Thursday, May 6, 2010

Backcountry Hunt Question For You All
I have a question for you guys and I am hoping to get as much feedback as I can.

Let's say you and a buddy each draw a coveted elk tag in a unit where you have to backpack in. You have taken a couple weeks off to go hunting. The first day your buddy kills an elk, but you don't kill yours for a few days.
  1. What do you do with the meat while you are waiting to kill your animal?
  2. Do you hang it for a week or so until you kill one?
  3. Do you hike it back to a truck where you have tons of ice and solid coolers?
I am very curious because I just read a story in Eastman's Bowhunting Journal where a guy and his buddy did just this. They were fortunate enough to get their elk within 4 days of each other, but what if it had taken him longer? I know what we do with whitetails in NY, but what about being alone in the wilderness?

I am planning on elk hunting with a friend in 2011 and these are some of the things I am thinking about. What suggestions do you guys have?


  1. Everything depends, right? If it's cold, then no question... hang the meat until we're both done. But if it's warm, as I learned the hard way, elk meat doesn't handle hanging in the heat so well... especially during the rut.

    In that case, I'd go ahead and pack the meat back to the coolers, or at least have my buddy who's already tagged out start the process. Elk venison is a terrible thing to waste. Not to mention if you're trying to save the hide/cape, the hair will "slip" if it stays warm too long.

  2. Like Phillip says - depends! The worst weather by far is DAMP weather and not cold enough. It'll sour quick. If hot, make sure you hang it free and let it sear over,(protect it from the flies with breathable bags)it may even look black but this crust will help keep it. Just make sure when you cut up the meat to cut off this seared meat as it will taste strong, but the meat underneath is sweet. I have seen mule deer hang in the desert heat for over a week this way (dry and Hot)with great results. But best practice is start it towards the cooler as soon as it hits the ground.

  3. Yeah, didn't think about damp... but the damp air (snow melt, then drizzle, then humidity, then snow) is probably as much a culprit in my bad experience as the warm temps.