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Thread: Field Care For Meat

  1. #1

    Default Field Care For Meat

    If you had to leave your freshly butchered animal in the field overnight in the rain, would it be better to have it in game bags or plastic bags? Plastic bags will keep it dry, but air won't be able to circulate. Which is more important...air circulation or keeping it dry? Thanks for any thoughts.

  2. #2
    Member DMan's Avatar
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    Hang in a cheese cloth type bag and then run a tarp over the meat pole or over the meat in some way. The tarp will keep the rain off but still allow for proper air flow to the meat. The cheese cloth type bag will help keep the meat from collecting moisture due to to heavy of a bag.
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    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Game bags and tarp with air space above. Your meat needs to breath so it cools properly and begins to form a thin crust. Spray it down with citric acid, bag it in heavy cloth bags and tarp it. Don't forget to pee on the bushes around the site to help keep the bears and varmits away.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Meat care

    Sounds like an ATV hunt perhaps, where you are hauling the meat out the next day... perhaps not.

    Either way, just care for the meat as you usually would. As these guys said, put it in a proper game bag (DMan, no disrespect intended, but I don't like the cheesecloth type bags, because fly eggs can pass through the material-- I've had that happen). Then hang it and tarp the meat pole, ensuring that the tarp is not in contact with the meat. If you don't have trees to hang it from, build a brush pile and place the bags on that, with more brush on top and a tarp tied over that. This creates an opportunity for good air circulation around the meat. If you go with the brush pile, don't place meat bags in contact with other meat bags or you won't get good air circulation.

    No, don't put it in plastic! It will sweat and could start to spoil. There is a method for quick-cooling game meat in plastic bags in water, but even in that case you should not leave the meat in plastic for more than is necessary to reduce the core temperature. This is usually no longer than a couple of hours for a big moose quarter, and less for smaller animals. There is lots of bad advice out there on the plastic bag method, by the way. Be careful what you read.

    For just storage overnight, you can also forego the citric acid powder. It's intended to reduce the chances of surface spoilage from bacteria that can develop on the damp surface of game meat over several days. But if the meat is properly bagged and you have good air circulation, surface moisture should not be a problem. This also applies on longer hunts. Truth is, I have carried citric acid powder for many years in the field, but have never had the need to use it, even on hunts lasting 14 days. It is intended as an emergency tactic to kill surface bacteria in very specific circumstances, not as a standard treatment method. No harm in using it every time, but it's an unnecessary step in most cases. For those interested in such things, I believe Doug Drum of Indian Valley Meats was the first person to pioneer this method to Alaska hunters. He did so at his meat care seminars at the Great Alaska Sportsman Show (GASS) several years ago. Doug markets the powder as "Alaska GameSaver" at his shop, located AT THIS LINK.

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    -Mike
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  5. #5

    Default walk in hunt

    Thanks for the responses. The scenario I was considering was a successful day hunt where I hiked into an area solo and could not pack it out in one trip. I usually pack light and don't carry a tarp. I am not usually successful either, so it's not normally an issue.

    Maybe placing the meat in breathable game bags on a pile of brush and then laying a fairly dense layer of brush over top of it would work to keep it relatively dry and still let it breath? I am assuming it may be 12 hours or so until I would return to retrieve the rest.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Additional tip

    Quote Originally Posted by OHAK View Post
    Thanks for the responses. The scenario I was considering was a successful day hunt where I hiked into an area solo and could not pack it out in one trip. I usually pack light and don't carry a tarp. I am not usually successful either, so it's not normally an issue.

    Maybe placing the meat in breathable game bags on a pile of brush and then laying a fairly dense layer of brush over top of it would work to keep it relatively dry and still let it breath? I am assuming it may be 12 hours or so until I would return to retrieve the rest.
    Ahh-- I see. A walk-in hunt. Yes, I've done the same, and it's no problem. I would bring a 8x8 tarp with you though, to cover your meat cache. This fall has been pretty rainy and you don't want it to get wet. Even on clear days / nights, you can get a lot of dew settling on your bags overnight, and they'll be wet. Use a tarp or a small sheet of visqueen with some space underneath for air circulation. It also makes a nice emergency shelter if such a need arises. Bring about 50' of parachute cord to secure your tarp corners too!

    -Mike
    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.
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    Member DMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    (DMan, no disrespect intended, but I don't like the cheesecloth type bags, because fly eggs can pass through the material-- I've had that happen).
    No disrespect at all. I understand your stance. I always spray with citric acid first and allow to dry and then put the cloth on and monitor for flies and we sit around enjoying a break.

    On our last kill we had the meat hung in cheese cloth and it had developed a nice dry hard crust. Before bed decided to take the cheese cloth off and put heavy bags on the meat for over night just to make sure the flies stayed off. We got up the next morning and the meat was damp and the hard crust was so soft you couldn't hardly tell it was there at all. Maybe the wrong brand bags?
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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Default Meat Pole

    Make a pole set up with a tarp, this is a small and pretty light tarp and by hunts end there was three bear hides, three skulls, and the meat from two black bear under it. I use both Alaska Game Bags http://www.alaskagamebags.com/ and T.A.G. bags http://www.pristineventures.com/products_gameBags.html depending on weather and weight conditions.
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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    So, what are your strategies when there are NO trees available and it never stopped raining? I ran into this in Kodiak. Luckily we had a cooler along and snow available. The meat went right from the game bags (soaked by rain) into zip lock bags on snow in the cooler in a couple hours. Had we not had the cooler there would have been no way to get the meat dry for 2 days.

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Already mentioned--

    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    So, what are your strategies when there are NO trees available and it never stopped raining? I ran into this in Kodiak. Luckily we had a cooler along and snow available. The meat went right from the game bags (soaked by rain) into zip lock bags on snow in the cooler in a couple hours. Had we not had the cooler there would have been no way to get the meat dry for 2 days.
    Doug,

    Sounds like you did the best you could with the weather you had.

    Again, I would recommend a brush pile and tarp as mentioned before. Snow is a great idea if you have it, but remember that in many areas of Alaska meat must remain on the bone before it is transported out of the field. Your Ziplock method worked in your case, but will not work in other situations.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    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

  11. #11

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    A poll set and a trap. There are many places like this. You have to plan ahead and do the best you can. Good quality game bags are the key to keeping your meat protected.

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    How about one of those emergency space blankets in place of a tarp?? They are lightweight and compact.

  13. #13

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    Ohak, in our experience, it depends. If it's an overnight probably one night in plastic won't hurt, I wouldn't feel comfortable going more than that. Try the meat pole method (if you can) as suggested below. The one thing I learned this year was to actually carry large plastic bags for packing back to the pole. We had a lot of alders to crash thru, it rained constantly, and the bags got soaked with no way to dry. I was really stressed, but we got it out ok. I've already amended my list to include plastic bags for packing. If you can get them to camp, either on a meat pole or an a brush pile, and then keep it dry with good circulation under a tarp you'll be good to go. the other suggestion is to hang the meat with a plastic bag closed over it at the top with the bottom open for circulation. Again, only temporary to keep rain off until you get it secured under a tarp....

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    Member Berto's Avatar
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    Question while we are on the topic of plastic bags

    long ago a butcher told me if i must put meat in a plastic bag, use only a clear plastic bag, not a typical black plastic bag. you ask why? i do not know and have never had the urge to research it.

    anyone know why use clear instead of typical black plastic bag for meat?

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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    I suspose a black plastic bag would be much more prone to getting even warmer, such as a white car vs a black car in the sunlight. Black car is going to be warmer.

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    Default Putting meat In plastic Bags..

    I'de stay away from putting meat In any kind of Enclosed Bag Plastic (meat needs to Breath and Cool) Game Bag's are one thing but Plastic will spoil your Hard worked for meat ... Feild dress your Game as soon after the shot is taken , get that Chest cavity open and start the cooling proccess this is a biggey to good tasteing game meat .. Besides a good Clean Kill shot.. and well Bleed out .. A freind years ago gave me a Front Quarter of Caribo that was brought to me in a Blck gladd bag and YES it had gone Bad .. Putting Meat on a meat pole and covering it with a trapp or LOOSE plastic is one thing but keep your bags for trash .. Froggy

  17. #17
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    I like to take items with me while hunting that have more than one use. I do take four tarps for camp, meat poles, and cook tents but I always carry a 8' X 8' section of 3-5 mil plastic sheeting on my pack frame with me. I always carry a set of TAG bags as well. The primary use of the plastic sheet is for keeping the game meat clean during butchering. Once I get the hide half way down the animal I slide the plastic under the hide, so if meat does slip out of my hands (which meat will slip) it lands on the clean under-side of the hide or on plastic and not in spruce needles, tundra or better yet a nice sand bar.

    If I can not get all of the meat to a meat pole and a tarp the same day, I put the clear plastic sheeting over the meat to protect from birds and moisture. I always get the meat elevated by branches or rocks as much as possible to allow for air circulation and cooling.

    Ideally, I keep my meat on a meat pole covered with tarps high enough to barely restrict air flow.
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    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default the right pic

    Here is the right pic of a gravel bar meat cache.
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    OHAK, I would say air circulation is more important. Rain is somewhat cool at least, and there is air moving around, even if there is too much precip to really dry the meat. This will let the "core temp" of the meat stay low.

    Now having said that, we have on two occasions now put caribou quarters in game bags, then into heavy duty "contractor" type plastic bags. These were then submerged in the cold river, all air expelled, and tied off securely.
    In this instance we were on the North Slope, no way to hang meat, temps were 60 ish during the day and we were to be there for a week.
    We figured it was better to have the meat in plastic at an even 45 degrees rather than subjecting it to daily temps up to 60 or so with the associated bacterial growth.
    The animals taken later in the hunt we stacked the quarters on brush like others have suggested.
    It worked. We did not lose any meat, and that included the drive home from Happy Valley without refrigeration. HH

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