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Thread: What to do after Caribou kill for out-of-towner....

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    Default What to do after Caribou kill for out-of-towner....

    Hello everyone,
    I am heading to "Brooks Range" in August. The reason it is in quotations is because I don't know what part of that massive range I am going. We have a "guide/friend" that knows where to go, so he said he would make sure we will drop us where caribou are. My question to all of you is:
    1. Do you salt the cape to preserve? I have heard, "DON'T SALT!!" and I have seen videos of people saying they are getting ready to salt the cape.
    2. For someone that lives in the lower 48, do you use a taxidermist in Alaska or do you bring cape and antlers down home and have someone do the shoulder mount down here?
    3. Do you have meat processed up there and then ship it? Do you just ship it straight home quartered and then process as needed down here while packed on ice?
    4. About how long do you have while you are out there to get cape, antlers, meat home so you can have a preserved animal that tastes good and looks good on wall when hunting in first of August? I know there are many factors with weather, but I would love to hear people's stories and get an idea.

    Thanks in advance. This is a once in a lifetime hunt for me, so I want to make sure I do it right.

  2. #2
    Member FullCryHounds's Avatar
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    You do not salt the cape until you have fleshed it, turned the ears, lips and eyes. Then it will take 2-3 days to dry enough so you can roll it up and take it back with you in your baggage. If you don't know how to do that, it would be extremely beneficial to learn or make sure someone in your group knows how to do this, and is willing to help. Depending on what airline you are using, I'll assume Alaska Airlines, they will ship antlers out of most airports in Alaska but they have to be split and all the points covered and taped with cardboard. Their website says they do not ship antlers but if properly covered, they will. Shipping meat is a bit more difficult. It can be shipped down to ANC by NAC and put into cold storage until you get back to ANC to pick it up. Then you can box up in a fish box and bring it back as extra baggage. Another option is to take it to a place like Indian Valley meats and they can process and ship it back to you but that is very expensive. Leaving your caribou in AK to have mounted is very convenient but then you will have to pay an enormous shipping bill to get it back down below. Shipping anything from AK to the lower 48 has become extremely expensive. Get a price in writing if you leave anything there to be shipped later so it is not a surprise. Remember, most outlying airports up north do not have meat processors or even boxes or other items to help you ship your stuff back down to ANC. So you have to take extra duffle bags for your capes and boxes to ship meat back with you. At least you are asking these questions now, most guys don't think about it until they are trying to get back and then find out how much it is going to cost if they leave it all behind for someone else to take care of for them. Yea, they will help you but it will cost! This information is from 18 years of traveling from CO. to AK 2-3 trips a year.

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    FCHs did a pretty good job answering your questions but I would like to add a little. There are a couple of taxidermists around that will show you how to flesh your cape if you have time before the hunt. You can practice if you hunting and get a coyote or something. Yes they are not caribou but an ear is an ear. Russ Knight has some laminated instruction cards you can buy from him. There are others.
    It is a whole lot cheaper to take the antlers and cape back and have it mounted there. Just make absolutely sure your taxidermist knows how to do a caribou. You do not want yours to be his first one. My brother used to take all his meat home and have it processed. Bone it out and but it in the 50 pound fish boxes you can buy just about anywhere in Anchorage or Fairbanks. You can also use coolers. Meat processing up here is expensive compared tot helo0wer 48 and shipping will cost a bundle.
    You can never bet on the weather. I have been snowed on one year and during the same time period the next be hunting in a shirt. The caribou will be in velvet that time of the year so be prepared for that. Smaller bull may have fairly soft antlers. Keep the meat dry and cool. Flesh the cape and keep it cool.

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    Keep you meat up off the ground, do not pile it. hang it if you can , warp it in game bag or gauze and let air circulate around it. If yo cannot suspend it off the ground, place it on a pile of willow wands and branches to get air under it . Flip your meats every day untill you get them in the freezer.
    If you keep the animals carcass whole be sure to split the crotch area to the bone, right between the legs, that meat will spoil first. Keep the meat dry, do not get it wet, it will sour. Let the outside of the meats dry to a light crust and youll have no loss. Keep them outta the sun. Some guys take a dome tent and pile willows inside and keep the bugs, drizzle, dirt off in there, just sayin'.
    In August wearing chocolate Brown will have you looking like a Caribou and approaching them in the wide open is easier if you stay bent low and act like a Caribou.

    Good luck!
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    Pretty good advice so far. Bicycle boxes are very good for shipping antlers and capes. You can get them in Anchorage.

    If it is cool enough during your hunt leave the meat on the bone until just before you fly back to civilization, then bone it and clean it all up good. Schedule two days at a hotel back in anchorage where you can get access to a freezer and put the quartered/boned meat in 50 pound fish boxes and freeze whole for the flight back and check it as baggage - this is by FAR the cheapest way to do it and your meat arrives back at home with you.

    For mounts - take them home and have a local taxidermy work them for you. Shipping completed mounts is cost prohibitive for us on budgets.

    You can read online and watch Utube vids to learn how to skin, quarter, bone, turn well enough to get it done in the field, but first hand work is best if you can get it. Plan on taking the better part of a day to flesh and turn the cape. I think I spent 9 hours on my wife's caribou cape - I was slow and meticulous, but it was done well (was my first caribou) - about the same for my Griz.

    Take a few small square razor blades -they work very good for turning ears and lips (and paws).

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    What do these fish boxes look like and how much do they cost? Are they a disposable sort of deal, or are they something that one would tote back and forth from the lower 48?

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Do you have a computer or web access ? :-) http://www.skipsmarine.net/wax1.htm

    Mostly disposable. Just a waxed box. You have to put the meat in a plastic bag so that it cannot leak (airlines don't like water, blood, slime, etc leaking on their airplanes). I have not bought one, but I think around 10$.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I usually use coolers, but problem being that they weigh 6 to 10 pounds already. If you want something non-disposable use Rubbermaid type totes. Stack them so that when you return you have extra for meat. Drill holes in the lids to put tie wraps on them to keep them shut. Better than cardboard IMO.

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    like this http://www.zoro.com/i/G1835574/?utm_...UaTxoCmU3w_wcB


    but check size prior to coming to make sure that you only get 50 pounds of meat in it (20 gals may be too much). A couple years ago I used them in Kodiak for goat and one tote weighed 136 pounds and was full of goat meat. I was very lucky in that first they put it on the plane and second they did not charge me. Most airlines will not take over 100 pound item and you get charged substantially for overweight (over 50).

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    I would strongly suggest taking a disposable blade knife for fleshing and turning, there are a few out now, I like the Havalon Piranta, much easier to flesh with than a "hunting knife". Take at least a dozen blades and something to put the worn out ones in! Take some superglue in case you cut yourself with it! I also take a hobby knife, it's the size of a pen and works great on ears, eyes and lips


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Do you have a computer or web access ? :-) http://www.skipsmarine.net/wax1.htm

    Mostly disposable. Just a waxed box. You have to put the meat in a plastic bag so that it cannot leak (airlines don't like water, blood, slime, etc leaking on their airplanes). I have not bought one, but I think around 10$.
    I did a search, but came up with a thread (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ping-your-gear) where the fish tote mentioned was $300. I just couldn't imagine guys buying up a bunch of $300 fish totes for general gear/meat transport. So... I just thought I'd ask.

  12. #12
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    them totes would be hard to fit into a piper cub!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnboy View Post
    I did a search, but came up with a thread (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ping-your-gear) where the fish tote mentioned was $300. I just couldn't imagine guys buying up a bunch of $300 fish totes for general gear/meat transport. So... I just thought I'd ask.
    Depends on how much hunting you do, where it s necessary to ship your gear. I have three of them and I use them all the time. They're great for shipping rafts, outboards and such to the Bush, because they protect your gear really well and keep everything away from prying eyes. Many villages do not have a secured ramp area, and your stuff sits out on the flight line until you arrive to collect it. I also use them for back-hauling meat, but you won't get an entire moose in one.

    You can sometimes find them on Craig's list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I usually use coolers, but problem being that they weigh 6 to 10 pounds already. If you want something non-disposable use Rubbermaid type totes. Stack them so that when you return you have extra for meat. Drill holes in the lids to put tie wraps on them to keep them shut. Better than cardboard IMO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    like this http://www.zoro.com/i/G1835574/?utm_...UaTxoCmU3w_wcB


    but check size prior to coming to make sure that you only get 50 pounds of meat in it (20 gals may be too much). A couple years ago I used them in Kodiak for goat and one tote weighed 136 pounds and was full of goat meat. I was very lucky in that first they put it on the plane and second they did not charge me. Most airlines will not take over 100 pound item and you get charged substantially for overweight (over 50).
    18 gallon rubber maid totes. Get the heavy duty ones that are a kind of rubber material. Very sturdy. Been using them for the last three years. They have made trips down to GA and back. They are reusable. Never had one bust open. You can very easily over pack them with meat, but I found the 18 gallons to be the perfect size for all our mailing needs. I believe we own over 50 of them. Mark your lids and tote so they don't get mixed up.

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    If you're going in early august and kill early in your hunt you're going to have to flesh and salt your capes. I spent a bunch of time learning from my local taxidermist before my last trip. Caveat: practice on capes at home and recognize that doing it in the field while sitting on the ground or stretching capes over something is going to make this work much more difficult. We went later (end of august/sept) and I turned the ears and lips and folded the cape up and the hair kept fine for 4-5 days until I got it in the freezer. It was below freezing for multiple days during the hunt which really helped.

    We brought meat back using the 50lbs fish box as checked baggage method. Left time on the back end of the trip to break meat down and get it frozen in big ziplocks. Then placed it in the fish boxes for the flight home and it was still frozen when we arrived.

  16. #16

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    No one has said anything about the antlers. They will likely be in velvet in very early August. If you are lucky enough to shoot one in full velvet it will be tempting to keep it on. The velvet will start loosening only after a couple of days so if you need to get them back to the lower 48, you are out of luck. Just strip the velvet and start drying it. BTW, I was lucky enough to shoot a "400+" class bull in full velvet. I lived in Anchorage at the time so I was able to get it to the taxidermist within 48 hours. 30 years later, it still looks fantastic and is certainly a conversation piece! Good luck!

  17. #17

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    This is probably a couple of dumb questions, but I am obviously green:

    1. Do you just check antlers on plane? How do you protect them from knuckleheads throwing them around plane?
    2. Do you just salt and carry cape with you onto plane, without putting it on ice, or would you put it with the meat to preserve it the best? You guys have been very helpful, and I appreciate all of your time helping me out.

  18. #18
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Bring a section of garden hose and duct tape. Cut about 3" of hose and slide it over each point then duct tape it. the airlines will love you. If you have time to flesh and turn the cape then salt it and re-salt to dry it will be fine as carryon.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by FullCryHounds View Post
    You do not salt the cape until you have fleshed it, turned the ears, lips and eyes. Then it will take 2-3 days to dry enough so you can roll it up and take it back with you in your baggage. If you don't know how to do that, it would be extremely beneficial to learn or make sure someone in your group knows how to do this, and is willing to help. Depending on what airline you are using, I'll assume Alaska Airlines, they will ship antlers out of most airports in Alaska but they have to be split and all the points covered and taped with cardboard. Their website says they do not ship antlers but if properly covered, they will. Shipping meat is a bit more difficult. It can be shipped down to ANC by NAC and put into cold storage until you get back to ANC to pick it up. Then you can box up in a fish box and bring it back as extra baggage. Another option is to take it to a place like Indian Valley meats and they can process and ship it back to you but that is very expensive. Leaving your caribou in AK to have mounted is very convenient but then you will have to pay an enormous shipping bill to get it back down below. Shipping anything from AK to the lower 48 has become extremely expensive. Get a price in writing if you leave anything there to be shipped later so it is not a surprise. Remember, most outlying airports up north do not have meat processors or even boxes or other items to help you ship your stuff back down to ANC. So you have to take extra duffle bags for your capes and boxes to ship meat back with you. At least you are asking these questions now, most guys don't think about it until they are trying to get back and then find out how much it is going to cost if they leave it all behind for someone else to take care of for them. Yea, they will help you but it will cost! This information is from 18 years of traveling from CO. to AK 2-3 trips a year.
    I don't know how I missed this detailed reply. Sorry. Thanks so much for the help!!! Disregard my last post.

  20. #20
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    How much salt do you guys fly into the field for 1 caribou cape?


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