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Thread: Questions about boning our meat on Kodiak

  1. #1

    Default Questions about boning your meat on Kodiak

    First of all I'd like to say I'm not a big fan of boning out my meat in the field. But after reading several posts in the archives, it sounds like this is a preferred method to use on Kodiak for deer meat. My wife and I are looking into a Kodiak deer hunt next fall and I have some questions about how others take care of their meat. Rep points to anyone with some helpful advice.

    Question #1) Is boning your meat allowed on Kodiak for deer? I am assuming it is since so many people seem to do this on the AOD, but I can't finding anything in the regs that spell it out specifically.

    Question #2) When you bone out your meat, do you typically bone the deer right at the kill sight, or do you gut the deer and drag it back whole to your camp and then field dress and bone it at camp, or do you skin it, quarter it in the field, put all the meat in game bags, pack it back to camp, and then bone it (like you would typically field dress a moose or caribou)?

    Question #3) When you bone the meat, how do you store it back at camp? In a cooler, in a tote, in contractor bags etc.?

    Question #4) When you bone out the meat, do you lose a lot of the meat due to spoilage? What is the best way to prevent meat spoilage if you are boning your meat?

    Thanks for your help everybody
    Last edited by Bushwhack Jack; 09-29-2013 at 10:45. Reason: Grammar and spelling

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Regarding the "bone in" requirement, it is my understanding that the only animals for which this applies are moose and caribou, and even those are not universally-applied in every GMU. You can find it all on page 24 of the current Alaska hunting regulations.

    I have not hunted Kodiak for deer, but I know a lot of folks who have. If I were going out there I would be concerned about meat loss to bears more than any other aspects of meat loss. The three best methods of dealing with that are 1) get it off the mountain ASAP, 2) stay in a cabin that offers a meat shed that can be secured, and 3) stay on a boat, anchored offshore.

    If you're camping in a timbered area, of course you can just set up a meat pole like you would anywhere else. In that case I don't know why I would remove the bones, since it keeps better this way (as you said). The only time I would bone it out is when I was loading it into totes for the flight home. Plastic totes are great for that purpose, and as cool as the ambient temperature is in October (prime deer hunting season on Kodiak), you have no worries about spoilage. A cooler may not be necessary.

    Okay I'll get my nose out of it and let the experienced Kodiak deer hunters chime in!

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
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    Member DanielApplin's Avatar
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    If you are close to camp/boat say a mile or two, three I personally would get a good pack frame and Not bone out the meat, unless you shoot the deer with in two days of leaving to start getting it processed and frozen. That is the best way to prevent spoilage unless it's really cold. Or else it can happen quickly. What month are you thinking about going?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Regarding the "bone in" requirement, it is my understanding that the only animals for which this applies are moose and caribou, and even those are not universally-applied in every GMU. You can find it all on page 24 of the current Alaska hunting regulations.

    I have not hunted Kodiak for deer, but I know a lot of folks who have. If I were going out there I would be concerned about meat loss to bears more than any other aspects of meat loss. The three best methods of dealing with that are 1) get it off the mountain ASAP, 2) stay in a cabin that offers a meat shed that can be secured, and 3) stay on a boat, anchored offshore.

    If you're camping in a timbered area, of course you can just set up a meat pole like you would anywhere else. In that case I don't know why I would remove the bones, since it keeps better this way (as you said). The only time I would bone it out is when I was loading it into totes for the flight home. Plastic totes are great for that purpose, and as cool as the ambient temperature is in October (prime deer hunting season on Kodiak), you have no worries about spoilage. A cooler may not be necessary.

    Okay I'll get my nose out of it and let the experienced Kodiak deer hunters chime in!

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by DanielApplin View Post
    If you are close to camp/boat say a mile or two, three I personally would get a good pack frame and Not bone out the meat, unless you shoot the deer with in two days of leaving to start getting it processed and frozen. That is the best way to prevent spoilage unless it's really cold. Or else it can happen quickly. What month are you thinking about going?
    Thanks Mike and Dan for your responses. I am in agreement with the both of you that I usually prefer not to bone meat. However, I noticed (as I mentioned earlier in my previous post), that many on the AOD do bone their meat on Kodiak. Not really sure why other than to save weight and conserve game bags (6 deer X 8 game bags for 2 people = 48 game bags), but I am sure there is a reason since so many people on here do it. Including many members who are reputable hunters (Stid, Bartlett etc.). That is why I am asking the question. I have never hunted Kodiak either, that is why I am trying to find out the answers to these questions. In response to both of your comments, I am planning an October hunt, and we are probably not going to stay at a cabin because I have been told those locations get over hunted and the better areas are tent sites. So we are planning on bringing an electric fence to protect our meat from bears. Also, the boat idea is a good one, but also an expensive one that is not going to be an option for us.

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    We usually treat deer meat like any other big game animal (in AK). Butcher into quarters (bone in) and loose meat (loins, neck, rib, etc) putting individual pieces into game bags and packing back to camp. I usually hunt the south end of the island and have no trees to hang it on or construct a game pole. We cut a pile of alders & pile it up, then place the meat on top, being careful to keep the bags seperated, then cut more alders for on top of the meat. Cover the whole thing with a large tarp. The alders on top allow air circulation to help prevent spoilage. You may want to encircle the meat pile with a bear fence.

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    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    Question #2) When you bone out your meat, do you typically bone the deer right at the kill sight, or do you gut the deer and drag it back whole to your camp and then field dress and bone it at camp, or do you skin it, quarter it in the field, put all the meat in game bags, pack it back to camp, and then bone it (like you would typically field dress a moose or caribou)?

    When I lived there, it was brought back to the boat gutted. When I did hunt via 4 wheeler I quartered it and put it in my pack to hang once I got back to camp.

    Question #3) When you bone the meat, how do you store it back at camp? In a cooler, in a tote, in contractor bags etc.?

    I'll reiterate Mr. Strahan's point. BEARS! I have personally lost deer to bears. Once, before I even got to the deer. 300yd shot across a ravine. It went down, I got to it maybe an hour later (ravine was trickier than I thought...) Big puddle of blood and sign where it was drug off.

    The second deer was taken out of a tree 500yds away from camp. Those bears are tall, so hang it high if you can. I didn't...

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    I've hunted deer on Kodiak; since you're asking: 1. keep it on the bones 2. don't drag anything back to camp as it is a gingerbread crumb trail for furballs in the night 3. we cut alders, lay the quarter bags on them to keep them up off the ground, and put a tarp over the meat so that rais stays off and the wind blows under. 4. USE A BEAR FENCE.
    Good luck! I think the sitka blacktail deer has as good a meat as any game I've ever put on my table. Definitely worth the extra effort of keeping it on the bone; we didn't have any spoilage.

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    Default Boning meat

    On short trips we always deboned our meat, might as well leave some of the mess in the field and it only takes a few extra minutes to debone a deer. Also if you are inland more than a couple miles it can save you a grueling pack out. For an extended hunt, deboned meat in a game bag on a meat pole under a tarp should last a good week or more if kept dry.

    If I were on an extended 10 day hunt then the first few days hunting if I shot a deer I would not debone the meat but after those first few days if I shot any other deer I would not sweat deboning them.

    thats all I got though, do I get a rep?

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    Member DanielApplin's Avatar
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    If you debone even if it stays cold and dry you will still end up trimming and loosing a lot more meat than if kept on the bone.

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    Since I hunt Kodiak out of a guide's camp...

    we bringthe deer to camp in either quarters or whole (gutted)
    there at the cabin we debone, put meat in freezer bags and into the deep freeze..
    If really cold, and deer freeze solid, we bring them out frozen- and I will hang (here in North Pole) till thawed enough to start deboning and processing.

    I will semi-thaw the frozen bagged meat and do my burger grind after we have recovered from the trip. usually about three monthes later.

    I like to drive down, that way have truck to take all of our gear there, and to bring everything back without the hassle of airlines.

    Plus, it's an ADVENTURE!!

    So, the answer is: depends on where you are on the island, how soon you are coming out, and how big a load of meat you got.

    Remember the plane picking you up will charge extra for more weight- Bones do weigh a lot if you got 9 or a dozen deer!!

    Remember to have fun, and be safe.

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielApplin View Post
    If you debone even if it stays cold and dry you will still end up trimming and loosing a lot more meat than if kept on the bone.
    this statement is true

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielApplin View Post
    If you debone even if it stays cold and dry you will still end up trimming and loosing a lot more meat than if kept on the bone.
    I've read this many times here and I've got to say that I disagree from personal experience. I'd say I'm about 50/50 on deboning in the field vs. at home, and I see zero difference. When I debone in the field I don't lose any meat - I bring it home, trim the fat and tendons, and process the meat as usual. I just don't understand this meat loss that folks talk about - I do the same thing and get the same yield whether deboning in the field or at home. Of course time in the field can play a role - if I were going to be out for a week or longer, I would absolutely keep it on the bone. That said, most of my hunts are shorter than that and deboning has caused no additional meat loss.

    On my last hunt on Kodiak my wife and I got a deer each about 45 minutes apart. I deboned them on the spot in order to fit both deer in my pack. We left the island two days later and no meat was lost due to the deboning effort. Your experience may vary, but that was our approach.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    On our trip to Kodiak I brought a big cooler and a bunch of zip lock bags. When my son shot his deer we boned it at the kill sight and put it in a big game bag and into my pack. At camp, next to an alpine lake, I trimmed and washed all the meat. I put it in zip locks and sucked the air out the best I could. We had no problems finding snow and I put all the meat on "ice" in the cooler. We had no issues keeping snow in the cooler and the meat was the best I've ever had even though it was in the cooler for four days.

    The funniest thing was that we could see the carcass from our camp across the lake. It sat for three days and not even a raven stop to feed off it. No bears, nothing.
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    Member DanielApplin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I've read this many times here and I've got to say that I disagree from personal experience. I'd say I'm about 50/50 on deboning in the field vs. at home, and I see zero difference. When I debone in the field I don't lose any meat - I bring it home, trim the fat and tendons, and process the meat as usual. I just don't understand this meat loss that folks talk about - I do the same thing and get the same yield whether deboning in the field or at home. Of course time in the field can play a role - if I were going to be out for a week or longer, I would absolutely keep it on the bone. That said, most of my hunts are shorter than that and deboning has caused no additional meat loss.

    On my last hunt on Kodiak my wife and I got a deer each about 45 minutes apart. I deboned them on the spot in order to fit both deer in my pack. We left the island two days later and no meat was lost due to the deboning effort. Your experience may vary, but that was our approach.

    Yes that is true, I am used to hanging meet if the weather permits and anywhere the quarters have been cut off the boat require more trimming say 5 days down the road, like around pelvis on hind quarters. I agree there is little difference from boning a deer in the field or at home if you begin to process it quickly afterwords.

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    Member DanielApplin's Avatar
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    But I think meat stays cleaner if you can bone it out in the kitchen, and it's comfortable.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielApplin View Post
    But I think meat stays cleaner if you can bone it out in the kitchen, and it's comfortable.
    That is certainly true, and good point about hanging meat to age. That's something I haven't done much of, but would like to try it when the weather is cool enough.

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    That is certainly true, and good point about hanging meat to age. That's something I haven't done much of, but would like to try it when the weather is cool enough.
    A big misconception a lot of people have regarding aging wild game is thinking you do it just like beef. Wild game, being that it's so much leaner than beef, can not be aged nearly as long as beef. I've been told that, while it's a good idea to age wild game (under the right conditions), you shouldn't age it more than 4 or 5 days. After that the quality of the meat starts to go down hill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    A big misconception a lot of people have regarding aging wild game is thinking you do it just like beef. Wild game, being that it's so much leaner than beef, can not be aged nearly as long as beef. I've been told that, while it's a good idea to age wild game (under the right conditions), you shouldn't age it more than 4 or 5 days. After that the quality of the meat starts to go down hill.
    I can say from personal experience that this is not necessarily true. I will hang for 5-6 days if I have time and know people who routinely hang over a week. What is important is that the outer membrane layer be intact (and of course dry). According to the charts I have from Marianski's book on home sausage production, it takes around 5 days to return meat to the same tenderness as before it was killed. I am firmly in the don't bone unless weight is a consideration camp. However, I love to butcher and enjoy bone in cuts (chops) and cooking with the bones (stocks etc).
    Josh

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    This is what I have been told by a couple different processors who's opinions I value highly. I personally have let meat hang for over a week in the field and the meat was fine. I didn't have the option of processing it sooner but from what these gentleman have told me, it probably would have been better had I been able to, and I trust this to be true.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    I posted this last night but somehow it got deleted. I'll try again. I hunted deer on Kodiak each October from 1977 thru 2001 with the same partner along with some friends.We found a way to quikly get the job done and be out of the kill site. We don't gut the Deer. We cut the hide along the backside, skinning down the quarters. Remove the rear quarters splitting the pelvis. Cut the backstrap, reach in behind the last rib and tear out the tenderloin, bone out the ribs and neck meat. remove front quarters.Bag it and head back to camp (always tenting it, with no Bear fence ) With the bone left in the quarters we make a game pole and we have the bone to tie the meat to the pole. Sorry if I left anything out, I'm hurrying before my computer does what it did last night. wishing you a safe and enjoyable hunt. BTW, The limit varied from 4 to 5 and even 7 deer so we never bought Beef only chicken for variety.

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