Predhoe Bay Caribou Meat Care?
In july myself and two others will be having our first alaskan caribou hunting experience in the predhoe bay area! We seem to be having trouble finding out how to take care of meat? We will be staying for 10 Days, so if we harvest a caribou on day one where can we hang it until we leave? Is there any Butchers in the area? Do we have to take the meat to fairbanks to be processed and packaged, as well as shipped home?
There is a gunshop called Grayling Guns a couple blocks south of the Marriot at pump station 2 that will process and ship caribou meat.
Last year, he (Eno or Enos?) charged us $40 each to skin, cut, and wrap 6 animals.
He has a contract with FedX (FedX sends a truck from Fairbanks to predhoe bay and back to Fairbanks each day to service the oilfield) that is cheaper than a citizen can get by walking into their office off the street. The FedX shipping seemed a little high to me at the time but thinking back it was very reasonable considering where we shipped from.
Enos didn't charge us any extra for boxing up the meat and passing it to FedX. (We spent quite a bit of money in his store for raingear and beer).
He also had a full selection of ammo so it was a waste of time and money shipping our ammo from home. If I knew then what I know now I would have checked only my rifle with the airlines then bought my ammo at the gunshop when picking up my license and tags.
We had packed all of our camping gear but never used it after discovering the Marriot had many vacant rooms. A hot shower every night, food cooked by a real chef and no bugs were well worth the $69.99 per night. Apparently the price of gasoline had the tourist staying away in droves.
Googling Grayling Guns and predhoe Marriot should produce current phone numbers. Best Western was trying to buy the Marriot when we were there so it now may be a BW.
Funny response...but in case you didn't catch the heavy sarcasm, nothing like that exists up there. There are no businesses that are equipped to help you with meat care - not in Prudhoe Bay, and not in Coldfoot. Fairbanks is the closest town with any such services, and it is quite the drive to get there. (10-12 hours?) In short, there is no reasonable way for you to care for meat for 10 days in July unless you bring a freezer and a generator. If you're really experienced with meat care and know how to keep it cool and bug-free, you might get 3-4 days in the average July temps. When we went up there, we brought ten 8-foot sections of birch trees that we had salvaged from building sites. We used them to build a meat-hanging pole over which we draped a tarp to block the sun. It worked well, but we were there in August when nighttime temps were dropping to below freezing and daytime temps rarely broke 50 degrees. Such a setup would help, as it would keep the meat dry and cool, but...again, ten days is out of the question.
That response made my day....good stuff.
The folks at Alaska Air might be able to help if you plan to ship meat through them. They have a large walk in cooler and freezer. 10 days is a long time to try and care for meat up here in July. I'd plan to ship out whatever you shoot the first half of the trip and take the rest south with you.
I am glad you are asking now instead of getting here and finding out what the reality is. In the first place most people from the Lower don't have any comprehension of having nothing for 500 miles. For the most part, this is a road through wilderness with absolutely no services available. Pretty much the only buildings you will see are the pipeline pump stations, and they have no services. There are very limited services at the Yukon River crossing, Coldfoot and Prudhoe Bay. The services are limited to gas, some food, and very limited auto repair. Fairbanks is the closest place for services. If you break down up there, the tow bill will be astronomical. Also most rental agencies will not allow their vehicles on the Haul Road.
USUALLY the weather in July in that area is warm and buggy with 24 hours of light. Those dark clouds you see have nothing to do with rain- its all bugs. If it is a bad year, you will be talking about the bugs for the rest of your life. However it can snow anytime of the year in the Arctic. I have been in a blizzard in August, and that was further south.
The only way I have seen to keep meat for more than a few days in the warm summer is to freeze it. I saw someone who had a freezer and a small generator. He ran the generator a couple of hours a couple of times a day once the meat was frozen solid. Be sure to bring some shade with you, because the closest tree is a couple of hundred miles south.
The only other option I can think of it to get the meat to Fairbanks and a meat processor somehow. That is a 2-day drive each time. I don't know if any of the air services at Coldfoot or Prudhoe are willing to take the meat and deliver it to a processor. I would be surprised if they do.
Ak Air will more than likely hold for pickup in Fairbanks and keep it frozen, or hold it in Prudhoe and you can schedule it to go out on a flight closer to the end of your hunt. You can ship as an unknown shipper in state. The guys there deal with a bunch of hunters and transporters/guides, so they know what they are doing.
Random add on question
Anyone ever try to see if a trucker deadheading back south after dropping off a load up on the slope would consider picking up animals and dropping them off at Interior Fish Processors or Tanana Valley meats for a fee since he's not hauling anything back? The idea just occurred to me having seen plenty of empty trucks going south before. Can't believe I hadn't thought of asking that before.
go PREPARED or don't go...
Several years ago AK AIR did have a cooler/freezer. They did not rent space but would sell you a "gold" ticket to ship your meat back to Anchorage the next day. You will need someone on the Anchorage end to receive the meat when it arrives.
You will also need to pre-ship your wax boxes, bags to seal the meat and we used stretch/shrink wrap to tie all the boxes together as single load. The meat can not leak, spill or smell...
You need to double/triple check AK Air's regs and prices...
It's not easy but there's no excuse for not being prepared...