Trevor Thompson told the Free Range American podcast recently about the time he processed an entire moose by himself on a hunt in British Columbia. He ended up filling his tag with a great bull early in the week, so he had the time and opportunity.
These are the knives and tools he brought along to do it.
“So you need everything from a scalpel all the way to an ax to break an animal that size down,” he said. “To take the whole thing apart, I brought up two fillet knives, a skinning knife, I brought a slightly larger knife, which is an older one I had while I was in the Teams, and then I brought up the tomahawk — not really to use it — and an ax. And a set of surgical scalpels. You really do need those if you’re going to be doing that much skinning and that much processing, once you get down to the little tiny stuff.”
At the time, Thompson hadn’t processed an animal larger than a deer, and even then, not the whole thing.
“I asked a lot of questions and told my guide this is the first big-game animal where I will process the entire thing, and I want to do it all,” Thompson said. “So he let me crawl inside the carcass and gut the whole thing. He was helping with that because he knew it would be quicker, but man, I am happy I got to process that whole animal. It was a huge pain in the ass, though.”
Thompson said he worked each day, all day, and was exhausted every night.
“You’re working from sunup to sundown with breaks for lunch, every day. My hands were so smoked. So smoked because you’re moving these pieces — each quarter weighs about as much as I do, so close to 200 pounds, depending on which side of the animal it was,” he said. “That first quarter probably took me five to six hours to do by myself. That was the one I really learned on, that very first quarter. And holy shit, it was way harder than I thought it was gonna be.”
“It filled up my entire truck. I rode on the bump stops all the way back to Utah,” Thompson said of the approximately 550 pounds of meat he ultimately hauled.
All in all, it took Thompson a total of three days to process the animal on his own in a hunting camp that quickly got crowded. It was his first one, so salty old Alaska hands may be quicker, but nevertheless it’s a helluva undertaking.
“From the time we got him hung up and started skinning him, to the time that I had it all packaged in vacuum-sealed bags, yeah, it was about three days,” Thompson said. “And you are dressed up like a stinky, mountain-man Dexter. And we killed a few moose up there and it was like the floodgates opened. There were moose parts everywhere. We were eating moose every night. It was a great trip.”