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Quartering an Elk
How to quarter and pack out an elk

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O.K. The sound of your rifle can no longer be heard. Your Elk is down, and you have aready field dressed it and you want to head back to camp with your Elk. It is just you and your frame pack, and miles to go. It is now time to quarter your Elk for the trip. For this you will need your sharp knife, a saw, or you hatchet. I used a saw for years, then tried the hatchet. Needless to say, my saw is now retired. A saw does do the job, but is is a lot of work.

To quarter an Elk, you need to remove the head at the neck. Now, split the animal down the backbone with your hatchet (or saw). The use of two hatchets works best, so you can put one hatchet on the bone and use the other to hammer it through. If you only have one, it will do the trick, but will not be as neat. Continue down the backbone. When you have successfully split your Elk in half, you will now be ready to split the halves in half. To evenly distribute the weight, you can then cut between the third rib, leaving the back three ribs on the hind quarters. You will now need to cut the backbone in half. Again, your hatchet will do this with no problem at all.

Your Elk is now quartered and ready to be tied onto your framepack. I would use a cotton rope as a nylon rope will stretch and become loose during the trip out. Tie it on securely and have fun. If the Elk weighed 600 pounds live, you are looking at nearly 100 lbs. on your back to pack out.

You will have to make 4 trips, and each trip gets harder and harder. That is why you may want to hang the remaining quarters (with block and tackle) if you are near trees with branches to support them, to allow them to cool off. If you have to, put logs under them to allow air to circulate. You may have to go back the next day for the rest, so use caution when approaching your kill. You may find a bear at your site, and you do not want to be the one to surprise it while it is having dinner (compliments of you).





Quartering without gutting.



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