Wilderness field care.
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Beginners  |  Topic: Wilderness field care. « previous next »
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C D's Taxidermy
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« on: May 20, 2012, 03:20:41 PM »

I know this should be easy to find because it has to be a common situation, but my attempts failed. I have a friend that is going to hike in many miles to do some elk hunting. He typically stays about two weeks. This will be in Colorado, up and down hills. He will not have any pack animals as it is a very primitive type hunt. When he asked me how to take care of the cape after his harvest, everything I started to say required him packing more weight then practical. Can someone tell me how its done?
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George Roof
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 03:40:16 PM »

Yes. He cuts the antlers off and buys a replacement cape. The "Survivor Man" wannabes need to understand everything in life is a tradeoff. When you set inflexible barriers you exclude flexibility for others.
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Jerry Huffaker
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 04:44:46 PM »

So he's packing in MILES and doesn't want much weight , then what's he going to do with 300 lbs of Elk meat if he shoots one?
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George Roof
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 05:27:32 PM »

LOL Jerry, that's an even better question.
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JHardman
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2012, 11:28:45 AM »

Well said gentleman, I often hunt hard in remote areas much like what this guy has in mind, I have had some success with caping and lightly salting elk hide. This was done at around 9,000 ft the first week of September in WY. very warm in the afternoons cool nights close to freezing, by keeping the cape out of direct sunlight thus keeping it cool I have been able to get away with 4-5 days without spoilage. I wouldn't want to go any longer than that. I know that this is certainly asking for trouble and may not be worth the risk, a raw cape won't cost that much and that's a lot of extra weight you pack out that you can't eat, but it has been done.  A bigger concern to me is certainly how to get the meat out w/o spoilage. Sounds like to me your friend might consider making some trips to the truck as soon as the tag is filled out! Just my opinion! another consideration is, is this person able to cape out a head well enough to be worth packing it out? Lots to think about, I grew up in Western CO and saw a lot of people in the field who were at best under prepared for the kind of outing you are describing. :)
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Justin P.
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2012, 11:39:08 AM »

I would think it totally irresponsible and disrespectful to harvest an animal in that situation and have no means to get the meat , cape and horns out.  If he wants to be survivor man he should live off grubs and leaves.
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C D's Taxidermy
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2012, 07:49:35 PM »

Thanks J,

Light salt and keeping it in the shade is a good suggestion.

Just to clarify a bit for George & Justin. I think you both came to the wrong conclusion about my friend. Maybe my fault for not listing all the facts. I have seen this "Survivor Man" who takes this same trip every year dress deer before. I would dare to say that few leave less meat than he does. I feel he is very ethical. I think for him the trip is more about getting away and enjoying some of what God has done for us, a harvest is second. He normally has several friends with him so they could pack out meat and cape as a team effort. This year it turns out he may have less bodies in camp. Also he has always bow hunted in the past, he may be doing black powder this year, which I would think makes a harvest more likely. I have learned since the original post, he will have someone with pack animals on standby, satalight cell phone I guess, but it will take at least 1 day to get to him. I should have asked how he could care for the cape for a day or so.

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cvinger
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2012, 05:11:54 PM »

I tell people to take care of their capes like they would their meat (and some I tell to take care of it better).  With elk in September open the cape up as soon as possible. By this I  mean split it down the back of the neck all the way to the ears and skin it off the neck itself.  There is alot of hair on that neck to hold in heat, you need to open it up and cool it down. If the guy is competent, and to save alot of weight, cape the head off after he has taken care of the meat.  Keep the cape in the shade, like the meat and you should have a couple of days to get it out.
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Randy Miller
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2012, 05:32:09 PM »

I tell people to take care of their capes like they would their meat (and some I tell to take care of it better).  With elk in September open the cape up as soon as possible. By this I  mean split it down the back of the neck all the way to the ears and skin it off the neck itself.  There is alot of hair on that neck to hold in heat, you need to open it up and cool it down. If the guy is competent, and to save alot of weight, cape the head off after he has taken care of the meat.  Keep the cape in the shade, like the meat and you should have a couple of days to get it out.

Why can't you short incision/case skin it like a whitetail?
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cvinger
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 05:23:02 PM »

You can, and I have. But, for most (especially if you are not familiar.e. not a taxidermist-) its easier with elk to open it up all the way.  Its also quicker to cool and easier to keep dirt, etc off the flesh side.
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Low T
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2012, 07:04:41 PM »

It is a gamble, I wouldn't expect good results with that much time away from a proper salting. A light salting will not do anything for an Elk cape. It will take a good fleshing job, and heavy salting, even a third day of salting is needed for the thicker Elk. Your friend is having a pipe dream thinking that he can pull this one off. 
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