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Mar 25th, 2012
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How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? #7150273 04/24/18 05:53 PM
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Herschelb Offline OP
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Hi everyone,

I have been doing a bit of rabbit and squirrel hunting lately, and haven't had any success as of yet, but before I do I have a question:

How long can you wait to field dress them before they meat spoils? Also, if you field dress them right away, how long will they keep in the game bag? I'm just concerned that if I get lucky and shoot one early, it will spoil while I'm looking for the next target.

Any insight would be awesome.

Thanks,
HB

Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7150695 04/24/18 11:46 PM
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colt45 Offline
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has to do with temps, warmer days I always had a cooler with ice on hand


hold on Newt, we got a runaway
Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7151141 04/25/18 12:52 PM
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Herschelb Offline OP
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I understand that the fight against spoilage is won by cooling the meat. I suppose I'm trying to figure out if I have to run back to the truck after every kill, or can I continue my hunt for a couple hours. The distance from where I park and where I hunt can be a 30 minute hike. Not that it's a long way, but seems inefficient. Just trying to understand the best strategy or method.

Thanks,
HB

Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7151409 04/25/18 03:38 PM
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Double Naught Spy Offline
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Okay, carry in a small cooler. Problem solved.


Si vis pacem cum sus, para bellum.
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Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7151782 04/25/18 07:55 PM
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soonerdg Offline
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On small game I don't think this is that much of an issue. Small game doesn't retain nearly the body heat that big game does. They cool down fairly quickly once they're killed. I generally clean squirrels when I'm done hunting.

Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7151814 04/25/18 08:15 PM
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ronlhodges Offline
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Hereís a better problem solver . Go to walmart and buy a medium ice pack just like the one i linked to . Freeze it hard then place in a small cooler out to your hunt site then you should be wearing a game vest like you do for dove hunt . Put the ice pack in the back pouch where you would carry your gutted rabit . It will stay frozen for several hours and keep your game cooled down . Only weights little over a pound . Iíve used one for years .
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Freez-Pak-Icicle-Resuable-Ice/44692372

Last edited by ronlhodges; 04/25/18 08:16 PM.
Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7152332 04/26/18 05:07 AM
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I've never used a game bag, but my advice is just gut them when you leave your hunting area. It only takes a minute. When I was young I carried every rabbit I shot in one hand, gun in the other. When I saw another rabbit I dropped the dead ones and shot another. You can also use small rope or twine to string them up and put over your shoulder after gutting, like a stringer. With rabbits (cottontails) I like to get the guts out within 30 minutes. The meat will be good for several hours and then some even when it's hot. Our ancestors didn't have coolers and ice and often walked a long way for meat. I love rabbit hunting still, just get the guts out soon because rabbit guts stink worse than a boar hog.

Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7154224 04/28/18 05:36 PM
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chesterc Offline
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Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7trIwVMYZA

This fella guts his rabbits by giving them an almighty squeeze. The guts just pop out the back. I'd say, do that when you retrieve your bunny, then put it in your game bag/vest/etc and keep hunting. Skin them when you get back to your vehicle.

Watch out for the outrageous accent.

Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7155105 04/30/18 12:09 AM
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We save 12oz and 16oz soft drink bottles, rinse and fill with water, then freeze. When ready to hunt fill a cooler with the bottles, it only takes a minute to gut and skin a rabbit, they go in another cooler with frozen bottles. A trick to keeping a clean cooler, get kitchen size trash can heavy duty bags. Put one in your cooler and the gutted rabbit goes in the bag, bottles on the bottom of the cooler and on top of the trash bag.


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Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: dogcatcher] #7155293 04/30/18 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted By: dogcatcher
We save 12oz and 16oz soft drink bottles, rinse and fill with water, then freeze. When ready to hunt fill a cooler with the bottles, it only takes a minute to gut and skin a rabbit, they go in another cooler with frozen bottles. A trick to keeping a clean cooler, get kitchen size trash can heavy duty bags. Put one in your cooler and the gutted rabbit goes in the bag, bottles on the bottom of the cooler and on top of the trash bag.


Did that for many years DC. Many saltwater fish died on frozen bottles. My Dad hated buying ice, so we froze bottles and used them like crazy.

Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: dogcatcher] #7157005 05/01/18 09:47 PM
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ChrisG Offline
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Originally Posted By: dogcatcher
We save 12oz and 16oz soft drink bottles, rinse and fill with water, then freeze. When ready to hunt fill a cooler with the bottles, it only takes a minute to gut and skin a rabbit, they go in another cooler with frozen bottles. A trick to keeping a clean cooler, get kitchen size trash can heavy duty bags. Put one in your cooler and the gutted rabbit goes in the bag, bottles on the bottom of the cooler and on top of the trash bag.



Just double check that they are not the scented ones. Don't ask me how I know. hammer

Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: ChrisG] #7160823 05/05/18 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted By: ChrisG
Originally Posted By: dogcatcher
We save 12oz and 16oz soft drink bottles, rinse and fill with water, then freeze. When ready to hunt fill a cooler with the bottles, it only takes a minute to gut and skin a rabbit, they go in another cooler with frozen bottles. A trick to keeping a clean cooler, get kitchen size trash can heavy duty bags. Put one in your cooler and the gutted rabbit goes in the bag, bottles on the bottom of the cooler and on top of the trash bag.



Just double check that they are not the scented ones. Don't ask me how I know. hammer


I am too and cheap to buy scented trash bags. clap


Combat Infantryman, the ultimate hunter where the prey shoots back.
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Re: How long before the meat spoils on cottontails and bushy tails? [Re: Herschelb] #7168376 05/13/18 10:45 AM
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pigplinker Offline
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There are several soft sided lunch/cooler bags that would fit into your game bag. Use the ideas of frozen water bottles with maybe some gallon ziplock bags to put squirrels and rabbits into. Lots of good advise posted here. Good luck.

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