Before I get hammered here please consider that I have done fair amount of research for an upcoming Caribou drop camp out of Kotz this fall. I've read (and noted) the entire 25 or so page "Unit 23 Nonlocal Hunter Orientation", printed my meat transfer forms, watched the NPS hunters guide DVD for the Western Arctic (thanks for sending that, Walt), purchased meat bags, citric acid, tarps-cord etc. And we've booked extra time in Kotz to process the meat. So, I've done my homework and do have a plan.
My question is, how does a guy go the extra mile to ensure his meat gets back home in good shape? I am well aware that meat donating up in Kotz is a mortal sin, at least based on what I've read, to even mention the notion in Kotz seems like an invitation to get your eyes poked out with a dull spork.
I'm confidant that we can get any meat we are fortunate to harvest back to Kotz in good shape, barring unusually hot weather, in which case we may not have any meat to begin with. But I'm seriously wondering what the chances are of getting the meat home to the east coast (20+ hrs travel, at least) if I can't even freeze the meat before departure from Kotz.
Would it be more prudent to try and donate (some of?) the meat once we reach Anchorage? If so, can anyone suggest a local outlet or two that would accept the meat, obviously if it is in good shape? I'm not sure about this yet as I have to confirm with the airline but I assume we will pay for the excess baggage (ie: meat boxes) in Kotz, checked through to our home airport. So, the idea of paying for the shipping back to the east coast and pulling the meat off in Anchorage and giving it away seems like a bit of a waste. But I suppose it will be worth it if the meat ends up being in better shape and getting used rather than winding up all the way back home in bad shape.
I'm certain I'm not the first one with these concerns. Having hunted Alaska in the past, I do understand the logistics and the complications that can arise. I know there is no such thing as a fool-proof plan but I'd like to give myself and my partners the best odds of avoiding any unnecessary meat waste. Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for your reply.