I don't mind posting more. Hunting is one of the oldest reasons for being in the backcountry, and I try to encourage others to try it as much as I can.
WARNING - Don't read further if you are offended by meat eaters and their deeds - WARNING
> How does this whole process work? Remove the head and
> guts, then chop the carcass into 4 portions of ~100 lb
> each, and make 4 round trips to pack it all out?
> Or do you go with several other people, each of whom
> carries 100 lb of meat?
The old adage "there's more than one way to skin a cat" also applies to big game :) There are two basic methods used: the gutting method or the gutless method. The gutting method involves removal of all internal organs, while the gutless method does not. The gutting method's advantage is that in hot weather, the carcass will cool faster when it is opened up, preventing bacterial growth on the meat. The gutless method's advantage is that it can be faster and require less effort. Once the decision is made to gut it or not, the skinning and de-boning process begins. The skin is "peeled" off, revealing muscle (meat), fat and bone. Then, one quarter at a time (a quarter is a leg and all connected muscle), the bones are cut away from the meat and removed (that's a UL trick - bones are weight that is not necessary, so they're removed). The resulting meat is usually then packed out a quarter at a time. If you're lucky enough to have some buddies to help (I'm not), it can be packed out in one trip. If not, four trips out of the backcountry, and you've got yourself a freezer full of the most organic meat you can get! Backpack hunting is not an easy task, and I work out and hike all year long in order to do it. If you're not opposed to meat eating, I highly recommend trying it. There's no better sense of accomplishment, nor is there a better way to understand exactly what it takes to put meat on a plate, then to hunt with a backpack!
> Is there any way of caching the meat so that it won't get eaten by critters before you can come back for it?
Yes, if you need to cache, you put the meat into a special bag to keep the flies off and hang it in a tree.
> What area and season is this?
Elk hunting takes place mainly in the mountains of the western U.S. Seasons run from September into January. The seasons vary in length from a few days to a few weeks. The early seasons are usually for archers and the later ones are for riflemen.
I hope that answers your questions, and maybe even encourages you to give it a try sometime.