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Thread: How to keep game meat cool

  1. #1
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    Default How to keep game meat cool

    We are going down the Yukon again and are knee deep in the planning stages. The last time we were there it was 70 degrees for several days early in the hunt. That would have been a disaster if we had meat hanging. Our options would have been to take a day or two and try to have it flown out. That seemed like a crap shoot that it would be taken care of properly though not to mention expensive and logistically challenging while remote. The other would be to call the trip and get out while the meat was good, sacrificing a week of the trip and the opportunity for more moose. As it turns out, the moose we shot was when it cooled down, so hanging it at night or building a mound of sticks on the ground worked just fine. We have two jet boats, inboards, and will be hunting fairly close to the river.

    We have discussed how to let the river keep the meat cool. The yukon is about 50 deg. F. One option is to leave it on the bottom of the boat and let the aluminum conduct heat away since the hull is being cooled by the river. That is a problem though because it is hard to keep everything dry.

    We are kicking around the idea of bringing a bunch of tubing and a small electric pump. We can wrap the meat with the tubing and pump water around them to cool them. We would use one of the 4 boat batteries that will be on the trip and rotate them out to charge when the boats are running.

    Any thoughts or ideas?

  2. #2
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Even if it's warm out, it's not necessarily a disaster to have meat hanging then as long as it's dry, and gets a crust on it, it will stay good. Think air circulation, dryness, and shade.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    I grew up hunting in Oregon during August and keeping meat for many days was never a real problem. Temps would be in the 90's on occasion and our meat stayed just fine. Our method was to quarter our animal and get it hung up on a meat pole. Then we would take and pick all hair off, and wash it down with water from milk jugs we'd brought. After that we'd bag it and hang a tarp over it to keep the sun off of it, leaving the underside open to allow for air circulation. With the water that was put on it and just a slight breeze, that meat would start cooling quickly and develop a hard crust. Over night, temps always cooled down into the 40's and meat would cool significantly. Throughout the next couple days you could walk over and put your hand on the meat and it was cold to the touch. Our meat was always fine table fare.

    Just keep it dry and cool with lots of air circulation and you'll be good.

  4. #4
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    There just no ease way to keep it from spoiling when it that hot. The first thing to do is to leave all the meat on the bone..... Put the meat in large plastic bags and put it in the water to cool it down as fast as possible. DO NOT USE PLASTIC BAGS UNLESS THE MEAT IS IN THE WATER. If you have trees around where you could hang the meat and keep a small cold smoke fire going under the meat this will help form a crust that will protect the meat from spoiling or use a fan would help keep it dry. This is only going to be a short term fix. You mention two boats, what about the boat that shoot the moose take the meat back so the other can continue to hunt and come back. The bottom line is there hunt in over for them until the meat is taken care of.

    You would be better off to use a generator, I do not believe the batteries will keep up with the current drain assuming it would work. A meat thermometer would tell you how cold the meat is, how to tell if there a problem with bone sower I do not know until your eating it.

  5. #5
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    I agree with Mac, the biggest thing is to get that initial 98. whatever temperature of a live animal out of the meat. After that, suggestions of dry and crusted with airflow and in the shade are absolutely spot on. The trash bag in the river method definitely works for that initial cooling. After that, I doubt your evenings will stay at 70 and likely will get pretty darned cool, storing cold in the meat to help it last through the day.

    70 and rain.....that's more of a challenge, but probably unlikely. The biggest issues I've seen with moose meat is when it was high 50's day and night and pouring rain and parts of the outside started to get slimy....and stink....due to no crust. Get it cool, and follow normal steps of meat care and your meat will be great.

    Periodically you should take off the bags to create/keep the crust. We use a spray bottle with vinegar and spritz the entire quarter to keep the blow flies out of the cracks of the meat. When you take off the bags, wack the meat and you will hear the adults buzz....quickly wipe off or cut out anything that has fly eggs showing.

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