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Thread: Pre-treating game bags

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    Member 379 Peterbilt's Avatar
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    Default Pre-treating game bags

    Do any of you out there pre soak your game bags with a concoction of something acidic, such as lemon juice and/or tabasco sauce? I read something on this quite some time ago, but can't remember all the details of it. If memory serves correctly, the game bags are basically soaked in such a solution for some time, then set out to dry. Supposedly this works well as a deterrent to blow flies laying eggs.

    I am looking for ideas such as the one discribed, or similar, so as to avoid having to carry citric acid/mix & spray bottle in the field the Sept. Perhaps pre soaking bags in a citric acid solution itself would work? Any details and ideas are welcomed.

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    Some people soak the bags on a solution of water and citric acid, and then put them in the dryer. I just wash the bags thoroughly after each hunt, and sometimes add a little bleach to the water, but make sure that any traces of bleach is removed on the final rinse. I also make sure the bags are completely dry before I fold and store them.

    I hang the meat to cool, and then bring it back home as soon as possible and hang it in the cool garage, remove the game bags, and spray the citric acid solution on it. A place a medium size oscillating fan on the floor, a few feet away from the meat, and the air movement creates a sheen on the meat in a short period of time. This works for me.

    I have also sprayed a solution of salt and water sometimes, while other times I have sprayed white vinegar over the meat. All of these things have worked quite well for me in past years.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Citric Acid Pre-Soak

    Quote Originally Posted by 379 Peterbilt
    Do any of you out there pre soak your game bags with a concoction of something acidic, such as lemon juice and/or tabasco sauce? I read something on this quite some time ago, but can't remember all the details of it. If memory serves correctly, the game bags are basically soaked in such a solution for some time, then set out to dry. Supposedly this works well as a deterrent to blow flies laying eggs.

    I am looking for ideas such as the one discribed, or similar, so as to avoid having to carry citric acid/mix & spray bottle in the field the Sept. Perhaps pre soaking bags in a citric acid solution itself would work? Any details and ideas are welcomed.
    Peterbuilt,

    You have it nearly right. What some folks are doing is mixing up some citric acid powder with water and soaking the game bags in it. Let the bags soak an hour or two, then wring them out and hang 'em to dry. I wouldn't put them in the dryer for this, because you'll knock out a lot of the acid powder in the process. Once the bags are dry, pack them for the trip. The theory is that the acid burns flies that try to land on the bags, keeping them from laying eggs on the outside of the bag. I should mention that this method works best with fibrous cotton bags, as opposed to synthetic bags that don't absorb moisture. The citric acid will hang on better to cotton fiber than to plastic.

    Though I teach this method in meat care seminars, the truth is that I've never had to do it. When you think about it, it sorta doesn't make sense, really. If the bags are tight enough to keep flies and eggs from penetrating the material, what difference does it make if flies lay eggs on the outside? Just brush them off. Maggots cannot get to the meat, because they can't get through the bag. Also, if you're caring for your meat correctly, the surface of the bags will be dry. Maggots cannot survive for long on a dry surface. I've been doing this for twenty years and have never had maggots on my game meat. This means you have to use game bags that are tight enough to keep fly eggs out though. The ones I use are from Alaska Mill and Feed in Anchorage. Stay away from cheesecloth-type bags; they'll let both flies and eggs right through to the meat.

    You can find citric acid powder many places; a lot of folks buy it from Indian Valley Meats, under the name "Alaska Game Saver".

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    I do exactly like Mike says, soak the bags in the citris mix I buy from Indian Valley Meats. Soak a couple of hours, wring ouot and then air dry. I then pack them in a zip lock or vacuum pack them. In my experience it really helps. Even if the flys do not get to the meat, there is just something about a million fly eggs on my meat bag that turns me off. And it only takes a couple hours for that to happen. I would recommend the little effort it takes.

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    Member 379 Peterbilt's Avatar
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    Gents, thanks for the tips. I did intend to pre soak them, but wasnt sure with what. I recon the citric solution could be best, or at least most popular, but wondered if others had ever heard of, or used the alternative mixes. Anyways, thanks again, good info.

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