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Thread: Meat care idea

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Meat care idea

    The Dry Ice thread tripped my idea switch.

    Some float-hunters cool their meat by placing it in plastic bags and submerging it in the river. This works OK as long as the bag's don't leak. All in all this method is risky since trash bags are thin and easily damaged, and wet meat doesn't make for great table fare.


    So here's the idea (maybe someone's already done it).


    Space Bags. The wife bought some to save on closet space. They're pretty thick (4 mil I think) and come in a variety of sizes. The largest could probably hold a bone-in moose quarter. Rigging up an adapter would let you use your raft pump to vacuum out the air.


    Advantages: watertight, durable, and bug proof
    Disadvantages: storing raw meat in plastic is a gamble and only works if the meat is kept cold.


    Thoughts?

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    Anything you do to keep the meat cool and dry will help to protect the meat for a while.
    How long do you expect this method to work, two days, four days, a week? Another thing, are you talking about a moose or caribou? I would think the size of the animal will also be a factor.

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    I thought you would want to allow the meat to kinda dry a bit on the edges?? If you completly sealed it then I would imagine it would hold quite well.

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    Default Meat care

    I usually ship out into the bush 2 or 3 tupperware containers with gear. Just remove the gear during the day and put the meat in them, place them in a small stream of part of a river with little current, place large boulders/rock on them for the day. At night take bncak out to air out and cool down with the evening temps.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    Anything you do to keep the meat cool and dry will help to protect the meat for a while.
    How long do you expect this method to work, two days, four days, a week? Another thing, are you talking about a moose or caribou? I would think the size of the animal will also be a factor.
    I wasn't thinking about one animal over another. Just a more reliable way to cool meat when it's too warm to leave it hanging. The spacebag concept "might" cut down on spoilage due to being air tight but I don't know for sure. It would always be preferable to hang meat and let it crust but sometimes, even well into the season, it's too warm to leave meat in the open air.

    "If" a person was going to resort to soaking their meat to keep it cool, these bags seem like they'd be a better option than using trash bags.

    I appreciate the input

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    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    expensive and they might not be good for anything else after - but some of the 'dry bags' for gear are probably close to big enough for a quarter...be dry for sure!

    I'm surprised nobody has cobbled up a little river air conditioner (think the opposite of a river hot tub!) - little pump to circulate cold water from the river - fan blowing over some evaporator fins, maybe throw some dry ice into the system somewhere? Tarp the whole mess and I bet you could drop the temp if it was out of direct sunlight. More involved than stuffing it in a bag and throwing it in the river, but more interesting too!

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    The Dry Ice thread tripped my idea switch.

    Some float-hunters cool their meat by placing it in plastic bags and submerging it in the river. This works OK as long as the bag's don't leak. All in all this method is risky since trash bags are thin and easily damaged, and wet meat doesn't make for great table fare.


    So here's the idea (maybe someone's already done it).


    Space Bags. The wife bought some to save on closet space. They're pretty thick (4 mil I think) and come in a variety of sizes. The largest could probably hold a bone-in moose quarter. Rigging up an adapter would let you use your raft pump to vacuum out the air.


    Advantages: watertight, durable, and bug proof
    Disadvantages: storing raw meat in plastic is a gamble and only works if the meat is kept cold.


    Thoughts?
    Meat + Moisture = Spoilage

    Water is great for removing body heat from a quarter right after it's taken off the animal, but using the river as a sort of refrigerator is not generally a good idea. There are many cases of hunters who did this and the result was a sack of green goo at the end of the hunt. There are MANY other ways of keeping it cool in the field. Of course, in warm weather the objective is to get it out of the field as soon as possible.

    -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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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input Mike.

    I agree that water storage is a temporary means of dealing with warm weather. In your opinion what's the time limit on something like this 24-36 hours or less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Thanks for your input Mike.

    I agree that water storage is a temporary means of dealing with warm weather. In your opinion what's the time limit on something like this 24-36 hours or less.
    There are many perspectives on this, but my practice in the field is to cool the meat right off the kill for about two hours or so. On occasion I have left it in the water overnight, but the benefits of the extra time in the water were negligible though; I only did it because we ran out of daylight. When you pull it out of the water you want to hand-strip all that condensation and goo off the meat and let it glaze over before you bag it (if possible). This keeps your game bags dry.

    I'll have to look at the bags you're talking about. The contractor trash bags have worked well for me. They're thick and tall enough for a moose quarter. The main drawback is that they're black, and draw heat to themselves.

    -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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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Meat + Moisture = Spoilage
    Mike, it seems that no matter how careful you are, you (or at least I ) end up getting a few sticks/leaves/hairs on the meat. In the past we've taken them to a creek, if nearby, and done a quick rinse of the meat and then put them up to dry.


    Also, with the little bull this year (no creek rinse), we hung the meat and when we got it home (scheduled to process the next day), I got the hose out with a brush, and got what little leaves/hair that was left off the meat. After clean, they went on milk crates and a box fan hitting them in the garage. A quick spray of water/lemon juice and we had bug free dry meat within the hour.


    I know meat and moisture equal spoilage, but I'm assuming more than a quick rinse to clean the meat.


    BTW, I was just thinking, what are you float hunters using for meat hanging with the absense of trees or other means of tie-off. Couldn't you fab up a lightweight system of aluminum poles/rods that you could pin into your rowing frame and then take down/fold down for storage when rafting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunt_ak View Post
    Mike, it seems that no matter how careful you are, you (or at least I ) end up getting a few sticks/leaves/hairs on the meat. In the past we've taken them to a creek, if nearby, and done a quick rinse of the meat and then put them up to dry.


    Also, with the little bull this year (no creek rinse), we hung the meat and when we got it home (scheduled to process the next day), I got the hose out with a brush, and got what little leaves/hair that was left off the meat. After clean, they went on milk crates and a box fan hitting them in the garage. A quick spray of water/lemon juice and we had bug free dry meat within the hour.


    I know meat and moisture equal spoilage, but I'm assuming more than a quick rinse to clean the meat.


    BTW, I was just thinking, what are you float hunters using for meat hanging with the absense of trees or other means of tie-off. Couldn't you fab up a lightweight system of aluminum poles/rods that you could pin into your rowing frame and then take down/fold down for storage when rafting?

    I have read that many will just stack up brush or logs and lay the meat across them. As long you have adaquate air flow above and below the meat then you should be golden. Also flip it over from time to time as to make sure no spots are always laying on the same spot.

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    Default Meat Cooling Racks

    Here are a couple which at 70 degrees helped me get meat out of the field
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKFishOn View Post
    Here are a couple which at 70 degrees helped me get meat out of the field
    Looks like you had plenty of trees around... how come you didn't just hang it? You would have better airflow. Also it looks like your tarp is silver on one side? Those kind are great in warmer weather because you can put the silver side out, which reflects heat away from the meat.

    Of course on this hunt, you could always just drive out to the butcher shop if things got too bad . Not an option on a flyout hunt!

    -Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Meat + Moisture = Spoilage

    Water is great for removing body heat from a quarter right after it's taken off the animal, but using the river as a sort of refrigerator is not generally a good idea. There are many cases of hunters who did this and the result was a sack of green goo at the end of the hunt. There are MANY other ways of keeping it cool in the field. Of course, in warm weather the objective is to get it out of the field as soon as possible.

    -Mike
    There must be more to those scenarios than is given here. I don't see how meat could become that badly decomposed in say, a week, wrapped in plastic and essentially refrigerated, being as how our water sources here are around refrigerator temp.
    Perhaps they left the meat in plastic on the raft as they floated during the day? That would be bad.
    The contractor bags are good because they are so thick. Also it takes some fussing around to expel all the air from the bag as you submerge it without getting any water in there.

    HH

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryHyde View Post
    There must be more to those scenarios than is given here. I don't see how meat could become that badly decomposed in say, a week, wrapped in plastic and essentially refrigerated, being as how our water sources here are around refrigerator temp.
    Perhaps they left the meat in plastic on the raft as they floated during the day? That would be bad.
    The contractor bags are good because they are so thick. Also it takes some fussing around to expel all the air from the bag as you submerge it without getting any water in there.

    HH
    Harry,

    Leaving meat submerged in plastic is a very iffy proposition, and not something I recommend. Our water temps fluctuate wildly, and in warmer weather (which is exactly when this method would be used), it can easily range from 40F to 60F. Above 40F, bacteria multiply at an exponential rate. When you consider that bacteria require moisture to reproduce, and combine that with the temps you could find in the field, you've got an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Have a look AT THIS ARTICLE to get an idea of how it works.

    You're much better off chilling it in the water right off the kill, then hanging it so it can develop a glaze. The relatively dry surface of the meat greatly stalls the growth of surface bacteria.

    -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 AKFishOn's Avatar
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    As for the Honda meat cover, the up side of the tarp is green, the bottom is brown, this was used for shade for a few hours when I shuttled meat from the camp to the trail head or parking area. I placed alder brows (limbs I guess) under the meat and placed on the shade side of the car. Then I loaded the meat on top of diamond willow when I drove from a few hours north of Fairbanks to Delta Junction to hang the meat in a cool garage. True the diamond willow branches did probably not ventilate the meat much but some and I was taking the diamond willow with me anyway and it made the area to place the quarters on a little larger. I later placed a air conditioner in my garage to make sure the meat was good and cool until I finished the cutting. Taking care of the meat is just as important as finding an animal to harvest in my opinion.

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    OK I see how it works. If you know your water source is less than 40, your probably OK for a few days. Otherwise its risky business.

    That explains why it worked so well for us on the Canning River one year. Its basically glacial runoff.

    If you tried this in the Holitna or something you might get in trouble.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default taking the conservative route

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryHyde View Post
    OK I see how it works. If you know your water source is less than 40, your probably OK for a few days. Otherwise its risky business.

    That explains why it worked so well for us on the Canning River one year. Its basically glacial runoff.

    If you tried this in the Holitna or something you might get in trouble.
    Harry,

    You nailed it. Just to be sure, it would be a good idea to bring along a thermometer, so you know exactly what you're dealing with.

    I think if I was going to leave it in the water for an extended period of time, I'd weight it down, ensuring that the top of the bag cannot leak. Meat is almost neutrally-bouyant, and if it has lots of fat on it, can tend to float. If you're using the large black contractor trash bags, they draw heat in. So I'd want to get that entire bag under water.

    -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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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  19. #19

    Default hanging meat without trees

    On a float hunt, you have instant trees - oars. just stake them out on two sides each oar, then run a rope between them. oars are plenty strong enough to hold up the weight if you angle them outward. just make sure your rope is strong enough.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Plastic + oxygen deprivation + food storage =... ?

    On one hand, it sounds like many hunters have found stream cooling very useful at least for short periods, but on the other hand it seems is the mounting health risk with both warmer temps or use of plastic, which deprives oxygen.

    There was a story about botulism, associated with use of plastic food storage containers (instead of traditional, ventilated methods) in the newspaper shortly after I moved here. The editorial note in this link mentions that incident: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5032a2.htm

    I have never read about a case of botulism from game meat so the risk might be small (there is some oxygen in the bag no doubt). Still, maybe there are some good reasons for the old ways, in this case air-dried/cooled meat in linen/cotton game bags?

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