When packing out an elk on your back, you need to make every load count. While leaving bones in the quarters might make handling and hanging easier, it does you no favors as you hike back to the truck. A mature bull weighs roughly 400 pounds, field dressed. Roughly 200 pounds of that is head, hide and bone. A good way to ditch 30 pounds or more is to bone out an elk’s hindquarter. Here’s how you do it.
- After dressing the elk, keep the elk on its back and skin the hindquarter up to the start of the backstrap along the spine.
- Find the ball and socket joint on the inside of the leg. At that joint, trace the top of the bone with your knife, cutting the meat as you work your way down to the knee joint.
- Work your knife around the entire femur, until you trim all the meat away. Than make two cuts—one just above the knee joint and one behind. Ideally, the meat should fall off in one big chunk.
- On your butcher table at home, break down the chunk using a filet knife, following the natural lines of the muscle. Soon you’ll see the all those steaks and roasts unfold before your eyes.