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Just got back to Virginia from Wyoming and had my pronghorn processed before the return trip. Here's some FYI that might help others. #1 A small to medium processed buck, bone-in, fits in a 50 qt. cooler along with ten pounds of dry ice. De-boned could fit in a smaller cooler. #2 The ten pounds of dry ice lasted more than 48 hours with daytime temps at 80 degrees. Not a high dollar cooler and I had no additional wrapping around cooler(i.e.sleeping bag, etc.). #3 Did try to find more dry ice due to paranoia. Found the attached website that lists retailers. If travelling, call ahead to make sure they have it. Took three stops in Indy to find some in stock. Everything was rock-hard when I got home.
Heading on 15 day bow hunting road trip.... excellent input at a perfect time. Thanks brother....
A lot of walmarts carry dry ice too.
Hy-Vee grocery stores in the midwest carry it as well.
Albertson's Grocery Stores in the western states also stocks dry ice.
Drove 3 days from Utah to Rhode Island with a stop over in PA. Had two processed bull elk. Dry ice lasted all the way with no trouble. Cheap coolers as well but did wrap the seals with duct tape and covered with sleeping bag!
I drove from Glenrock WY to eastern PA with 5 cheap coolers filled with my bull. Put 10 pounds of dry ice in each one and duct taped the seams. Temp was in the 70s for the 36 hour butcher to freezer trip. Open bed of pickup. My meat was still frozen but no dry ice left. Another couple of hours and it may have been thawing. Safeways out west have dry ice.
You can also put a large towel folded over on top before you close the lid, it adds an extra layer of insulation.
Towel then duck tape the lid closed and I am telling you it will stay cold for a LONG time.
I have a few Grizzly Coolers and if I keep the lid shut (that is the key) it will last a long, long time! No tape needed.I have had it last over a week in very warm temps. It will actually freeze everything I put in there! KEEP IT OUT OF THE SUN! Any air space in a cooler is bad, you want them full, Use old blankets, towels, whatever! If you use regular ice, never drain the water out of your coolers, it acts as an insulator. Use heavy contractor bags for the meat, and they wont leak. I like the double walled silver ones.
This Season, bull elk with quarters on bone, wrapped up in a giant "burrito" with a tarp and double sleeping bag (No cooler) with dry ice on top. Drove for two days from Northern NM to Northern California, when I arrived at the processor, the quarters on the bottom were frozen solid (he couldn't get the meathook in it). I've been doing this for nearly 20 years, with no spoilage.
Best of Luck, Jeff
Recently came home with 2 antelope and 2 mulies, frozen, it went like this: Sunday at 3:30 pm, picked up at the butcher, frozen solid. Packed the meat into 3 wax lined cardboard boxes. 63-65lbs to a box, 5 lbs of dry ice on each. Note no coolers involved. Each box was taped shut.
Meat sat in the back of the SUV that night, temps were around 35. While driving I could feel the cold coming off the boxes on my shoulders. 3 hour drive to the airport. Dry ice now is about 20 hours old.
TSA opened each box, almost all of the 5 lbs of dry ice was still there.
Fly home, got home to Boston around midnight, got home around 1:30 AM. Dry ice is now about 30 hours old from original, but about 11 hours or so AFTER TSA opened it and re-sealed it.
There was about 1-2 pounds of dry ice left per box. We did find a few packs of burger started to thaw, they were all on the bottom of the box (ice on top), and touching the outside edge of the box.
Moral of the story, even without a cooler, if the TSA had not opened and re-sealed the boxes, I believe all meat would have been frozen solid with lots of dry ice left over 30 hours later, without any coolers.
If frozen solid.... just packed in coolers (and in a carry on wrapped with some clothing) will last 24+ hours easy with nothing. Even if thawed it will keep a good deal longer with no effect. Only allowed 50 lbs flying so smaller coolers actually work best. Fly thousands of miles and have never lost so much as an oz of meat. Only time I use dry ice is to layer up in coolers and actually freeze meat if I can't find some other option to freeze it. Done right (and a lot of dry ice layered up) you can freeze it in 8 or 10 hours. Once frozen solid you are golden.
You need to be careful if hauling the cooler with dry ice inside of your vehicle with you. The carbon dioxide can build up in the vehicle. Had it happen once on the way to a fishing trip. We all thought we were having heart attacks at the same time. Couldn't catch our breath till we rolled a window down.
Hey guys ,never used dry ice,,,two questions...when you place the dry ice in the cooler ,do you put. The dry ice directly on top of the meat,? And when dry ice melts and I'm asuming it drips down over the meat..can the dry ice touch the meat?say the bottom layer of meat,,as dry ice melts it's pooling in bottom of cooler will it be ok...meat of course is wrapped..thx for your input
Dry ice doesn't "melt"...it just evaporates ("disappears"). So nothing "pools" below.
Dry ice is in plastic bags usually, I will put it right on top of the game bagged meat.
Best of Luck, Jeff
Meat will stick and freeze to the dry ice, should keep them separated by something. We use cardboard or heavy paper. Plastic would work well too I'd think but we've always had the paper handy.
NOTE: Your hands and skin are meat. You will stick, freeze and "burn" just like the meat if you touch it with bare hands. A good deal of care needs to be taken when handling dry ice.
When we want to freeze meat we layer.... layer of meat, paper, dry ice, paper, meat, paper, dry ice, etc. to the top of the cooler finishing with dry ice layer on top.
If just wanting to keep it cold then just meat, paper/plastic, dry ice on top. The cold sinks down through the meat to the bottom as the heat rises.