Latest thoughts on traveling with meat

Guy5858

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Nov 26, 2018
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Have an upcoming Antelope hunt that I will be flying Southwest. If successful I could have meat from two antelope. May also bring skull and hide home (though good chance I would leave skull with local taxidermist for a euro mount).

I have read through many old threads. I think my gameplan will be to carry on a cooler with a soft cooler also packed. I may ship home gear if needed. I would debone meat and use dry ice for flight home.

I have a few specific questions if anyone could help would appreciate it:

1. Will a standard 50 quart cooler + a similar size soft cooler be enough size for two antelope (plus possibly one skull)?

2. Does this plan become more foolproof if I can get the meat frozen before getting on plane or is dry ice sufficient with raw meat?

3. I read online that the dry ice must be able to release air, does this mean the actual dry ice package or the cooler? How do you go about doing this if on a cooler?

Thanks!
 

dirtclod Az.

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Dry Ice Does Not Release Air.It releases Carbon Dioxide which is Poisonous.
You don't want Oxygen getting to Dry Ice,it will dissipate very quickly.Keep Ice wrapped
tight.I even wrap extra newspsper around it and tape closed. :cool:
 

wllm1313

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Have an upcoming Antelope hunt that I will be flying Southwest. If successful I could have meat from two antelope. May also bring skull and hide home (though good chance I would leave skull with local taxidermist for a euro mount).

I have read through many old threads. I think my gameplan will be to carry on a cooler with a soft cooler also packed. I may ship home gear if needed. I would debone meat and use dry ice for flight home.

I have a few specific questions if anyone could help would appreciate it:

1. Will a standard 50 quart cooler + a similar size soft cooler be enough size for two antelope (plus possibly one skull)?

2. Does this plan become more foolproof if I can get the meat frozen before getting on plane or is dry ice sufficient with raw meat?

3. I read online that the dry ice must be able to release air, does this mean the actual dry ice package or the cooler? How do you go about doing this if on a cooler?

Thanks!
1. Yes if it’s boned out.
2. Frozen is better, as you can’t fly with wet ice. A big piece of dry ice, will get your meat frozen “enough” to make it home anywhere in the us on a direct flight. There is a dry ice limit for baggage, get twice your limit the day before, it will sublimate enough to be legal within 12-18 hours.
3. They just don’t want you to make a dry ice bomb, coolers aren’t 100% airtight so you are all good. ( if your worries leave the plug slightly ajar.

-it’s a pronghorn hunt so you have a 90% chase of filling your tag... as long as your using a rifle.
 

Focus

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Nov 17, 2017
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Never done this but I'm curious if anyone has..............

Used a Yeti Hopper as a suitcase for the trip out. Packed an empty duffle bag in the Hopper. Shoot the critters and stick the meat in the Hopper. Use the duffle bag for luggage home. Not sure where this leaves the skull but if you are having a local taxidermist do the euro mount you wouldn't be taking the skull home anyway.
 

88man

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yes 2 boned out will fit in the 50 quart cooler, your gonna need another cooler for the skull and frozen cape.
 

wllm1313

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Never done this but I'm curious if anyone has..............

Used a Yeti Hopper as a suitcase for the trip out. Packed an empty duffle bag in the Hopper. Shoot the critters and stick the meat in the Hopper. Use the duffle bag for luggage home. Not sure where this leaves the skull but if you are having a local taxidermist do the euro mount you wouldn't be taking the skull home anyway.
Yep, I have the older hopper 30 not the square one. It can be used as your personal item (man purse) and put under the seat in front of you.

If you can freeze your boned out meat solid, you best bet is to double bag it in trash bags or a dry bag, put that in your backpack and then carry on your backpack. Most airlines don't have carry-on weight restrictions. I've done an entire bear and an entire caribou in my carry-on, (two different trips).
 

Western Traveler1

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I’ve flown meat to family out of state many times. Each time I have checked in the cooler with Delta in Montana they ask if my cooler contains dry ice. It doesn’t but seems they are asking in order to verify it doesn’t. I freeze the meat before hand (or processor does). It will stay frozen many hours easily across country. I don’t know if it is their policy or handling is different but I have never needed it.
 

Jwill

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Virginia
Get the meat frozen and you don't need dry ice for the trip home. Try to keep your coolers under 50 lbs total, will save you money going with more coolers, but increases difficulty getting through the airport. I like the idea of the yeti hoppers, as long as you can get 45 lbs of meat in one. If you get one of the coolers with wheels and an extendable handle like this: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coleman-45-qt-Performance-Wheeled-Cooler/49580650 it is handy to use as a cart for hauling your gear around the airport and to your vehicle. Recommend dropping head off at a taxidermist for euro and not bringing that with you on the plane. I've found it easier and cheaper just to pay extra baggage fees and bring all gear on the plane rather than shipping, again pay attention to individual bag weights and keep them under 50.
 

88man

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Yep, I have the older hopper 30 not the square one. It can be used as your personal item (man purse) and put under the seat in front of you.

If you can freeze your boned out meat solid, you best bet is to double bag it in trash bags or a dry bag, put that in your backpack and then carry on your backpack. Most airlines don't have carry-on weight restrictions. I've done an entire bear and an entire caribou in my carry-on, (two different trips).
That caribou must have been small and the bear tiny also. I have never killed a Caribou but I can't imagine getting less than 100lbs of boned meat from one.
 

wnc2500

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Asheville
I have done it the past two years flying from MT to NC. I would 100% make sure that the meat is frozen. I flew out at noon, and arrived home 12 hrs later. Meat was fine. No need to do the dry ice, if it is frozen solid. I just did not unzip it often. I only checked it in Atlanta when I was within 1 hr from arriving home. I will tell you that I made sure for it to be under 50 pounds, and I just paid for one extra bag. Guns were bag one. Clothes, and ammo, were bag two. Paid for bag three. Then my checked bag was one of the soft coolers. The other one was a backpack that had all my other stuff (work computer, IPAD, chargers, optics, etc).
 

sneakypete

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Why not find a meat processor in the area and have them ship it to you over night? I have a friend who's done it in Montana a few times!
 

wllm1313

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That caribou must have been small and the bear tiny also. I have never killed a Caribou but I can't imagine getting less than 100lbs of boned meat from one.
That caribou must have been small and the bear tiny also. I have never killed a Caribou but I can't imagine getting less than 100lbs of boned meat from one.
Interesting way of getting it done, I'm having a hard time visualizing your process, seems like it wouldn't fit could you please elaborate.

Would love to 88man.

On the caribou trip, I killed a cow caribou. I would say it was similar in size to a 3-4 year old mule deer buck, I didn't have a scale so I couldn't tell you the exact weight. Meat, if you think about it, is pretty dense so just because it weighs a lot doesn't mean it takes up much space. You can fit an entire boned out elk in a stone glacier 5100, albeit that pack would weigh over 200lbs and you couldn't get it off the ground, but I digress...

We boned the caribou out in the field and packed it back to our truck, we had a house to stay in our last day on Adak so we wrapped everything and put it in a freezer. Once frozen solid, I packed all the meat in a roll top dry bag, I believe it's a 40L but it might be bigger, the dry bag then went in my stone glacier, which was my carry-on. We also caught a salmon run while we were on the island, pinks but I'm a salmon neophyte so I'm not jaded enough not to catch my limit, I believe the limit was 10 a person. We filleted these fish and I put them in my Yeti 30L, this cooler, because it fits under the seat, constituted my personal item.

I believe between the pack full of meat, and the cooler I was probably carrying close to 100lbs through the airport. Needless to say it totally sucked, but I avoided any baggage fees as the weight limit on AK airlines is 50lbs.

Boned out meat from 3 caribou
1566395966703.png

Salmon
1566395993913.png

My buddy with one of the three caribou we shot, all cows about that size
1566396154149.png


My bear trip to AK, was this spring on POW. I killed an average size spring bear (17in skull), I'm sure it would have weighed 30% more in the fall but what it weighed exactly is anyone's guess. I boned out that bear, fleshed the hide as best I could, and put the meat the skull, and the hide in a Yeti 65 that with a 20lb block of dry ice that had melted down to 10lbs. The dry ice got everything pretty frosty, and kept it cool for a couple of days before our transporter picked us up. Once back in Ketchikan, our transporter very graciously let me keep my meat, hide, and skull (after it was checked by an agent) in his freezer for a day before I flew home. I put the frozen and folded up hide in a SG load cell in my cooler, along with the skull which was wrapped in so many layers of glad wrap that it looked like a bowling ball. The meat which was just in caribou game bags frozen I put in the same dry bag from my previous trip in my SG pack and carried on the plane, it weighed similar to the caribou... +/- 10lbs.

1566396923446.png

I did full write ups on both trips.

I probably haven't killed an animal to date that is worth of "the big ones" thread, but am always happy to help others figure out the sometimes tricky logistics of out of state hunting, even if it's just speculating on what you might want to try.
 

wllm1313

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Why not find a meat processor in the area and have them ship it to you over night? I have a friend who's done it in Montana a few times!
Processing fees + shipping might run you $500 or more for 2 antelope. You can easily fly them home and do it your self for free.
 

88man

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That caribou must have been small and the bear tiny also. I have never killed a Caribou but I can't imagine getting less than 100lbs of boned meat from one.
Interesting way of getting it done, I'm having a hard time visualizing your process, seems like it wouldn't fit could you please elaborate.

Would love to 88man.

On the caribou trip, I killed a cow caribou. I would say it was similar in size to a 3-4 year old mule deer buck, I didn't have a scale so I couldn't tell you the exact weight. Meat, if you think about it, is pretty dense so just because it weighs a lot doesn't mean it takes up much space. You can fit an entire boned out elk in a stone glacier 5100, albeit that pack would weigh over 200lbs and you couldn't get it off the ground, but I digress...

We boned the caribou out in the field and packed it back to our truck, we had a house to stay in our last day on Adak so we wrapped everything and put it in a freezer. Once frozen solid, I packed all the meat in a roll top dry bag, I believe it's a 40L but it might be bigger, the dry bag then went in my stone glacier, which was my carry-on. We also caught a salmon run while we were on the island, pinks but I'm a salmon neophyte so I'm not jaded enough not to catch my limit, I believe the limit was 10 a person. We filleted these fish and I put them in my Yeti 30L, this cooler, because it fits under the seat, constituted my personal item.

I believe between the pack full of meat, and the cooler I was probably carrying close to 100lbs through the airport. Needless to say it totally sucked, but I avoided any baggage fees as the weight limit on AK airlines is 50lbs.

Boned out meat from 3 caribou
View attachment 112758

Salmon
View attachment 112759

My buddy with one of the three caribou we shot, all cows about that size
View attachment 112760


My bear trip to AK, was this spring on POW. I killed an average size spring bear (17in skull), I'm sure it would have weighed 30% more in the fall but what it weighed exactly is anyone's guess. I boned out that bear, fleshed the hide as best I could, and put the meat the skull, and the hide in a Yeti 65 that with a 20lb block of dry ice that had melted down to 10lbs. The dry ice got everything pretty frosty, and kept it cool for a couple of days before our transporter picked us up. Once back in Ketchikan, our transporter very graciously let me keep my meat, hide, and skull (after it was checked by an agent) in his freezer for a day before I flew home. I put the frozen and folded up hide in a SG load cell in my cooler, along with the skull which was wrapped in so many layers of glad wrap that it looked like a bowling ball. The meat which was just in caribou game bags frozen I put in the same dry bag from my previous trip in my SG pack and carried on the plane, it weighed similar to the caribou... +/- 10lbs.

View attachment 112761

I did full write ups on both trips.

I probably haven't killed an animal to date that is worth of "the big ones" thread, but am always happy to help others figure out the sometimes tricky logistics of out of state hunting, even if it's just speculating on what you might want to try.
Congrats on the kills, where there is a will there is a way! Again Im guessing you stuffed about 80 to 90lbs in the bag as 40liters is around two 5 gallon buckets. So yes I believe you. I just wouldn't want to do it.
 

wllm1313

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Congrats on the kills, where there is a will there is a way! Again Im guessing you stuffed about 80 to 90lbs in the bag as 40liters is around two 5 gallon buckets. So yes I believe you. I just wouldn't want to do it.
Seems about right, getting it into the overhead bin was hilarious. A super nice flight attendant tried to "help me" as I was hosting my bag into the bin... the look on her face when she tried to pick it up was priceless.

Just FYI a SG bag will fit in the overhead bin, the correct way bottom of pack towards the outside of the plane top towards the aisle.
 

88man

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Seems about right, getting it into the overhead bin was hilarious. A super nice flight attendant tried to "help me" as I was hosting my bag into the bin... the look on her face when she tried to pick it up was priceless.

Just FYI a SG bag will fit in the overhead bin, the correct way bottom of pack towards the outside of the plane top towards the aisle.
I thought there was a weight limit on carry on bags??
 

Jim/Wa

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No way I'd leave dry ice in a cooler -- even if you're under the 5# max or whatever it is. The problem isn't poison gas (it's just CO2, the same stuff coming out of your lungs right now), it's the pressure buildup in sealed containers. It's not needed and you're just asking to have your luggage pulled aside and inspected by TSA. I always write clearly on the outside -- "no dry ice" -- and reconfirm that when I check baggage. I've ship frozen meat via ground from Portland, OR to family back east. No problems if frozen solid to start and it's packed tightly in a good cooler. For flights less than 24hrs, just freeze it, throw it in a cooler, carry on what you can and check the rest.
 

Guy5858

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yes 2 boned out will fit in the 50 quart cooler, your gonna need another cooler for the skull and frozen cape.
Question for you or anyone else kind enough to respond...

Plan is to be camping for 2-3 days then cross country flight home with meat. Hoping to use cooler and dry ice for flight with regular ice while camping. Can I get away using a "cheap" Coleman or Igloo chest cooler for the flight? Or would it be helpful for me to pay up for a more expensive cooler?

I have an early morning flight our last day so I would need to buy dry ice the night before and hope it lasts until midday/afternoon the next day. Wondering if a cheap cooler will have enough insulation to keep everything cold until I get home.
 

wllm1313

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Question for you or anyone else kind enough to respond...

Plan is to be camping for 2-3 days then cross country flight home with meat. Hoping to use cooler and dry ice for flight with regular ice while camping. Can I get away using a "cheap" Coleman or Igloo chest cooler for the flight? Or would it be helpful for me to pay up for a more expensive cooler?

I have an early morning flight our last day so I would need to buy dry ice the night before and hope it lasts until midday/afternoon the next day. Wondering if a cheap cooler will have enough insulation to keep everything cold until I get home.
Coleman should be fine, as long as the meat is frozen with dry ice before hand and your totally travel time isn’t crazy long (lots of long layovers).

I carry on my meat frozen in just a dry bag and it’s still rock hard when I get home. Also by carrying it on you don’t have to worry about meat spoilage if your bag gets lost.
 
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