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The Gutless Method: Deboning the Hind Quarter

Hunters can save themselves weight and mess using the gutless method to pack meat back to the trailhead after harvesting an animal. Bowhunter Dan Pickar demonstrates how to remove the bones from an elk hind quarter to make the packout as light as possible while getting all of the meat from the rear quarter.

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  1. I’ve used the gutless method for years–mostly on deer. I don;t take the time to de-bone the quarters however. Is the weight of the bones enough to make the bone removal worthwhile? I guess If bone removal doesn’t really shorten amount of trips required for the pack-out and weight with “bone in” is manageable, why bother?

    • Chris Herlinger

      I think the weight of a rear leg bone on a mature elk is probably in the 12 to 15 pound range. That’s enough of a difference to make it worthwhile to me.

    • I don’t worry about bones in deer either unless I have a long pack out and I’m by myself. Elk bones do add up quick as Chris has pointed out. Once again, all depends how far from the truck I am and usually it’s further than I would like!

  2. Great tip. Huge fan of Eastmans and have been since I was a kid. I’ve tried several ways to bone out and bone weight does add up quick. Especially when your solo hunting. I usually use horses and leaving the bone in does have its ups and downs. Going to try your way this year if I’m successful. Looking forward to hunting my backyard in south west Wyoming. Thanks Dan.

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