Getting the meat home senario

bbenn

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This year my buddy and I were successful in CO. Being the first time we killed elk we went with my gut on meat handling. We pulled the animals into the shade immediately after gutting. Within an hour we had the elk boned in game bags beginning our hike to the vehicle. Once at the vehicle coolers with ice bottles awaited. We then drove the the processor and had it processed. Packed dry ice on processed meat and came home (24 hour straight ride). I'd like to save the $250 per animal and process the meat at home but was very nervous about the wait in the car and then ride home. Will boned meat be ok if the cooler as ice melts and meat is in water? How long can they be in a ice/water environment? Again we went on the safe side and had both processed but in the future would like to know how we can save some money and still maintain quality meat care. Thanks
 

pods8

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Put the meat on top of BLOCK ice, drain off the water periodically (gas stops) and it'll keep it cold and above the water if you don't want to freeze it, that's all that I do at the trail head and then in my garage while meat is waiting to be processed after a hunt. If you want you can freeze the boned out meat as is also and thaw it once you get home to butcher it.
 

wapitibob

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Water will leach out the blood if the muscle is submerged. You will not have a hard crust on the outer exposed portions either. Other than that, water doesn't do anything to game meat. I've used ice in coolers, with the meat in game bags, for decades. The temps will stabilize after a cpl days and the ice will stop melting, leave it in the cooler till you cut it up and you'll be just fine. My elk and Antelope stays in the coolers for about a week.
 

Bulldawg

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Water will leach out the blood if the muscle is submerged. You will not have a hard crust on the outer exposed portions either. Other than that, water doesn't do anything to game meat. I've used ice in coolers, with the meat in game bags, for decades. The temps will stabilize after a cpl days and the ice will stop melting, leave it in the cooler till you cut it up and you'll be just fine. My elk and Antelope stays in the coolers for about a week.
Yeah that’s what I do as well, I have my cooler in the back of the truck with the drain plug open, pour ice on and continually check and once the meat and cooler are all chilled the ice won’t hardly melt. What helps though is if you can hang the meat in a cool area over night and let the meat get cold before putting it in a cooler. Once the meat and cooler is cold ice will hold for a while and I’ve had meat in the cooler for a little over a week while working through the processing when we kill a bunch of antelope.


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rbljack

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How much cooler space for an elk? I have a yeti 105, which I know isn't big enough (although it did work well on a boned out mule deer), but would 2 105's be enough for a boned out elk and ice blocks?
 

davsco

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i hope to find out personally in a month, my first elk hunt, but from reading on here, looks like two 120's or the like will get it done.
 

muddydogs

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I had access to a broken plastic pallet that has 1" square grid openings that I cut down to 1" tall and cut to fit in my cooler so my meat will be at least 1" above the cooler bottom and out of most of the water. I also take a short piece of clear flexible tubing that fits inside the drain plug hole so when I initially put the meat in the cooler I can stuff the tube in the drain plug then run the hose out the tailgate so the cooler will drain and not get the bed of the pickup all wet. After the cooler and meat temp stabilize I remove the hose and put the plug back in.

IF I have the toyhauler I take a small chest freezer on a harbor freight lawn cart so I can roll it around. I run the trailer genny just enough to keep the freezer around 40 degrees.
 

muddydogs

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Having an old blanket or sleeping bag along to stuff in the top of the cooler over the meat once its cooled can really help keep ice if its going to be a warn ride home.
 
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I just took a trip to Ohio to help my brother in law move (I live in New York). A truck passed us with a beautiful set of horns on top of his gear. Needless to say, this is a rare sight, being in Ohio. It appeared this guy had a chest freezer and a generator in the back of the truck. I've never seen or heard of this, but got me thinking. Anyone done this?


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bbenn

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Thanks guys that's exactly what I needed. I just didn't want to risk it on our first elk. In the future we will just maintain ice.
 
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Put the meat on top of BLOCK ice, drain off the water periodically (gas stops) and it'll keep it cold and above the water if you don't want to freeze it, that's all that I do at the trail head and then in my garage while meat is waiting to be processed after a hunt. If you want you can freeze the boned out meat as is also and thaw it once you get home to butcher it.
i agree with this, get Block ice in the cooler, and drain the water after a few hours, you can get more ice in most store, most of them sell very big ice that you can still you for keeping your game cold.
 

PowellSixO

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Block ice and dry ice in the bottom, with a plastic bag between the meat and the ice. I do NOT like to get meat wet if I can help it. The most water I expose any meat to, is a wet rag to wipe off any hair that might get on the meat during the skinning process. I was taught young to never get the meat wet. If you can hang the meat over night to get that nice dry crisp on the outside before transporting it, that is the absolute best way to do it.
 

yak

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Why not get the meat wet? Is there any factual reason not to or just something someone told you that you took as gospel.
I was told the same from my processor. Apparently if one piece of meat gets contaminated and is soaking in water, the contamination will spread into all of the meat.

I'm no expert, just regurgitating what I've been taught.
 

pods8

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Why not get the meat wet? Is there any factual reason not to or just something someone told you that you took as gospel.
Moisture is one of the things that factor into bacterial growth, that's why the dry crust retards bacteria. You can get the meat wet in COLD water if you need to but I'd rather avoid it as it turns the meat grey.
 

muddydogs

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I wouldn't soak the meat in water like some described but a little water isn't going to do anything. Butcher shops hose down carcasses to clean them off. The guys that are soaking them in water are adding salt which should keep the bacteria away as well.
 
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Last year we used 100-150 quart igloo coolers, the elk we got early in the week were frozen and didn't require much ice for the trip home. we wrapped the coolers in blankets in the bed of thetruck and meat was still frozen when we got home to Pennsylvania. The elk we got later in the week were not frozen, and were chilled in the cooler for processing when we got home.
I got a 150qt cooler for $70 at Sam's Club after last years trip.
 

archer wapiti

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My first two elk were packed in coolers of ice and left with the drain plugs open in the garage until I could butcher and freeze. This year I killed a small cow and was able to fit her in my fridge. I've noticed no difference with the quality of meat except that I used to be amazed at how much liquid would come out of a pound of ground meat when I browned it in a skillet. This one doesn't produce that amount of liquid. the only difference I can figure is that I didn't keep this one on ice in coolers and it didn't sit in water at all.

Given that, and the OP's question, I would not hesitate to pack it in ice, keep the drains open, and drive. The spacer on the bottom of the cooler is a good idea to keep it off the bottom of the cooler and out of any potential sludge.

It took me a week to butcher this elk working leisurely. You've got plenty of time.
 

Forest

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My first two elk were packed in coolers of ice and left with the drain plugs open in the garage until I could butcher and freeze..
I was just thinking if coolers were placed right in the vehicle why not just leave the plug open, can't imagine it would let enough warm air in to matter.
On the other hand, are you guys using high end (yeti type) coolers and getting all this water that fast?? I guess I had envisioned the ice lasting longer......
 
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