Bringing Out Your Elk On A Mountain Bike
By: Craig Barrier
Those small 2-wheeled vehicles not only make closed road areas accessible for a spike-camp hunt, but they really reduce the burden of getting your elk back to the pickup.
Done Correctly, the hunter can get out his camp, cape, horns and meat on 2 bikes – or in 2 trips if hunting alone.
Besides your mountain bike, I suggest the following equipment:
A mountain bike rack over the rear tire.
Collapsible metal panniers. (These attach to both side of the rack.) They are inexpensive, rugged and clean up easily.(I “Hacksawed” out a small section on each pannier to accommodate the brake mechanisms.)
Four – 3 foot heavy duty rubber straps, plus several of the lighter elastic type.
4 to 8 Heavy Duty 30 gallon garbage bags.
Cheese cloth or 4 large game bags.
A sharp knife and sharpener for boning and skinning.
Pack frame or back pack. (It not only aids in getting meat back to the bike, but is a great use for lashing bags of camp gear on the bike ride out.)
After shooting the Elk, I prefer to immediately cut off the quarters. I then peel back the hide along the backstraps, neck and ribcage (if not too bloodshot).
As you skin, bone out the meat, using the plastic bags and hide as a workbench to keep the meat clean. I prefer to put the meat into the cheesecloth, then put it into the plastic bags, so as to keep the meat away from the plastic. When finished, I have 4 double-bagged cheesecloth lined bundles – two bags contain hind quarters while the other two contain backstraps, neck meat and front quarters “equally balanced”.
I have stuffed backpacks, lashed to packboards, or even tied two bags together – put the knot over my neck and a bundle under each arm to hike back to the road. Once at the road, go fetch the bikes, and peddle back to the meat. Fit the bags, one in each pannier, keeping the them tied together over the center of the mountainrack. “Overflow” meat from the panniers is thus still bagged over the rack. Lash the heavy duty bungies from the bike frame over the pannier or frame on the opposite side (use the spot on the frame by the wheel axle). Use your other bungies to lash your camp gear, packboard, cape and horns (spilt skull) to the middle of your load. I keep my rifle over the handlebars so as to keep it out of the pile behind me when peddling out. Be sure to lean over those handlebars. When trying an uphill climb it is sometimes necessary to get off and push-pull yourself to the down hill. Check your brake pads before the hunt!
When you get back to your vehicle, open the plastic bags to let the heat escape from the meat, Now – get home and finish the processing.
With all the new road closures, I recommend the mountain bike for “hunts” you will be able to spin yarns about for a long time.