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Field dressing

Old 05-06-2019, 01:13 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 550

I often see guys on TV carrying full backpacks while hunting, and I had a hunting partner once that did. I've always wonder what they have in those packs, and why would they need to carry it around all day while hunting. Now I know. Their packs are full of all the latest gadgets that, if they are on TV, their sponsors are selling, or if they are just regular hunters, their packs are full of the latest gadgets that people on the internet tell them they need.

I have been DIY hunting for deer, elk, and anything else I could get a tag for in Colorado or Montana almost every year since the mid '60s. Except for one whitetail doe, I have field dressed every animal in the field, where they fell. I have been very fortunate that those animals include 3 dozen elk, at least 3 dozen each of mule or whitetail deer and pronghorn antelope, 3 bighorn rams, 2 Shiras bull moose, and a mountain goat. On most of those hunts, including one of the moose, all of the sheep, and the goat were taken on solo hunts.

I have never tried to hang an animal in the field to dress it. One whitetail doe I brought home whole and hung it up to dress it. When I open up her chest cavity, the blood poured out splattering all over everything and leaving a muddy pool on the ground under her. And then I had to put the guts in a double trash bag and haul it off to the dumpster. Never again! If I want to have an animal mounted, I'll usually cape it in the field, otherwise I leave the hide on the animal until I get it home. That helps to keep the meat clean, and it reduces the amount of dried meat that I have to trim off when I process the animal.

Hardcastonly recommended carrying some parachute cord with you when hunting. I have done that for years, and have found it to be useful for many things, but most importantly to tie off a leg to help keep an animal open while I am field dressing it. For larger animals like elk, I'll often quarter the animal and hang the quarters in a tree to help them cool.

All animals should be field dressed and opened to cool as soon as possible. Especially early in the season, larger animals like elk, if left undressed in the field overnight can sour by the next day.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:21 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: fla
Posts: 955

your correct but keep it in context
if your hunting with-in a 30-40 minute walk to your truck you only need a knife and canteen
some wipes /wetnaps maybe a gps

heres a quick memory jog list, for MY hunting day pack

(you may not need everything but it may jog your memories,
or cause you too think.)
(remember you might be forced to stay out over night,
& weather is unpredictable)
I generally leave camp and will be out for 3-4 days before returning to the truck unless we have an elk down
and can be several miles up a remote canyon, I camp cold (except for occasional cup of hot instant coffee)
and leave zero evidence I was there

Ive spent dozens of nights sleeping out under a conifer, under a plastic sheet
certainly I never take everything listed , but I take what a trip will require from the list

skinning knife
compact blade sharpener
area topo maps
cell phone (car charger and/or back-up batteries)
several lighters
several mil surplus trioxane heat tabs
granola bars
rain poncho
2 gallon zip lock bags
small block & tackle hoist & rope(150 ft parachute cord)
spare ammo
heavy hoodie jacket
large plastic tarp
other meds
lip chapstick
water purification tablets, or filter/pump
down vest
pack of wetnaps
toilet paper
emergency food
on your belt
large knife or light tomahawk, or kukuri
the cold steel (TRAIL MASTER, or ( KUKRI) are good choices

anything that could get screwed up if you fall in a creek like medicine, licences, cell phones etc. gets double zip loc bagged
yes it all fits easily in a pack with lots of room left

Last edited by hardcastonly; 05-07-2019 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:11 AM
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 10

+1 for the "gutless method" Unless a long drag or aging the meat-
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 12

Subscribed to this one
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 12

Loving this thread, very interesting discussion

Last edited by penak; 06-23-2019 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:29 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Germany/Calif.
Posts: 2,391

As far as taking a lot of junk with you, IMO better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. I just keep my pack below 40-45 lbs.
I was on a guided hunt in the Czech Republic. The guide dropped us off at 2:30-3 Oclock ànd pointed us in three different directions with a wave of his hand saying there was a shooting tower out that away. Overcast, dark as heck I wondered off through fields of Rape in the direction indicated. I got pretty wet from the dew and eventually found the shooting tower. I'm used to cold weather, seriously cold weather, but this time the perfect storm hit. High wind, a degree or two above freezing. sideways sleet. I put on every piece of clothing I had with me and put my feet in my backpack. Long story short I got hypothermic. Finally decided it was either move or die and wandered off in a likely direction, I eventually saw a light about a mile away. I almost fell in the door of a farmers house. They got some hot soup in me but I eventually passed out anyway, I was out of it for hours.
Anybody who says it can't happen to them is delusional. I've logged forests at 10-15 F for ten hours and never had any real issues with it, but just the right circumstances can be a killer. After that trip, I always carried a big block of Chocolate, a tin of Salmon and a thermos of sweet Coffee when possible, even on short trips, for a metabolism boost. My biggest mistake was I hadn't eaten right for a couple of days prior to the hunt. The least painful way to learn a lesson is from somebody else's screw-ups.

I always open up my game as quickly as possible and prop it open with a stick, the quicker it cools the longer it lasts.

Last edited by MudderChuck; 06-25-2019 at 09:32 PM.
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