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Thread: Solo Moose Butchering

  1. #21
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    There are many paracord pulley systems available. I like the camlock rope system, for one handed operation. It is essential on a one man moose hunt that you have a device that will compound your force. What if the moose lands in water? Some sort of pulley system, block and tackle, or come-along is essential. All you need for your rope is paracord. 100' goes a long way and weighs practically nothing, and takes up very little space.

    Don't worry about gut removal till it is time to roll the carcass. This will save you a ton (or close to a quarter ton) of grief.

    If you plan to debone your meat, be sure you are in an area where it is legal. Keep the meat on bone as long as possible, deboning only when you are ready to fly out. When you debone it, more of the meat will be lost to crusting, dirt, and possibly fly exposure. Hanging is not always possible, so laying the meat out on a brush pile works nearly as well.

  2. #22
    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    This small hand hook is worth the weight, allows you to use a rope and hook anywhere in the meat and have a solid grip. Easier on your hands, don't have to try to hold on to slick bloody meat.

    The black hose is just vacuum line to protect the hook point.

    Steve, is that just a plastic handled meat hook? I at first thought it has some sort of pulley built in but my delayed sensibilities tell me that probably isn't the case.

  3. #23

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    And again...thanks for the knowledge shared here.

    Gutless is basically all I've ever done on moose...no problem getting it done. I can get every piece of required meat without gutting. I do a rib-roll cut (basically a rolling fillet) of the rib meat without cutting out the ribs. This is what the last moose I did looked like upon completion:

    DSC01021.jpg

    I just bought a meat hook....great kit item for handling heavy meat.

    Camjam reminds me of my Petzl Traxion unit, which is a locking one-way pulley until deliberately unlocked. $12 for the Camjam is a bargain...the bigger unit can handle 500# or more.

    I have given passing thought to taking meat off the quarters before actually removing them at the joints. I think I would save that approach for a last ditch measure if unable to do things any other way. I prefer to get all that quarter meat off the bone in one big chunk if I can.

  4. #24
    Member tekla's Avatar
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    http://www.atlanticriggingsupply.com/hatrmibl.html I use two of these and 100 ft of para cord. Works pretty well considering the circumstances. I have butchered quite a few things with my daughter or wife and doubling these things up sure helps a lot. They fit in a small pocket and you never know they are there. I have lifted the front of a fourwheeler three feet off the ground with them before by myself. I always throw them in. Tekla

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    I've done a few. (Boned out) I learned by doing a bunch of deer, and then elk, in the field. Assuming you will be completely boning it out to fly it out in the super cub, that will make things easier. Skin one side and then just bone it. It isn't hard to remove the rear leg bones from the pelvis after the meat is off. Same for the front leg. Peel the meat from the ribs, and then the backstrap. Flop him over and repeat.
    I've done a few solo myself and never really thought of it like that. But, if a guy has already resigned himself to boning out everything I sure would think it would make the whole thing a lot easier. Plus I don't think it would be that hard to take most of each quarter out in one whole chunk without jointing it first as he said he was concerned with. It may not be as pretty but I think a guy could do it without totally wearing himself out trying to take off the quarters intact first.

    Although it's not for me as I'm still old school, but it does seem like a lot of people are not hanging meat anymore for any length of time. If that's the case, and if a guy planned to fly the meat out right away and process it up as soon as he got home, then why not bone it out right off the animal laying there? In that case it doesn't seem like that would be a bad idea.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I've done a few solo myself and never really thought of it like that. But, if a guy has already resigned himself to boning out everything I sure would think it would make the whole thing a lot easier. Plus I don't think it would be that hard to take most of each quarter out in one whole chunk without jointing it first as he said he was concerned with. It may not be as pretty but I think a guy could do it without totally wearing himself out trying to take off the quarters intact first.

    Although it's not for me as I'm still old school, but it does seem like a lot of people are not hanging meat anymore for any length of time. If that's the case, and if a guy planned to fly the meat out right away and process it up as soon as he got home, then why not bone it out right off the animal laying there? In that case it doesn't seem like that would be a bad idea.
    If doing this, one would assume the quarter has to be completely skinned first as is the usual case. That's a tough job solo; the last 20% of it being the hardest to accomplish.... but it's doable. After skinning would come boning. Assume the skinned quarter is laying in a normal position as the animal lays. By logic a guy would probably start at the shank doing a circular cut and then some type of 'follow the bone' cut going up from the shank toward the hip or shoulder. The main issue (for me) I can see is all of the good heavy muscle is out there on the external side of the quarter. I would be loathe to cut through the middle of that great muscle mass. When I bone out a (removed) quarter I always flip it and work from the inside where the bones are closer to the surface and less disturbance to the overall mass of muscle happens. I like seeing that smoothly skinned outside chunk of hip or shoulder with no big knife wounds in it. I guess to avoid that would require some creative cutting. The one thing I would only do as a last resort would be to remove quarter meat in multiple pieces. That would work but sorting it out and making sense of it for later processing would be a bit of a challenge. More thoughts?

  7. #27

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    I did my first solo hunt and subsequent solo butcher last year.

    I won't comment on the "how to" as it applies to the butchering since I just figured it out as I went - but I will say I didn't find it too difficult to figure. I used 550 cored to tie off the quarters while I cut them off the body. At certain points, I just squatted under the hind quarters and lifted until they gave. Of course that was after a lot of cutting - especially the bigger tendons. You won't like results if you don't cut it as much as possible...trust me, I didn't cut enough on the first hind quarter and it was not going to budge.

    As for the flipping, however, I would STRONGLY SUGGEST listening to others about a comealong. I did not even think about that (as you are) before starting, and when I got the top side done, it was not a good feeling when I first tried to flip it. I questioned whether or not I could do it after about 10 minutes of trying.

    I did not have a comealong or anything heavy enough to pull the entire moose. In hindsight, I would have left the top hind quarter on and used it to leverage the whole moose over and then flipped it back over to take that last one off.

    What I did wind up doing was twisting the head and antlers the other direction (no small task) and planted the antlers into the ground as an anchor so that when I squatted on the front quarter, it would help dig in to hold the front in place. After I twisted the front quarter up as far as I could (couldn't flip it over with the rear still flat) I squatted under the rear and worked my way down the leg to the body and just pushed as hard as I could and kept plowing ahead until it flipped. Then it was just a matter of giving the front a little push and it was all the way over.

    Like has been said - rope and comealong would have been nice!

  8. #28
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    I've done a few solo, I always carry a good quality ratchet strap in my day pack along with parachute cord. A strong belt has also come in handy.

  9. #29
    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Here's a link to thread I posted years ago on this forum...done numerous moose solo using this method. Solo butchering is always messier (blood on clothes), as legs, arms, hips, etc. are required to move the moose carcass. Good luck!

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...hlight=gutless

  10. #30

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    [
    The actual hardware is light enough; it's the rope that quickly adds weight. When a guy is told there's an 80 pound total limit and NO exceptions, it hurts to bring ropes and other hardware at the expense of food or clothing....other gear.

    I Use Dyneema rope, ultra light, maximum strength and no stretch. I have the 1/8 inch at .3lb (3/10 lb) per 100 ft and 2,900 pound capacity and 1/4 inch at 1.6lb per 100 ft and 8,700 lb capacity which I use for everything. When people ask me for a heavy duty rope, I give them the 1/4 inch and people look at it and say your kidding but it always does the job. It ain't cheap but what in life is, at least the shipping charge per lb won't amount to much. Here is a link https://www.barry.ca/ropes-and-splic...mwpe-sk-75.asp

    Bob

  11. #31

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    I'd just like to add a final word of thanks to those who dropped a thought. All valuable to me. I've added a couple tools to my kit and several more to my mind. Just over 8 weeks I'll be doing my best to make use of them.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    There are many paracord pulley systems available. I like the camlock rope system, for one handed operation. It is essential on a one man moose hunt that you have a device that will compound your force. What if the moose lands in water? Some sort of pulley system, block and tackle, or come-along is essential. All you need for your rope is paracord. 100' goes a long way and weighs practically nothing, and takes up very little space.

    Don't worry about gut removal till it is time to roll the carcass. This will save you a ton (or close to a quarter ton) of grief.

    If you plan to debone your meat, be sure you are in an area where it is legal. Keep the meat on bone as long as possible, deboning only when you are ready to fly out. When you debone it, more of the meat will be lost to crusting, dirt, and possibly fly exposure. Hanging is not always possible, so laying the meat out on a brush pile works nearly as well.
    Exactly what I was thinking about if the bull hits the water. Done several bulls by myself. Will NEVER go alone without my rope a long and blue steel rope. Weighs very little including the rope and is a must for me. Also, in recent years, lots of people, me included have started using the Havalon knives so if using them and by yourself you REALLY need to take things slow as not to break and loose the blades into the meat or hurt yourself badly. Make sure to have a GOOD first aid kit with you at all times. Good luck!

  13. #33
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    My first two moose were solo's. Neither broke me but I learned a couple of things.

    Don't pull a Rumsfeld.....have an extraction plan, there are places and distances (and times) at which a solo hunter should simply take a picture.
    Don't shoot them in the water, don't hope they run out of the thick stuff, be picky about where it is, and if you like where it is, shoot til it's down.

    Once it's down......skin it starting from the backbone, don't worry about lifting a leg etc. Work it down and get the top half skinned out. Put a tarp behind it and when you lift and cut the quarters, just flip it onto your nice clean tarp.....bag and pile it. Backstrap is then easily removed, I fillet the neck and then remove the ribs.....pick you poison, saw, hatchet, big knife etc. Basically I work that side until it is done....done.....done.

    With that side now done and picked clean, I gut it and pull the guts away.......now it's time to flip.....it can be realllly helpful to cut the head off at this point. With the one side done, gutted and the head off (or at least the antler cap removed) it is now very easy to grab the two legs.....press them up and flip it over and repeat the skinning and quartering for the other side.....put the tarp behind the spine as you did the first time. The tenderloins can be accessed anytime after gutting.

    Now, this is not the sweetest way on earth to cut up a moose, but if you are solo, and you have to pack this thing yourself, and it's likely been (or will be) a loooong day with this animal.....little things like not trying to prop a leg up, and stand in guts any longer than you have to, and not fighting the head when you flip it, go a long long way to saving the energy you are going to need to safely finish this task.

    You will need to pace yourself and know when to say when......on the second one I dumbly took it with 1.5 hours of daylight and a fair ways from camp and WITHOUT enough stuff to get it done in the dark. I ended up running hard to camp, grabbing the cutting pack, running back and working with headlamp and lantern until about 4 hours later when I got tired and slipped and stuck a sharp knife right into the bone of my shin. I quickly surmised that I was done cutting for the night and buttoned things up and tarped them and hobbled back to camp to get some shut eye. I returned the next morning and finished out in style.

    I cut and packed both of these animals in just under 6 hours including a quarter mile sled drag to the boat (that's the other tip....bring a snowsled with a strong rope and pvc handle...saves the back a bunch if you are in the right territory).

    It is more than doable, I have buddies that have done it more than a dozen times a piece, and actually prefer it. I learned a bunch of this from them and some at the moment. It all starts with keeping your cool and being conservative. Even done right it's adventure enough, no need to set yourself up for either safety or legal issues.

  14. #34
    Member akriverrat's Avatar
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    excellent thread and very good info. ill probably be goin solo this year too and taking care the animal efficiently as possible by yourself is a pretty accomplished feat. ive been concerned with breaking the animal down by myself because after its all bagged its gonna be a few sled trips then a few mountain bike hauls to get it all outta there.

  15. #35
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Shoot it in the head makes it all less messy.

    Pick which way you skin it so you are flipping it down hill or away from brush.

    If it's raining use your tarp over the moose, and cut brush or poles
    To stack meat on next to the kill. That way you aren't setting meat in puddles and you can keep dry and more comfortable.

    If you do decide to gut, they move much easier DOWNHILL.

    Blackstrap and neck can come off in all one piece after front shoulder is removed.

    I filet my moose and never gut them. But all ways work. Have lots of ideas and adapt to the kill site when you walk up on it and don't be thrown if you can't do or use all the tricks you've learned or trinkets you brought.
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  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    Shoot it in the head makes it all less messy.

    I filet my moose and never gut them. But all ways work. Have lots of ideas and adapt to the kill site when you walk up on it and don't be thrown if you can't do or use all the tricks you've learned or trinkets you brought.

    I'm not a good enough shot with my longbow to hit them in the ear, and I can't get good penetration on a frontal skull hit.


    I totally agree on avoiding gutting if at all possible. I have never gutted any of the several bulls I've personally taken or helped butcher. Ultimately every dead moose is a unique situation and all a guy can do is work hard and problem-solve until it's complete.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by K Dill View Post
    I'm not a good enough shot with my longbow to hit them in the ear, and I can't get good penetration on a frontal skull hit.


    I totally agree on avoiding gutting if at all possible. I have never gutted any of the several bulls I've personally taken or helped butcher..
    Never?.....not to even take out the tenderloins when finished?

    I remember reading a story Fred Asbell wrote about a frontal shot at the base of the neck of a young bull moose. Lights out....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  18. #38
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    I don't gut to get tenderloins either
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  19. #39
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    I don't gut either. I learned how to do a gutless butcher 15+ years ago and haven't looked back. The tenderloins are pretty easy to get to once the hind quarters and backstrap have been removed. Its usually the last thing I do when I butcher, the good news, they are always on the top of the meat sack and are easy to find when we get back to camp for the celebratory moose snack.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    I don't gut to get tenderloins either
    Well that's a shame.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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