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Hunting game animals is exciting and rewarding for many hunters. All of the scouting, planning strategy, and hunting are rewarded when you take down animals.
However, then it hits you that you have to transport the meat back home if you don’t live in the state you hunted. How to ship meat after a hunt can be a major task if you didn’t plan well for it. In this article, we share information to help successfully get your wild game home after the hunt.
Table of Contents
How To Ship Meat After a Hunt
There are a couple of ways to transport frozen meat back home depending on how you travel to the hunting area. Whether you drove or flew, there are options for transporting the meat that we will discuss.
What is important is that the meat is well-cleaned and packed with ice to keep it frozen and slow down bacterial growth. The longer it can remain frozen and away from fluids, the better for the wild game from getting contaminated.
One method of preserving the wild game that hunters practice is to field dress the meat but not skin it. They then pack the deer with bags of ice to keep it cold and frozen. Wrapped the deer tightly with a tarp or another material to keep the wild game cold.
The hide will work as an insulator to keep the cold trapped inside to freeze meat and prevent flies and other insects away from the meat and prevent it from getting contaminated. If the meat is skinned, the insects will quickly get to the wild game and contaminate it.
1. Road Trips
If you are driving to the hunting area, then you can do some planning before going on the hunting trip which is the cheapest way to get the wild game home.
You can buy a portable freezer or a number of coolers and get dry ice to store the wild game when you drive back home from the hunting trip. The solid double roto-molded cooler is a cooler that you can use to freeze the wild game.
If you have a truck, then it will be easy to find a portable freezer that can fit in the back. Additionally, you can also purchase a cooler to carry just in case you have a lot of wild game.
Use dry ice to keep the game meat cold. Moreover, it is a good idea to take along duct tape to seal the coolers air tight which will keep them ice cold for a long time.
When preparing meat, wrap them well using Resonite or plastic wraps, game bags, waxed meat paper, or newspaper, and carefully pack them in the portable freezer and coolers.
Start by putting dry ice at the bottom of the freezer or cooler, then put in the well-wrapped meat, and then add more dry ice on top of the meat. Seal up the coolers and duct tape them to keep the game meat frozen solid.
A portable freezer is one of the best options when traveling by road. It can store more wild game than coolers and is more efficient. Additionally, it can remain ice cold for a long period of time if it has a lock and is well sealed.
A cooler is a good option for a portable freezer when transporting the wild game back home on a road trip. There are many options on the market and you will have to find the right one that can meet your needs in terms of capacity and ability to keep the wild game frozen until you get back home.
The solid double roto-molded cooler is a good option for transporting your wild game. When choosing a cooler for storing and transporting your game meat, get a portable one that will seal tightly, and keep the meat frozen.
2. Air Travel
If you flew to the hunting area, then you may want to consider shipping your meat back home by air. You can get it done yourself and it will be less challenging if you don’t have a lot of meat to transport. When shipping the meat by air, it will have to pass all of TSA’s guidelines.
TSA allows you to take meat, seafood, and non-liquid food items in carry-on and checked bags. However, if the meat is frozen, and packed in a cooler or container, the ice packs have to be completely frozen when it passes through screening which will be a tall order.
If there is any liquid at the bottom of the cooler or container, or the ice packs are partially melted, the meat will not be permitted onboard the flight.
According to TSA regulations, you are allowed 5 pounds of dry ice that is well packed and marked. Game bags can be used to prevent leakage when transporting wild game by air.
Air Travel Tips
If you are flying back home with your game meat, always check for the chance of upgrading your flight. Some airlines allow first-class passengers two checked bags up to 70 pounds.
Overall, the cost may be cheaper to upgrade your flight to first class and have the extra baggage perk than pay the extra baggage fees with your regular cabin ticket.
Airline apps can be used to check availability before getting on the flight. Most of the best deals for an upgrade are available usually within 24 hours of travel.
Always check the airline concerning the size of the carry-on items that are allowed and the restrictions for meat and frozen items. The weight restrictions and cost will help you determine if flying the meat home is the best option.
Package your meat knowing that it will be opened and inspected by the TSA. Use game bags that are easy to open, sealed, and keep the meat cold.
When cleaning the meat for transport, it is a good idea to remove as many of the bones as possible to reduce the weight of the meat.
Bones are heavier than meat and this will significantly reduce the weight of the package
if you can remove many of the bones before transporting them. Additionally, clean the skulls before transporting them back home.
3. Shipping Game Meat
A third option for shipping meat home is to get it processed and shipped to your home by a local processor. This is one of the best options if you flew to the hunting area and have a lot of meat to ship back home.
Shipping companies can efficiently get this done for you and avoid all the hassle. Additionally, the local processor will get big game meat cleaned, processed, and shipped to your home. They know all of the guidelines for preparing meat safely and shipping it.
How to Wrap Meat to Prevent Leaks
Use Resonite or plastic wraps, game bags, and waxed meat paper to wrap the meat.
Place dry ice at the bottom of the cooler or freezer.
After placing the meat in the cooler, place more dry ice on top of the meat.
Game Meat Packing List
- Resonite or Plastic Wrap
- Waxed Meat Wrapping Paper
- Duct or Masking Tape
- Cutting Board
- Field Dressing Kit
- Game Bags
- Cooler or Portable Freezers
- Dry Ice
- Zip Ties
The Bottom Line
Hunting wild game is an exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience for many hunters. However, transporting the meat back home becomes a challenge if it was not well thought out and planned for before the trip. There are a number of ways to transport the wild game back home including air travel, a road trip, or shipment by a local processor.
In this article, we shared information on how to ship the meat after a hunting trip. You can also learn how to plan an out-of-state hunting trip if it is something that you plan on accomplishing in the future.