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My oldest son has a Colorado Muzzleloader tag this year. I am from Georgia and in years past if someone in our group was successful, we would have the meat processed and flash frozen in the state where we were hunting. After that, pack the cooler with meat and throw some dry ice on top. I have never had any thawing even when it took 3 days to get home. This year, my plan is to bone the meat out and do all the processing when I get home. Anyone have any ideas on the best way to keep it cold. I really don’t like the idea of covering the meat with ice and having wet meat. I also am not sure about the dry ice and possible freezer burn. Any ideas will be appreciated.
Freeze some water jugs or milk jugs solid and use them for the ice. Tight lids and no cracks and you should be good for transport. You could also bag your meat in Ziploc Big bags to keep it dry and then cover with ice. They have worked well for us on whole quarters, boned out would be no issue.
Certainly you are not going to let it stay in water. Bag it and chill
Dry ice will work just fine, I've been using it for 20+ years, with up to 2 days travel. Just make sure there is a barrier between the meat (on the bottom) and the dry ice (on top).
In a cooler, you could even put a thin tarp in between. That cold air will still descend, chances are, the meat on the bottom will be near frozen when you arrive home.
Never had a need to freeze meat for travel myself. I just get it cooled off, then seal it up in bags and put it on ice in coolers. The heavy contractor style bags work well. Keep adding ice as needed while traveling. I wrap my coolers in quilts or sleeping bags to make the ice last longer. Venison, being the super lean meat that it is, will easily last a couple weeks on ice if needed.
Get block ice and lay it flat in the coolers, put the meat on top in bags and the crack the drain and forget it.
trim up your meat and put into 2 gallon plastic zip locks, then on ice. I do this all the time. Just make sure your meat is already cooled off before doing this
I'll offer a different solution. This is what I did last year and will be doing from now on. Or, at least until somebody else comes up with a better idea.
I hate freezing meat and then processing it later if I can help it. I bring a food saver with me and some of the jumbo bags. There are vacuum bags available that hold a couple of gallons of meat. Using a fillet knife I will break down the cuts just enough that they fit into 6-8 of these jumbo bags. Then you can do anything with them, including submerging them in ice for a long time. I'd do this 10-14 days. You could just consider this to be the aging process. Process it when you get home.
Frozen water bottles are the best thing for keeping meet cool. I always go to camp with a large cooler packed with them. I don't open it until I absolutely have to and they are usually still 95% frozen even a week later if kept in the shade. Even in NM, its almost always cool enough at night to leave the meat out for the initial cool and then the next morning, we put the boned out meat in the bottom of the cooler and then put a layer of frozen water bottles on the top. Every couple days, we open it up and replace the mostly melted but still very cold bottles with ones with more ice. I've kept elk in my 90+ degree garage in Kansas for two weeks before as I was waiting for a good day to cut it up. Guess a guy could also buy some dry ice to put on top of the water bottles if he didn't want to swap them out. Frozen gallon jugs last longer but I really like having a layer of cold right on top of the meat.