Yellowjackets while quartering game.....

koppertop

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I'm looking for suggestions on how to deal with Yellowjackets while quartering big game in the backcountry. I potentially have an allergy to stinging insects. Years ago I was stung badly and had a significant reaction, since that time I always carry two epi pens, Benadryl, and oral steroids as prescribed by my doctor. The doc says to consider all stinging insects a potential issue.

This past season I shot a buck in late September solo in the Sierra backcountry. I hadn't seen any Yellowjackets in weeks and thought they were gone for the season. By the time I got the first backstrap off I was in a swarm of Yellowjackets and concerned. I managed to calmly quarter the buck and not get stung/bit but its a situation I'd like to avoid.

Are there any tricks to simply keep Yellowjackets AWAY while butchering? (Something like a thermacell for mosquitos). I want to confidently hunt and not be worried about Yellowjackets while quartering game.

I have purposely not hunted at times during archery season when they have been very prevalent, but now I see I can run into issues even after I think they are gone for the season. I don't want to only hunt when it is late/cold.

Any suggestions?

I think my sensitivity came about over the course of a couple years while I was painting houses. I was constantly getting stung (mostly by wasps) while painting under roof eves.

Thanks for any ideas or suggestions. I've got my fingers crossed that there is some magic solution to keep the little $%^&ers away.

Cheers!
KT
 

Randle

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They always seem to be there once meat is on the ground, honestly none of us have ever been stung while cutting up meat . I have been stung twice in different years while actually hunting and walking by a ground hive. I know that's not an answer to help with processing but it is just a fact it can happen anytime.
 

Huntin wv

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The yellowjackets and hornets were ridiculous in Colorado archery season this year. They were thick everywhere we went, even without an elk down and would harass us non stop. The only time they weren’t around was after dark. After an elk was down they were swarmed all over it. Luckily it got dark soon after we found it and they all left. After dark there were only swarms of flies. The bees must’ve kept the flies away because in the daylight there were no flies.


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koppertop

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Thanks guys. Isn't citric acid to keep them off the meat? Or does citric acid keep them at a distance? I'm not worried about the meat so much as concerned I get stung due to an allergic reaction.

I know I could get stung anytime, but it seems that quartering an animal presents increased exposure. The last couple bucks I shot were right at last light so I didn't have an issue after dark, but this year's buck was right at first light and made me realize what an issue they are for me since I'm potentially allergic.

The only "solutions" I've been able to think of are only take shots in the last hour of daylight (so I'm butchering after dark) or only hunt once it has really gotten cold, both of which suck.

Thus far my doc has simply said that ALL stinging insects should be considered a potential problem. I may see if I can be tested by an allergist to determine which of the stinging insects present problems. I guess ideally I could determine that I'm not allergic to Yellowjackets specifically.

Still hoping for a magic fix to simply keep them away while I quarter. Keep the ideas coming. Thanks everyone.
-KT
 

NWHunter84

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Citric acid like others have said. Long sleeves and gloves saved me from quite a few stings in the past. A cheap head net might help too. I use one during turkey season and it helps with bugs not being right up on my skin. Carried it this year for elk but never got the chance to use it.
 

blkntancj

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Never had trouble while quartering game. However i did kick a ground hive while sliding down a 45 degree slope with 85 lbs of meat and a 6x6 elk head on my back. Got stung 7 times as i rolled down the hill trying to get away. REALLY sucked.
 
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koppertop

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Thanks, everyone. Sounds like I need to look into the citric acid. How much do you typically carry for quartering a deer? Spray bottle?

I typically wear nitrile gloves and suspect they don't offer any protection. Ideas on gloves that would provide more protection without trying to quarter while wearing full on leather gloves? The headnet is a good lightweight idea too.

Thanks everyone!
 

jeffpg

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I also have yellow jacket issues. Just one sting can potentially kill me. It's a toxic reaction which opens my blood vessels, making it impossible for my heart to maintain blood pressure. My heart runs away until it builds lactic acid and quits. It will eventually recover, only to repeat the process. I lose consciousness and worse. The epipen will save me, but too many stings could certainly be fatal no matter what.

This struggle is definitely real!
 
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koppertop

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Jeffpg, sorry to hear you have a somewhat similar issue (almost sounds worse), my potential issue is hives, swelling, and anaphylactic shock. How have you dealt with it thus far? Have you been stung while butchering in the back country? I've been carrying epi pens for years but haven't had to use one yet. Hopefully if I ever need to use one I'm near town and not miles from the truck on foot by myself.

I've been scouring the net looking for ideas. Thus far a couple of the more often mentioned suggestions are peppermint oil (not on the meat obviously) and (strangely) blowing up a brown paper lunch bag to look like a hornet nest and hanging it nearby, apparently the yellowjacktes dislike hornets. I may test a couple of the ideas this summer before hunting season; figure I can use a small plate of raw meat in the back yard and individually try citric acid on the meat, peppermint oil nearby, hornet nest decoy etc and see if anything keeps them at bay.

How do other folks use the citric acid? Do you pack it in a spray bottle and just spritz the meat as you expose it? How much citric acid is needed? Does it impact the quality of the meat?

I'm hoping I can find a lightweight reliable option. I'm also seriously considering looking into being tested by an allergist to see what types of stinging insects are problematic for me. When I had a reaction I was stung loads of times by wasps not Yellowjackets, I've always wondered if it was simply the larger "dose" that caused the reaction. Has anyone ever been tested by an allergist? I may well start calling around on Monday...

I did find a thing called the one minute wasp miracle which claims to be a magic fix but the youtube vid and website look like snake oil. You buy the book for 27 bucks and apparently are given a simple fix that you already have in your house. Sounds too good to be true and the website has a countdown timer in minutes until the price goes up. Seems a bit like a scam. I likely won't buy it.

If anyone else has any ideas feel free to chime in. Thanks to everyone who has already provided info.
-KT
 

jeffpg

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I learned I was allergic when I was in my early to mid 30's, I'm 57 now. A yellow jacket got into my unattended soft drink can, and stung me inside my bottom lip. Instant effect, putting me out, foaming at the mouth, vomiting, etc. My coworker was a EMT, fortunately for me, and he took care of me until the ambulance got there. He later told me that I literally lost all vital signs several times. Heart and breathing would race away, and then completely stop. Scared the beJesus outta him, he thought I'd died. When I awoke on the hospital table, I was freezing and felt like I was levitating, they had pumped so much adrenaline in me to keep me going. Took days to recover.

I have been in the emergency room 3 more times after that from stings from Yellow jackets ONLY. No other insect has affected me, although wasps have stung me. The last time it happened while I was bush hogging on my property and I gave myself the epipen shot in my thigh. It had failed to work for me before, but this time I was very slow and deliberate with it and it seemed to make a difference. I went to the emergency room and didn't even pass out like I quickly did all the times before. I learned to detect that it was coming on for sure due to my pupils dilating, my face becoming flushed and hot, and my pulse beginning to throb and boom in my ears. It's a awful feeling, knowing that you are soon going to pass out and possibly die! Each time I survived a episode I literally felt that i had cheated death.

My last sting was about 7 years ago. I have had them swarm me while dealing with a downed animal a few times, and I do my best to avoid this, but thank God I have not had to deal with a sting while out hunting, and i sometimes stay in the back country a week or so alone.
 

5MilesBack

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A yellow jacket got into my unattended soft drink can, and stung me inside my bottom lip.
This was my only bad encounter with a yellow jacket while up hunting. Sitting in base camp with a cold A&W and one got inside the bottle when I wasn't looking. I spit him out before he could sting me, but I keep track of my A&W closely now. They're around while breaking down elk in the heat generally, but I've never had a problem with them. Man, breaking down my elk two years ago in the rain was pretty awesome.......not a single fly, not a single yellow jacket, not a single meat jay.......just me and the elk.
 

BRTreedogs

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Wow I feel for ya and hope you can find a solution.

Some suggest I'd have besides the citric spray would be to get the guts out asap and get the rest of the animal away. That way the guts are an easy target for the bees because your not disturbing them, that def wont keep all of them out of your butchering area but should help.

Hunt in areas where you have atv access? Load it whole and just beat feet.

Lots of water around carry one of those traps you add water to and hang it at the kill site.
 
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Of course barring drought/ wildfire/safety scenarios, have you considered starting a small fire with a healthy dose of green to make smoke? It obviously makes things more complicated, but I've never struggled with insects around smoke, plus bee keepers use smoke to keep bees at bay.
 

chindits

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Is there anything that people use harvesting honey from hives that can be improvised from hunting gear or vise versus.

Any Practical way to use smoke?
 
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