12 replies [Last post]
Location: South Carolina
Joined: 06/21/2006
Posts: 28
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

I am going on my first elk hunting trip this October. It is a back country pack in camp hunt. I would love to hear your suggestions on what I should bring. Here is what the outfitter suggested to bring:

Daily Gear
small daypack or fanny pack
small binoculars
hunting knife
orange vest
lighter or waterproof matches
flashlight w/ spare batteries
water bottle
camera w/ film
rain gear

Personal Items
sleeping bag
toothbrush / paste
towel, washcloth, soap
shaving gear
personal medications

heavy & light weight jacket
wool pants and shirt
long underwear
facemask or scarf
2 pair gloves/ 1 insulated
2 pair boots/ 1 hiking/ 1 pack type
hooded sweater
wool & cotton socks
flannel shirts
caps/ 1 warm and 1 light


Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 591
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

That looks like a good list but maybe add:

Knife Sharpener of some sort. I like Smith's hand held type.
Spare batteries for GPS
Extra Ammunition (If rifle hunting. You never know!)
Cow Call. (Hand held like Primos Hoochie Mama works great)
Topo Map of Area (just in case)
Make sure you get a good pair of boots. Not too much insulation though. I like 400 Grams. I know you have them on the list but make sure you don't go cheap!

I'm sure others will think of something I missed.

hellomcfly's picture
Location: Denver Colorado
Joined: 04/29/2007
Posts: 333
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

I always like to stick some rope and some string in my pack. The string is to tie the tag on the elk and the rope is for skinning or whatever. you never know when you may need it. i also stick a space blanket in my day pack.

good luck on the hunt!

Location: Upper Snake River
Joined: 09/01/2006
Posts: 86
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

Call your outfitter/packer find out if he has a weight limit per person.
You don't want to get to the trail head and have to decide what's not going to camp.
60lbs is usually the norm, some will say you want to bring more,OK, then you pay for an extra pack horse, only fair.
Scatter your gear on the living room floor with necessities on one side of your duffle bag and extra on the other and go to trimming until you have 60 not icluding what you have in the fanny/day pack

Which state and where, will make a big difference on what you really need and what you "think " you need.
you have alot of good ideas on your list, but it could be trimmed to the most veristile items.

Location: South Carolina
Joined: 06/21/2006
Posts: 28
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

Thanks for all the input so far.

The outfitter allows 2 bags @ 35lbs. each and your weapon. The problem I have is I have to leave from a small airport and I am only allowed 2 check in bags and 1 carry on. So I am checking in 1 35lb. bag and my gun case and taking my backpack as a carry on. I am just waiting on a few more things I ordered to come in and I will start seeing what I can fit.

I will be in Montana Oct 11-17. I looked up the historical weather for the area which was 50's in the day and 20's at night. At least I have a good idea what it will be like.

Joined: 01/01/2007
Posts: 1
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

Check with the airline. Some of them do not count your gun case as luggage. If they do.. get a bigger one on put some of you stuff in it. They do have a size limit as well. I did not see any emergency survial stuff except the space blanket someone mentioned. Dental floss makes for great EM item. Small roll of good duck tape.

Joined: 05/18/2007
Posts: 3
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

Is this a guided hunt?

I would add a headlamp in addition to a standard flaslight so to free up your hands

+1 on the rope especially if self guided, also couple of zip ties to secure your tag on your Elk

Unscented baby wipes are kinda nice

A hydration bladder for your pack, drink lots of water

Sounds like a horse back trip, if so I would suggest a hat with a good brim to it. I use one of those felt hats from Cabelas, will keep the snow, sleet, rain, etc out of your collar / down your shirt

Joined: 12/23/2007
Posts: 9
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

Include a space blanket and duct tape. We always need duct tape!

Also bring some liquid skin for those cuts and blisters. Also definitely something for the blisters. Duct tape works in a pinch on tender skin.

Put a level on your scope. It is amazing how the hills will throw off your
Another thing I will bring is an inclinometer. You can get a simple Lev-O-Gage and tape it to your rangefinder.

None of these items weighs very much and can mean the difference in tagging out.

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

You'll need to pack out your qaurters once you down your elk. Keep that in mind.

Avoid cotton socks unless you enjoy blisters and cold wet feet. Cotton socks are great for town, but terrible for heavy walking in rugged backcountry. Even if the weather is dry, your feet will perspire. For socks, think wool, merino wool, in different weights to suit the weather. Keep an extra dry pair with you in your pack or thigh pocket, zip them in a plastic ziplock freezer bag so they stay dry.

550 Parachute cord. It's like duct tape, it has hundreds of uses, from temporary bootlaces to building a shelter. In fact while you're at it, also pack a roll of duct tape.

A knife sharpener is a great thing to bring along. It could be a fancy diamond stone system or a simple butchers steel.

A fine tipped permament marker (sharpie) to sign your carcass tag. Leatherman or Gerber multitools also come in very handy.

I've learned the hard way to make sure and carry the following items on your person, just in case:

On your belt:
1. knife
2. small bright AA flashlight

In your thigh pockets:
3. Storm matches and firesteel (fire starter)
4. topo maps of area and compass.
5. signal mirror
6. coach type whistle
7. tinder
8 space blanket (as emergency shelter)

Location: Kamas, UT
Joined: 06/25/2008
Posts: 7
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

Great list. I too am going on my first elk hunt this year(non guided, just going with friends) after growing up deer hunting my entire life.

2nd on the headlamp. While a flashlight is nice, I find them mostly useless since they require you to hold them. I found a headlamp that the light removes from and can stand on it's own as a flashlight/camp light. You may want something like that.

Thanks to those that replied giving some good info - can't wait for the hunt later this fall.

Location: Colorado
Joined: 10/05/2004
Posts: 126
Elk Hunting Checklist Help

Don't forget Toilet Paper! What are your plans when nature calls and you don't have any? I used to have quite a collection of mismatched hunting socks until I carried in my daypack.

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