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Preparing For the Hunt of a lifetime

Field Prep Best Practices

You have to go into the field expecting to harvest game (that is why we do this). Below is a list of basic things to have on hand to take care of your harvest:

Knife and sharpener or replacement blades

  1. Sharp and able to be sharpened (hide and sinew dulls an edge quickly)

  2. Preferred blade length 3-5 inches (we process your elk with mostly a 5-inch blade). Even shorter is fine. Leave the Rambo knife on your belt.



  1. This is handy for quartering, splitting the pelvis and breast bone, removing legs, removing the head, and trimming back any branches in the way.

  2. It can be folding or a dedicated bone saw. A battery-operated reciprocating saw works great!


  1. Sufficient enough to support the weight and able to hold a knot.

  2. Useful for holding legs out of the way if gutting by yourself.

  3. Hanging quarters from a tree limb allows the meat to cool and keeps it out of the reach of animals.

  4. Lashing meat to pack frame.

  5. Dragging animal out.


  1. Disposable gloves help keep your hands clean.

  2. Baby wipes or similar make cleaning up afterward a breeze.


Game Bags

  1. Cheesecloth or canvas

  2. Help keep flies and yellow jackets off your meat

  3. Provide a thin layer of protection from leaves and dirt while allowing air to circulate around and cool the meat. (These will still allow dirt to pass through, especially the fine dust from the road). Plastic trash bags are not recommended. They don’t allow air to circulate and trap the moisture which can speed spoilage.


Flashlight and/or headlamp (and extra batteries)

  1. Most game is harvested early in the morning or in the evening. So, half of our time in the field we risk having to field dress in the dark. Sharp tools and darkness are a dangerous combination.

  2. Also needed for blood trailing and getting back to camp.


First aid kit

  1. Accidents happen and a cut while field dressing is a real possibility and having the ability to dress your wound is a good idea.

  2. Your kit needs a means of cleaning the wound (alcohol or betadine preps), gauze, adhesive bandages, tape, antibiotic ointment. This is a good place to have your disposable gloves.

  3. There are plenty of ready-made kits that don’t take up much room but will make dealing with an injury much easier to deal with.


In your ATV or truck.

  1. Tarp or other covering for transport

  2. Rope or tie-downs

  3. Ice chest for warm weather

  • Back at camp

  1. In warm weather (above ~50˚F ) get the meat on ice and to a processor or cooler quickly.

  2. In cooler weather, hang with good airflow and limited sun exposure.


During transport

  1. Avoid direct sunlight.

  2. Cover with tarp or similar to reduce dust from the road.

  3. Keep away from gas cans or other contaminants.


*This is only a recommendation and is by no means a complete list or the only way to successfully care for your meat. This is just a list for your convenience after making many mistakes in over 30 years in the field.

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