BBQ Elk Short Ribs with Green Beans and Summer Chanterelles

PREP TIME – 15 Minutes

COOK TIME – 45 Minutes

SERVES – 4 – 6 People

A great base needs a good counterpart. Freshly harvested elk short ribs, Chanterelles, and green beans pull in the sweetness of Traeger’s cherry wood and only require a simple seasoning of salt, pepper and butter.


  • 3 Pound Elk Short Ribs
  • 6 Ounce Traeger Prime Rib Rub
  • 4 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Pound Green Beans, fresh
  • 1/2 Pound Chanterelle Mushrooms


  1.  When ready to cook, set the Traeger to 275 and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
  2.  Season the short ribs liberally with Traeger Prime Rib Rub and a little bit of salt.
  3.  Place the short ribs directly on the grill grate rib side down. Cook the ribs for 30 minutes then wrap in a double layer of tin foil and place back on the grill.
  4.  Cook until the internal temperature reaches 125 then remove from grill. Do not let ribs rise above an internal temperature of 130 or the meat will become extremely tough.
  5.  Remove the ribs from the grill and set aside to rest. Increase the temperature to High and preheat. Place a cast iron pan directly on the grill grate while it preheats.
  6.  When the grill reaches temperature, add butter to cast iron. When butter melts, add green beans and mushrooms being careful not to crowd the pan (use two if necessary).
  7.  Close the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms are golden brown and green beans are tender. Serve with elk short ribs. Enjoy!

Access this, and over a thousand other Traeger recipes on the Traeger App.

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Grilled Elk Sliders

Courtesy of Traeger Kitchen

  • 2 Large Onions, Peeled And Sliced Thinly
  • 1 Teaspoon Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Pound Ground Elk
  • 1 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 3 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese, Cut Into Fourths
  • 12 Whole Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoon Ketchup
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 3 Tablespoon Chopped Pickles
  1. When ready to cook, set grill temperature to High and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
  2. Combine onions, butter, olive oil, sugar, and salt in a cast-iron skillet and place skillet in grill. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are golden brown.
  3. Combine ground elk, seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and form into 2” patties. Place patties on grill and cook 2 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Place pepper jack cheese on each patty and let melt. If desired, slice dinner rolls in half and place cut side down on grill to lightly toast.
  5. Mix all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.
  6. Serve slider topped with caramelized onions and sauce. Enjoy!

Check out more wild game recipes from Traeger here.

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Braised backstrap shredded tacos by John Dudley

These tacos by John Dudley are straight up buck wild. Braise wild game neck, shoulder, or arm meat, then add Traeger’s Sriracha Sugar Lips Sauce and serve in warm tortillas with spicy, smoked jalapeños.


When ready to cook, set the temperature to 250℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.

Add the grass fed butter and garlic to a large Dutch oven and place on the stovetop. Add the game meat to the Dutch oven and sear on all sides.

Remove from heat and season with Traeger Prime Rib and Traeger Coffee rubs.

Add the bone broth to the pot and cover. Wrap the seam of the lids tightly with foil.

Place directly on the grill grate and cook for approximately 8 hours without peeking.

Remove the lid and twist the meat with a fork. If the meat easily shreds, then drizzle Sriracha Sugar Lips on top and cover with the lid. If the meat doesn’t fall apart yet, recover and continue to cook for another hour or until tender.

Reduce grill temperature to 180℉. Place jalapeños directly on the grill grate and smoke the peppers for 20 minutes.

With 10 minutes remaining, wrap a stack of tortillas in foil and set them in the Traeger to warm.

Remove Dutch oven from the grill and shred meat with two large forks. Mix in another drizzle of Sriracha Sugar Lips and cover pot.

Remove tortillas and jalapeños from the grill and slice jalapeños.

Build tacos with shredded backstrap, jalapeños and avocados. Garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

*Cook times will vary depending on set and ambient temperatures.

Click to learn more about Pro Team member John Dudley. Check out more of his recipes and photos on his Instagram @NockOnTV.

Access this, and over a thousand other Traeger recipes on the Traeger App.

Have a recipe you’d like to share? Hit us up in the comments below.

These tacos by John Dudley will have you going straight up buck wild. Braise shoulder, wild game neck, or arm meet, then cover in Traeger’s Sriracha Sugar Lips sauce and serve in warm tortillas with smoked, spicy jalapenos.

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Grilled Elk Flank Carne Asada

Traeger Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Serves: 4 people




    • 2 Whole Dried Guajillo Chiles, Stemmed And Seeded
    • 2 Whole Dried Ancho Chiles, Stemmed And Seeded
    • 4 Whole Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
    • 2 Whole Orange, Juiced
    • 2 Whole Lime, Juiced
    • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    • 2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
    • 2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
    • 4 Clove Garlic
    • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
    • 2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
    • 2 Tablespoon Salt
    • 3 Pound Elk Flank Steak 


    • Tortillas, For Serving
    • Fresh Lime, For Serving
    • Sliced Avocado, For Serving
    • Sliced Jalapeños, For Serving
    • 1 Bunch Cilantro, For Serving


  1. Plan ahead, this elk flank steak marinates overnight. In a medium bowl, pour 1-1/2 cups boiling water over the dried chiles. Top with a plate to weigh chiles down and keep them completely submerged. Soak the chiles for 30 minutes, or until completely rehydrated.
  2. In a blender pitcher, combine rehydrated chiles, chipotle peppers, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, cumin, brown sugar and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour mixture over the flank and marinate overnight.
  3. When ready to cook, set Traeger temperature to 225℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke if available.
  4. Place the steak directly on the grill grate and smoke for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 110℉.
  5. When the internal temperature of the steaks is 110℉, remove from the grill.
  6. Increase Traeger temperature to 500℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
  7. When the Traeger is up to temperature, place the steaks back on the grill grate and sear for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature is between 125℉ to 130℉ for medium-rare.
  8. Remove steaks from the Traeger and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. To serve, warm the tortillas, add elk steak to tortilla and top with avocado, cilantro and a squeeze of lime or any toppings of choice. Enjoy!

Looking for more cooking inspiration? Traeger has pellet grill recipes that let you grill, smoke, braise, bake, roast and BBQ.


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Elk Osso Buco with Chef Eduardo Garcia

Not sure how to cook elk shanks? Follow along with Chef Eduardo Garcia as he turns whole elk shanks into amazing Osso Buco.  This is a dish you’ll want to prepare for your friends and family after harvesting your next elk. For more recipes and processing information check out

To get your hands on the seasonings used in this MEAT! video check out Montana Mex at

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Wyoming Receives $6 Million for Elk Habitat, Research, Public Access Work

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners allocated $6,046,939 in 2022 grant funding to conserve and improve wildlife habitat, enhance public access and assist scientific research in Wyoming. RMEF directly granted $310,656 that leveraged an additional $5,736,283 in partner dollars.

“This funding is extremely critical and goes on the ground for 20 different projects across the state including wildfire restoration, aspen enhancement, invasive weed control, stabilizing stream bank erosion, conifer thinning, water source improvement and three research projects,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Other projects include conserving more than 2,200 acres of elk habitat, providing funding to improve elk hunting access on private land and more than a dozen projects that support hunting, recreational shooting and outdoors-related endeavors.”

There are 22 RMEF chapters and more than 7,600 members in Wyoming.

“Our dedicated volunteers have a long and successful history of generating funding at chapter banquets and other events in Wyoming,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We express our sincere gratitude for them and their ongoing efforts that help further our mission.”

Below is a list of the 2022-funded projects.

Albany County

  • Plant up to 100 seedlings per acre across 900 acres of habitat on the Medicine Bow National Forest, where the 2018 Badger Creek and 2020 Mullen Wildfires burned nearly 200,000 acres. The project is part of RMEF’s ongoing $1 million commitment toward wildfire restoration work (also benefits Carbon County)
  • Treat 880 acres of invasive cheatgrass on private lands impacted by the 2018 Britannia Wildfire. The area serves as important transitional and winter range for elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep.
  • Treat 2,628 acres of invasive cheatgrass on the Thorne/Williams Wildlife Habitat Management Area that serves as crucial winter range for elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep.

Big Horn County

  • Provide funding for the Paintrock Hunter Mentor Program (PHMP), which encourages and provides opportunities for youth to hunt and fish. In addition to offering mentored hunts, PHMP also sponsors a community service project that donates deer meat to those in need (also benefits Converse, Hot Springs Natrona, Park and Washakie Counties).

Campbell County

  • Provide funding for the Gillette High School trap team, which provides a safe and controlled environment for any type of shooter from beginners to those more experienced (also benefits Crook County).

Carbon County

  • Update an existing wildlife water guzzler and associated fence exclosure on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the eastern slope of the Ferris Mountains.

Crook County

  • Selectively thin conifers across 100 acres of private lands to improve habitat for elk, mule deer, sage grouse and other wildlife, and prevent the spread of mountain pine beetle and reduce severe wildfire risk (also benefits Weston County).
  • Provide funding for a voluntary conservation agreement to conserve 2,280 acres of working agricultural lands and wildlife habitat on private land in the Black Hills about three miles east of Devil’s Tower.

Fremont County

  • Remove conifer encroachment from 500 acres in the Washakie Ranger District on the Shoshone National Forest improving aspen enhancement across the entire South Pass area in the southern end of the Wind River Range, an area providing important winter, calving and transitional range for elk and other species.
  • Prescribed burn 1,300 acres, including 680 acres on Whiskey Mountain in the Wind River Ranger District on the Shoshone National Forest and 620 acres on the Whiskey Basin Wildlife Habitat Management Area to open migration routes and enhance forage for elk, bighorn sheep and mule deer.
  • Provide funding and volunteer manpower to remove obsolete barbwire fencing that thwarts migrating wildlife (also benefits Albany, Laramie, Sublette, Sweetwater and Teton Counties).
  • Provide funding to support a film highlighting ranchers committed to preserving their western heritage way of life and the wildlife that use their land (also benefits Albany, Carbon, Laramie, Sublette and Teton Counties as well as Gallatin County, Montana).
  • Provide funding to support the Becoming an Outdoors Woman and #WYHUNTFISH Mentoring Camp programs. Participants gain skills to become better hunters and those who successfully draw a tag, work with a mentor and hunting partner to head afield (also benefits Teton County).

Hot Springs County

  • Provide funding for the Hot Springs County 4-H Shooting Sports Program that teaches safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment with an additional focus on conservation.

Natrona County

  • Treat 2,520 acres of habitat infested with invasive cheatgrass on BLM-managed, state and private land vital for elk, sage grouse, mule deer and pronghorn antelope.
  • Construct temporary exclosure fencing around a previously treated 12-acre aspen stand on BLM-managed land on Green Mountain to enhance aspen growth.

Park County

  • Provide funding to identify the most crucial sections of fence to be removed or modified as part of research to assist elk migration patterns.
  • Remove encroaching conifers across 250 acres of BLM-managed land within the Gooseberry Creek watershed to assist aspen enhancement on the Absaroka Front (also benefits Hot Springs County).

Platte County

  • Provide funding for the Platte County 4-H Shooting Sports program that allows youth to learn the value of marksmanship, safe and responsible use of firearms, hunting and other skills.

Sheridan County


  • Treat 7,274 acres of ventenata, an invasive annual grass that has little or no nutritional value, across the Buffalo Run State of Wyoming Land Trust land, a popular area for sportsmen and outdoor recreation.

Sublette County

  • Improve 125 acres of stream and pasture conditions along 2.5 stream miles in the upper Hoback River drainage on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and private land by converting 4,300 feet of existing fencing to wildlife-friendly fencing. Additionally, the installation of fence exclosures will protect cottonwood and willow planted to stabilize stream banks.
  • Install temporary fence exclosures to assist the growth of 29 acres of aspen and willow stands on the Soda Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area, key winter range for elk.

Sweetwater County

  • Provide funding for Sweetwater County 4-H Shooting Sports, a club dedicated to teaching youth about firearms safety and marksmanship including archery, muzzleloading, pistol, rifle and shotgun disciplines.

Teton County

  • Install 8-foot temporary fencing on private land to allow recovery of natural and planted woody vegetation on 80 acres along the Snake River at the foot of Munger Mountain.
  • Burn and thin conifers encroaching on aspen stands across 1,552 acres in the Teton Basin Ranger District on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest to improve habitat for elk, mule deer, moose and other wildlife while also reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire within the Teton Basin.


  • Provide funding for the state’s Access Yes program to secure and improve public access for hunting and fishing on privately-owned land.
  • Provide funding to evaluate key areas where conserving private lands will help maintain or improve big game migration corridors. Support research to analyze GPS data from multiple elk herds to identify why elk switch movement strategies, as part of an effort to better understand migration corridors.
  • Provide funding for signage promoting the safe crossing of wildlife along portions of Highway 34 and I-25 in southeast Wyoming.
  • Provide financial support for the Wyoming Outdoor Weekend & Expo, a free, family-friendly, hands-on outdoor experience and education to promote future conservationists who value wildlife, the outdoors and their communities.


  • Provide funding to Wyoming Disabled Hunters, a nonprofit devoted to providing quality hunting experiences to men and women with disabilities from around the country.

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 892 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wyoming with a combined value of more than $175.9 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 1,261,048 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 200,696 acres.

Project partners include the Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee, Medicine Bow-Routt and Shoshone Nationals Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, University of Wyoming, private landowners and various conservation, sportsmen and women, and other organizations.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded more than 38 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved nearly 8.4 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at or 800-CALL ELK.

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Virginia Looks Ahead to Inaugural Elk Hunt, RMEF Taking Entries for Final Tag

It’s not surprising that a bull elk is featured on the cover of Virginia’s just-released July 2022-June 2023 hunting and trapping regulations booklet. After all, the state will host its first-ever managed elk hunt later this year.

“Though a small hunt, it’s significant in marking the early success of the restoration of this magnificent animal to Virginia, and also a tremendous opportunity to show the greater public the conservation benefits of hunting,” said Ryan Brown, executive director of Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR).

Brown also pointed out that more than 31,000 people from all 50 states entered DWR’s lottery for five elk tags drawn in May, generating significant funding to be put back on the ground.

“That’s approximately half a million dollars that will go right back into wildlife conservation because of the contributions of these hunters. Not to mention the economic benefits from elk viewing and associated recreation that our partners down in Southwest Virginia are already taking advantage of.” added Brown.

A sixth and final license, Virginia’s first-ever elk conservation license, will be raffled off and announced on August 13 by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at its Southwest Virginia Coalfields Chapter banquet in Oakwood. In addition to the tag, the grand prize winner will also receive an elk hunter’s essential package that also includes a rifle, hunting gear and apparel. Second through fourth place winners will each receive a rifle and the fifth-place winner gets a $250 gift card. Go here to enter the raffle and for additional information.

RMEF has a long, active history in Virginia that includes providing both funding and volunteer support to successfully restore wild, free-ranging elk to their historic Old Dominion range in 2012. Dating back to 1993, RMEF and its partners completed 82 conservation and hunting heritage projects in Virginia with a combined value of more than $2.1 million.

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

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Comment Sought on Montana Elk Management Plan

Below is a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public input on revisions to the statewide Elk Management Plan last adopted in 2005. FWP began work on the revised plan in 2020, when a citizen’s group was convened to develop guiding principles for the new plan.

FWP is seeking input on the existing elk population objectives and local elk management challenges that should be considered in the revision. The scoping period started several weeks ago, but meetings have been sparsely attended and FWP has received few comments to date.

“We’ve been hearing concerns and interest from hunters and landowners about the current Elk Management Plan for a while now,” said FWP Director Hank Worsech. “This is a great opportunity to participate in revising that plan. We can’t have a good plan without knowing what people want elk management and elk objectives to look like in Montana.”

Information on current elk population objectives being considered for revision can be viewed here. In addition, FWP is hosting a series of public meetings this summer and fall to gather ideas and input. Meeting places, times and details are posted on the FWP website.

“If you’re interested in elk management in Montana, we need to hear from you on this,” Worsech said. “Please attend a meeting in your area, go online, read through the information and make comments.”

The deadline for public comment is Oct. 15. Comments can be submitted online, emailed to or mailed to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Attn: Wildlife, P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701.

Once the draft Elk Management Plan has been developed and released, there will be additional public comment opportunities.

(Photo credit: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)

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Elk Poachers Sentenced in Oregon

Below is a news release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. For 2022, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide.

Sentencing is complete for two Hines residents involved in killing at least seven elk while shooting into the fleeing herd in December 2021. The crime left two calves, two cows and a spike bull rotting in high-country sagebrush. Chris Lardy and his wife, Stephanie, were convicted of multiple wildlife offenses on May 20, 2022.

Mr. Lardy must write and publish an apology letter in the Burns Times-Herald as part of his sentence. In addition, the pair must take hunter education courses to regain hunting rights following three-year suspensions. And they will pay a combined $2500 in fines and restitution, according to Harney County officials. Mr. Lardy’s sentence included six days in jail, 18 months of bench probation and he is prohibited from participating in any hunting activities, including as an observer or mentor, for three years. Troopers confiscated three rifles, which were later returned.

According to officials, witnesses hunting in the Juniper Unit in Harney County mid-day on Dec. 11, 2021, called the Turn In Poachers (TIP) line when they saw the driver of a blue and white suburban leave a spur road east of Hwy 395 to pursue a herd of about 100 elk through open ground and sagebrush. Witnesses said the driver stopped twice as occupants fired at least 30-40 shots into the fleeing herd. OSP F and W Troopers solved the case during a traffic stop the next day.

The Lardy couple and two passengers in their suburban had four tags for a late-season antlerless (cow) elk hunt. Stephanie and another person in their hunt group legally tagged two cow elk. They left five elk to waste and allegedly wounded another elk which OSP F and W Troopers did not find.

Evidence collected by OSP F and W troopers indicated the driver travelled about 300 yards through sagebrush, stopped to shoot into the herd, then continued in pursuit. After traveling about 400 additional yards through sagebrush, they stopped again to shoot into the herd, killing two cow elk and a calf. They gutted the two cows, loaded them into their vehicle, and left the area.

The following day, Troopers from the OSP Fish and Wildlife Division followed tracks left by the vehicle and scouted the area for killed and wounded animals. Troopers located carcasses of two cows, a calf, and a spike bull about 200 yards from tire tracks marking the first stop. They located a calf carcass about 60 yards from the second stop. All five elk had been left to waste and the meat was not salvageable. Troopers also found gut piles from the two legal cow elk.

Later that day, OSP F and W Troopers near Hwy 395, not far from where the incident occurred, conducted a traffic violation stop on a vehicle matching witness’ descriptions. The driver, Chris Lardy, told Troopers he and his passengers were on their way back from hunting the same area where their hunting group filled two antlerless elk tags the previous day.

When Troopers questioned him about multiple dead elk shot and left to waste the previous day, Lardy said he or one of his passengers had wounded an elk in the leg. No one in their hunting group had conducted a search for dead or wounded animals because they did not have time. Chris had returned to the area that day hoping to fill their hunting group’s two remaining tags.

Chris Lardy was convicted of taking a bull elk out of season and exceeding the bag limit of elk. Stephanie Lardy pled guilty to Aiding/Counseling in a game violation.
The case is frustrating to wildlife managers, hunters, and troopers. Not only is it a disregard for wildlife, but also for the safety of others in the field, according to OSP F and W Sergeant Erich Timko.

“Each hunter is responsible for every round they fire,” Timko said, “And hunters have a responsibility to make a reasonable effort to track and retrieve potentially wounded wildlife. This is a prime example of when that is not done. These are egregious results. However, even more so on antlerless hunts, it can be difficult to pick one specific animal and stay on target. And at times, you must make that decision not to fire unless you are 100 percent positive you are shooting at that animal. If you cannot be 100 percent positive of your target, then you have responsibility not to take that shot.”

ODFW Big Game Program Manager Brian Wolfer agrees.

“There are so many facets of wrongdoing in this case,” Wolfer said, “These people acted in blatant disregard for the elk, hunting laws and basic hunting ethics. To chase the elk with a vehicle and then leave five elk to waste because they didn’t check to see what they may have hit is almost unbelievable.

Activities like this earn the ire of hunters across Oregon, according to Duane Dungannon, State Coordinator and Magazine Editor for the Oregon Hunters Association.

“Elk in Oregon’s high desert are amazingly elusive even in open country and a challenge for hunters to pursue, so it’s a terrible shame to see them needlessly wasted like this,” Dungannon said.

“Any ethical and responsible hunter knows that you only shoot at one animal, and then follow up on that animal. It’s not a video game.”

The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among state agencies, sportsmen and other conservationists, landowners, and recreationists to engage the public in combatting Oregon’s poaching problem. Our goal is to: Incentivize reporting on wildlife crimes through the TIP Line; Strengthen enforcement by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers; and Support prosecution in becoming an effective deterrent. The campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Contact campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw for more information.

(Photo credit: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

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Early Season Idaho Elk Hunts are Great Options, Offer Challenges

Below is a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Idaho’s early season antlerless elk hunts have started, and hunters are already heading outdoors to take advantage of what looks to be a great season. While these early hunts have some advantages, hunting during hot weather requires extra precaution and special care to prevent spoiling of meat.

“Always get permission, prepare accordingly and have a plan for the heat,” said Dennis Newman, Idaho Fish and Game wildlife manager based in Salmon.

The majority of early season elk hunting opportunities are antlerless hunts that occur on or within one mile of private agricultural land. These hunts are a tool that wildlife managers use to address chronic depredation problems. The goal is to control populations causing crop damage by harvesting or discouraging animals in specific areas.

Ask first and know before you go

Since the hunts occur on or near private land, hunters need to be aware of and follow Idaho’s trespass laws. Hunters must have written permission or other lawful form of permission to enter or remain on private land.

Hunters are encouraged to visit with landowners to obtain permission well in advance and always be sensitive to their concerns of fire, livestock, equipment and crops.

More information and a blank permission form are available on Page 2 of the 2022 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure. Hunters should also know where they are in proximity to private land boundaries so they can stay within the rules of the hunt.

Before leaving home, hunters should also know how they plan to handle the meat should the hunt be successful. Knowing how to quickly get the animal out and where to take the meat are questions every early season hunter should ask themselves.

“With daytime temperatures reaching the 80-90’s, you don’t have time to look for friends to help or call around to multiple cold storage facilities,” says Newman. “Always know in advance who can help and where you can take the meat to cool and store it.”

Heat is the enemy

Heat is one of the biggest evils early season hunters face, and what to do with the meat after an animal is down. To prevent game meat from spoiling, hunters need to be prepared and act quickly to speed cooling.

“The key to preserving meat in warm weather is to begin the cooling process as quickly as possible,” says Newman. “Once the animal is tagged, it should be immediately dressed, skinned, reduced to quarters in most cases and quickly transported to cold storage.”

Getting the hide off quickly is imperative, as it acts as an insulator and will trap heat. Breaking the animal down into pieces will also help cooling. But keep in mind that the ground acts as a great insulator. Hanging the pieces, or at least elevating them off the ground, will allow air to circulate around them, cooling the meat more rapidly.

“The smaller the piece of meat, the faster it cools,” says Newman. “If you plan to leave the meat on the bone for ease of packing, cut slits into the meat to expose the bone and allow deeper cooling.”

Some early season hunters pack a lightweight tarp or cotton sheet to keep ground debris off the meat when skinning or cutting up the carcass in the field. Others who remove the meat from the bone, leave large ice chests at their vehicle for transport home.

“An elk quarter lying in the back of a truck in direct sunlight, even for just a couple hours, can start to spoil,” Newman said. “Extra coolers filled with ice will keep your meat both cool and clean.”

Remember the laws

Idaho hunters have an ethical and legal obligation to remove and properly care for the edible meat of big game animals they harvest, except black bears, mountain lions and gray wolves. This includes the meat of the front quarters as far down as the knee, hindquarters as far down as the hock and meat along the backbone which is the loin and tenderloin. It does not include meat of the head, internal organs, neck meat or meat covering the ribs or bones after close trimming.

If you’re going to put in all the time and effort to put meat in the freezer, why not take as much meat as possible? After all, taking home quality meat is one of the main reasons people hunt. Removing the neck meat and meat covering the ribs can be done in minutes, plus it makes for excellent hamburger, stew meat or sausage.

But when in a hurry cutting up a carcass in the field, hunters need to remember to keep evidence of sex or species attached to the animal while transporting it. This is so wildlife officials can accurately identify the animals in the hunter’s possession.

“No skinning job will be perfect, but it is critical that hunters retain evidence of sex on the carcass,” says Newman. “A quick review and following what’s listed on page 102 of the Big Game rules book will help hunters stay on the right side of the law.”

Fire concerns

While most of these hunts take place in an agricultural area, it’s possible that fire restrictions or closures may affect portions of some hunt areas that fall within a mile of agricultural land. Hunters can stay abreast of current fire information by visiting Fish and Game’s Fire information webpage, including a map of wildfire closures, and see more details about active fires in Idaho on the InciWeb incident information site.

(Photo credit: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

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