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Thread: Game bags for week in brooks range

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    Default Game bags for week in brooks range

    I never realized there was such a difference in game bags. Does anyone have a brand they recommend for a week long caribou hunt in brooks range in early September? Do most just use pillow cases? Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I like the TAG bags. I bought a few sets a few years ago. I use them every year. Rinse them off in the sink when I get home and then clean in them in the washing machine. Very light and they pack down pretty small too.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadder View Post
    I never realized there was such a difference in game bags. Does anyone have a brand they recommend for a week long caribou hunt in brooks range in early September? Do most just use pillow cases? Thanks for any help.
    Pillow cases are alright for a quick hunt, but not something I'd use for any length of time out in the bush. From what I've seen, as oakman says, TAG bags are pretty popular....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    Yup yup TAG bags are awesome.
    I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM2K7sV-K74

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    Another very satisfied Tag-Bag user.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    I use pillow cases for my short hunts. I borrowed a buddies Tag bag for an alpine deer hunt last year and I really liked it. It cleaned up better than I expected in the wash, and looks brand new when it came out. Pillow cases are cheap and work fine for a short hunt; but if I was going out for 3 or more days; I would prefer to have a Tag bag.

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    We used Cabelas game bags and ad no poblems with them. Used citric acid and i keep the meat fine.

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    A full set of TAG bags takes up the space of a couple of paperback books in my day pack and weighs very little. There are competing brands just as good, but anything cotton is a lot bulkier and heavier.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    A full set of TAG bags takes up the space of a couple of paperback books in my day pack and weighs very little. There are competing brands just as good, but anything cotton is a lot bulkier and heavier.
    And the best place to buy them is...???
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    +1 on the TAG bags. All I have used the past 4 or 5 years now. Work great and clean up really well once back home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    And the best place to buy them is...???
    Pristine Ventures website you are dealing directly with the owner & "inventor". SW usually has them, as does Marc at Wiggy's in Anchorage
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    Member Jeff Shannon's Avatar
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    TAG Bags all the way! TAG BOMB (Boned Out Meat Bags) are amazingly compact and light weight, but they're big enough bags to fit a boned out bull muskox. Leave the pillow cases at home.

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    Member Berto's Avatar
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    I'm a TAG bag user and believer no matter how short or long the hunt. Although I, like most, prefer a trophy animal, ultimately the hunt is about the meat, so I do everything I can to ensure high quality meat in my freezer. TAG bags are a part of my equation for success.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadder View Post
    I never realized there was such a difference in game bags. Does anyone have a brand they recommend for a week long caribou hunt in brooks range in early September? Do most just use pillow cases? Thanks for any help.
    We use the Caribou Gear Bags in our show. The TAG bags are also good. I've seen just about every possible bag used in the field and highly recommend the synthetic washable bags.You'll pay more up front initially but won't be buying new bags every season. Believe you can get both Caribou Gear and TAG Bags online or most big stores will have them. Of course, Cabela's is my favorite :-)
    Alaska Outdoors Television ~ Outdoor Channel

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    Default Cut down the TAG Bags

    I buy the T.A.G. Bags and cut them down and make several smaller bags out of the material. Smaller bags are much more handy if you bone out the carcass. The 24" X 44" TAG bags can be cut to make a 24" X 30" Ham bag and a 14" X 24" trim bag. The 28" X 60" TAG bags can be cut to make three 20" X 28" shoulder bags. If you'd like, take one of those shoulder bags and turn it into two 14" X 20" trim bags. These sizes work good for deer, caribou, goats and sheep, but not moose. The ham bags will fit both a ham and shoulder if you like. The shoulder bags can hold 2 shoulders. Putting more than one piece in a bag works fine for packing but I prefer to hang each piece in it's own bag.

    I take the following bags:
    2 shoulder
    4 ham (use 2 for rib slabs)
    5 trim (loins, heart & liver, tenderloins, cape, neck is tight fit)

    I hem the top for drawstrings and get some of those spring cord locks to make access easy. Then vacuum seal the folded bags so they stay clean, dry, and compact. The TAG material is very compactable, lightweight, and being synthetic doesn't take long to dry in the field. It doesn't breathe like cotton though, meat develops a slippery slime on the outside after about 4-5 days even if you use citric acid on the meat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caribouman View Post
    It doesn't breathe like cotton though, meat develops a slippery slime on the outside after about 4-5 days even if you use citric acid on the meat.

    My meat has developed a nice crust & no slime in tag bags...
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    Member caribouman's Avatar
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    It could be that I'm in Kodiak in early August. It's still not very cold yet. The air is just constantly so moist even if you get a good glaze on day one, by day 3 the meat will be damp to the touch. I hang the meat from a meat pole covered by a tarp that covers it completely from the rain but is vented 10" from the ground all the way around. If the wind blows I open up the ends of the shelter or even take off the bags for a while each day to let it breathe as long as there are no flies.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Hate to go against the flow here, but I guess someone has to!

    Honestly I have some reservations about TAG bags and about the Caribou Gear bags that were mentioned in this thread. I have tested TAG bags in the field, on the same meat pole with meat that was bagged in conventional cotton bags, such as the kind offered with Hunter Game Bags.

    There are a lot of considerations when it comes to game bag selection, and I have attempted to address these issues on our Meat Care Tools page. Two videos are embedded on this page. The first deals with meat care tools, second one deals with game bags. In the game bag video I have some footage from the field, but honestly I stated my case a little weakly (I was trying to be nice, honestly). It was not okay that the TAG bags were wet. That's the whole problem!

    The issue we had with TAG bags was the development of moisture inside the bags, which did not / could not ventilate out of the bag. We were not able AT ALL to obtain a glaze or "rind" on the meat. This glaze is a dried surface that is critical to preventing bacterial spoilage. This was in sharp contrast to the performance of the cotton bags, which allowed the meat to glaze over perfectly. I believe the reason for the difference is twofold:

    1. Synthetic material does not absorb moisture, at least in the form presented with the TAG bags. This may be because the TAG bag material is smooth, and non-fibrous. Those of us who use synthetic material for clothing know that synthetic does a great job of wicking moisture from our bodies. I believe it does so for two reasons: it's breathable (the weave is open enough to allow airflow), and second, the material itself has a rougher texture, which allows individual fibers to grab those water molecules and wick them away. TAG bags do not appear to have this capability, because the material is smooth. I have not yet tested the Caribou Gear bags (I hope to do so this coming fall), but the material appears to be rougher in texture to the TAG bags, and may therefore wick moisture better. I will report back on those bags after we've had a chance to test them.

    2. The TAG bag material is woven too tightly to allow good airflow. You can test this yourself at home by simply trying to blow air through the material. Try it with a TAG bag, then try it with a cotton bag. There's a marked difference. To make such a test fair and honest, you can't use bags right out of the package. When most fabrics are manufactured, they are spray-coated with a starch called "sizing". They do that to stiffen up the material so it can pass through the manufacturing process without binding up in the machinery. Sizing blocks the interstices (holes) in the material, inhibiting airflow. So you need to wash your bags before you test them, and certainly before you use them in the field. At any rate, good airflow is a very important performance metric for game bags, because it facilitates the drying of the surface of the meat.

    These two factors combined on our GMU 21 hunt to create a near-disaster regarding the two moose quarters we hung in TAG bags. Of course we monitored the meat in all the bags multiple times each day, but what we ended up doing with the two quarters in the TAG bags, was pull the bags completely off, build a smudge fire to keep the flies off the meat, and let it air dry completely exposed. It was the only way we could make it work.

    As I said, I intend to test the Caribou Gear bags this fall, and I will probably do it side-by-side with TAG bags and cotton. Should be interesting.

    I realize a lot of guys like the TAG bags, and I suspect the main reason has to do with their light weight and negligible bulk. These are very important pluses in favor of the TAG bags, and of any synthetic bag. But I also know that most of these guys are not getting a dry glaze on their meat, and are compensating for the resulting bacterial issue with copious quantities of citric acid solution. I prefer a bag that allows a good hard glaze to form, which eliminates the need for citric acid altogether. Frankly, I have carried citric acid powder in my pack for over 25 years and have not had to use it even one time. Ever. It's good stuff; we sell it, and the guy who introduced it's use in Alaska, Doug Drum (owner of Indian Valley Meats) is a good friend of mine. But I believe, and can back it up with a couple of decades of field work, that citric acid solution is a great ace-in-the-hole in your bag of tricks, but by observing proper meat care principles, you will probably never have to use it. It's like the air bag in your car. You hope to never need it, and you will likely drive cars for your entire life without that thing ever deploying. But it's nice to have around when the time comes.

    BOTTOM LINE

    I tell all my hunters to bring synthetic bags. One set for every two hunters. Use the synthetics to move the meat from the kill site to camp, and change out for cotton bags once it's all in camp. In this way you get the benefit of bags you can carry all day in your pack, they clean up and dry fast once you're back in camp, and can be re-used almost immediately. And you get the tremendous benefit of cotton bags that will absorb moisture and ventilate properly.

    I don't have a dog in this fight, as I don't sell game bags. My only motive is to stimulate thinking on this issue, and to make recommendations that will help you get that meat out of the field in tip-top shape.

    I've been hunting and guiding in Alaska since 1986, and an honestly say that I have NEVER lost meat in the field to spoilage in all those years. The only meat I ever lost was a bag of neck meat from a moose. I was packing my last load off of a client's moose, and was heading up to get the neck, cape, and antlers. As I approached the kill site, the drag marks in the snow and the missing entrails told me that a brown bear had visited the site in my absence. I went up there anyway, and the neck bag was gone. That is the only meat I ever lost in the field. I would be happy to compare resumés with others on this question. Not that I'm anything special (I'm not). I was just taught from a young age to be very particular about things like this. I guess that's what happens when your dad is a Marine Corps Drill Instructor.

    If you want to skip the Meat Care Tools page and go straight to the Game Bag Video, here it is:



    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Well that's good to know, Mike.........

    Thanks......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Well that's good to know, Mike.........

    Thanks......
    Sorry if that was a bit of overkill... it wasn't intended that way. I really like the idea of lighter-weight bags, but we need to find a way to get the moisture issue under control and we'll be there.

    The guy who owns the Caribou Gear bag company... I ran into him when the Anchorage Cabela's store opened, and I told him I intended to test them out next fall. He was adamant that they out-perform everything else, and offered to give me some of his bags. I told him I had already purchased some, and would use those. He ended up sending me a whole case of bags-- more than I can use, and they're sitting here in my office right now. Anyway we'll see how it goes, I guess.

    I know Larry upgraded his material a while back, and I have not tested the new ones yet. Sheesh! By the time I get out to the field, I'm gonna have four different types of game bags on the pole (assuming we find a cooperative moose).
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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