The video is pretty self explanatory and covers the “meat and potatoes” of deboning an elk, so here a few things I didn’t have a chance to talk about in the field. These 10 tips will make the field dressing and deboning process a lot easier.
1) Make sure that you have all the equipment needed to track and take care of an elk inside your pack at all times (knife, rope, game bags, marking ribbon). That way you save a trip back to camp and wasted miles on your feet.
2) Keep a few trash bags in your pack at all times. They will help keep the blood off of your pack, but they also come in handy if you need to drop the meat in a creek to keep it cool.
3) Make sure to study up on all local game regulations about deboning, proof of sex and the amount of meat that needs to be taken out of the woods. For example; in the state of Colorado proof of sex must be kept on part of the meat or one of the rear quarters at all times.
4) Get the meat cooled off as fast as you can! I was lucky in both of my elk kills this year with cool weather, but if you don’t experience such luck, do everything possible to get the meat hung up and cooled off quickly.
5) Whenever you make cuts through the hair, try to go with the grain. This will keep the mess down to a minimum.
6) When you’re cutting chunks of meat of off the quarters, don’t get too hung up on getting every last scrap during the main process. I always come back and do a good “once over” to get the scraps I missed the first time after I’ve gotten the majority of the meat off of the animal.
7) If you have bear issues in the area, separate the meat in smaller portion game bags and hang it as high as you can! If that’s not an option, hang the bags off a cliff or rock wall.
8) Use an emergency space blanket or garbage bag to set the meat on during the deboning process. After you’ve done it a few times this won’t be needed, but at first you’ll probably have the meat covered in dirt and grass.
9) Learn how to take apart an elk without using a saw. Saws are heavy and take up a lot of space. I can get an elk broken down with just a Havalon knife in less than 90 minutes.
10) Separate the meat in each game bag in accordance with the amount of weight you can actually carry. This will keep you from swapping meat from one bag to another.
Over the last several years I have been able to try out several different pieces of equipment for taking care of game in the wilderness. Here is a list of items that I use.
– Kifaru Game Bags
– Caribou Game Bags
– T.A.G.S Game Bags
– Havalon Knives
– 1 roll of orange ribbon
– 100 ft of 550 cord
– 3 contractor grade garbage bags
– 5 feet of high quality duct tape or gorilla tape