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Getting meat back home.

Old 09-28-2004, 07:46 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 25
Default Getting meat back home.

I'll be visiting family in Montana this fall (I live in Mass. and will be flying) and while out there I have a tag to bag a mule or whitetail doe or a mule buck. How do people get the meat home quickly so that it doesn't spoil? I'll have the carcass processed at a commercial meat processing facility where they will freeze the meat, but after that how does one get the meat home quickly? Other than 1.) taking the meat on the plane, or 2.) shipping the meat UPS Next Day Air, are there any other methods for getting the meat home quickly?

SkipD is offline  
Old 09-29-2004, 07:21 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,358
Default RE: Getting meat back home.

I just got back from Idaho with 230 lbs of meat, its a nice problem to have [8D]

While there two bulls where shot and we dealt with the meat differently. Roughly the same
weight of meat in both. In both cases the meat was boxed at the butcher, then put in a freezer at the lodge for about 24 hours. Not really enough time to freeze it, but good and cold, close to frozen.

The other guy UPS overnighted his home, from ID to MA, cost him $800, but it got to his house worry free and his wife put it in the freezer.

I took mine on the plane with me. You should check with your airline of choice. I flew United and was allowed 2 checked in bags, each under 50 lbs. Then $80/bag after 2 and if they were over 50 lbs an extra $25. Note that I had one box of meat that checked in at 51 lbs and they charged the extra $25. My meat was in plastic bags, then boxed. I had a 12 hour flight time due to delays/transfers, including drive time the meat was out of the freezers for about 15 hours. When I got it home it was still chilled, and had leaked into the plastic bags but not out of the boxes.

My suggestion would be to check with the airline and see if they will take a package that weighs 100 lbs. Then get a cooler at a local store and put the meat in that. Or just shoot a small deer

Bob H in NH is offline  
Old 09-29-2004, 07:31 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 450
Default RE: Getting meat back home.

When we go elk hunting in Colorado we take two chest freezers and put them on the front a 32ft gooseneck trailer, then all of our gear and four-wheelers. We freeze our game in the chest freezers before we leave, then when we spend the night on the way home we take extension cords and plug the freezers in and keep the meat frozen. It works for us.
texasaggiebowhunter is offline  
Old 09-29-2004, 12:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 494
Default RE: Getting meat back home.

This is what I've done many times:

Travel to hunting location by plane with two large checked items plus as large of a carry on as I can get away with (large overnight bag type thing).

1. One of the checked bags is a large cooler, packed with gear if necessary.
2. Other checked bag is a large "hockey bag" filled with bulky hunting gear - packed inside a second large cooler, if I decide I need two.
3. Carry on(s) filled to capacity with whatever else I need.

I used to also check a gun. It often was my second bag (other being large cooler filled with gear). On return, it was always a third bag, but generally the airline didn't charge extra for a third checked bag if it was sports equipment like guns or skis. Airlines no longer do this and my gun counts as a checked bag. This was going to cost me the $50-$75 extra bag charge EACH TIME - sometimes both ways on a trip. Therefore I'm going to borrow a gun from a hunting partner. A couple of them have *multiple* excellent guns (most likely higher quality than my own), so it's not a problem getting one to use. I just go a day or so ahead of time and shoot (sight in, get familiar). I am also thinking of buying a second hunting rifle to leave at hunting partner's house, since I'm getting into the routine of hunting there nearly every year.

RETURN TRIP with meat (usually a good 12 hour trip, can be 24 hours if I pack the night before and get home too late to deal with meat). I've never had any spoilage or problems whatsoever. This is what we do:

We have the meat cut up by a local meat cutter we know. He gives us priority treatment and gets it done by the time we have to leave.

We get the meat chilled as much as possible. Generally not frozen though. Frozen is best, if possible. If it's frozen, you have not a worry in the world.

Pack in good quality cooler (or coolers). I go ahead and pay the excess baggage and/or excess weight charge. A good quality cooler, well sealed (seal with duct tape if it's not a good seal) will maintain coolness for a good 24 hours, no problem. If it's frozen, it will stay frozen. If cool, it's as if it's been in the fridge for that time. These new Igloo coolers really do work as they say.

If some of the meat is frozen and the rest is just cooled, the frozen meat helps keep the whole thing cooler.

In the old days of 70 lb bags, I'd pay excess weight for a 100 lb cooler, or take two 70 lb coolers and pay excess baggage if needed.

Haven't really figured out what I'm going to do now in the days of 50 lb limits. I'll do some figuring and plan for contingencies depending on how much meat I get. I'm thinking three bags - one of clothes, two of meat. I may have to pay the excess bag charge for the second meat, and maybe excess weight on both coolers if I am lucky enough to get more than 100 lbs (2X50) of meat.

If I have time, I mail back my large duffel full of bulky gear to save some money on the third checked bag, but if it's saving a $50 excess baggage charge, it often isn't worth the expense and hassle of finding a box, packing it, and taking it to the post or UPS office.

I've also FEDEXed frozen meat and fish - again, if frozen in a good cooler, it's no problem at all. Just expensive. I also once air freighted some meat. This was a good 10 - 15 years ago. My buddy dropped the cooler off at Northwest Airlines air freight and I picked it up at the airport at my town. Again, expensive, but effective.

So my two bits of advice: If you can stomach it, leave your gun at home because that will reduce your checed baggage. Mail your bulky hunting gear to further reduce return checked baggage.

Good luck and I hope your problem is how to deal with all the meat!
zekeskar is offline  
Old 09-30-2004, 08:08 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,445
Default RE: Getting meat back home.

I have packed meat in a large (old) suitcase, and in a cooler. The meat was a quartered deer in both cases. I used dry ice to keep it cool, actually the meat was partially frozen after the trip. You must inform the airline if you use dry ice. I used 5lbs if I remember right. It was more than enough.
UncleNorby is offline  
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