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  • Processing game in the field

    We are looking for ways to increase our time in the field hunting moose. We make a nice camp and would like to stay in the field up to 10 days, that is about two weeks gone. It all gets screwed up when somebody shoots a moose day one. Depending on weather, we will need to head home 2-4 days after that.

    What if we bring a freezer, generator and vacuum sealer then process it in camp? The obvious is how to prove it is a bull vs cow. Or, bring the freezer and keep the meat at or below 40 degrees thus giving us 5-6 days before we head home.

    Is there a way to make it legal? Is there a precedence for this.

  • #2
    Interesting question. The pamphlet says you only need proof of sex until you have the animal at the place where it will be processed. I have been on remote hunts where I discouraged other hunters from shooting a caribou the first day due to temps and the fact that we would be there 8 days. I hate wasted meat.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    • #3
      I'd want to get it in writing from F&G just to keep some overzealous/uninformed enforcement entity from hassling me--but I'd certainly argue the case based on the definition of "processed for human consumption." The reg indicates this means prepared so "as to be fit for human consumption after a 15-day period." I certainly think this would mean frozen in vacuum bags would be acceptable--also mitigating the need to keep evidence of sex attached as well rib bones if you're in one of those areas. I've been thinking of this concept for years, but haven't acted on it--yet.
      Note to self: Don't argue with idiots, it just beings you down to their level where they overwhelm you with their more extensive experience in being an idiot.... and, you can't fix stupid!

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      • #4
        I think the most surefire way to make sure you're legal is to bring the equipment necessary to refrigerate the meat at 40 degrees until you return. I knew a guy whose family brought everything they needed to construct a temporary walk in cooler (not sure what all it entailed, but I'm assuming a lot of styrofoam, framing material, and whatever device they had constructed to control temperature). However, they had a bunch of jacked up rigs allowing them to really carry whatever weight they wanted out to their camp.

        I've been trying to think through the reasons of why a trooper or FG might take issue with processing in the field and the only thing I can really think of is the idea that once it is processed there really isn't a way to prove how many animals that meat comprises. Sure, you might think it would be easy to tell if it was one or two moose. But what if someone shot a 50+ inch bull and a spike on one harvest ticket, tossed the spike head, and then claimed it was a massive bodied bull? As I'm thinking of this, I seem to remember an episode of Alaska State Troopers (I know... tv is a great source for legal advice....) where the trooper checking their harvest counted quarters to verify they had a tag punched for each animal present.

        Additionally, there's a variety of references to activity "in the field" such as areas/times where you are not allowed to bone out in the field. "field" is defined in the reg book as "an area outside of established year-round dwellings, businesses, or other developments....". True, it does also talk about the requirements being in effect until you've got the meat to where it will be processed. However, as noted by other threads the reg book is only a summation of the actual Alaska statutes and shouldn't be used for citing why your actions are legal. If you really want to get into the weeds of what they define as field and location of being processed, you can dig into 5 AAC 92 or 85 to try and get precise. But my gut reaction is they're not going to allow it. My assumption is that most of the harvest checks by troopers/fg is done at parking lots and in transit on trails. Processing in the field and coming back with nice tidy meat packages seems to leave more wiggle room for unlawful practices than I think the state would be comfortable with.

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        • #5
          Why, should the other hunters be punish when one person takes a animal at the beginning of the hunt when he was told not to? He should take the animal back to town so the others can keep hunting.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by MacGyver View Post
            Why, should the other hunters be punish when one person takes a animal at the beginning of the hunt when he was told not to? He should take the animal back to town so the others can keep hunting.

            Ya, but town is 2 days away by boat and car. And that hunter takes another hunter with them plus the safety of the other boat and their Gear. We are either all in or all out.

            We tried to fly meat out this year. What a DISASTER. We have ways to make taking an extra 150 pounds achievable and are looking at options of extending meat care in the field instead of being removed from the field or going through the massive expense and hassle of making our way to an airstrip.

            The biggest hurdle is proving there is one animal and the sex of the animal while still being in an active hunting camp. Probably best to set up a cooling system or plan on removing the animal from the field, or both.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AudiAK View Post
              I knew a guy whose family brought everything they needed to construct a temporary walk in cooler (not sure what all it entailed, but I'm assuming a lot of styrofoam, framing material, and whatever device they had constructed to control temperature). However, they had a bunch of jacked up rigs allowing them to really carry whatever weight they wanted out to their camp.
              .
              I have seen on some of the outdoor channel hunting shows where someone was selling manufactured storage units for this exact thing.
              https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/kool...in-meat-cooler

              Patriot Life Member NRA
              Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
              Life Member Disabled American Veterans


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              • #8
                Have you search the forum for answers on meat care?


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                • #9
                  seems like you need some type of insulation blanket or some foam boards to make a shelter and a small portable ac unit. run it during the day and then at night turn it off and let air circulate the meat. I dont think it would go well cutting up the meat and freezing it in packages in camp and trying to explain it to a trooper.
                  I will never be a "Prostaffer" its not that I am not good enough
                  but its because I refuse to pimp products for free.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Daved View Post
                    We are looking for ways to increase our time in the field hunting moose. We make a nice camp and would like to stay in the field up to 10 days, that is about two weeks gone. It all gets screwed up when somebody shoots a moose day one. Depending on weather, we will need to head home 2-4 days after that.

                    What if we bring a freezer, generator and vacuum sealer then process it in camp? The obvious is how to prove it is a bull vs cow. Or, bring the freezer and keep the meat at or below 40 degrees thus giving us 5-6 days before we head home.

                    Is there a way to make it legal? Is there a precedence for this.
                    If it was me and I was going to bring a freezer and generator out to moose camp, if one of us got a moose early, I just wouldn't process it all the way. I guess it would also depend on what size of a freezer you'd bring out there. But if it was a big enough freezer I'd just leave it all in game bags....all quarters, one with evidence of sex attached, neck meat separate, backstraps separate, ribs or rib meat, burger meat, etc... all right there in bags in the freezer. Have the horns sitting right there next to it. That's what you have need to show anyway if checked so I can't see how it would be any different if it's all sitting there in a freezer nice and cold. Btw, like was mentioned I wouldn't let the freezer freeze everything solid. Just get it down to temp and turn it off and on when needed.
                    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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                    • #11
                      With a 10 day camp, even if you shoot a moose on the first day, unless it's ungodly hot you can just hang the meat. Bring some really fine mesh screen, spray the meat with a citrus acid solution and make sure the meat gets plenty of air and stays dry. Dry aged meat is great. If it's ungodly hot and you bring an air conditioner and make a refrigerated box you need to add moisture to keep the humidity in the right range, 80-85%.
                      I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned. Physicist ― Richard Feynman

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                      • #12
                        I processed one years ago at a remote cabin. Brought the meat home cut wrapped and frozen except for the burger that needed ground. The burger meat was in several large bags and was chopped up ready for the grinder.
                        Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Daveinthebush View Post

                          I have seen on some of the outdoor channel hunting shows where someone was selling manufactured storage units for this exact thing.
                          https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/kool...in-meat-cooler
                          the Koola Buck, nice. Except it is $3500 and 350# . Ouch


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                          • #14
                            This is a very good question. It seems to me that the hunting region itself needs to be clarified here. Perhaps this is real and feasible.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kaybur View Post
                              This is a very good question. It seems to me that the hunting region itself needs to be clarified here. Perhaps this is real and feasible.
                              Certainly. 21b on the Nowitna or Koyukuk. Meat on the bone requirement. We will have 2-3 boats in camp depending on the year. It is often 45-50 deg and raining for days and nothing dries out. Or, cold in the evening and 50 deg during the day. That scenario is not too bad, at least the meat cools at night and will dry out In both scenarios a cooler would be good for part of the time. When it is raining, wet, and overly warm for over.a week the air conditioner trick might dry things out a bit and keep things cool. The scenario of warm during the day would also benefit from cooling the meat for maybe 6-8 hrs when the sun is up then leave it open at night.

                              I am starting to think that processing it on sight is a no go. The weight of a freezer big enough to put full quarters is too much. We are looking at a cooler system. An air conditioner unit is about 50 pounds, so is the generator. If we source local lumber and insulate that structure with something we might be able to pull it off and be under our 150# weight limit. Bringing in lumber is too much weight. Thinking of using a concrete blanket to wrap a 3x6x8 structure made from local small spruce poles. The CoolBot would keep the air conditioner from freezing up, but is expensive.

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