Packing out an elk

WyoKid

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Aug 6, 2019
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29
Packed out my first elk last year with my 58 year old dad. We were 5 miles deep and it took two trips. We weren’t staying the night so didn’t have a ton of gear with us. Shot elk at 530pm and got back to truck at 130am. Took the next day off and went back in to get the rest of the meat the following day. What a grueling experience.
I agree with Mulyhuntr. I exclusively backpack hunt and often solo. Even if you are in your 20s it is grueling and a 2 or 3 day affair...going over blow down, up and down the smallest inclines and crossing creeks become huge obstacles with a loaded pack. As other suggested, 80 lbs is tough on level ground much less the back country.

Don't kid yourself, training and youth help but there is nothing like the actual experience. There is good reason for staying 60 lbs or less - saftey being the #1. ☠ A twisted ankle, blown knee, twisted back or broken leg ♿ is not going to help you to get that meat out so be reasonable. More trips are better than heavier trips.

On the day of the kill, I take out back straps and tender loin, maybe some neck or brisket. Then the next day I go back and take the quarters for 4 trips and this is completely boned out. 🦴 I take the rack last with a front quarter - as my Dad said, you cannot eat the horn or hide, so getting the meat out is the priority. (y)
 

WyoKid

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Aug 6, 2019
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In looking at the big game regs for Idaho (pg 102-103), I stand corrected. There is no direct mention as to transport of the antlers as long as evidence of sex is established and maintained until the animal reaches the processor.

My assumption was coming from a check station in Idaho a few years back where a warden was giving the riot act to a hunter in front of me that "meat waste was something they had zero tolerance for and the meat needed to be cared for before anything else." Since, I have implied this to be, get the meat in the cooler, then worry about the rack. Just the way I have done it since.

Apologies for any confusion this caused. As muddydogs mentioned, follow the regs not the internet.
For proof of sex a buddy taught me to skin out the penis and but sack and leave it attached my some tissue to the rear quarter. Wrap the nuts in a plastic bag to avoid meat contamination. I also leave the rack for last - you cannot eat horn......and if a game warden catches you leaving edible meat behind just to take the rack you will get a citation.
 

WyoKid

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Aug 6, 2019
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I only weigh 150lbs. A boned out bull takes me five trips. I never train with more than 45lbs.
I am like Britt-dog...just shy of 150 and 4 trips plus the initial out with loins and backstraps. I am North of 50 so longevity in this game is important....no knee or back surgeries by being safe and reasonable.
 

WyoKid

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Aug 6, 2019
Messages
29
I agree with Mulyhuntr. I exclusively backpack hunt and often solo. Even if you are in your 20s it is grueling and a 2 or 3 day affair...going over blow down, up and down the smallest inclines and crossing creeks become huge obstacles with a loaded pack. As other suggested, 80 lbs is tough on level ground much less the back country.

Don't kid yourself, training and youth help but there is nothing like the actual experience. There is good reason for staying 60 lbs or less - saftey being the #1. ☠ A twisted ankle, blown knee, twisted back or broken leg ♿ is not going to help you to get that meat out so be reasonable. More trips are better than heavier trips.

On the day of the kill, I take out back straps and tender loin, maybe some neck or brisket. Then the next day I go back and take the quarters for 4 trips and this is completely boned out. 🦴 I take the rack last with a front quarter - as my Dad said, you cannot eat the horn or hide, so getting the meat out is the priority. (y)
I should add that I am shy of 150 lbs and North of 50 - there are more tougher and stronger folks than me out there but I want to play the long game and hunt for as long as I can without a knee, back or ankle surgery.
 

deerkiller

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Feb 3, 2019
Messages
962
I should add that I am shy of 150 lbs and North of 50 - there are more tougher and stronger folks than me out there but I want to play the long game and hunt for as long as I can without a knee, back or ankle surgery.
bilateral total knees, 2 rotator cuff repairs, lumbar spine surgery, older & wiser brain - still in the game but a lot differently now, still kill elk though - undressing and quartering is more "work" than it used to be too !
 

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
Forget the round, the shanks might be the best eating on an elk.
Ya, those get ground too.

This year might be interesting. Yesterday I was pulling some Cottonwood surface roots in the back yard and when I was done my lower back felt like it does when you've been bending over too long, and I stood up straight. My legs went completely out and I could barely walk all day and today. Major pain in my lower back that extends up to my mid spine, into both hips, and even one knee. It's hard to breathe. I have three herniated discs in my neck, a cyst in my spinal cord from C5/6 to T2, and need a 4-level fusion according to the neurosurgeon.......and this was 100 times worse than any of that has ever been. I might have to keep those loads to 60lbs this year. Getting older in body sucks.(n)

Pumping the steroids and muscle relaxants. If it doesn't get any better in a couple days I might have to actually go to the doctor.:mad:
 
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5MilesBack

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5Miles, good luck with your back. I hate back pain!
Thanks, I'm 6'6" and 54 and have never had any lower back issues at all, not even a little bit. Which is probably a little odd for someone my height. Lower back issues seem to be common among the tall crowd. This doesn't bode well for the next 30 years of hunting.
 

WyoKid

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Aug 6, 2019
Messages
29
bilateral total knees, 2 rotator cuff repairs, lumbar spine surgery, older & wiser brain - still in the game but a lot differently now, still kill elk though - undressing and quartering is more "work" than it used to be too !
You made a surgeon or surgeons very wealthy....you are tougher than me and I hope to avoid the experience.
 

nrh6.7

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Oct 10, 2016
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Fort Worth, TX
Hey, maybe since you've made it this far, it's just something minor rather than a general wearing out that has been ongoing. I'm 48 and have been dealing with lower back issues off and on since I was 20. And I've been in good shape most of my life.
 

deerkiller

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Feb 3, 2019
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962
Hey, maybe since you've made it this far, it's just something minor rather than a general wearing out that has been ongoing. I'm 48 and have been dealing with lower back issues off and on since I was 20. And I've been in good shape most of my life.
talk to me in 20 years ;-)
 

deerkiller

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
962
Ya, those get ground too.

This year might be interesting. Yesterday I was pulling some Cottonwood surface roots in the back yard and when I was done my lower back felt like it does when you've been bending over too long, and I stood up straight. My legs went completely out and I could barely walk all day and today. Major pain in my lower back that extends up to my mid spine, into both hips, and even one knee. It's hard to breathe. I have three herniated discs in my neck, a cyst in my spinal cord from C5/6 to T2, and need a 4-level fusion according to the neurosurgeon.......and this was 100 times worse than any of that has ever been. I might have to keep those loads to 60lbs this year. Getting older in body sucks.(n)

Pumping the steroids and muscle relaxants. If it doesn't get any better in a couple days I might have to actually go to the doctor.:mad:
My advice is to get AT LEAST 3 unrelated surgeons' opinions (surgeons aren't called "cutters" for nothing) 4 fusions at ONCE and in the FIRST surgery ?? Fusions are a last resort, go to a "neuro-spine center", there are all sorts of manmade parts that can possibly avoid fusions - It is commonly accepted that once you have 1 (ONE) fusion it's just a matter of time before the next vertebrae(s) will need to be fused and so on, you can only have so many (and I think 4 might be "it") KNOW BEFORE you are cut on if there are options
My son is a top Orthopedic/Spine rep for a large Stryker Medical distributor in Oregon/WA/HI/AK/ID
feel free to PM me if you want
 

Treeline

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Feb 25, 2017
Messages
12
Location
Mountains of Colorado
Lots of good advice here already. Leave those antlers in the woods until your last trip. Hang your meat well away from the carcass and in the best all day shade you can find. Good luck out there.
 

montanafisherman25

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Aug 7, 2017
Messages
13
I have split up the loose meat in with the front quarters in the past. Makes it four similar weighted chunks. Go as heavy as you can on the first trips and lighter on the last ones. Depending on how far, usually four trips solo. If really deep and nasty, debone and take more lighter trips, it will suck either way but at least your freezer will be full though. Just make sure if it’s hot out get the meat hanging in the shade asap and in quality bags.


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deerkiller

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Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
962
I have split up the loose meat in with the front quarters in the past. Makes it four similar weighted chunks. Go as heavy as you can on the first trips and lighter on the last ones. Depending on how far, usually four trips solo. If really deep and nasty, debone and take more lighter trips, it will suck either way but at least your freezer will be full though. Just make sure if it’s hot out get the meat hanging in the shade asap and in quality bags.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
good info - FOR ME, I'll always leave the bone in on the hind quarters BUT I honestly think there is more bone than good meat on the fronts, bone 'em - ALWAYS avoid / handle carefully any spinal bone encounters like neck meat OR separating the head (CWD is with us for the long haul)
 

montanafisherman25

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Joined
Aug 7, 2017
Messages
13
good info - FOR ME, I'll always leave the bone in on the hind quarters BUT I honestly think there is more bone than good meat on the fronts, bone 'em - ALWAYS avoid / handle carefully any spinal bone encounters like neck meat OR separating the head (CWD is with us for the long haul)
Agreed, leaving the hinds bone in helps get the heat out and gives rigidity to that big mass of meat. I agree on the fronts, a bit too much bone to be a good compromise. If I was able to cool down the rear quarters fully before pack out then would probably bone them out if it was a nasty hike. Thankfully I don’t have CWD where I hunt so far.


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Marble

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May 29, 2019
Messages
239
There has been a lot of great info in this thread. As far as trekking poles, they are an underrated piece of equipment. I always carry them and use them when packing. But...I also keep spares in my truck because I seem to break them. Or, something fails on them and they cant lock out.
 

Graymumpower

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Jan 12, 2016
Messages
24
Plan on 3 trips - Get two hams, front shoulders, scrap meat/tenderloins and head on last. If its a whopper, pray.
 
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