Re: Butchering - how soon?
There are many factors to take into consideration. The outside temperature is of course the most determining factor. Bears have alot of fat and dense hair, therefore retain a lot of body heat. When gutting, don't be afraid to make a big enough cut. ...this will assist with the meat cooling. Some hunters try to only make a small incision with fear of damaging the skin for the taxidermist. It's ok, just make it a straight cut please. Most taxidermists are going to cut from sternum to anus anyways. If you have access to ice, by all means throw some bags in the body cavity. If not, at least prop it open with some sticks to help with airflow. Try to keep out of the sun ( if it ever shines). Yes...the bear is black, and will gather heat from the sun, but do not cover with tarp as this will retain the body heat. Also be aware if using a pickup truck, the location of exhaust under the bed. A truck bed can have a hot spot, that can lead to hide or meat spoilage if over a distance.
Ideal is a wooden pallet in the truck bed for a few reasons. Keeps the bear up so air can circulate all around the body to promote cooling. Also it will keep the bear above its own fluids or water in the bed. Moisture and wetness, whether fluids or rain, on a bear hide....promotes bacteria growth which can lead to spoiled hides and hair slippage. I know this is lengthy , but wanted to give you everything that came to the top of my head.
So of course the sooner the better to get processed. But a properly handled carcass can be ok for a few days if need be