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Thread: First timer question

  1. #1

    Default First timer question

    Okay so being from the south and deer hunting it has always been shoot a deer, take it to the house and clean it, then stick it in the freezer.

    My question is about a Caribou hunt on the haul road from 20 to 29 August. If I shoot a caribou on the 21st, quarter it, place it in game bags, keep it in the shade, cool, etc. etc. should it keep just fine until getting it back to the processor in Delta JCT. on the 29th? Any other suggestions from those in the know on how to handle this. Coolers?

    Thanks

    58D

  2. #2
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    You may want to consider hanging poles and a tarp. For 8 days you will need to keep meat on the bone dry and cool. Will be a lot of care for this long a period and weather will play a big role. Maybe others can tell you what the ice situation is at Coldfood and Deadhorse? Looking forward to comments from others on this forum.

  3. #3

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    I have had to put the meat in a garbge bag and lay it down in a creek before. Leave front of bag open so heat can escape or you will losse it. Be careful not to get it wet. Considering the weather this year, hang it for sure you should be ok. Build 3 pole tripods with a cross pole, you might have to take them with you and use them at base camp.

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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    Weather can be highly variable up there. If you have the option, you may want to hang it overnight then put it in coolers in the shade during the day. If it remains cool enough, you can certainly leave it hanging daily. But temps can still get well into the 60s and 70s that time of year. The stream trick is good, but don't leave it in the plastic too long - you still want it to crust over in the game bags if possible.

  5. #5
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    58D: If you have an Alaska Game reg book for 2010-2011 check out Proper Meat Care on page 23. Besides the common sense methods they also mention the use of citric acid spray to slow bacterial growth on the meat. Might be worth a try if you score early on your hunt.

  6. #6
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have used many of the ways listed and also used combination's. Like placing it in plastic bags in the creek during the heat of the day and removing it and hanging it back up to air and and be exposed to the cool night air. Meat care is a continuous process, you have to handle it in some way almost everyday. Also don't forget everything loves caribou you can plan on defending that meat from bears, ravens, fox, ect... trust me. I even had to fend off a hungry dog in the packing lot of Delta meats while I was waiting for them to open.
    If the temps get up for me it is hard to keep it in good shape for much longer than 7 days.
    I would also be prepared to leave early to keep my meat fresh.
    Here is a photo of my setup on a sheep hunt, the meat was hung in game bags under the poncho on the tripod. I would remove the poncho when it was not raining.
    I also like to swap out game bags and pull the bags away from the meat to get a good crust, sealing the meat with a crust is key to preservation.

    Good Luck

    Steve

  7. #7
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Here is a photo of the meat cache made by my friends on our BR hunt. We laid down a bed of willow branches and laid the game bags out on the willows so air could circulate, we would rotate the meat every so often. Up north you sometimes have to make your own shade. The tarp was open to direct the cold wind coming down the river.


    Steve

  8. #8

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    Thanks for all of the replies and great suggestions! It will be 4 of us total on this trip and the best scenario is if we all are successful early and can get it back down earlier than the 29th. I think we'll carry the wood for the meat pole and do okay. We are going to be in a camper and bow only most likely. I'll definitely be trying the citric spray and will hopefully be coming back to this thread to let you know how it worked out.

    58D

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Last time we went up the Haul Road we stopped by a house construction site before leaving home. We loaded up the back of the truck with ten 8' spruce and birch poles. We used those for a meat hanging contraption and burned the extra for firewood (which is in very short supply up there). If there are any home lots being cleared in your area, they're usually happy to have the wood taken.

  10. #10
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    We are going to use a couple 2x4's with a 2x6 screwed to the top to make a hanging pole - the uprights will then be guy wired like you would your tent to keep them standing. two 2x4's and one 2x6 with some rope and stakes is our plan....

    We also have bought some fine netting that we will drape around the game bags to keep any flies and bugs off the meat. We will also have a tarp for shade and to keep the rain off....

  11. #11
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Gotta watch those dogs in Delta, They think whats yours is theres, lol. That was good Stid. ( way to promote a Really good Place for meat cutting) ( smiles)

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    We had this exact same question. Thanks for the helpful responses. We're heading up on the 22nd for a week. It'll be our first trip up the Haul Rd. Should be a fun adventure.

  13. #13
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    I guided in the arctic for 35 years, and we tried everything. In my experience absolutely the best thing you can do to preserve your meat is spray it down with a healthy dose of citric acid and hang it up. Not quite true, the best is to butcher it and put it in the freezer, which we did at the lodge, but if you don't have a freezer, spray it down and then hang it where the air can reach all sides. Don't let the bags touch. Cover it with a tarp to keep it out of the sun.

    If you simply hang the meat it will get blown. If you hang it in bags and get good air to it, it will form a crust and you will lose most of the meat when you butcher it, just getting rid of the crust.

    Last year was the first year we sprayed it with citric acid and it stayed perfect for 10 days! No dark meat, no crust, it didn't go sour. At the end of 10 days it was like it had just been butchered. Now the worst part of it is that this information is found in the hunters education class the kids take. Yup, all of us old guys missed that in our education. I picked it up when my youngest took hunters ed, and we decided to try it. It's embarrassing how well it works.

    Buy it in crystals and mix it in the field. Take a spray bottle along, or a brush. I used a lot. "Bigger the glob, better the job philosophy"...like welding. We also filled a large bowl and just dipped the pieces. All seemed to work well.

    In Anchorage you can find it at Alaska Mill and Feed in the home brew section...probably in some similar store in Fbks. Last year we bought it at Sportsman's Warehouse, though it was far more expensive. Regardless, it cheap and its worth a try.

  14. #14

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    Good info guys, thanks for contributing. I've been looking specifically for what the mixing ratio of citric acid to water is but haven't found it. Any suggestions? I have 1 lb of citric acid from the homebrew store and a 1 pint spray bottle to take along on an upcoming hunt. Is it possible to get the mixture too acidic? 1 tablespoon citric acid : 1 pint water too much?

  15. #15
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Well - how'd you do? I was up there from the 20th to the 29th. Our meat pole worked awesome. When the sun started to poke out we decided to pull the meat off of the rack and bone it and bag it in 2.5 gallon bags and threw it in the 100 quart cooler on frozen jugs of ice. It was perfect.

  16. #16

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    We did great but we had a better system than I thought we would at first. It's always nice when you have a camper with a chest freezer! I hung the meat for two days on the first caribou and then placed it in the freezer. We didn't actually freeze it but kept it really cool. By the middle of the week though the temps were approaching 60 during the day with plenty of sunshine so I only hung meat one night and slapped it in the freezer. I used 8 foot 2x6's in a tripod tied with 550 cord and Tag bags. No muss no fuss.

    Once again, thanks for all of the wisdom everyone shared.

    58D

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