I really do not like the fact an animal loses its life just to end up buzzard meat , due to the fact that a person does not care enough to realize this is not an ethical thing to do. I recently received a call from a guy who learned the hard way to set up a pack out in the event he is successful. Made me happy to see he learned from his mistake . At THE same time i think guys need to think ahead and not get caught in the moment.
Don't you all agree this is not the right thing to do ? Or is it just me?
Don't want to fight, would just like feed back.
That said, no way you're going to get 400-600 pounds of meat from an elk. As long as you're smart and debone everything you're looking at 200-300 for mature bulls. We are very diligent about salvaging all of the meat and the most meat we've ever gotten, which was from a HUGE bodied bull, was 315.
Could it be argued that it's more ethical if they debone it then carry it out on their backs? Less weight less trips. Less trips less time needed to cool meat. Plus no bone sour.
But there's more variables than just the distance as well. Late recovery on a bull, temperature fluctuation, rivers, and shade cover. If you're eleven miles back in a shady forest with very good cover I imagine your odds of meat salvage go up drastically. So a guy eleven miles in wide open plains will have a much harder time keeping meat than someone high elevation in a dark forest, right?
That might entail taking advantage of shade or a stream, ferrying the meat part way to truck where staging conditions are good and then going back for the next load, packing all night long, etc. But as splitlimb's opener post, a plan for meat extraction needs to be in place BEFORE skewering an elk.
It would be my personal opinion that the odds of hauling an elk out ~10-miles on one's back without losing any meat would be extremely difficult for 2 people, and perhaps impossible solo. There just aren't many places in NM Sept where meat can be kept cool enough to tackle that endeavor.
I met some guys from Wisconsin that were getting ready to hike 6 to 8 miles in the wilderness and we asked them right away how the hell are they going to get the meat out before it spoils that far in, their response was "we got this, we do it all the time in Colorado" I warned them that the weather down here and going through the Middle fork canyon to the hills beyond isn't the same thing as hiking in the Colorado trees, we wished them the best of luck and off they went, don't know if they had to haul out meat but as I packed my bull out I was thinking I am so glad I wasn't 6 + miles in. I am sure there are people that can do it but the odds of meat spoiling is extremely high, we should always put a plan together that has a high success rate for meat extraction not a plan that has to have every star align to be successful.
Another thing that bothers me is when people only take the so called best parts and leave a bunch of the meat for the buzzards, I met some dude down there that actually admitted this, said he never goes back because it is often spoiled when he returns, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Then the next year I went to Colorado and found a kill site that was just like what that guy described, what it means to me is that this issue is not isolated and needs to be addressed, here is a pic of what I found.
I Routinely hear about how rough the country was and how bad ass these guys think they are for accessing it. Iit usually ends with "we just took the horns y no mas." Or "we just took the back straps and a quarter." "There's no way we were getting that bull out of there." Then why'd you shoot it?
I've helped pack meat with people who thought I was stupid for taking neck meat and brisket and said they always just leave that stuff. All of these people are able bodied and hunt with at least one partner but often have more than that around.
I think elk hunting is something a lot of guys want to do and talk about because it makes them feel macho but very few will actually put in the work to do it right. When most guys kill an elk, step one is usually to hike back to camp for a knife, game bags, a pack and some help. Honestly, if you're too lazy to carry around a knife, bags and a pack that's at least stout enough for a small load of meat on the first hike out, your too lazy to pack out an elk. Golf may be something these people should consider.
For years I've thought I probably should stop hunting elk. I've got herniated disks in my back some issues with my knees and eat way too many cheeseburgers. I didn't have to worry about as I didn't draw for 9 years. This year I played a game of spot and spook the herd for about 3 miles. If I'd shot one it would have worked out because I was hunting with two other guys. However, I hunt by myself 99.9 percent of the time and I thought if I'd hit one of those and been by myself it would have been a major chore. It convinced me, that for at least the foreseeable future, I'm not going to apply for elk anymore. I only add this last part to show I don't think I'm a supreme hunter that has a right to look down on anybody that doesn't do it my way. It was an honest assessment of where I'm at right now and I'm glad I didn't waste any meat before I figured it out.
In 2010 I rifle hunted in western Wyoming. A local guide took is girlfriend on her first elk hunt. She dropped a rag horn bull in the open on a south facing slope early on the opening day. They gutted the bull old school style and left it there in the sun. Returned later in the afternoon with an ATV and series of cables to try and winch the carcass up the steep grade. Problem was the bull was killed in a "no ATV use" section of the NF. The recovery team met a group of other hunters they thought might rat them out so they opted to leave the bull in the sun the rest of the day waiting for the others to leave. When finally recovered the bees, flies, and direct sun had taken a toll on the bull. I suspect the meat was bone sour, especially the side that was on the ground. Looked pretty discussing to say the least.
My Buddy and his two sons from Vermont killed a bull a few days later and they opted to pack it out that night. I had hunted elsewhere that day and returned to camp late only to hear the same locals put my friends down for being so foolish. I could not listen to the insults any longer and when out to meet the trio. They had the bull quartered up, bagged up, and in the truck by 10:30 PM. I told them to be prepared for criticism when we returned to the ranch. By the time we returned, our hosts were well liquored up (it's Wyoming) and full of them selves once again. My buddy took a few barbs from them and then retorted very dryly, "We Vermonters are kind of different, as a rule we don't care for fly-blow and spoiled meat". I thought I was going to choke! The next day it got ugly as I was told our 8 days of (paid for) lodging and DIY hunt was really only going to be 6 days. My buddy left his copy of the contract at home so we had little recourse. With 2 elk down it was decided that we should all leave. They had 3 fully guided hunters in camp with unfilled tags and it was a bit embarrassing for the outfit. Wasted wildlife sucks no matter what your zip code might be.