Montana can be BIG CRITTER COUNTRY! Some deer, elk, and moose can be too big to handle in one piece.
We have all seen the Wussy hunters that tag a critter on Private land. The landowner allows the use of an excavator or piece of farm equipment to hoist and load the critter into their pickup truck. The rest of the hunter’s world is not so lucky. We need to drag or horseback out our harvest. Maybe an Army of friends can help. If that is not an option, then it’s time to start singing the Travis Tritt song about a Quarter!
Quartering means that you need to butcher the critter in the field. You need to end up with 4 leg quarters. The neck, loins, and trim go into additional game bags.
If you have never Quartered a critter here are some helpful tips.
Watch some YouTube videos. A picture, or video is worth a thousand words.
Take several knives You will not be gutting the animal. You will be leaving the rib cage. Taking off the Take several hide really dulls your knives. A longer filet knife makes taking loins off easier.
Have a Knife Sharpener handy. Freshening your edge is essential. As soon as the cutting is slowing down, use the sharpener.
A Wyoming Saw or similar tool is essential. Cutting off the lower legs below the knee is easy with a bone saw. A Wyoming Saw is compact and can handle even the biggest Moose legs. Don’t use the saw on the neck until all other cuts are done. Brain or spine matter could contaminate the meat.
A length of rope is helpful A length of rope 10 feet long allows you to tie a loop around the ankle and pull the leg up, while the other guy trims the meat away.
Additional parachute cord is great for hanging. If you can’t get all of the meat out immediately, hang the Sacks 100 yards or so apart up in the trees. Usually the predators will focus on the left carcass. Your prime meat will be cool and safe. Carry the loins out with you on the first trip.
Once the critter is quartered, much of the mess is left afield. Much of the butchering is already done which makes the job easier.
The FWP recommends that the spine and brains need to be buried at least 16-24 inches under the ground, due to CWD issues. Maybe find a depression and cover with dirt and rocks. Spine and brain contaminants can last 2 years. A fire will destroy the CWD cooties but that also means another step. I have not seen the data about whether CWD critters are in suburbs or in the wilderness. Like it or not, it has become a concern. I am not sure about the practical ability to deal with this but…
You can also have your meat tested for free, by the FWP.
“Here’s a Quarter, call someone who cares!”
For more Montana Grant. Find him eating healthy at www.montanagrantfishing.com.