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Game bag size for Alaska/Yukon moose?
Getting ready to make up some game bags for my upcoming hunt and wondering what size bags you veteran AK moose hunters use? The area we are hunting requires meat be left on the quarters only. Is it doable to carry a front shoulder of a bull in one trip? I so I’m thinking about 2 50”x30” for the front shoulders, 4-36” x 30” for the hind quarters halved, then four more 30” x 36” bags for the rest of the meat and maybe the cape. Is this about right?
I remember struggling to lift a front quarter of a young Canadian moose off the ground onto an ATV rack. Front quarters of a moose are massive, awkward, and heavy!
Ok thanks Alzy, that helps might have to split the front shoulders also then.
Bring a saw and cut quarters into smaller more manageable size.
I cut the hind quarters in half and they were still heavy.
We usually carry them out whole (minus the hide and lower part of the leg). Neither of us are fitness gurus so as long as you are not going too far you can do it.
Had a friend in AK. About 5' 5" and 170#. Had 3 super cubs and a 206. Has several BnC qualifying moose in Pope and Young.
I asked him how many trips it took him to get a moose to the plane. He said 6 and then he told me he didn't bone them. Said his worst pack was also his biggest bull. Would get up fly out, land, hike to the moose and pack out a quarter. Fly home and go to bed.
For his size he was the strongest person I've ever known.
Now me, I had a hard time loading a quarter on to a wheelie let alone packing it whole.
Make sure you aren't going to a unit that requires the meat to be left on the bone. It's nice to have the bag big enough so you can tie and hang the meat and then put the bag over and keep it loose.
Front shoulders are easy with a GOOD pack but a rear is a different story. A nice bull front is probably 75 lbs. I just use the 60 inch pre packaged quarter bags for fronts and rears. Since you’re splitting the hinds might work in your bags but I still like having a little extra. I can always burn what I don’t need or use
A whole rear qtr. of a Yukon moose can get close to 200 lbs. Walking through moose country with that load is hard to believe. On a road...maybe....through a willow slew, not seeing it.
A lot of moose quarter weights are extrapolated, (think field judging bears for comparison).... It's more about where they die terrain wise than the weight of the quarter. Swampy mess and may god be with your soul.
You could do as I did, and kill a small bull. We carried that bull out in 4 loads including the skull, granted it wasn't a far walk :)
My alaska moose meat weighed 525lbs - quarters, ribs, loins...
One of the most memorable things is packing moose meat thru moose/grizz country wearing hip boots - 1/4 mi, 6 trips, 2 guys, 7 hrs
Always wanted a moose. Figured it was out of reach logistically. Now its not, but I'm probably too old to pull it off alone, shoulda done it when I was young...instead I did caribou and elk. Not discounting it entirely though, will rally the troops instead.
I always figured that an AK moose, including both meat and trophy pieces, was 11 trips for me. (I have packed out thousands of pounds of moose, and have had 2 hernia operations to show for it!)
Here is how I break it down: 2 trips with - Rear quarters 2 trips with - Front quarters 2 trips with - One backstrap and one tenderloin, with assorted bits and pieces. 1 trip - Two plates of ribs 1 trip - Hump - and bottom section of neck 1 ea - Remainder of Neck 1 ea - Cape 1 ea. - Antlers/Skull Final trip - Go back and look for my ass and my nuts that dragged and came off in the tundra...
To the original question: I use surplus military mattress covers. Large enough and tough enough. Most commercially available "meat" bags won't do an adequate job.
They ARE heavy, not 200# though. and it’s hard walking. We made the decision to shoot the first good bull any then the second had to be close to camp or water. First was a hair over 1.5 Miles. The second was 200 yds to water. And I would do it again tomorrow. U just have to get your mind right. And do it. :)
Caribou gear bags did well. The large pack. Tags bags that my partner had did OK but a few tore.
Two guys three trips per bull. I packed 4 rear quarters and partner packed 4 fronts. Rears are heavy but the fronts are awkward. Take your time and stay within a mile of camp.
Just a bunch of drumsticks ;)
I wouldn't even worry about the game bags to be honest. Hang your quarters and let them air dry and they'll be fine. Bugs aren't really a problem that time of year. As you break the quarters off, let them crust over before packing. If it's raining everything is wet, and most of the blood washes off anyways.
How far you have to go always determines a lot of things, but we left hide on so that we didn't lose as much meat to the crust that needs to be cut off. These are also Canadian Moose. Put a hind on a scale bone in hide on after drying a week was 120 lbs even.
My suggestion is to make 2 complete sets for each moose that you want to harvest. This way you can switch out the bags when they are wet and the flies don’t get to the meat. Who ever said to debone the quarters to make them smaller must not have been on a long hunt. Bone in meat hangs and dries out way better than cut meat. Figure at least 6 bags per moose but I like to bring 8. 1 for each quarter, 1 for the bone in ribs, 1 for the neck and scrap meat, 1 for the loins.
I weighed just the meat (minus what we ate) of a bull (bone in) and it weighed 981 pounds.
I'm a relatively tough guy. I carried that bull out all by myself. I'd do it again. Anyone that says they can do it in 6 trips is totally full of it, or just lost count due to the strenuous nature of the endeavor.
I've killed several moose and I've never used a game bag for any of them. If I did, it'd have been pillow cases for sure.
Halibut, you are correct, must have blocked out the last trip.
Looking at the picture there were 7 bame bags plus rack so two guys 4 trips for 8 total. If they were any farther from camp we would have needed more but you can't lighten up the quarters if you are required to leave the bone in.
Even If law permits otherwise my vote is to leave the leg bones in. Start at the neck and get the neck meat then the back straps off and laying on some sticks or brush to cool before bagging it. Between the neck, loins, Bstraps and all trimmings that’s alot of loose meat to cool and if it’s thrown in a bag in one huge blob it doesn’t cool very well. The bag needs to be able to hold the weight to hang that loose meat. The leg bones should be left in Even if it’s legal to remove them where your hunting. IMHO. The meat hanging on the bone cools faster than in a heap. If that much more weight to carry a leg bone is over your capacity you might want to reconsider moose hunting without someone to pack it for you. And I am being serious not trying to be funny. I’ll tell a side story to make my point. Last year when we were flown back to our drop camp operators base of operations we heard that a father son team had shot 2 moose. While dealing with The first bull was more than they were prepared for and let the second lay too long before packing it. The operator called the game Warden to report wasted meat “a serious violation in Alaska”. After admitting they packed one bull and left the other until they were done and rested. They were charged with “Wanton” meat wasting. The wanton designation is a huge fine. Of course I don’t know if that was the final outcome, maybe they got it reduced. But the point is if you bring spoiled meat back you can be fined without some explanation. IE Bears, injury etc.
LKH, what’s your buddies name with multiple Booners in P&Y?