How many quarts of ice chest for mature bull?

Big Bore

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I searched and couldn't find this, so it may be an odd question.

I'll be driving from Texas to hunt elk in NM this October. The plan is to load my ice chests up with dry ice and leave them at the trail head locked in the outfitters horse trailers. But something that I'm having a hard time calculating is just how much ice chest space will I need for a deboned bull elk? Is 150 enough? 200? Etc.

Thanks!
 

wllm1313

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Obviously it’s a little variable, with space for ice and how big the bull is...

Between me and my BIL I’ve loaded up 5 bulls in the last couple of years.

150 is just barely enough really tight on space for ice, 215 give you plenty off room with ample ice. I usually load a yeti 65 will milk jugs, 10lb of dry ice and then, a 20lb bag of crushed iced loose so the whole cooler is just a giant ice brick... this will easily last a week in the shade. Then I take a 100 and a 50 Coleman use them for food and storing gear. Once the elk is down I spit up the meat and ice.
 

jvanhoy

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My raghorn from last year wouldn’t all fit in a 120 deboned. After it was processed it barely had room for one block of dry ice.
 

rtraverdavis

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Two 100qt coolers with frozen milk jugs in the bottom was juuuuuust enough for my bull last year. That was quartered but not deboned.
 

WapitiBob

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I'd take two, 120 qt coolers from walmart, leave them empty (use as dry box's), toss in the Elk when I was done, add some ice from the closest gas station and head home. You will have no issues doing that; I've done it half/dozen times from NM and I live 28 hours away. I also leave the bone in but cut the hind quarter at the last joint, above where most usually cut theirs.
 

Rzrbck918

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I'd take two, 120 qt coolers from walmart, leave them empty (use as dry box's), toss in the Elk when I was done, add some ice from the closest gas station and head home. You will have no issues doing that; I've done it half/dozen times from NM and I live 28 hours away. I also leave the bone in but cut the hind quarter at the last joint, above where most usually cut theirs.
Do you cut at the femur and leave the shank?

We usually take two 100 qt per tag. We have faith in spite of historical evidence.
 
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I'd take two, 120 qt coolers from walmart, leave them empty (use as dry box's), toss in the Elk when I was done, add some ice from the closest gas station and head home. You will have no issues doing that; I've done it half/dozen times from NM and I live 28 hours away. I also leave the bone in but cut the hind quarter at the last joint, above where most usually cut theirs.
yep. I live further than that, never had an issue. brought elk and deer home the same way. just keep the water drained off and keep on rolling.
 

Rzrbck918

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I cut the shank from the bone and separate at the end of femur; before the start of the shank. That first joint coming down from the ball is only held together with tendons. It shortens up the package by about a foot. The shank and part of the round inner muscle will be loose.

View attachment 106528
Great idea. Makes perfect sense. For those who don't like to completely debone, that will make the difference in fitting in the ice chest or not. THanks.
 

riv3rbanks

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I saw a lot of hunters with chest freezers in the back of their trucks in Idaho. This seems like a great idea as those are well insulated and are much cheaper than a yeti cooler. I got a 5 cubic ft freezer from walmart for $99 on black friday. You could get one of those and just plug it in when you get home. A yeti 210 cost $800.
 

wllm1313

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I saw a lot of hunters with chest freezers in the back of their trucks in Idaho. This seems like a great idea as those are well insulated and are much cheaper than a yeti cooler. I got a 5 cubic ft freezer from Walmart for $99 on black Friday. You could get one of those and just plug it in when you get home. A yeti 210 cost $800.
Honestly, I really don't know why anyone would buy a yeti bigger than a 65/85. All you need the yeti for is to preserve your ice while your hunting, even the crappiest Walmart cooler will do the trick driving back home.
 

HuntingJudge

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I saw a lot of hunters with chest freezers in the back of their trucks in Idaho. This seems like a great idea as those are well insulated and are much cheaper than a yeti cooler. I got a 5 cubic ft freezer from walmart for $99 on black friday. You could get one of those and just plug it in when you get home. A yeti 210 cost $800.
we have done the freezer when we hunt for a couple week in Montana. Freeze them before you leave and then run the generator for a couple hours ever day. That works really well especially for a big group when more than one tag.
 

88man

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Why do you need the ice at the trail head?? After you kill and are packed out to the trail head drive to town and get your dry ice. A boned bull will fit in a 150qt. You will need a cooler for the cape also 70qt.
 

wllm1313

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Why do you need the ice at the trail head?? After you kill and are packed out to the trail head drive to town and get your dry ice. A boned bull will fit in a 150qt. You will need a cooler for the cape also 70qt.
Might take you a day or two to pack the whole thing out, the first load goes into the cooler + as soon as you get to the trailhead, also the trailhead might be a long way from town.
 
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Big Bore

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Might take you a day or two to pack the whole thing out, the first load goes into to the cooler + as soon as you get to the trail head, also the trail head might be a long way from town.
Bingo. The trailhead is 1.5 hours from the nearest gas station.
 

Big Bore

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Why do you need the ice at the trail head?? After you kill and are packed out to the trail head drive to town and get your dry ice. A boned bull will fit in a 150qt. You will need a cooler for the cape also 70qt.
Legitimate question for you...why does it hurt to have ice at the trailhead?
 
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