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DIY Walk-in Cooler


dbHunterNY

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List of infinitely stupid mistakes I've made in life. One was buying a 14.5k BTU window...yes I said window.... AC unit. used it a couple years to cool over 1,600 sq ft of the house. Then I got sick of messing with putting it in and taking it out after a couple seasons. also worried the whole window would go. Still have it practically brand new in the basement. with these above 40 degree temps still close to christmas I'm thinking hard again about building a walk-in cooler in the garage. I probably have a little space to spare. Purchasing a $400 CoolBot temp controller to jailbreak the ac unit should work. more than enough BTUs of cooling to keep a 7'x7'x7' insulated space at 34 degrees and without doubt below 40 degrees.

Who out there has made their own DIY cooler for hanging?

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An old fridge works great if your only doing one at a time:

3F4B81CC-D8EE-430B-9CFF-119AC82D33C0.thumb.jpeg.b5856276663772e2d14ff81e431302b4.jpeg5AD86E51-ADE0-42AF-A371-41CB02E5A221.thumb.jpeg.82f1a955ed93241e501c7ac34b876dde.jpegTear out all the drawers and shelf’s, hang the rear half from hooks thru the tendons, rest the front half on the neck.  Close the door for a week and the carcass is held at the perfect temperature to get it past rigor mortis.  

 

This old non-frost free GE model must be from the late 1950’s.  Not sure how a modern first-free model would work.  It might dry the carcasses out too much.  
 

I only use it when it is to warm to keep the temperature in our insulated garage cool enough for proper “skin on” aging, by just cracking the window and garage door open a little at night.  

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When I added on the new garage over a decade ago I put in a closet sized space in back corner with steel insulated door, all insulated walls and hooks to hang 4 deer. Never did get around to actually refrigerating it as I had a 6 ft long beer cooler that fit 3 deer. I sold that a year ago so if I need to use the closet I think just filling a big tote or cooler with ice would do the trick short term.

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10 hours ago, fletchny11 said:

When I added on the new garage over a decade ago I put in a closet sized space in back corner with steel insulated door, all insulated walls and hooks to hang 4 deer. Never did get around to actually refrigerating it as I had a 6 ft long beer cooler that fit 3 deer. I sold that a year ago so if I need to use the closet I think just filling a big tote or cooler with ice would do the trick short term.

I need to get to know you better fletch, a man with a 6' beer cooler sounds like someone very likeable. 

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The processor I use near my hometown started out in a 10'x12' insulated shed that was cooled with a window A/C unit.  That was a bit over 20 years ago. Back then the weather  seemed to be more cooperative for hanging meat.  It can certainly be done. 

He just moved into a new 3,400 square foot facility.  Processes 500+ deer in Central VT.  Also does beef, pigs, goats, sheep, bear and moose.

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I've had a couple over the years. 

1st was just a 5x6 insulated room in our basement with a A/C. This was long before Coolbots were available. It worked, but not overly efficient

The 2nd was made from Freihofers oven panels with a compressor/condenser made for walk in coolers.  Had that for probably 10 years.  Lots of deer, pigs, and a few beef seen the inside of that cooler. 

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Thought about doing this very thing my self. I realized with work and everything, it makes sense to only shoot 1 deer at a time (unless a big buck comes in right after I shoot a doe) so a fridge is more practical for me. Otherwise I think its a great Idea. I fully believe every deer should be hung for a week before you start cutting it up. Helps with the rigor mortis loosening up. This year the temps are barely ok right now to have a deer hang for a few days, let alone back in November. 

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9 hours ago, lucky118 said:

BIDEN dosent like your idea. Going to use to much electric. Window airconditioners are on his list of things to ban.Lol

 

Joe Biden GIF by Election 2020

So you're saying I have to buy a tesla to throw deer carcasses in the hang and age? lol sounds expensive. Might have to get plastic for the seats too.

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6 hours ago, ATbuckhunter said:

Thought about doing this very thing my self. I realized with work and everything, it makes sense to only shoot 1 deer at a time (unless a big buck comes in right after I shoot a doe) so a fridge is more practical for me. Otherwise I think its a great Idea. I fully believe every deer should be hung for a week before you start cutting it up. Helps with the rigor mortis loosening up. This year the temps are barely ok right now to have a deer hang for a few days, let alone back in November. 

When it cooled off a bit between 25 and 40 for a week here I took a couple. lol I can do one at a time now with the dedicated deer and beer fridge. When opportunity walks by early season when I'm in the right area I'll send it until I run out of arrows or tags.

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21 hours ago, crappyice said:

Cool idea! (Hate myself for that)

Sounds like a great plan to get to temp you want - what are you planning for racks?

Not sure yet. Thinking I'll just hang them in it from strut or back plated eye bolt or hook with a gambrel. Not sure because it'll be a PITA getting a carcass up to the anchor whenever I shoot even a half decent buck.

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23 hours ago, Moho81 said:

Let me know if you need ideas on how to build the cooler. We have done a few for restaurants and the club is thinking about building one as well. I can send you some drawings to look at. 

I saw on craigslist yesterday that the Aldi supermarket in Schenectady closed, and they're selling their cooler/ freezer panels. Was a huge stack of panels. Might help with configuring something for your application. 

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