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#25421 - 02/13/08 10:00 AM Back Packing
SS 308
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Registered: 01/18/04
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Loc: Cheyenne Wyoming

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I'll be backpacking for Rockchucks during the Spring/Summer and Deer/Elk during the fall (Mountains, elevation 6000 to 10,000').

What do you guys (and gals) find useful to pack in and what to leave at home? I think I have a pretty good idea, but I'm always looking to improve.

Thanks...
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#25455 - 02/13/08 12:14 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: SS 308]
pab1
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Most of the hunting I do is backpack hunting in wilderness areas between 8,000 and 13,000 feet elevation. Whether bivy hunting or hunting out of a spike camp my gear does not vary too much. This is what I carry for deer and elk hunts. Even when I go in for a day hunt for marmots or big game, I carry all of this but cut the food back to a two day supply. This is from a post I did on bivy hunting on this forum in '06 with a few changes.


I carry more than a lot of people because I usually hunt alone. With no vehicle access, few people want to put in the effort to hunt wilderness areas. Because of this, it's not unusual to go a week or more and not see another person. I always leave a map of where I plan to hunt and the date I plan on returning with someone I trust. Since I am not expected until that return date, I carry a little extra in case I get in trouble before then. The old saying "The mountains don't care" is important to keep in mind. Also keep in mind how far you can pack an animal out. I bone out the meat but even then packing an elk out 5-6 miles alone is a huge task.

I know you are all sick of seeing this bull. I killed this elk at 11,500 feet elevation and had about a four and a half mile pack out. I carried a 170# (half the elk) load my first trip, a friend packed one quarter and the next day I went back for the last quarter and the antlers. Even if I packed out the four quarters separately by myself, it would still have been 31.5 miles total roundtrip. I prefer to do fewer trip with a heavier load whether packing in to hunt or packing animals out. I avoid the temptation of going too far into areas when I am not confident that I can get the meat out before it spoils. This is a bigger concern in archery season when the temps can be in the 70's. The country in this picture looks flat, but it is a steep drop off either side and a long way from the Jeep with a heavy pack.


Here is a partial list of what I carry.

Zero degree mummy bag & bivy sack packed in a compression bag, 3/4 length self inflating sleeping pad, 3-4 days food supply (on longer hunts I have a cache I restock from), small stove and fuel (unless using MRE's), small aluminum pan (from a mess kit, unless using MRE's), water bladder with in-line filter, water purification tablets, two pair of socks, stocking hat, gloves, jacket, map, compass, 2 folding knives, compact knife sharpener, game bags, 6'X4' thin plastic sheet (use as a drop cloth when field dressing game), rain gear, first aid kit, toilet paper, scent free moist towels, LED headlamp with spare batteries, approx. 50' orange flagging tape, matches, lighter, fire starter, space blanket, digital camera. Most of the time I throw in a cell phone just in case. Cell phone coverage is spotty in most of these areas but you can usually pick up coverage on the top of a peak.

I'm sure I am forgetting several things, but thats most of what I carry. In the first aid kit I carry a minimum of moleskin, aspirin, rolaids, sutures, decongestant tablets, hand sanitizer and bandages.

The fire starter is cotton balls saturated in Vasoline stored in film canisters. I carry a few of these along with lighters and matches in my pack, and in my pockets. They burn for several minutes giving you plenty of time to get a fire going.

I usually strap two packs together when going in, the second pack is hung in a tree a few miles in along the route I plan to exit the area. This external frame-pack should have a higher capacity for packing out game than the pack I carry when hunting. In the second pack I carry more food, more first aid supplies, at least one change of clothes, spare batteries for any electronic items I carry (GPS, rangefinder, etc.), spare ammo/cleaning kit (or archery supplies depending on the season) and possibly a one man tent if the forcast for that week looked like there was a chance of severe weather. I dont care for a bivy sack when the weather gets real bad. Every few days you can return to this pack to restock.

I would rather do one heavy pack in than two separate loads.


Bivy hunting in rain or snow can be miserable. At times like this I prefer a tent.


It sounds like a lot to carry, but with bivy hunting you burn less energy by not hiking to and from a camp all the time. Every evening I set up a low impact camp near where I want to hunt the next day. It only takes a few minutes to set up and break camp. Try to pick light weight gear. Titanium is lighter than aluminum for cooking gear, but I can't bring myself to pay that much more for a couple of ounces. Also, space is almost as important as weight, compression sacks will cut the space your spare clothes and sleeping bag take up in half.

Sorry for the long post! I have been hunting this way for many years now. To me nothing can come close to touching this style of hunting. If you are willing to work hard, the rewards of bivy/backpack hunting more than make up for the effort involved. You'll see fewer people and usually many more animals. That hard pack out is soon forgotten when you are enjoying elk steaks and memories of the hunt.
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#25461 - 02/13/08 01:09 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: pab1]
rupe
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Registered: 02/03/08
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I have a complete set up from REI, with pretty much everything that pab1 has except the Bevy. I have a small 2man tent that is really only big enough for 1 man and his gear. I have a water bottle and filter system. I can know longer back pack now but I'm having a hard time getting rid of this stuff I don't want to admit that I'm not young anymore. Most of the gear I will put into a box for my Jeep because we do expedition type 4 wheeling and dry tent camping and alot of this stuff can be used for that. Pab 1's list is perfect in my opinion except that bevy, just don't personally like them. MRE's yummy! but it's food.


Edited by rupe (02/13/08 01:11 PM)
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#25462 - 02/13/08 01:10 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: rupe]
rupe
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Great Elk by the way Pab 1 .
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#25465 - 02/13/08 01:40 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: rupe]
pab1
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 Originally Posted By: rupe
Great Elk by the way Pab 1 .


Thanks Rupe! I prefer Mountain House freeze dried meals to MREs but either one will get old after a week or so. I used to do without heated meals, just protein bars, trail mix and jerky. I feel that a hot meal after a long days hunt or hike does a lot to keep you comfortable and motivated. No matter what I eat, I always stop for a burger on the drive back home and swear it's the best meal I've ever had!
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#25467 - 02/13/08 01:48 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: pab1]
rupe
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Pab 1 you are so right about that burger. Mt. House is my favorite too. The Chicken stew is great after a long cold wet day in the woods. The newest generation of MRE's are getting pretty good not like the earlier ones.
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#25478 - 02/13/08 03:40 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: rupe]
wapitirod
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pab I'm afraid if I had a pack like yours they would probably find me on my back like a turtle. How much weight are you carrying.
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#25495 - 02/13/08 05:25 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: wapitirod]
Dan B.
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pab1...I wish I had the drive to hunt like that!! I tried two years ago but the nasty mule cut that trip short.
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#25504 - 02/13/08 06:02 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: Dan B.]
Tigger
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That is exactly the way I like to hunt. Out in the middle of no where all by myself or with my brother along. We day hunt up in the Adirondacks for bear. The topo map and compass are your friends as the woods are so thick you could be lost for days without them. We have toyed with the idea of packing in for a couple of days.
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#25511 - 02/13/08 08:42 PM Re: Back Packing [Re: Tigger]
rupe
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Registered: 02/03/08
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3 days is long enough for me.
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