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Caring for Your Elk Meat


Cremeans-Day5-2Editor’s Note: Parrey Cremeans of Redding, California, a Mossy Oak regional manager for the Pro Staff works with the guide service, primarily in California, to take elk, mule deer and Columbian blacktails, and in Oregon for elk. Hunting season begins in August for elk and deer in California. Consider the possibility of an out-of-state elk hunt or deer hunt there. Most of us when we think of California visualize Hollywood, Silicon Valley, vineyards and earthquakes. However, the West Coast promises outstanding hunting. This week we’ll learn more about how you can plan an elk hunt or a deer hunt for August with Mossy Oak’s Cremeans and even draw an elk or a deer tag for 2015 before many states even open their seasons.

Cremeans-Day5-3If you come elk hunting with us and tag out early, or if you just want to come out to California or Oregon and bowhunt for a big mule deer, you can start the third week of August in California, or you can hunt the last week of August in Oregon. You have the option of hunting for elk, mule deer or Columbian black-tailed deer then or even whitetails in Oregon. Some western states have bow-and-arrow season as early as the first week of August. Both the Oregon and California bow seasons for elk and deer usually last for about a month. So, even if you’ve waited until the last minute to put in for a deer or elk tag for this season, you still should be able to draw one in Oregon.

One of the biggest problems that archery hunters face, if they hunt on their own, is how to take care of their meat if they harvest an elk or a deer during August or September. Temperatures out here can be over 100 degrees, so once you take an animal, you have to start processing it immediately. Depending on how far we are from a cooler or a deer and elk processor, we’ll field dress the animal immediately. If we’re close to a farm, we’ll get a tractor, and load the animal in the back of a pickup truck and take him immediately to a processor.

Cremeans-Day5-4If we’re further in the back country or high in mountains, and we’ve packed in, the best way to take care of the meat and get your elk out is to bone out the meat, put the meat in meat sacks, hang the meat high in the trees and hope a bear won’t find it. Up in the forests, the weather usually cools down in the evenings. If you can get that meat hanging in a tree, the meat will cool fairly quickly. If you’re hunting by yourself, which I don’t recommend, you may have to make six or eight trips with a frame pack to get your elk meat and the head out of the woods. Now if you have to walk 5 miles carrying a frame pack loaded with 80-100 pounds of meat, you’ll be worn out by the time you get your meat and your trophy to your vehicle. If you’re planning a do-it-yourself hunt to Oregon, I strongly recommend you carry meat sacks, plenty of rope, knives and saws and be in great physical shape to carry a heavy pack loaded with meat back to your vehicle.

You’ll also have one other option if you tag out early on elk. California has plenty of feral hogs all over the state that we can hunt - even if you’ve tagged your bull in Oregon. From my home in northern California, I’m also only 2 hours from most of the places where we hunt elk.

Yesterday: Parrey Cremeans’ Biggest Columbian Black-Tailed Buck - Maybe

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