdy rope, maybe 100' or so (50' might even work). In fact, if you bring more length of rope than a come-a-long has wire you won't wish you had the latter! Anyway, you simply tie one end to a tree as far from the moose as you can, tie the other end to the neck. Now simply grab the rope half-way between the two and pull perpendicular to the rope. Without getting into the physics of it, this will utilize the mechanical advantage of the rope's geometry and applied forces to your maximum benefit. Once that rope angle gets too great and you can't move the moose anymore, either tighten the rope up to the tree again or extend it to a further tree and tighten. Repeat process as needed. It sounds too simple to be true but we clearly demonstrated the ability of this method using a rope to move a school bus with minimal effort! Granted, you need to have a tree or two around but guess what, you need a tree for a come-a-long too, rope is much lighter! Give this method a try, you'll be impressed by its simplicity and effectiveness.
    What you're referring to is known as a par-buckle. While it won't double your work load, it will add considerable power to your pull if all goes well and it can be set up properly. It could be just the ticket to get a carcass to turn over and another trick would be a twister, in which you would double your rope between the animal and a tailhold, put a stick between the two lines and start twisting, kind of like wringing out a t-shirt. The longer the stick, the more power but the more unwieldly it becomes. You could use a twister for a short distance, undo everything, then do it again and again if necessary. At least it couldn't hurt to try if nothing else is available. I just hope to have to chance to use some of these advantages some time soon. Good luck.
    If anything is going to happen, it'll happen out there.

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