Monday, December 22, 2014

PART 10 - Meat Care on Your Alaska Sitka Blacktail Hunt

Meat care I would say was the biggest stressor I had going into this trip. Since the temps were about 50 degrees and we had no cooler, we had to cool our meat down a more natural way. While researching the trip I spoke with a gentleman about sinking his meat to the bottom of a creek or lake to keep it cool and to reduce the scent to reduce the attraction to scavengers.  This was the method of meat preservation we planned and I was sure glad I had done that research. 

Using Nature's Cooler

We boned our deer out in the field then packed the meat back to camp where we hung the meat, sprayed it with Alaska Game saver (you can get at the sporting goods store in town) and let it dry for a few hour before processing it and placing it into gallon Ziploc bags. We placed the Ziploc bags into heavy duty 3-mil garbage bags and zip tied them shut making sure to get as much air out as we could. 

Next, I placed the garbage bags into mesh dive or produce bags with around 10-20 lbs of rocks, then sunk them in about 3-4ft of water. This worked like a charm. The meat cooled off excellent in the 40 degree water, and we didn’t have to worry about protecting our meat from the abundance of foxes and bears on the island. This was also a great way to keep the beer cold as well as any other perishables. When I go back I will make sure that I am near cold water so I can use the same methods again.  Once we got back to Kodiak we were able to pack the meat into shipping boxes and freeze it at the hotel (most of the hotels have a public freezer). 

Our meat bags sunk in a nearby stream.

Meat = Weight

Both Emily and I bought two tags each. We did this so we could tag a nice mature buck first and then hold out for a trophy. This is one of those things that we did not plan prior to the hunt very well. You must plan out your gear and weight very carefully if you take more than one deer. Sitka’s deer are a smaller however both our bucks yielded around 60lbs of boned-out meat a piece. With antlers and a cape and you can quickly reach your max weight for the float plane. Many hunters who take multiple deer have to pay for extra float plane trip to do meat hauls, which can add up quickly. After taking our two bucks we decided that our second tags would have to be for a monster since we had almost reached our weight capacity. We never found another monster but were completely happy going home with one deer a piece and not having to pay for an extra float plane load of meat. 

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