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Thread: Dead elk overnight?

  1. #1
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    Dead elk overnight?

    No secret it has been hot this year. My fear is if I shoot an elk in the evening and lose light and have to find him in the morning. How warm can it be at night to make me worry if the meat is still good? Know what I mean? Is this something to worry about?



  2. #2
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    Don't worry about it, it isn't that big a deal. If it happens find the animal at first light and butcher as fast as you can to get the meat cooled out. Remove all bones as the meat will cool quicker. I have blood trailed more than a few elk at night. The big trick is to stay calm and keep your wits about you. Mark your blood trail well with surveyor tape not just your GPS as this will give you a visual on the ground of where the elk is headed. I have never had a well hit elk go far.
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  3. #3
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    With the night time temps in the 40's or lower I would worry more about bears and coyotes eating him, but if the next day he is laying in the sun you will have a very short time to save it, also if you hit any of the stomach that may taint much of the meat if it lays there overnight. Just de-bone right away, hang in the shade and get it off of the mountain asap.

  4. #4
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    A little off topic,but the only elk I've ever lost was one I packed in snow over night. Thought I was being sooo smart but the snow insulated the body heat and spoiled the down side rear quarter!

  5. #5
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    Just make darn sure you get a good hit so it won't go far. That means no risky shots late in the evening. It's better to come back and shoot it in the morning.
    Personally, I would worry about an un-recovered elk laying overnight. If it doesn't spoil it may be ravaged by predators.
    Rod
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  6. #6
    I will not let an elk sit overnight... and expect to have any meat the next day, especially this time of year.
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  7. #7
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    the only elk I let sit overnight ( I had it gutted and skinned), upon my return the next morning, coyotes had feasted away literally half of that bull.
    Life is Good!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by easeup View Post
    the only elk I let sit overnight ( I had it gutted and skinned), upon my return the next morning, coyotes had feasted away literally half of that bull.
    Same here. I couldn't believe that coyotes could eat than much meat in only ten hours. It is also amazing how well their hide insulates them from the cold - particularly the neck. I left one overnight back in the early 90's that was shot in sub zero temps at dusk. The next morning it as 26 below zero at dawn. Not only was the elk not frozen solid, but the meat in the neck was still luke warm.
    A man has got to know his limitations.

  9. #9
    Quarter and hang what you cant carry out that evening to nearest tree.
    Romey
    The sign of a marksman is not what we once did, because everyone has lucky shots from time to time. It's what you can do virtually every time, on demand

  10. #10
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    If I can help it Ill never do it again I couldnt find a cow in november she had fell in a bush in a ravine and we searched till the light went dead found her the next morning as soon as the light came up. It was well below zero and still lost a ton of meat they are so well insulated they can spoil quick, It can happen but I will do everytyhing i can to find them I wont pull a hunting show " we'll come back in the morning" thats just a cop out so they get good pics in the daytime for the show if you ask me....RANT OVER SORRY!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by easeup View Post
    the only elk I let sit overnight ( I had it gutted and skinned), upon my return the next morning, coyotes had feasted away literally half of that bull.
    This surprises me a bit as I've done the very same thing many times without ever loosing any meat. Well there was one occasion when scavenging birds tried to get some at first light. We seem to have plentiful coyote numbers here too, enough so that I expect an untouched animal to be torn up by morning. I've just gotten the impression that they don't want it after being handled be humans. Apparently I've been very lucky in more ways than I thought.
    Rod
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    If we weren't meant to eat them, they wouldn't be made out of meat.

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  12. #12
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    If you have to let sit overnight due to a bad/marginal hit if the elk is dead at dark but you don't find i would bet you'd loose at least 3/4 of the side the animal is lying on! As mentioned above elk are well insulated. even with cooler temps the out side of the meat on the upside may cool but as much heat as they have internally there is no where for it to go! You will loose some meat to sour!
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  13. #13
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    When I shot my bul two years ago, we found him at 2230, and was back on him at 0600. It was in the mid 40's that night, and the side he was lying on that weat already started to turn sour. I know I should have at least quartered him and hung him up. NEVER AGAIN, let me repeat NEVER AGAIN, will I leave an elk in the field without at least quartering him, and getting the hide off. Looking back I should of just got him off the hill, and made a long night of it. Don't risk loosing the meat, as long as you know he is dead. Quarter him, get the hide off, game bag it up, and hang from a tree until the next morning.
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  14. #14
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    It depends on so many things, although it does present a much higher risk of meat spoilage vs. if you were to get it out overnight. I had a 4th rifle season cow get ripe on the ground side (facing down side) in 3 ft. of snow and temps in the 20's that I had to leave overnight a few years ago. If you have a good blood trail, tracking in the dark is not that hard to do if you take your time (assuming you have a good blood trail that is). I'd much rather do that than risk the meat.
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  15. #15
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    I'm really glad a thread like this is out there guys need to know these aren't little whitetails like on tv and I still don't see how they can get away without losing meat. This is something that has bothered me for years since I lost some of my cow and just don't want to ever have it happen again these critters are worth too much not to give it everything we have to get them taken care of.

  16. #16
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    So there are two scenarios going on in this thread.
    Scenario 1: Shot bull/cow right before dark.
    If it is a good shot. Let it sit for 1/2hr to 45min then track and find it. Do not want to pack in the night? Well you better debone it, get it in bags and hang it in a tree AWAY from the carcass. Come back in the a.m and pack it out.
    Marginal hit and you want to let it sit overnight, expect to lose some meat, plain and simple. I would rather let it sit for a couple hours and track it down. Most elk will stove up and you can then, if need be, get another arrow into it when you find it.
    Crappy situation no matter how you look at scenario 1.

    Scenario 2: Good shot right at dark and you wait and go get your trophy.
    DO NOT GUT and leave the animal for the night. You will lose meat to spoil or predators as mentioned. Debone the thing and get it in bags and in a tree away from the carcass, like 100yds away. Stop gutting these things people, waist of valuable time. Some people will leave it for the a.m. If terrain permits, I will pack all night to get it out if that is what it takes. Now in N.Idaho, you do not want to tromp through our brush infested woods at night, unless you can get to an old logging road to pack that thing out.

  17. #17
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    Yep gonna do the gutless if i get the chance looks soooooo much quicker

  18. #18
    The only two times I went elk hunting the ones we shot in the evening we found, gutted and pretty much skinned them but left them laying on their hides. We then just left them till morning. We made sure that we layed a couple pairs of sweaty shirts, gloves, coat etc on or near them so that any predator that would come in would smell us and not eat the elk. I do that all the time even with deer. I have had the gut pile demolished but not once had an elk or deer touched from predators if I lay down enough sweaty / stinky items around the carcass.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abomb View Post
    So there are two scenarios going on in this thread.
    Scenario 1: Shot bull/cow right before dark.
    If it is a good shot. Let it sit for 1/2hr to 45min then track and find it. Do not want to pack in the night? Well you better debone it, get it in bags and hang it in a tree AWAY from the carcass. Come back in the a.m and pack it out.
    Marginal hit and you want to let it sit overnight, expect to lose some meat, plain and simple. I would rather let it sit for a couple hours and track it down. Most elk will stove up and you can then, if need be, get another arrow into it when you find it.
    Crappy situation no matter how you look at scenario 1.

    Scenario 2: Good shot right at dark and you wait and go get your trophy.
    DO NOT GUT and leave the animal for the night. You will lose meat to spoil or predators as mentioned. Debone the thing and get it in bags and in a tree away from the carcass, like 100yds away. Stop gutting these things people, waist of valuable time. Some people will leave it for the a.m. If terrain permits, I will pack all night to get it out if that is what it takes. Now in N.Idaho, you do not want to tromp through our brush infested woods at night, unless you can get to an old logging road to pack that thing out.

    I hear ya, but I love them tenderloins.
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  20. #20
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    You can get the tenderloins check out the vid on elk101.com

  21. #21
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    just dont make a risky shot on a elk in the later evening hours. sure that being said things do happen and sometimes we cant help when the big boy walks out.

    acouple years back the party i hunt with shot a cow elk in the evening and found it the next morning. it was 0 degrees that night and 22 the next morning when found. they ended up loosing a lot of the meat due to spoilage. it was a later season hunt so the elk started getting their winter coats back but still they have a thick hide and hold in a lot of heat no matter what time of the year. if you can get to the elk that night definitely do it and quarter it out like previously mentioned.

  22. #22
    If you gut, and get it skinned you'll be fine. I have been a meat butcher for years. Just dont let the late morning/afternoon sun get to it the next day. Get up early and get your meat cared for properly.

  23. #23
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    basically what these guys said.

    If you leave it over night, with the hide still on, I would say there is a 95% chance loosing some meat. Not getting the hide off is just the first step. You need to move it out of woods, and them get it somewhere cold fast. Elk hide is an amazing insulator.
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  24. #24
    I'd be afraid to let one sit overnight because it would likely get eaten by bears, coyotes or wolves (depending on location). If you can't avoid it, then you'd have no choice, but if there's any way possible, go ahead and take care of that meat and your trophy!
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  25. #25
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    While i agree with most of the guidelines suggested....ive let 5 elk sit over night in warmer early season temps, and as mentioned above the only one that lost meat to spoiling was the one i packed in snow!
    GO FIGURE LOL!

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