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Thread: Stacking Meat in a Raft

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    Default Stacking Meat in a Raft

    hey folks,

    this year we observed a few float hunting groups stacking meat various ways with a tarp use (on inflatables).

    Here's how we stack meat on our Levitator raft, and i'm curious if anyone else cares to show how they do it on their rigs.

    Thanks in advance for sharing photos.


  2. #2

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    Another angle shows how we to properly tarp game meat on the drift.

    Each of the three groups we interviewed were non-resident moose hunters sent to the field by an Anchorage Hunt Planner...and they had their meat wrapped tightly under a blue tarp (60 degree F) to "protect" it from the early morning dew and midday sun.

    Very curious what other successful hunters do when "protecting" game meat onn the drift.


  3. #3

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    Larry, congrats on the float trip (read about it on your website). You have to be in some pretty exclusive company having a picture of three moose stacked on one raft! I don't have any float hunt pictures to share, hopefully next year. But following the "keep it cool, clean, and dry" guidance, I didn't have any problems keeping 3 caribou in great shape during warm temps this year. Treated the meat with citric acid, kept it inside TAG bags (after the spray dried), and elevated the bags on a pile of willows on a stream side gravel bar using a tarp several feet overhead as shade from the sun. The meat got cold at night, stayed elevated for air circulation, and stayed cool to the touch through the day even with highs approaching the upper 60s. It was 7 days between the time I pulled the trigger and the last packet of steaks hit the freezer, everything kept in fine order during that time. Wrapping meat tightly, restricting air circulation, is asking for trouble.

    Jeff

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    Default posts plus legs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    hey folks,

    this year we observed a few float hunting groups stacking meat various ways with a tarp use (on inflatables).

    Here's how we stack meat on our Levitator raft
    So you're using both poles and legs to provide both stability to the stacking, and better air circulation? Do I see that right?

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Meat loading issues with round boats--

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    ...Very curious what other successful hunters do when "protecting" game meat onn the drift...
    Larry,

    I appreciate your enthusiasm for proper meat care. As you know, that has been a passion of mine for many years as well. I also appreciate everything you've done to raise the awareness of hunters to do a superb job of meat care in the field. It's fantastic, and you've helped a lot of folks do a better job.

    Since you asked... some things I do differently from what is illustrated in the photos you posted-- and the reasons why:

    1. I try to get the meat as low as possible in the boat. If we're in a round boat, that means we have to use cargo platforms. By putting heavy items low in the boat, you reduce the chances of overturning if you broach against a deadfall or other obstacle. This is because the boat has a much lower center of gravity than it would with the meat stacked atop the tubes.

    2. I secure a cargo net over the meat load. The reason for this is to keep the meat with the boat in the event of a capsizing. Knock on wood; it's never happened to me yet, but I have several acquaintances who have lost meat that was not secured to the boat. On slow Class I stuff you can get by without the net, but for me I had to make it a habit every time, otherwise I can overlook it. And as you know, sometimes trouble shows up out of nowhere, and by then it's too late. One cool thing about the net is that it is breathable, so no worries about condensation. If I need to tarp the load because of rain or splashes, I lay the antlers atop the meat like you have illustrated, and strap them to the net (so we don't lose them if we flip), and tie the tarp loosely over the whole thing, so we get good air circulation.

    3. I like to rotate my meat bags at least once during the day, because condensation develops between bags that are in contact with each other. Rotation allows the damp ones to dry, which keeps the meat in better shape as far as risk of bacterial contamination. This is much more of an issue in a round boat than it is on a cataraft, where you can lay the meat out a little more. Space is limited in a round boat, and the only option really is to stack it up.

    Anyway, those are some things that came to mind when I saw the pics.

    One more comment not related to loading the boat; I don't generally leave the lower legs attached to the quarters. I know they are easier to carry and such, but the problem is that it's difficult to ensure you have a really tight seal around the mouth of your game bag where it contacts the leg, and there's a chance flies could get in if there is even a tiny crevice. By removing the lower leg at the knee joint, you can get the whole thing inside the bag and secure the top against flies. I know you are probably very careful with this, but others who try it might not be as vigilant. The other way is much more foolproof, in my thinking. Another reason to remove the lower legs is that they are often contaminated with hormone-infused urine during the pre-rut period. As you know, bulls will dig rut pits, into which they urinate. Then then stomp this urine-soaked dirt with their hooves until it becomes mud. In the process it gets on their lower legs and really reeks. If you handle that part of the leg much, it's easy to cross-contaminate your bags or, worse yet, the meat itself. So I carefully remove them at the kill site.

    Congrats on an excellent hunt, by the way! Looks like you guys had a great time together!

    -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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    Loaded our moose like Larry, and added a cargo net to make sure it would stay with the boat if the unexpected happened. It was a lot of work with the warm temps, but we kept two caribou for 7 days, and the moose for 6 in great shape

    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktroller View Post
    Loaded our moose like Larry, and added a cargo net to make sure it would stay with the boat if the unexpected happened. It was a lot of work with the warm temps, but we kept two caribou for 7 days, and the moose for 6 in great shape

    .
    Troller,

    The silver reflective tarp is a great idea in sunny weather, and it works great on a camp-based meat pole too. Much better than the darker blue or green ones. Shade is key, but equally important is cross-ventilation. Nice job.

    -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
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  8. #8

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    Mike, thanks for the reply. Might you have photos to share from your myriad successful experiences on how you load meat bags in a raft?

    Hey Troller, great looking pkg and success. Way to go!

    FamilyMan, yes we left the lower legs attached to one bull's qrtrs for more efficient stacking of wood debris on the drift. We found that having the extra 20" of lower leg on at least four legs gave us a more managable stacking system in layering quarters and sloppy bags of neck meat. This decision lent us the ability to "spread out" our load left and right to extend over the side tubes, which did two things: 1) lowered our overall COG (as Mike recommended) by flattening or displacing our load bearing; and 2) ensured proper airflow around all layers of bags by giving us extra loft on top of logs, which without the legs would have meant reduced airflow as logs would be moved inward to retard ventilation.

    I tend to disagree with Mike's experience on "always lowering Center of Gravity", especially when pushing the limits of a watercraft's performance. Admittingly, no "expert" would commonly recommend putting 3 moose and 3 guys in one raft, but in this case i am completely intimate with this design and know what works best for field applications with meat hauling. Example: We use our own cargo platforms designed for the Levitator http://www.pristineventures.com/prod...cessories.html which provide maximum loft for these rafts http://www.pristineventures.com/prod...levitator.html

    We prefer to load the raft with personal gear directly atop the cargo platforms, and then stack meat on top of that for optimal airflow. The tippy nature expected of rafts loaded heavy are typically only concerning with fast riverflow combined with river hazards. If we hunt in Class III corridors or areas where fast water and hazards become prominent, our choice for qty of harvests is carefully considered. However, the Levitator holds 3000-lbs and can be loaded a little "higher" above COG than conventional raft designs. It would take a platoon of strong and determined knuckle heads to topple a loaded raft the way this photo suggests.

    I guess in the end, personal experiences teach us a lot about limits of ourselves and our equipment. The more you do it successfully the better at it one becomes, either from success or failure. I've learned much from both, and i now commonly push the limits of traditional methods by critical and calculated trial and error...if that makes a lick a sense????

    for reference, here's a picture from a solo 2004 float hunt in my Pro Pioneer.


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    I have all of three moose floats under my belt, which doesn't necessarily make me an authority. Two of these were less than one day floats having packed/lined my gear upstream. Seems to me that you tailor your boat selection to your trip, and let the chips fall. The float out on my two similar one-day trips has a stretch of really fast and rowdy water. Since it's a short float, I don't "sweat" the ventilation aspect of things and load the meat low between the tubes of the PP in order to keep COG low and keep me from tipping over in the fast rocky stuff, where I'm trying to keep things oriented downhill using only a canoe paddle. On the other float, which was open and skinny and relatively tame, we had three boats for four guys and the two moose we shot were loaded like larry's - atop the tubes of the PP and the 14' Otter to ventilate. We brought a lot of boat on that trip, knowing things could be skinny.

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    PP prepped for fast/rocky water:
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    Mike, thanks for the reply. Might you have photos to share...
    Hi Larry,

    Most of my pics are scattered about on various hard drives and I'm pressed for time tonight. Here's one image though. But not a very good one. It's a 12' Otter SB we used to cross a slough (not a float hunt), so we didn't net the load like I normally would. But you can see the idea of getting the meat low in the boat. I think I wrote about this a little in the float hunting book too.

    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

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    Here a couple of other shots for conversation.

    Hunting with canoes pose a great challenge with loading meat safely and effectively.





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    Loving these photos regardless if I've read the thread on loading meat...

    That one with all the deer should be named the "SS Bloodbath"....nothing but hooves and antlers sticking out everywhere!

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    Question saving the legs?

    LB, why save the legs? Is it to better protect the inflatable from puncture? Can't think of any other reason why you wouldn't save yourselves a few pounds hauled & floated out....

    In any regard, thanks for the pictures; I too enjoyed them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    LB, why save the legs? Is it to better protect the inflatable from puncture? Can't think of any other reason why you wouldn't save yourselves a few pounds hauled & floated out....

    In any regard, thanks for the pictures; I too enjoyed them.
    How would saving the legs prevent a puncture?

    -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

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    Default don' know which is why I asked

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    How would saving the legs prevent a puncture?

    -Mike
    I was problem solving why to save the legs; I can't figure that out. Me, that's the first thing I cut off and leave at the kill site; I can't imagine packing or floating legs out. But I'm thinking there might be a reason, since the poster is experienced.

    If the legs were sawed off, as I would do, there might be pointy shards at just the point in the picture where the legs cross the inflatable's gunnels.... creating a possible puncture problem?

    Like I said, I don't know; that's why I asked.

    Maybe there's a good reason, or maybe the picture was taken by a group that was unaccompanied by anyone experienced, and just didn't think to cut off the legs and leave them? Or worse yet, maybe they didn't have a saw? Hell, even my leatherman has a saw good enuf to do that though. And even without that, they can be taken cleanly at the knee socket with no more than a pen knife, so lack of tools isn't an answer in my book.

    Each of us gets stuck in our own ways and keeps doing thing that way I think. Me, I've never taken legs from afield except for one big game that I took a quick walk over to my buddy's house to ask him politely if he would mind picking it up with his backhoe and dropping the whole darn thing in the bed of my truck! Sometimes life just hands you one, ya know?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    I was problem solving why to save the legs; I can't figure that out. Me, that's the first thing I cut off and leave at the kill site; I can't imagine packing or floating legs out. But I'm thinking there might be a reason, since the poster is experienced.

    If the legs were sawed off, as I would do, there might be pointy shards at just the point in the picture where the legs cross the inflatable's gunnels.... creating a possible puncture problem?

    Like I said, I don't know; that's why I asked.

    Maybe there's a good reason, or maybe the picture was taken by a group that was unaccompanied by anyone experienced, and just didn't think to cut off the legs and leave them? Or worse yet, maybe they didn't have a saw? Hell, even my leatherman has a saw good enuf to do that though. And even without that, they can be taken cleanly at the knee socket with no more than a pen knife, so lack of tools isn't an answer in my book.

    Each of us gets stuck in our own ways and keeps doing thing that way I think. Me, I've never taken legs from afield except for one big game that I took a quick walk over to my buddy's house to ask him politely if he would mind picking it up with his backhoe and dropping the whole darn thing in the bed of my truck! Sometimes life just hands you one, ya know?
    Ahhh, I see. I never cut the leg bones with a saw, for that very reason. Also cutting it with a saw usually removes that bulge at the end of the bone, which is so handy when moving the quarter around or hanging it.

    I think Larry mentioned that he leaves the lower legs on the quarter, so they can brace the entire quarter across the top of the tubes. I don't prefer that (especially with moose) because the lower legs are often contaminated with hormone-infused urine during pre-rut. Too easy for cross-contamination of meat or bags if you're not super careful to avoid handling that part of the leg while moving the meat on and off the boat. Just my take... different strokes, though...

    -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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    especially with moose
    Especially with all big game, imo. Getting gone those scent thingys (there's a real name for them) that have that massive urine smell is always good.

    I'm pretty sure all big game have them, though I'm not positive about bison though; I've only done one of those, and so long ago - I just plain don't remember that part of that one adventure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Especially with all big game, imo. Getting gone those scent thingys (there's a real name for them) that have that massive urine smell is always good.

    I'm pretty sure all big game have them, though I'm not positive about bison though; I've only done one of those, and so long ago - I just plain don't remember that part of that one adventure.
    I'm not talking about the tarsal glands. I'm talking about the fact that bulls will urinate on the ground and dig rut pits with their hooves, turning the urine / dirt mixture into a mud that splatters all over their lower legs while they stamp and paw the ground. The tarsal glands on moose are pretty small compared to other members of the deer family (cervids), and are not as much a factor as is the urine-splattered lower legs. On some bulls, they reek.

    You hear of people removing the tarsal glands on deer and tossing them, but even this is unnecessary if the hunter simply avoids handling that part of the leg, and discards the lower leg at the kill site. I've never worried about them on moose or caribou at all.

    -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

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    My wife and I have never had the requirement to stack multiple moose as Larry; however, one moose rides quite well on our raft as each quarter rests on a corner of our raft frame. The frame elevates the quarter meat for good air circulation and the quarters are easy to secure to the frame with parachute cord. The bags of hamburger meat, back strap, heart, etc. are not visible in the picture as they're suspended above the raft floor (behind me in the picture). And yes, I leave the legs whole as the quarters are significantly easier to move with the legs whole.

    WhiteFish Moose on Raft.jpg

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