Float Hunt Meat Care

mhungerford

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Dec 1, 2009
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Laramie,WY
I am headed to Alaska in September to partake in a 10 day float moose hunt. If it all comes together and we do put a few moose on the ground (we have 4 moose tags)I am look for advice on how to keep the meat from going bad. I know keep it clean when boning out and I need to get it in bags to keep the flies off and keep the air flow and try to keep it as cool as possible. Just wondering if any of you guys had tips or tricks on how to keep the lose of meat to a minimum. thanks.
 

deer_shooter

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Jul 20, 2009
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Southwest Pa.
Somewhere on here is a great thread on this subject. I think Bambistew started it but not sure. I do remember he provided a lot of good info.
 

Kaitum

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Jan 14, 2012
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New Mexico
Yes, look up Bambi's meat care thread. Lots of great info.

My first suggestion: do not bone out the meat in the field. I've done enough float hunts to know stacking and handling meat with the bone in (that has some structure and rigidity) beats stacking a loose, unwieldy bag of meat any day. Yes, it adds weight but the trade offs are worth it.

At each camp along your route, build a rack with logs and rocks elevated 6-12" off the ground near the river's edge. Stack the meat in a single layer on this rack and cover loosely with a tarp. Use some branches to help prop the tarp off the meat. This will keep it dry if it rains, shaded from the sun, and allow air to circulate around the meat keeping it cool. Locate next to the water as this is where the coolest air will be at night. Additionally, after a day or two of this you won't want to carry those moose quarters any farther than absolutely necessary.

While you're rafting down river, build a rack by laying branches across the raft tubes. Set the quarters in a single layer on this raft and cover loosely with a tarp. It'll keep the meat off the bottom of the raft (i.e. drier) and keep it shaded and elevated for the day's winds (i.e. cooler). Trying to balance a game bag full of boned out meat on a rack is a losing battle, thus leave the bone in.

After you quarter up a moose, spray the meat with citric acid. Then re-apply every other day until the meat is home. Citric acid lowers the surface pH of the meat, reducing build up of spoilage bacteria. I think the ratio I use is 1 tbsp citric acid to 1 quart water.

If its really hot out, you may need to submerse the meat in the river to cool it down. Take a handful of heavy duty contractor bags for this task. Also take a small instant read thermometer so you can monitor internal meat temperature. Moose quarters have a ton of thermal mass. Get them cooled down quickly and my experience has been as long as it doesn't get too hot outside they'll stay cool just by keeping them in the shade and allowing air to circulate around them. The meat surface may warm up but the inner portion of each quarter tends to stay cooler, once initially cooled.

Larry Bartlett (pristineventures.com) has several float hunting DVDs that are some of the best out there, all of them focus heavily on meat care in the field on float hunts. Well worth watching several times. Nothing I've said here you won't find in those videos. I've hauled 10 Alaskan critters downstream in a raft, haven't lost a single bit of meat yet following these steps.

Good luck!
 
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