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Field Dressing Elk?

I have never gotten an elk before and wanted to try it next season. I see videos of field dressing/quartering elk and they take the 4 legs, backstraps, and usually the head or sometimes the male/female identification. What do they do with the rest of the body? How do you carry it out with no legs/head or do you just leave the ribs and guts? I know our family takes the heart and liver of deer so we would take that out but do you leave the rest? or how do you take it out.

3 Answers

  • 4 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm not big on doing liver, heart, and other organ meats, so the pile stays in the woods, but it isn't difficult to do if you plan ahead a little. As for quartering, you have it about right, there is little meat between the ribs and again with a little planning you can get some of that out for burger. Same with the neck area, you can get some meat off it for burger. As long as the weather is cool enough you can use gallon zip-lock bags for the small stuff, canvas/burlap for warmer weather. This is where buying those cheap "game bags" comes in handy, skin the animal, and wrap the meat with the cloth and you can cut it to fit as needed, then twine it securely. You ALWAYS need something to identify the sex of a game animal, obviously, a 6 or 7 point rack is pretty identifying but there are places in Oregon and I think WA in the Blues where it's spike bull and that isn't worth the hassle so have to grab something else. You still want to pack tie-off string for the parts that need tying as you dress out and having some extra Hunter Orange covering for the transport isn't a bad idea. Remember that elk hair is useful for tying floating flies for fishing too. 

    Something to remember is elk are BIG, so always easier to shoot them so they roll to your truck (not likely) but it is work to haul that much weight out so know your terrain and limits. What is amazing is how it really isn't difficult to do the actual quartering if you packed a small bone saw (good for sawing through the pelvic arch too) and an extra knife or a sharpening kit. 

  • 4 months ago

    There is considerable meat between the ribs that you want to take home.  You will also need to get to the other side of the ribs for the tenderloin.  The only thing you should be leave behind are bones and guts.  

    Allot of people are not big on organ meat.  Because the liver and kidneys are the bodies filtration system and that is where all things nasty get caught up in.  One a younger animal - I take it.  On older ones - just the heart since that is a muscle and not a filter organ. 

    Ask around.  I had a French friend who adored taking the moose liver off my hands.  I would image anyone of Scottish descent might want all of the above to make haggis. 

    If you have friends with allot of dogs, or, who run a kennel - now you just found a home for the bones.  Not something I would go back and pack out, but, sometimes you luck into a kill that is not far from where you can get a 4x4 into.  

  • 4 months ago

    Hunting is very mean. It will be banned on December 15th.

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