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  #1  
Old 03-07-2018, 4:29 PM
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Default Pre-hunt advice: freezer size?

Our markmanship is coming along.

We have our hunting licenses.

The Fred Hall show is this weekend.

We're going to make a pig-hunt-guide appointment, most likely for the May/June timeframe.

I'm told CA pigs don't come in the 900lb sizes you see on TV, but knowing that doesn't help me buy a freezer. :-)

So, assuming my wife and I both get a pig of average CA size, how big of a freezer should I plan on getting to hold the meat?
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Old 03-07-2018, 4:49 PM
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Freezers are like gun safes, get the biggest one you can afford and can find a place for.

If you aren't buying stuff in bulk and freezing yet, you will. If you aren't coming home with 6-8 butchered and vac sealed animals today, you will eventually. If you're not trading small quantities of elk meat for large quantities of beef, you might next year.

I think mine's 21.7 cubic feet. When it isn't full of animals it's filled with things we plan to can but haven't gotten around to, or leftovers, or just gallon jugs of water. Even then, I've still been in the situation of "Hey buddy, happen to have some freezer space? I've got like 20 lbs of ground venison I need to store..."
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Old 03-07-2018, 5:30 PM
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Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
Freezers are like gun safes, get the biggest one you can afford and can find a place for.

If you aren't buying stuff in bulk and freezing yet, you will. If you aren't coming home with 6-8 butchered and vac sealed animals today, you will eventually. If you're not trading small quantities of elk meat for large quantities of beef, you might next year.
So much truth. I didn't realize how much freezer space I could use until I got a large standup freezer...and packed it full of ready to heat meals, meat, furs for tanning, frozen whole birds for training my dogs, etc. I filled it up and had to buy a second fridge/freezer combo for aging meat and hanging birds in the fridge part, and holding frozen water bottles for keeping food and drinks cold on my boat in the summer time.
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Old 03-07-2018, 5:39 PM
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I've got a 21 cubic foot upright, 15 cubic foot chest and 8 cubic foot chest freezer in addition to our fridge freezer.

By the end of hunting season they are all packed solid and we wish for more space. We also do bulk shopping at Costco and feed our dogs raw deer and elk trim as well as beef trim, so filling the freezer isnt a problem.

You could get by with a small 8 cubic foot and get both pigs in there, but you will probably be happiest with something in the 15 range. Chest freezers cycle less frequently and stay cold longer when the power goes out ( might not be an issue where you live). Upright freezers are easier to keep organized which my wife prefers, she leaves the chest freezers to me.
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Old 03-07-2018, 5:46 PM
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I don't hunt (yet), but I have fixed home appliances for 14 years.

I can tell you that chest freezers are WAY, way more reliable and efficient than uprights. If you have the horizontal space, get the chest freezer. Yes it is more of a hassle to dig through it. So what.

I have seen an entire elk go to complete waste when a hunter's upright freezer struggles to cool during the summer,and fails. Especially if it is in a garage.

I have seen venison, salmon, and bear meat completely spoiled.

Working on a chest freezer is downright rare for me, for 2 reasons 1) nobody buys them anymore (uprights are more convenie nt).
2) They rarely fail.

My 2 cents. Take it for what you paid for it.

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Old 03-07-2018, 5:53 PM
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Biggest you can get.
I hunt pigs and I just put a 400lb boar in this one. Great deal, its been dragged, beat on, strapped to cars and driven cross country. Still works like a charm.

For the hunt...
https://www.cabelas.com/product/COLE...E&gclsrc=aw.ds


As for a home freezer, then I would agree with above posts, A large chest freezer is your friend.
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Old 03-07-2018, 6:55 PM
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The biggest you can fit and afford. Mine is half full of frozen 1 gallon jugs for keeping things cold when the power goes out.
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Old 03-07-2018, 7:48 PM
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Stay away from chest freezer..... can't find **** freezer....and stay away from frost free.....they melt ice and cause freezer burn. It's easy to chip the frost build up with a rubber mallet and have perfect game meat or vegs
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Old 03-08-2018, 6:22 AM
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Plus one on much of the above

I have two upright freezers in my garage and they are usually full, if not boar or deer, there are many other things. Once in a while I can move things all into one and unplug one for a few months, but its been a while since I did that.

As so many have said, with a freezer and vacuum sucker, you can buy good stuff in bulk and have it ready. I also keep frozen water bottles for thermal mass but also for use in coolers. I keep coffee beans and raw almonds in the freezer, my dehydrated fruit, and domestic meats I buy when they are on sale.

I like upright, my brother in law prefers chest, as a kid I remember we had both, get what works for you.

I just checked consumerreports.org; kenmore and frigidaire are top rated.

Good luck
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Old 03-08-2018, 6:52 AM
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Is a butcher going to process the Pig for you?

If yes, how long will it take? Long enough to get a freezer after the hunt?
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Old 03-08-2018, 7:19 AM
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I shot a 170lb pig in October. I netted about 40lbs of meat after processing. It fit in about 1 bankers box. I bought a chest freezer at Wal-Mart maybe 5 years ago (can't remember) on sale for like $180. I want to say it's around 7 CF. I also have a regular fridge/freezer in the garage as well.

Whatever you buy fill it up with frozen 2 liter bottles (soda, juice, milk, etc.) of water to help it stay cold in the event of a power outage and also it will help it run more efficiently.

If you take it to a processer you will have at least a week to pick up the pig after you drop it off in case you want to wait until after pulling the trigger to buy one.
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Old 03-08-2018, 7:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
Freezers are like gun safes, get the biggest one you can afford and can find a place for.

Bingo
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Old 03-08-2018, 9:04 AM
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Good advice about getting one after having success.

My wife cooks a lot. So our upright is fine for most of the year. But as soon as I get something to put in there, she starts complaining about how it's taking up all "her" room. It's about the same time of year that I start harvesting honey off the hives & need a place for all that crushed comb before rendering it down to wax. Not having gotten a deer for a couple seasons has made things a bit easier on me in that respect.
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Old 03-08-2018, 9:22 AM
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I have two upright freezers, one is 18 cu ft and the other is 22 cu ft. A chest freezer is just chaos after a while. The shelves keep things organized, and helps to prevent vacuum sealed pieces from damaging each other. You don't want the packs abrading each other or you will puncture a bag without knowing.
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Old 03-08-2018, 3:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewdogg21 View Post
I shot a 170lb pig in October. I netted about 40lbs of meat after processing. It fit in about 1 bankers box.

...

If you take it to a processor you will have at least a week to pick up the pig
Excellent info. Thank you, Sir!
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Old 03-08-2018, 9:55 PM
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I live by my 16 ft upright and a vacuum packer. I don't shoot much big game anymore, but I fish a lot and buy value packs and vacuum pack the overage from a meal.

May/June is kinda on the edge for good pig meat unless they're feeding on crops IMHO.
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Old 03-09-2018, 9:24 AM
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For me having a chest freezer is a hassle but it does force me to empty it at least 2x a year and when I do I always find a surprise treat (like a couple quail or a hunk of tuna). Chest freezers are MUCH more efficient if it will be anywhere that gets hot (like a garage). Also +1 on the idea of keeping it packed with empty jugs of water. We use a meal service (sun basket) and I keep all the ice packs in the freezer and then use them during fishing season and toss em when they get punctured. Much cheaper/easier than ice!


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Old 03-09-2018, 10:29 AM
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Is there a meat exchange section on this forum? LOL
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Old 03-09-2018, 5:49 PM
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Most claims of 300# or 400# pound hogs really mean about half of that. Few places have a scale to weigh them.

Chests are a PITA to dig thru. Get an upright with a temperature alarm and you will be fine. Keep in mind, how fast will you be able to go through the meat? Two hogs that deliver 150# is a lot for two to go through. Of course, it makes great gifts.
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Old 03-09-2018, 5:54 PM
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And a full freezer is most efficient. If you have empty space, fill it with water bottles to make ice.

We lost power for 36 hrs and after that, my upright was still at zero F. I keep it set at -5F. So even if it were broke, i could go buy another before losing meat. The lost power alarm was a nuisance after the first few hours!!
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Old 03-09-2018, 6:06 PM
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I've seen a 394lbs boar weighed at Tejon when they had POR hunts. I've killed a couple 315lbs hogs at Tejon when we had to weight & record our harvest.

So there out there when we have water food and cover but we are still in this drought so that doesn't help.
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Old 03-09-2018, 6:56 PM
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If you both get average hogs of about 150 pounds each, you will probably end up with no more than 100 pounds of meat. Good rule of thumb on hogs is divide gross weight by 3 to get an approximate meat yield.

Get an upright. They are way more easily organized. The issue of them working too hard during the summer is easily resolved by filling all unused space with water bottles. I use empty plastic milk jugs. Once it is full of meat and ice jugs, it doesn't work much at all. It is the empty space that hurts the energy efficiency.
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Old 03-10-2018, 9:58 AM
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I have 2 upright fridge/freezer combos and a small chest freezer. During a normal season I'll pick up a deer, couple of pigs and lots of dove, chukar, ducks and geese. I use the chest freezer for bulk storage and move the items to the uprights as prepare to consume them.
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