Okay, I’m going to break a blog tradition and do something I’ve not previously done before in my nearly four years of outdoors journaling. What am I doing? I’m going to follow-up on a somewhat controversial post allowing a rebuttal letter written by someone who takes issue with what I have previously written. I haven’t done this before because when someone doesn’t like what I’ve composed they’ve always had the opportunity to post a comment directly to that particular post. Today, however, I received a lengthy letter that perhaps deserves some different editorial treatment.
In all fairness, here is the e-mail letter in it’s entirety. Just this one time I am giving someone who disagrees with me the same platform to call me out, and as you will see this individual most certainly did. You’ll find my response to this letter written in the comments section of this post.
I have read your blog and I too have had my eyebrows raised. I have found some of your comments to be offensive and others ill informed.Let me proceed by first defining my reason for interest. I hunt almost exclusively in the Western States where temperatures during hunting season are often in the 80-90 degree range even during the evening. Cooling off game meat is not a luxury but a necessity.As I often hunt with my children and grandchildren, the cost saving of traveling in one vehicle is often the only feasible means of transport. Often our ventures take us to remote locations where no meat processor or taxidermist is available within a two-six hour drive. When one of the hunting party has an animal down we immediately field dress the animal and then hang the carcass to air out and cool. When hunting game such as pronghorn antelope in New Mexico or whitetail in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Alabama,or Arizona, Old Mexico,there often is not a game pole or sportsman’s gibe let alone a tree sufficient for such airing. For this reason I have purchased a receiver mounted game hoist for my vehicle. If there are no natural or permanent hoist, we air the carcass from my receiver mounted game hoist. We do rinse out the carcass to remove any accumulated blood or organ materials that may linger. The problem then becomes how to we cool the carcass down while awaiting our trip out of camp. Often the delay in leaving camp is two to three days to assist other hunters who may have also taken game that day or will do so in the next morning or evenings hunt.At temperatures above 40 degrees we have experienced significant spoilage. The solution offered by the Trophy BagKooler is a significant improvement over allowing meat to spoil in the heat and sun when shade is unavailable. Placing bagged ice in the cavity of the animal does indeed bring the body temperature down to approximately 36-38 degrees and will keep it there up to three days even when left in the open air and sun. Is there ice meltage, absolutely. Is the meltage significant, absolutely insignificant. Are meat processors and taxidermist amazed at the condition of the animal upon receipt-again absolutely. Not only is the mean in pristine condition but by sealing the animal in the TrophyBagKooler you avoid all the dust and debris that is normally associated with transporting a game animal through the red dust and road debris that is usually the only available means to transport the carcass in the back of a pickup or on a hitch haul even though you would have provided as much cover as possible with tarp or similar cover. This product would also have been of tremendous benefit to me had it been available for my fall black bear hunts in Pine County, Minnesota where August temperatures reach the almost unbearable range and the insect infestation is egregious.Did I mention, that as Past President of Safari Club International Oklahoma Station Chapter, Past Regional Vice President Safari Club International, and Director of the Oklahoma Wildlife Management Association I was delighted to be the first paying customer to utilize this product? I have hunted for many years (decades) and have often had the problem in dealing with warm temperatures and conserving the meat of my game animals. In all my years of hunting ( I have quartered the game and surrounded the quarters with ice to protect the carcass from spoilage prior to the introduction of the TrophyBagKooler), never have I experienced either a loss of meat or any loss in the quality of the meat by doing so in short term storage or in transport of the carcass.You state in your blog that ” if used incorrectly it could be downright dangerous”. You give no explanation of what the means or evidence of how the conclusion was reached. You appear to rely only upon you opinion rather than any scientific evidence to make not only this assertion but the others in which you refute a product that has undergone extensive testing and field verification of it’s purported benefits. When you state that in your opinion “the game cooler bag promotes the improper way to do it” what evidence other than unsubstantiated opinion do you have to attest to your findings?Your friend Jeff is sharing you conviction with his 40+ years of hunting. You do not define that experience other than to relate than to the passage of years. I offer you a different opinion from someone with more than 50 years of hunting experience, spending upwards of 120 days each year in the field. Would that experience qualify me to render an opinion as meaningful as that of Jeff and yourself? During all of my years of hunting I have always used ice when available on big game meat. Yes, I am aware that accumulation of water is undesirable and for that reason have been meticulous to drain my coolers of liquid frequently while in transport or storage. As for the TrophyBagKooler usage, I have yet to experience an occasion in which accumulation was a problem.You imply that “if you put this item on a warm critter you are asking for spoilage”. How did you ever surmise that was the intended application? The intended application is of course to air the carcass until such time as the body temp of the carcass is no more than that of the surrounding air-then place the carcass in the bag and insert bagged ice into the cavity of the carcass. Unlike Jeff, I am not an exquisite game chef. However, I do have the added advantage of having a wife who has prepared table fare from over 150 different species and from over three continents. My job in getting the meat prepared for her is the care in the field, the transport, and the butchering either by me or a professional service. I have never had spoiled game and with the TrophyBagKooler know I will not will I have to exert the effort that I have had to in the past to be assured that is true.You further state that you add loads of ice-how much is a load? It is quite sufficient in most applications of the TrophyBagKooler to use a single 10 LB bag of ice in the cavity. In extreme heat you may well prefer to add a second bag to the exterior of the carcass to keep the hair of the trophy from slipping. When you suggest that having microbial material “does not do a damn thing for the wholesomeness of the game animal” I can only surmise that having bacteria on the carcass of you game animal or in your cooler is if no consequence to you-suggesting that you probably do not think it beneficial to wash your cooler out between usages either. For my part, I take great pride in knowing that I have treated the game animal with all the respect he deserves and that my family who will consume it deserves.I to take great pride in caring for the game I have harvested or that of my children and/or grandchildren and do not think myself at all naive to make certain that all the products I utilize in sport hunting are of the best quality that I can afford whether that be the skinning knife or now the TrophyBagKooler.I think my commentary sufficiently addresses your questions of “How do you handle game meat in warm weather?” ,” Do you see any benefit in this new game cooler product” “Are you concerned about moisture contacting your meat during transport?”, “Do you think this product will still be on the shelves 5 years from now?” , but for clarification let me offer this insight I have experience using this product and can attest to it’s virtues. I am not relegated to using innuendo and opinion derived from distant observation but rather actual in the field experience.This is lengthy and I thank you for taking the time to read this. I obviously have a different experience and understanding of the product than you do. Perhaps, if you hunted in the climate that we experience in the Southwest and West as often as I you would come to a greater appreciation of what this product has done to improve the quality of hunting for the hunter. If you would be so generous, please find a way to post this rebuttal to your blog.Sam C MunhollonOklahoma City, OK
Filed under: Outdoor Techniques