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Thread: Guides and 'Donated' Meat

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    Default Guides and 'Donated' Meat

    I was conversing with someone that works with some Alaska guides. They commented that they can get all the moose meat they want for free from these guides. Their freezers (yes multiple) are full at the end of the season every year.
    Recent threads where out of state hunters have mentioned that their guides are happy to receive the hunters donated meat got me wondering. Just how much meat do some guides end up with, and what happens to it? I know they say they give some to local families, but if you have a ton of it, are you still "tickled" to receive more?
    I might be opening a can of worms here, or asking to get flamed, but perhaps when clients leave meat with a guide or anyone else for that matter, there ought to be forms filled out and submitted by each party. I know about the transfer of possession forms. I'm not referring to those. They aren't reported afaik. Then we could find out just exactly how much of this meat is getting left behind.
    Every non-resident hunt I have ever done, included me taking home the exact same amount of meat I would have from the animal if I harvested it in my back yard. I'm not giving any of it away, unless it is to my hunting buddy that helped me with it. After I get it home, i may share a little here and there. Just today I took a pack each of moose burger and stew meat to my Elder neighbor. But, he gives me smoked salmon, so I guess that may be bartering in the community. Regardless, i ain't leaving it behind. That just seems wrong to me.
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    I'm not sure how it works for you folks, but over here, if they didn't "donate" it or otherwise, the outfitter would be charged with meat wastage under the Wildlife Act and regs. Our Yukon Outfitters Association makes a big dal about their "donating" the meat as if it was some sort of philanthropic gesture but in the end, it's a convenient way to deal with a very large amount of meat that horn hunters don't want, which really ticks me off. Sure there are elders that get to use the meat, but again, the outfitters are only doing it because they have no other alternative.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukoner View Post
    I'm not sure how it works for you folks, but over here, if they didn't "donate" it or otherwise, the outfitter would be charged with meat wastage under the Wildlife Act and regs. Our Yukon Outfitters Association makes a big dal about their "donating" the meat as if it was some sort of philanthropic gesture but in the end, it's a convenient way to deal with a very large amount of meat that horn hunters don't want...
    Works the same way here, and I feel the same about it as you.
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    Well, what are the suggestions for an alternative for the meat.........??? A big guiding operation might have 20 or 30 moose harvested, that is a lot of meat.

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    But you know if the hunter we required to take it home, in many cases it would be tossed out. "Buster" is hunting for a big head, could care less about the meat. Ma says, "It tastes gamey" Kids used to big macs say "Yuck" and no one eats it, Meanwhile we'd be devouring it like starving wolves.
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    I'm familiar with a region in Alaska where the guide encourages his hunters to donate their meat, and the recipients are happy to get it. Essentially, the way it works is it cost the hunter A LOT of money to have their meat flown out, but if they donate, it doesn't cost them a thing. The hunters usually keep most of their sheep meet, and a quarter or so of their moose.
    I don't see anything wrong with this arrangement, it's a win-win as far as I see it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    "Buster" is hunting for a big head, could care less about the meat.
    Buster is a dirt-bag.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Buster is a dirt-bag.

    Yes he is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wags View Post
    I don't see anything wrong with this arrangement, it's a win-win as far as I see it.
    In the end, I suppose all I can say is that it's the principle of the thing, and it rankles, but that's a pretty lame argument.
    i just hate using words like "donate", as if they would be doing anything else with it.
    Another poster asked, and rightfully so, what else can they do with it? Well, I must admit to have becoming pretty anti-outfitter over the years. What I'd like to see (and speaking only for myself here in the Yukon) is the outfitting done away with, and more opportunities for self guided hunts for Canadian residents and non-residents. Opportunities where people who actually want the meat, the hunt experience and maybe a trophy. I'm not saying it would be easy, but as the experiences we take for granted (for now) become more and more uncommon, it would be nice to see ordinary guys be able to afford to experience what we have as opposed to the well healed. Someone who might appreciate the meat as well as the trophy on their wall. As far as I'm concerned, if all you're after is the head, you aren't a real hunter. Jim Shockey "hunters".
    Ok, getting way of track here. What to do with it? Have a list of families/seniors who could use it do to economic or physical limitations. Have some sort of system in place to ensure proper field dressing and care of the meat. In my experience, I have seen some terrible meat care from some outfitters. I wouldn't have served it to my worst enemy. Poor meat care should be considered meat wastage.
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    I believe that it is illegal in some countries to import game meat. So hunters from those countries (I think Germany and Austria are among them) can't bring meat back.

    One guy I know that was an assistant guide about 20 years ago ended up with big parts of moose that he was on. Guess these guys in some cases just aren't willing or able to haul that much back.

    And as mentioned above, I'd guess that some of these guys just want a decoration for the trophy room and could care less about the meat. I'm just happy that someone is getting it. The alternative is they haul it back and dump it.

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    There was a well known guide that used (a few years back) to post on his website that successful moose hunters were welcome to take about 40 lbs of meat home with them. The remainder would be distributed to the guide and his employees as that was figured into the prices he charged for a moose hunt.

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    It seems to me that "I don't approve of you legally and in good conscious donating meat" is not too far from "I don't approve of you hunting." The question at the heart of each is “why are you hunting?” Do we really want to line up against each other on this matter?

    Hear me out.

    I am not a resident of Alaska, yet I have dreamed of an Alaska moose hunt (the experience, not the rack) since I was 12 years old. And yes watching Jim Shockey probably started all that. So after 28 years of dreaming, this year it all finally came together for me. A good friend and I did an unguided, drop camp moose hunt. We had to book 18 months in advance to get a spot and we trained our butts off to get in good shape for the hunt.

    We went for the experience, not the antlers. But without shooting something, it’s just a camping trip. I am not a camper. I am a hunter. Harvesting an animal is an important part of the experience for me. I also happen to love eating wild game. Our goals were to be safe, have a great time, and kill decent bulls if possible. As it turns out, we both shot moose. I make no apology for that.

    Neither of our bulls would be considered a trophy by record book standards but both are getting mounted to hang in our respective homes as memories of the trip. All the meat was cared for (by us and the outfitter) as if we were going to serve it in our own homes. We brought back 270 pounds of boneless meat as checked baggage. The rest was donated through the outfitter who had a rather impressive system in place with paperwork which led me to believe the meat from our animals would be distributed to those in need.

    If I had paid (a heck of a lot) to fly that meat back to my home, a lot of the meat would have been given away here as well. Would you have a problem with that?

    My small family is not going to eat an entire moose before it gets freezer burn, plus I choose to share some of all my game and fish as a way of giving thanks for the harvest. Furthermore, I wanted my daughter to be able to shoot a whitetail and still have room for it in our freezer.

    Note that my family rarely buys meat at the grocery store. Our protein comes from deer, hogs, turkeys, waterfowl, and fish that we harvest and butcher ourselves. Last night we had moose fajitas for dinner. Tonight we’re having moose dogs with chili while we watch college football.

    There are several mounts in my home, but none have ever been entered in a record book. They are there to remind me of those hunts and celebrate the sport I am so passionate about.

    Now hearing all this, can you really be upset that I chose to do this hunt and donate a portion of the meat? If so, go ahead and let me know who you think should be able to kill what and why. And think about this: if you get to tell me what’s right, somebody gets to tell you. And that somebody might someday decide you shouldn’t be hunting either. They might rather ship you frozen chicken after they confiscate your guns.

    Not everyone that flies into Alaska for a hunt is a “Buster” and for you to judge us all as such is short sited and petty.

    If you want to have a debate on the allocation of limited public resources that is a separate discussion and a very important issue for all of us that hunt and fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    There was a well known guide that used (a few years back) to post on his website that successful moose hunters were welcome to take about 40 lbs of meat home with them. The remainder would be distributed to the guide and his employees as that was figured into the prices he charged for a moose hunt.
    That seems like it could be viewed as a violation of the Lacey Act or the state equivalent. You are giving an actual value to wildgame and acting accordingly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    There was a well known guide that used (a few years back) to post on his website that successful moose hunters were welcome to take about 40 lbs of meat home with them. The remainder would be distributed to the guide and his employees as that was figured into the prices he charged for a moose hunt.

    There has got to be a financial incentive for these guides to want the meat so badly. Otherwise it would just be a burden to deal with. Perhaps they are profiting from the meat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobilefamily View Post
    It seems to me that "I don't approve of you legally and in good conscious donating meat" is not too far from "I don't approve of you hunting." The question at the heart of each is “why are you hunting?” Do we really want to line up against each other on this matter?

    Hear me out.

    I am not a resident of Alaska, yet I have dreamed of an Alaska moose hunt (the experience, not the rack) since I was 12 years old. And yes watching Jim Shockey probably started all that. So after 28 years of dreaming, this year it all finally came together for me. A good friend and I did an unguided, drop camp moose hunt. We had to book 18 months in advance to get a spot and we trained our butts off to get in good shape for the hunt.

    We went for the experience, not the antlers. But without shooting something, it’s just a camping trip. I am not a camper. I am a hunter. Harvesting an animal is an important part of the experience for me. I also happen to love eating wild game. Our goals were to be safe, have a great time, and kill decent bulls if possible. As it turns out, we both shot moose. I make no apology for that.

    Neither of our bulls would be considered a trophy by record book standards but both are getting mounted to hang in our respective homes as memories of the trip. All the meat was cared for (by us and the outfitter) as if we were going to serve it in our own homes. We brought back 270 pounds of boneless meat as checked baggage. The rest was donated through the outfitter who had a rather impressive system in place with paperwork which led me to believe the meat from our animals would be distributed to those in need.

    If I had paid (a heck of a lot) to fly that meat back to my home, a lot of the meat would have been given away here as well. Would you have a problem with that?

    My small family is not going to eat an entire moose before it gets freezer burn, plus I choose to share some of all my game and fish as a way of giving thanks for the harvest. Furthermore, I wanted my daughter to be able to shoot a whitetail and still have room for it in our freezer.

    Note that my family rarely buys meat at the grocery store. Our protein comes from deer, hogs, turkeys, waterfowl, and fish that we harvest and butcher ourselves. Last night we had moose fajitas for dinner. Tonight we’re having moose dogs with chili while we watch college football.

    There are several mounts in my home, but none have ever been entered in a record book. They are there to remind me of those hunts and celebrate the sport I am so passionate about.

    Now hearing all this, can you really be upset that I chose to do this hunt and donate a portion of the meat? If so, go ahead and let me know who you think should be able to kill what and why. And think about this: if you get to tell me what’s right, somebody gets to tell you. And that somebody might someday decide you shouldn’t be hunting either. They might rather ship you frozen chicken after they confiscate your guns.

    Not everyone that flies into Alaska for a hunt is a “Buster” and for you to judge us all as such is short sited and petty.

    If you want to have a debate on the allocation of limited public resources that is a separate discussion and a very important issue for all of us that hunt and fish.
    I don't understand why you can't eat a moose before it gets freezer burned. I have 3 year old meat in my freezer, and it's just fine. Properly packaged I suppose. Did it myself in zip lock freezer bags. Besides, freezer burn is really just freeze dried. Moisture will take care of it for the most part. Not saying it will be like it never happened, but A little freezer burn (almost never happens to me) has never stopped me from enjoying my personally harvested game.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    I don't understand why you can't eat a moose before it gets freezer burned. I have 3 year old meat in my freezer, and it's just fine. Properly packaged I suppose. Did it myself in zip lock freezer bags. Besides, freezer burn is really just freeze dried. Moisture will take care of it for the most part. Not saying it will be like it never happened, but A little freezer burn (almost never happens to me) has never stopped me from enjoying my personally harvested game.
    I agree. I think far too many people either don't know how to properly package/store game meat or fall for the myth that it will only last a short time. I am routinely pulling out meat that shuffled it's way down to the bottom of the freezer that is well over 5 years old, sometimes pushing 10+ with no freezer burn and no other problems. I always cringe when people say they have to clear out the old stuff before it goes bad after a year or two. I don't have much of any issue with those who want to share with friends or family, but don't use the excuse that it is going to go bad if you can't use it in a year or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    There has got to be a financial incentive for these guides to want the meat so badly. Otherwise it would just be a burden to deal with. Perhaps they are profiting from the meat.
    Or it could be that the guide is unable to hunt for himself as he is guiding all hunting season and under the law cannot harvest game when he is in charge of a hunter. Guides who are Alaska residents and part of the Alaska hunting tradition, that have relied on game meat their entire life, don't change that when they become guides. It is a system that can work well for both the hunter and the guides/outfitters. I am an Alaskan hunter who now guides; I began doing it 3 years ago. The meat is just as important to me as the income; if none of my hunters left meat, I would be very hard pressed to put up any meat for the year.

    This is basically how I do meat distribution, as my dad taught me, from his dad, on down the line. I have an extended family. Sisters, their families, their in-laws. Some hunt, some don't. Years go by when the hunters are not successful. We all share and share alike. If everyone in the family's needs are met, I move out to neighbors and people I know through work. It doesn't take much effort to find someone who can use meat. I do my own processing, so the meat goes out processed ready to eat.

    During season, the outfitter has several guides doing hunts over a 40 day period. Season end tally will likely be 3 or 4 moose, a caribou or two, and several sheep. Most hunters will take home a little bit, maybe a whole sheep, but rarely more than one game box full. He likes to keep a portion of each, and has it processed for his needs, but also to send out to camps as burger and sausage the next year so hunters get a taste of Alaska game whether successful or not. Not advertised, not a perk, the hunter doesn't know about it till he's looking at it on the plate. Successful guides keep their client's meat if the client isn't keeping it, and take care of it as they see fit. This has worked well for me; I get to work during hunting season, and put meat in my freezer. I already have a well established distribution network, I know how to care for meat in the field, and do it very well with great care. The clients know that their meat has been well used and appreciated, and aren't faced with the overwhelming task of caring for a moose on a remote Alaska drop hunt.

    I don't agree with Yukoner who feels there should be a government program to oversee meat distribution, with regulation, fines, and oversight in place to ensure all meat gets out to people who need it, as defined by that government entity. Keep it grassroots. There will always be shining examples of both the right way to do things and the wrong way, no matter what system is in place. Do you really, really think the government, whether local, state or federal, will make things better?

    We all hear stories of rotten meat coming in from guided hunters; what about rotten meat from drop off hunters, both resident and non resident? Alaska big game is big, and often very remote. It's often very difficult getting it back to civilization unspoiled. People will lose meat to freezer burn- look at Craigslist in Anchorage every fall.

    Smokeross, why do you want meat? You must be profiting from it. It is just a burden to deal with. Who is paying you to put that burden on yourself by shooting a moose or caribou? Or perhaps you enjoy eating it, embrace it as a valuable part of your lifestyle, and accept the burden of care as a part of this lifestyle. Could it be that it is the same for many guides in Alaska?

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    This is a tough topic guys, and it certainly generates some strong opinions and gut reactions in me. Speaking just for myself, the use of the term "donate" is not a term that applies when one transfers possession of their meat to legally get it out of the field so that a head and a fraction of meat can be legally taken home. That's not a donation...and it's wrong to act like some philanthropic good guy in doing so. Again, just my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukoner View Post
    In the end, I suppose all I can say is that it's the principle of the thing, and it rankles, but that's a pretty lame argument.
    i just hate using words like "donate", as if they would be doing anything else with it.
    Another poster asked, and rightfully so, what else can they do with it? Well, I must admit to have becoming pretty anti-outfitter over the years. What I'd like to see (and speaking only for myself here in the Yukon) is the outfitting done away with, and more opportunities for self guided hunts for Canadian residents and non-residents. Opportunities where people who actually want the meat, the hunt experience and maybe a trophy. I'm not saying it would be easy, but as the experiences we take for granted (for now) become more and more uncommon, it would be nice to see ordinary guys be able to afford to experience what we have as opposed to the well healed. Someone who might appreciate the meat as well as the trophy on their wall. As far as I'm concerned, if all you're after is the head, you aren't a real hunter. Jim Shockey "hunters".
    Ok, getting way of track here. What to do with it? Have a list of families/seniors who could use it do to economic or physical limitations. Have some sort of system in place to ensure proper field dressing and care of the meat. In my experience, I have seen some terrible meat care from some outfitters. I wouldn't have served it to my worst enemy. Poor meat care should be considered meat wastage.
    I know very little about resident opportunity around you, in Canada, Yukoner. There is no problem here. Residents have every opportunity non residents have, without the burden of hiring a guide or buying non resident tags. They can hire the same air charters, or fly, hike or bike themselves in to the same places to hunt. They appreciate everything about the hunt.

    Non residents who I have guided appreciate everything about the hunt, too. They have pictures of things I as a resident don't even notice. Lets not paint everyone with a broad brush just so its easier to dislike them and then make laws against them doing what they do. Many of them take a large amount of meat home along with the head, just not all the meat. Does that make them a greedy headhunter, just because they only took 50 pounds of meat home with them? I don't think so, as that is pretty much the average take from a whitetail buck, which is the sole experience of most American hunters. The dream of an Alaska/Yukon moose hunt isn't a fantasy about carrying 8 or 10 hundred pound loads of meat hide and antler across spongy mosquito infested muskeg for three days, packing it into 2 or 3 cubloads, transporting it to an airport, onto a plane and then home. If they just wanted the experience of hauling and dealing with the meat, there are many farmers who would make a deal for a cow to go to work on. No, they come to Alaska to experience the hunt. And bring home a trophy to remember it by. They trust that their guide knows how to take care of the field aspect of meat care as well as removal from the field and distribution. There is currently an Alaska guide under prosecution who allegedly failed to follow up on that aspect; we have a system in place to deal with guides who don't follow up properly on care of game meat.

    "In my experience, I have seen some terrible meat care from some outfitters." Honestly, you can fill in the blank with about anyone. I have seen terrible meat care from some hunters, poachers, guides, restaurants, famous chefs, grocery chains, etc. etc. If you want to use that as a weapon to go after someone you disagree with, fine. But be careful as it can become a grenade in someone else's hand to do away with something you like and hold dear. And I tend to believe the poor meat care is more prevalent on self guided hunts than guided, as many self guided non residents have never dealt with anything near the magnitude of a moose before. I see a lot of poor meat care from resident hunters, who never were taught how to properly trim bones, or don't know how to get meat cooled quickly. Taking guides out of the field won't make that any better, will it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Or it could be that the guide is unable to hunt for himself as he is guiding all hunting season and under the law cannot harvest game when he is in charge of a hunter. Guides who are Alaska residents and part of the Alaska hunting tradition, that have relied on game meat their entire life, don't change that when they become guides. It is a system that can work well for both the hunter and the guides/outfitters. I am an Alaskan hunter who now guides; I began doing it 3 years ago. The meat is just as important to me as the income; if none of my hunters left meat, I would be very hard pressed to put up any meat for the year.

    This is basically how I do meat distribution, as my dad taught me, from his dad, on down the line. I have an extended family. Sisters, their families, their in-laws. Some hunt, some don't. Years go by when the hunters are not successful. We all share and share alike. If everyone in the family's needs are met, I move out to neighbors and people I know through work. It doesn't take much effort to find someone who can use meat. I do my own processing, so the meat goes out processed ready to eat.

    During season, the outfitter has several guides doing hunts over a 40 day period. Season end tally will likely be 3 or 4 moose, a caribou or two, and several sheep. Most hunters will take home a little bit, maybe a whole sheep, but rarely more than one game box full. He likes to keep a portion of each, and has it processed for his needs, but also to send out to camps as burger and sausage the next year so hunters get a taste of Alaska game whether successful or not. Not advertised, not a perk, the hunter doesn't know about it till he's looking at it on the plate. Successful guides keep their client's meat if the client isn't keeping it, and take care of it as they see fit. This has worked well for me; I get to work during hunting season, and put meat in my freezer. I already have a well established distribution network, I know how to care for meat in the field, and do it very well with great care. The clients know that their meat has been well used and appreciated, and aren't faced with the overwhelming task of caring for a moose on a remote Alaska drop hunt.

    I don't agree with Yukoner who feels there should be a government program to oversee meat distribution, with regulation, fines, and oversight in place to ensure all meat gets out to people who need it, as defined by that government entity. Keep it grassroots. There will always be shining examples of both the right way to do things and the wrong way, no matter what system is in place. Do you really, really think the government, whether local, state or federal, will make things better?

    We all hear stories of rotten meat coming in from guided hunters; what about rotten meat from drop off hunters, both resident and non resident? Alaska big game is big, and often very remote. It's often very difficult getting it back to civilization unspoiled. People will lose meat to freezer burn- look at Craigslist in Anchorage every fall.

    Smokeross, why do you want meat? You must be profiting from it. It is just a burden to deal with. Who is paying you to put that burden on yourself by shooting a moose or caribou? Or perhaps you enjoy eating it, embrace it as a valuable part of your lifestyle, and accept the burden of care as a part of this lifestyle. Could it be that it is the same for many guides in Alaska?
    Thank you for your informative and thoughtful response. You appear to be one of those who are doing it right.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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