Economical cooler option for hunters

Scott Stankowski
Senior Outdoor Writer

November 7, 2018

Stevens Point— Have you ever had to process and cut up your deer the night you shot it?  You spent all your energy gutting the deer and dragging it out and then hanging it up.  You are exhausted from the adrenaline rush from the entire night and just want to take it all in.  You did not have time to take nice pictures but the next day you have to work and it is going to be warm out.  Staying up until the wee hours of the morning is something that just does not seem like something you want to do.

I have been there, it has made me not shoot does in the early fall.  I have told the boys, not to launch the arrow unless you want to be up late butchering when the weather is warmer.  I have laid deer in ice bags, but moisture on a deer or in its cavity is a huge invitation to bacteria.

It is not just early bow season either.  During gun hunting I have had to spend evenings or Thanksgiving days cutting up deer instead of being in the woods or with family.  Temperatures in late November can be in the 60s.  A deer spoiled is not an option.

So what does a person do?  A walk in cooler is expensive, like thousands and thousands of dollars expensive and hard to install.

I have always wanted a walk in cooler.

Well Storeitcold has come up with a solution that I absolutely love.  It is called the Coolbot.  What it is is a device that you put on a standard window air conditioner that tricks the air conditioner to continue to run below manufacturer’s temperature.   With a room of the right size you can make a walk in cooler at a fraction of the cost.

Standard air conditioners run down to the low sixty degree range and then shut down.  They are designed that way because that is about as cold as a person would want it and that is what it is designed for.

The makers of the coolbot made a small computer device that has wire leads and mounts to the wall next to the air conditioner.  One of the leads monitors the room temperature.  A second measures the temperature at the foils of the air conditioner and a third is attached to the temperature probe of the air conditioner itself.  That probe heats the air conditioners probe and tricks it into thinking it is warmer than what it really is thus keeping the air conditioner running and dropping the temperature.  The coolbot goes down to 32 degrees.

The system is fairly simple in application but complicated in design.

This past fall I was made aware of this product, did some research and got my hands on it as quickly as possible.  There are definitely a few parameters that one must meet in order for proper operation but the storeitcold website has amazing support both in customer service and instructions and tutorials.

The first thing I had to do was decide what size room I wanted.  The larger the room the bigger the air conditioner I needed and the air conditioner needed to be digital display for best compatibility to the coolbot.  I settled on a 10,000 btu air conditioner from LG.  That would cool a 6×6 ft room with insulation at an R value of 25.  I searched all over the place for deals and finally found some refurbished insulation.  Insulation would be the biggest cost setback and I also had a friend that had some leftovers from a project.  I insulated the walls and ceiling to 5 inches thick of insulation sealing all cracks and seams in between the sheets with great stuff foam.  To make sure the insulation stayed in place I bought 6 inch screws to anchor them to the frame of the room.

I insulated the floor with 4” of insulation topped with plywood and covered that with some linoleum.

I ran electricity to the room for the air conditioner and coolbot and bought an insulated storm door.   I did not need a light because I was not planning on processing the deer in the room and having the door open brought in plenty of ambient light.   I hung two eye bolts into the ceiling with extra long bolts on them so they would hang below the ceiling and still be anchored in the ceiling joists.

On the walls I went all out and bought some waterproof bathroom wall covering that was white to brighten the room.  I glued them in place and sealed everything with Great stuff and silicon.

When I installed the LG air conditioner the manufacturer did not put the proper screws in and when I set the final face plate in place the screw pierced the coolant system and ruined the unit.  I paid another $300 for another unit and ordered it online because it was already hunting season.  The new one had the proper parts which made complete sense and was easy to set up.  Unfortunately I was out $300 and LG would not back up the original issue of missing parts.  This was the only hitch I had in the entire process, poor customer service and management by LG.

Two days after getting it set up my buddies daughter shot a doe during  the youth hunt and had no time to butcher the deer so we hung it up skinned out for over a week at 34 degrees in the cooler.  It was awesome looking at the temperature inside and the temperature outside which was 65 degrees.  The deer aged perfectly.

The next week Austin shot a nice buck and we hung it for a week as well.   The weather got down cold during the nights but not in the shed.  On top of that it heated up in the shed to nearly 60 degrees while outside it was 50.   Inside the walk in cooler it was a steady 34 degrees.  When we opened the door to skin it a week later we were a bit taken back by the smell but that was because the room was so sealed and it smelt like a buck starting the rut.  We brought the deer out into the shed, rehung it, skinned it and cut it up.

It was one of the best tasting deer we have ever eaten.  Being able to control the temperature and keeping the deer at a consistent temperature is crucial in aging meat.

Not only does the coolbot allow me to not have to butcher my deer so it does not spoil it also allows me to age meat to perfection.  Prime beef is aged at a consistent temperature which allows natural enzymes to break the meat down properly.  It was always a shot in the dark before, hanging deer in too warm, inconsistent or too cold of weather.  Now the weather will never be an issue.

On top of that I will be able to use it for family functions in the summer when the fridge is full and to cold store my vegetables in the summer.  No more potatoes going soft or sprouting.

Simply put the coolbot is the greatest innovation in my arsenal of essentials that any serious hunter should have.  Use this link for a coupon for you to get started on your coolbot.

 

Until next time, shoot straight.

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