It’s still the hottest part of the summer in the Texas Hill Country. However, there’s plenty for hunters to do in the sweltering heat. The feeders have to be filled. The overgrown roads need to be cleared. In many cases, hunting camp trailers, cabins and ranch houses need to be cleaned up and prepared for the upcoming season. This particular season, we have the additional work of righting three of our blinds and removing dozens of downed trees after a big storm that blew through a few weeks ago.
It’s my job to bring enough food and cold beverages to keep my deerslayer up and running to get the job done. I like to start with food from our fridge at home, using produce and perishables that would, um, perish if we left them at home. My favorite cooler for packing food is the Yeti 105. It’s large capacity (21.8 gallons) and tall interior (14 usable inches when closed) make it perfect for most of the chilled food that I need to take. It is tall enough to hold a gallon of milk (or juice) with room above it for the wire rack that comes with it.
I discovered that a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot or Lowe’s fits perfectly in one side of the cooler. When fitted with a kitchen trash bag, I can fill the bucket with produce, cheese, lunch meat, etc., anything that needs to be chilled but that I don’t want to become waterlogged as the ice melts. Heaviest or less delicate items like cabbage or blocks of cheese can go on the bottom. Easily bruised produce and other delicate things can rest up top.
Once the cooler is full, pack ice around milk, other beverages, and between the bucket and the walls of the cooler but not into it. The items in the cooler should stay chilled for a number of hours. Extra ice can be added as needed.
As much as I LOVE our Yeti coolers, one of the only issues that I have with them is that they are HEAVY. Even empty, they weigh quite a bit. A solution that I found for moving them around the house easily for packing is to set them on small moving dollies that we purchased from Harbor Freight. The dollies allow me to roll the coolers freely around the kitchen and out to the truck for loading. I purchased two extra ones to keep in our hunting cabin. I can use the coolers when I need them and push them conveniently out of the way when I don’t.
Fix good meals, work efficiently, get stuff done! Hunting season will be here before we know it! Embrace the Hunters’ Lifestyle!