Hot fall meat care

Dave2643

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
48
I'm going on a sheep hunt on the Salmon River in Idaho this fall and if I am lucky enough to kill a ram, I want to make sure I do everything I can to make sure the meat is protected. It is apt to be 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and we may need 2 or 3 days to get the meat to the river and catch a boat going out. I have heard citric acid is a good preservative but cant seem to find it in the stores locally. I am packing 5 lbs of salt for the cape and horns if we kill a ram but want to make sure I don't let the meat be compromised. Anybody have any experience in conditions like this?
 

Kaitum

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
743
Location
New Mexico
You'll find citric acid in stores that sell canning / jarring supplies or in home brew / wine making supply shops. Shop making supply stores carry it too. Or just order it on Amazon. You'll only need a few ounces.

I shot a caribou under similar weather conditions once, maybe not quite as hot but plenty warm for quick spoilage. Skin the critter quickly, apply citric acid, and get the game bags hung in a shady location as soon as possible. If you have a cool water source nearby, put game bags in heavy duty contractor bags and submerse the meat to cool. Hang meat at night to allow air circulation. Hang near a stream if possible to take advantage of cool downstream air currents. Take a small instant read thermometer to monitor internal meat temp, check several times a day and submerse to cool when internal temps exceed 50 F, give or take.

Alternatively, if you're sure you can't get the meat out before it spoils, it may be better to hold off and wait for cooler weather before notching the tag.
 
Last edited:

WapitiBob

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Messages
3,295
Location
Bend, Orygun
Citric acid is a surface treatment. Being a cpl days out I would break it down to small muscle groups so you aren't trapping heat at the interior. Basically bone it out and use a cpl extra game bags so you don't have a big ball of meat trapping heat.
 

Kaitum

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
743
Location
New Mexico
Citric acid is a surface treatment. Being a cpl days out I would break it down to small muscle groups so you aren't trapping heat at the interior. Basically bone it out and use a cpl extra game bags so you don't have a big ball of meat trapping heat.

Good point, lower the thermal mass.
 

VAspeedgoat

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Messages
2,826
Location
Timberville, VA
Bambistew had a good post on this a while back. I don't know how to post the link but search for backcountry meat car and you should find it.
 

Bambistew

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2002
Messages
6,850
Location
Chugiak, AK
If its going to be that hot... take ingredients to make jerky. The pack out will be much lighter as well. :D

The only way you'll be able to keep meat in those temps will be by submersion, and even at that the water will probably be in the 60deg range? Big rocks also work as a heat sink to suck the heat out. Shaded rocks partial submerged work really well for this. You can't leave the meat in a plastic bag for too long, or it will go sour. You'll want to pull it out and let it air dry/cool at night or as soon as it cools off.

Will it really be that warm in the mountains? Temps are generally a lot cooler at elevation and along rivers/streams.

You need to get the heat out of the meat as soon as possible and let it crust over. Apply/spray on citric acid, and make sure to use quality game bags. Wash/dry them if they get bloody. You want maximum air flow through the bags. Don't get cheap cheese cloth bags or use cotton sheets. The cheese cloth bags are obviously not a good choice where you have a lot of dust/dirt and blow flies, and cotton will not dry out or breath as well as a good synthetic bag like Caribou Bags, TAG bags, or various other copy cat bags.

Moisture + heat = bacteria.

Citric acid is not a preservative, but reduces the growth of bacteria. You'll want to re-apply daily. I would imagine the blow flies will be pretty bad if its that warm. The citric acid works pretty well to keep them away, but get the meat in game bags asap. I usually soak my game bags in a concentrated solution of citric acid and water, and let them hang to dry. This way I have some protection from the flies right at the start.

Also the flies will be attracted to the nose/ears of the cape/head as soon as the sheep dies. Within minutes. You must cape it, turn eyes, nose/ears, flesh it and salt it at these temps. Pay special attention to the face and areas with short hair, it will slip easiest. Talk to your taxidermist about this.
 

Dave2643

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
48
Sheep hunt

If the trends continue, we may have to put the first hunt date back to cooler weather. The river flows are dropping so fast that the river may not be navigable on the last of August when the season opens. I hope to be going that first week, but will have to wait and see. It can be very warm down there in September. Thanks for the tips.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,108
Location
Indiana
If the trends continue, we may have to put the first hunt date back to cooler weather. The river flows are dropping so fast that the river may not be navigable on the last of August when the season opens. I hope to be going that first week, but will have to wait and see. It can be very warm down there in September. Thanks for the tips.
It can also snow then! ;) I woke up to 6" of fresh snow in the Frank on Labor Day one year helping a buddy with a sheep tag. This is from a couple of days later.


FWIW, IMO, a sheep hunt there is as much a mental struggle as it is a physical one. We didn't see a whole lot of any kind of animals while in there which can be a bit depressing. Finally found a ram, but that was on my 2nd and the tag holders third trip. IIRC he shot his ram on the 31st day he hunted that tag...
 

Forum statistics

Threads
102,469
Messages
1,651,835
Members
32,005
Latest member
Stone23
Top