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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Our "annual" youth late cow elk hunt ended with a fresh haul of elk meat for the freezer.

Hunt began the day after Christmas (hate that, but it is what it is) and saw elk at first light. After an unsuccessful stalk due to a swirling wind that morning, we backed out and drove around the ridge the elk bedded on to keep the predominate wind in our face.

We located the elk we saw that morning and waited them out to get up out of their beds to start an afternoon/evening feeding. After repositioning ourselves to get closer, we took a 300 yard shot and missed. The next morning found ourselves in the same area with 4 or 5 cows in the bottom of a draw, just east of where we shot the evening before.

A stupid coyote started to yap and they bolted before we could position for a 250-ish yd shot opportunity. We spotted several elk to the north of us feeding away, so we humped it back to the truck only to get there a little too late. Then we spotted a small group of elk feeding just on the other side of the ridge where we shot the evening before, around 10 or 12.

So, with the back-and-forth clown show full well underway, we went back to where we started in the morning (this being the second day still) and huffed it back to where the elk were. We circled around to keep the wind in our favor and crept up over the ridge just NE of where the elk were feeding. Nothing. After looking for a few minutes, an elk suddenly materialized and looking through the binos showed it to be bedded. The elk was standing just seconds before behind some trees and when we spotted it, it had just bedded down. A quick shooting rest made from a daypack for my daughter the hunter and a prone shot at 205 yds put this fat "jug-head" down.

After a few pics and text message to my wife and a "happy birthday" (yes, we were hunting on my wife's birthday, don't even ask how I can swing that) we began the skinning and quartering work. We hung the front legs and hinds on a field fashioned meat pole the way we usually do and hauled out the backstraps, rib meat, neck meat, and tenderloins. Got back to the truck at 1:30 in the afternoon, elk was shot at 10:30.

Me and my dad went back the next day to pack out the rest, he took the two shoulders, I took the two hinds. All meat was boned out in the field, so no short little video to post on "taking the bone from the meat" promised on another meat cutting thread.

First load was 56 pounds the day before, dad's was 44 and my second load for the hinds was 73.

Went ahead and cleaned up all the meat on Wednesday and vacuum sealed the backstrap "roasts" and tenderloin to wet age for a couple of weeks. Also bagged up the sirloins to be sliced into steaks and wrapped after they wet age. Grind is ready to go with all (or most) of the silver skin removed, will probably can (pressure cook) the hocks.

Grind will make 25 lbs of breakfast sausage, regular burger (with bacon added), and 25 lbs of specific grind with a little higher fat content for "smash burgers".

I would rather hunt with a youth than an experienced hunter, I think. The last pic is a herd of around 150 we saw going in on the day we packed the rest out (sorry it's so grainy, it's a screenshot of the video I made of them).
 

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Cool man. It sounds like they had you running in circles. How much extra fat do you add for the smash burger grind? And is it just bacon or something else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cool man. It sounds like they had you running in circles. How much extra fat do you add for the smash burger grind? And is it just bacon or something else?
They didn't have us running in circles, I had us running in circles which is why the clown show was in full display!

I plan on adding around 15% beef fat (suet) for the smash burger grind, maybe a skosh more. I will add 10% bacon to the "regular" grind. The breakfast sausage I do a 50/50 elk-pork (meat and fat) mix.

Both percentages are by weight.
 
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