A week-long hunting trip is a lot different than a day-long excursion. Instead of a convenient walk-in cooler or ice chest back at home a few hours away, you’ll need to contend with butchered meat from the moment you take down the animal to prevent it from spoiling.
In this guide, Pelican offers some tips on how to keep meat cool when hunting. In addition, we explore how soon after the shot you need to get the meat cool and how to tell if your meat is already gone and unsafe to eat.
Understanding How Meat Spoils
Spoiled meat is caused by bacteria, which can grow in certain ideal conditions. Temperature, for example, can cause bacteria to grow quite rapidly. The USDA states that bacteria can double once temperatures reach above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. So unless you are hunting in winter, you need to recover your kill and keep your meat from spoiling as soon as possible.
Otherwise, if the deer or game is left unattended, it can begin to spawn bacteria from its organs, spoiling the meat and going to waste. How long do you have after you make the shot? Don’t let the game lay there for more than half an hour before field-dressing and removing the organs and getting the quartered meat on ice.
How to Keep Meat Cool When Hunting
First Things First: Field Dress the Animal
Learning how to properly gut and field dress animals is an important step in preserving meat. If you aim well and strike the neck, lungs, heart or liver, it will bleed the animal out, removing an extra step. However, you must still remove the organs, including the heart and lungs, which requires breaking the sternum — and quickly! Once you finish field dressing the deer or whatever you shoot, you can also throw some ice in the newly-made cavity and throw it in a hunting cooler.
If you’re hunting big game like deer or elk, we suggest using a rolling cooler with wheels to carry it back to your truck or vehicle once it’s loaded up and heavy.
Shop Hard Coolers for Your Next Hunting Trip
Dry the Meat and Cool It Slowly (If Necessary)
After taking apart the game, keep the quarters dry as possible, cooling them slowly over time in the shade. Then, place the quarters on a clear tarp or clean plastic trash bags somewhere shaded, like beneath a tree, and give them time to air dry.
When hunting in the colder months, all you need is a few hours to dry them. However, it’s the warmer months you need to worry about. For the warmer seasons, you want to be sure to keep the meat cool. This is where a cooler comes in handy. Instead of leaving the meat out to dry, place it in a high-quality hard cooler that can keep it fresh for several days.
Extra Tip: While you might want to keep that perfectly white cooler interior as clean as possible, never place meat in a garbage bag. The airflow is not adequate and the meat will actually sweat, making a pretty awful odor instead. It’s easier to clean a cooler of blood than to try to remove a smell.
Keep Meat Above Ice
Ready to catch some bass? You have the right lures and know a good fishing hole, but when precisely should you carve out some time?
Bass, like many fish, have their own habits, feeding and spawning during certain hours of the day and seasons within the year. So, just when should you plan to hitch the boat up and head to the lake? Spring, summer, fall or winter? Here’s the best time to fish for bass!
The Best Time to Fish for Bass
Generally speaking, the best time to fish for bass is at dawn and dusk. Catching bass requires you to wake up early in the morning and to stay out later in the evening. Why is this? Because bass like to hunt and feed in low-light environments. Before the sun rises high in the sky, bass can hunt better. Alternatively, you can also catch bass midday if it’s overcast and rainy, too.
When it comes to the best season to fish for bass, spring and summer are good times. Ideally, it’s when the water temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees. However, many anglers will also tell you that it’s in spring whenever bass begin to spawn. When bass begin to spawn, they feed heavily to fatten up so they have energy for reproduction. During their feeding times, the bass get more active, jumpy and aggressive, which means they will take the bait more readily.
Teaching your kid how to start hunting? Get them some new gear as their next gift. Whether it’s for Christmas, their birthday or to celebrate a milestone or accomplishment, hunting gear and accessories that can help them learn new hunting skills make a great gift. And if you’re stumped on ideas, look no further! Here are six hunting gifts for kids that are sure to excite them for their next hunt.
Tired of casting from the shore all day without much to show for it? We’ve got the expert advice for surf fishing anglers right here!
Want to pick up fishing but lack a boat for the high seas? You don’t need one! Try surf fishing instead. It’s an easy way to break into saltwater fishing, plus it takes minimal effort to head to the nearest shore and requires much less fuel than a vessel.
Tired of fishing on the lake for bass or fly fishing for trout? Love the delicate, meatier taste of fresh saltwater fish? Then it might be time to try some blue water, deep sea fishing. Whether you have your heart set on catching Mahi Mahi, Tarpon, Shark or Wahoo, it takes more than artificial bait and patience. You have to know where to look in the vast ocean and what you’re doing!
Love to fish and know your local waters like the back of your hand? Love meeting new people, too? Then you might be an excellent fishing guide! If you feel like you are the master and commander of your vessel and know precisely where to find every type of fish, rise to the challenge and become a fishing guide.
Night fishing has many advantages. It’s the perfect alternative to a blisteringly hot summer day. Plus, you can catch a wide variety of fish, stirring them from their sleep and catching them off their guard. However, while night fishing can be lots of fun, it can be challenging, too. Luckily, with these eight tips and tricks, you are bound to catch a few fish. So pack your personal cooler with some midnight munchies and grab the rods. It’s time to go night fishing!
Many of us who have fished with a spinner rod for years inevitably become interested in learning how to fly fish. There’s just something poetic about watching an experienced fly fisher cast a fly into the water at sunset, their silhouette illuminated by a red sky and their smooth casting motion on full display.
Bow hunting is like no other sport out there. Perhaps more than any other method of hunting, bow hunting feels timeless—probably because it’s been practiced for thousands upon thousands of years in some form or another. And while many of our ancestors could (and had to) go bow hunting at any time of year, modern humans have to wait until the start of bow season.
There is nothing better than having a well-bred hunting dog that loves to hunt just as much as you do. But the training process can be a little daunting, especially for first-time hunting dog owners. You need to start early — as in, the moment you gather that little furball into your arms — and continue his or her training well into adulthood. You also need to have a lot of patience and introduce new concepts to your dog at what may seem like a snail’s pace.
Why is shooting a handgun so hard? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, don’t worry — you’re in good company. Many people find that, despite being a decent shot with a rifle, their pistol game leaves much to be desired. If you’re looking to improve your accuracy and could use a few pointers, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for our top handgun shooting tips for an accurate shot.
Investing in a new compound bow is a thrill. But after you come away with your new hunting equipment, there’s still lots of work to be done. Compound bows take lots of fine-tuning and customization to personalize them to your skill level and strength.
Unless you’re an ice fisherman or live in the south, you’re probably itching to cast a line. Brush up on your fishing skills and learn where to find your favorite catch come spring.
Feeling rusty and nervous about the upcoming hunting season? Break your gun or rifle out of that gun case and hit the range for some trap shooting practice. Spring and summer are the best times to sharpen your skills!
Many deer hunting misconceptions and bad advice are given to beginner hunters, especially when it comes to tracking and shooting. But with deer being the most common and popular game in the United States with 10.9 million hunters out there, it’s crucial to get the facts straight. And when it comes to being an ethical hunter and doing your part for a swift and successful kill, knowing where to aim is crucial. With your eye on the target, here’s where to shoot a deer to minimize suffering and make recovery of the animal easier.
As deer and other proudly crowned animals drop their antlers after a rut, it offers a new activity for hunters called “shed hunting.” And besides looking nice hung decoratively on a wall or as a nutritional chew toy for your pup, shed hunting has many advantages. It allows hunters to take inventory of nearby bucks and become familiar with the deer’s habitats, tracking their whereabouts. Deer hunter or not, this wonderful activity also gives an excuse to get outdoors after a long winter.
Saddle hunting has many benefits and can bring a successful hunt. Being above passing deer, you can blend in among the cover of treetops. Plus, unlike tree stands that require you to stay in one position, saddles allow you to swing about for a completely unobstructed 360-degree vantage point. If this sounds like the perfect way to catch that elusive buck, we have you covered! From choosing the best tree saddle to taking the perfect high-angle shot, here are some saddle hunting basics to get you started.
Hunting dogs are not bred to hunt everything. Certain breeds excel at flushing and retrieving duck and other fowl, while other pups are raised to be fearless, walking alongside you as you hunt bigger game. So, you’ll want to choose the best dog for the type of hunting you prefer. With that in mind, let’s break down the top dogs for each hunting style and game.
Raccoons can be a nuisance. And unlike other pests, these scavenger ringtail critters have deft little hands that can cause a whole lot of chaos, from scattering trash to even harming our beloved pets. In fact, they can be quite vicious to anyone or anything that tries to tangle with them. So, sometimes, a raccoon or two just has to go. And whether it’s to get rid of annoying trash pandas in the neighborhood or to hunt them for game, here is how to hunt raccoon successfully.
With a delicious fillet, walleye is one of the most sought after freshwater fish. But even for an experienced angler, walleye are challenging to catch. However, we have a feeling you’re up for the challenge, which is why we put together this beginner guide on how to fish for walleye, from choosing the best rod and filament to using live bait and more.
Interested in bow hunting? Whether taught to hunt with a rifle at an early age or only now getting into the sport, bow hunting requires particular skills all of their own. For instance, archery is about more than pulling a trigger, taking lots of practice to pull off a successful hunt.
Bowhunters cherish their bows, so give them a high-quality bow case that will protect it for a lifetime. Pelican offers all types of hard cases with tons of convenient, durable features. For starters, they’re made of Pelican’s trademark Air construction HPX® resin that rebounds without breaking and is completely crushproof. This lightweight resin also makes them great for travel, minimizing baggage check expenses. Plus, the interior offers a modular storage system that allows a custom configuration to keep bows, arrows and accessory kits.
Stumped on gift ideas for family members who enjoy hunting? Don’t don the camo and go spying on them just yet. Let Pelican help guide your aim and hit your mark with a truly awesome gift. Here are nine gift ideas for hunters that they are sure to appreciate and get tons of use out of.
Turkey is an excellent game to hunt. However, it requires proper gear and a basic understanding of scouting and calling–plus, the methods of using decoys to get the gobbler all riled up over his territory. It’s lots of patience and work, but in the end, the challenge of a turkey hunt can also be a ton of fun.
Dove openers tend to make the start of hunting season. A fine time to go dove shooting, this easy hunt also hones your marksman skills, preparing you for larger game–like larger turkey!–later in the season.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few more angling days before storing rods away for winter? Well, the good news is that it’s not only possible, but it’s a great time for catching bass! In fact, winter bass fishing might present the perfect opportunity to reel in your biggest trophy fish yet.
There are many reasons to learn to hunt. Hunting supports wildlife conservation efforts, and helps farmers preserve their precious crops. It can increase your self-reliance by putting food on your family’s table. And, of course, there is the simplest reason of them all: hunting is enjoyable!
Flexible, adaptive and highly intelligent, coyotes have a well-deserved reputation for being true American survivors. Once confined to the Western Plains, this cunning creature has managed to expand across much of North America. The increase in the coyote population is largely attributed to their extreme adaptability, along with a lack of apex predators that would normally keep their numbers in check.
As far as practical life skills go, few are as fun and challenging as archery. Target practice will improve your skills and help you hit that clean bullseye consistently. Practice can also build strength, coordination, self-confidence and overall feelings of badassery (archers know what we’re talking about).
Bowhunting is arguably one of the most exhilarating outdoor activities around. Giving your target the benefit of the fair chase means a much bigger challenge that requires thousands of hours honing your archery skills. In fact, it takes some hunters years in the field before they nab their first kill. It’s a genuine thrill for all who partake!
Bowhunting wild hogs is a great way to feed your family, get some fresh air and, surprisingly, help your community. Indeed, the opportunistic wild swine is a destructive, invasive species. Wild hogs cause as much as $400 million in damages annually. Ecologists, farmers and parks services don’t want them on their land because they edge out other wildlife, erode the soil and disrupt native vegetation. So what do we do? We go hunting!
For forward-thinking hunters, mid- to late-summer is the time to start gearing up for hunting season. No matter your weapon of choice or your preferred bounty, hunting season kicks up in most places toward the end of summer and the beginning of fall. It usually lasts through the winter in many regions. Spend the next few weeks or months prepping for a fruitful hunting season so you can enjoy a full freezer and fewer hiccups once you get into the field.
Love fishing? Love hunting? Combine the two with bowfishing! This sport is beloved by tried-and-true outdoorsy types because it’s a unique fusion of two of the most popular sporting niches. With bowfishing, you truly get the best of both worlds: the thrill of stalking and shooting your prey mixed with a relaxing, aquatic environment. All in all, bowfishing is a great way to get outside and put your skills to the test.
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