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hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
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you would...

colohunter wrote:

GO FOR IT! not enough people do these days and it is so much more fulfilling. 

You would say that neener! But I agree. Listen to the advice that all these veterans are giving you and make the most of it. I wish you all kinds of luck.

WesternHunter's picture
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You're in for a lot of work!!

Some types of game like Pronghorn and either Whitetail or Mule deer can be hunted and packed out alone and often are.  Ever seen an elk up close?  If you've never taken an elk before and you now want to do it alone, you're in for a real eye opener.  Elk are large animals and once down are going to require some help just to field dress.  Once quarterd you'll be making a few trips on foot, each carrying a lot of weight.  Let me just say that there is a reason why elk hunters go in groups of 2 to 3 or more. 

Also have you considered what type of vehicle you'll need in order to bring home all that meat??  If there is one thing that novices always tend to overlook in seasoned elk hunters, it's the vehicles that elk hunters tend to own and drive.  Let me just say that there's a very good reason why elk hunters drive full sized 4x4 pick-up trucks equiped with either large V8 gasoline engines or diesel powered engines.  Smaller SUVs and sedans just don't have the combination of capacity (space or payload) or power to carry up to 800 Lbs of meat, plus you and all your camping gear out of the backcountry on mountainous-rugged-rough-muddy-snowy roads.  Maybe you already have a vehicle, but I'll say it again, make sure you have the appropriate 4x4 vehicle equiped with a set of good all-terrain tires. 

I've downed elk alone a few times before while being some distance from the other hunters in my party.  Those few times I had to start and gut, quarter all by myself before the others could locate me.  By the time they located me I was glad as I was in no mood to start packing the meat out all by myself.  One of those times it was already nearing the end of legal shooting light when I downed a Bull.  Was dark by the time I got done gutting it and was well after dark by the time I started quartering and packing out.  To me, doing all that alone in rough terrain is not fun at all during the day time much less in the dark, and I'm 6'1" tall, weighing 200lbs and in very great physical condition. Not saying that you can't do it alone, just saying that there are a lot of things to consider before going at it alone.  One poster, colohunter, replied that it's not often done alone enough, well let me just say that there is a good reason for that!  I've been elk hunting for over 25 years, so take my advice for what you think it's worth to you.  Best of luck!!

Alpine_Archer's picture
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Location: Martin County NC
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Thats an understatement. Last

Thats an understatement. Last season when my brother killed his bull it took 3 grown men a women and a teenager most of the night to gut, quarter, and pack out that beast. The bull was less than a half mile up the mountain . I wouldn't ever want to try to do that alone.Wink

WesternHunter's picture
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Yeah I know

Yeah I know what you mean literally.  I hate to discourage people.  I do my best to just give factual and useful advice to those who want it. I did see that the original poster said that he has thought it all through and will have help if he fills his tag, so I guess that put's them in a better situation that I had originally thought.  Also cows and does have less mass so they are often easier to pack out too.  Nothing wrong at all with wanting to accomplish something for yourself all by yourself.  I'm thrilled to hear of young adults who do that.

My advice to any novice elk hunter who has no other partners to hunt with - Maybe take a few seminars offered by the Division of Wildlife and in the process you may meet some hunters who are willing to take you along.  Believe me, even experienced hunters often take these free seminars offered by the DOW.  I sometimes do. I highly encourage finding a good group to hunt with, people who are stable, mature, dependable, and ones you can trust.  I think you'll have a better experience hunting with a group that you build and I hate to see someone get discouraged.  Unfortunately I won't be elk hunting this season. I'll be lucky if I even get a few waterfowl or upland hunts in this year.

Critter's picture
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I will agree with the others

I will agree with the others about hunting with someone on your first few elk hunts as far as getting help.  Then after a few years and seeing just how much work is involved they think about going alone.  If you do go alone take a couple hundred feet of para cord with you for after the shot.  That way you can tie off a leg or two when you are cleaning the critter.  If you try it yourself without tieing it off you may just find yourself getting kicked around a little. 

Then after a couple of years of having somebody helping you then think about doing it solo.  I have done it that way for 10 years now and have taken 7 elk here in Colorado by myself, but it is a lot of work and you usually don't have any time to spare from the time that you find him to dark thirty. 

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Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 380
Beckford......a couple thoughts

If you have never gutted and quartered an elk you might want to reconsider going solo. If you've helped do one, that's good but plan on it taking you a long time to accomplish. Hours...and hours. Don't get in a hurry and cut yourself. You still have to finish the job and you don't want to do it with a rag tied around your finger. You also might want to reconsider backpacking waaay back in. I would probably recommend hunting closer to the roads if you're alone. Contrary to popular belief, elk are sometimes found less than a mile from the road. Sometimes a lot less. Maybe not more than a mile or two off the roads (forest roads). Don't worry, that's still a pack out that'll make you wish you didn't go so far back in. Wink If you hunt around Sheephorn Creek near Radium SWA there are plenty of other hunters around if you need help.  It's also accessible by car at the bottom, if you don't own a truck. Sure, you'll have to walk more to hunt but it's no big deal. Just get up a half hour earlier. There's also decent elk habitat that's not too tough to hunt solo. There's good mule deer hunting on the SWA and I've seen bear there, if your into that. I think it's great that you want to get out and do this but you have to walk before you can run. Get out, hunt safely and have a great time this year. As you gain experience, get a buddy and do the backpack hunt. You've got plenty of time.

tim
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I don't understand why

I don't understand why everyone is trying to scare the guy off.  Lots of elk are shot miles from the truck and packed out.  it might take you a couple of days. But that is what you are there for.

elk are just very big deer.  yes you will be bloody and yes you will bend yourself in wierd ways trying to keep pieces out of your way.  But i have packed quite a few elk out by myself.  A good back pack and some time and you are done.  get that can do attitude and just go do it.  a big bull will take you 5 trips and spike will take 3 trips.  western hunter no disrespect on your post lots of truth. 

WesternHunter's picture
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Glad to hear more encouragement

tim wrote:

I don't understand why everyone is trying to scare the guy off.  Lots of elk are shot miles from the truck and packed out.  it might take you a couple of days. But that is what you are there for.

elk are just very big deer.  yes you will be bloody and yes you will bend yourself in wierd ways trying to keep pieces out of your way.  But i have packed quite a few elk out by myself.  A good back pack and some time and you are done.  get that can do attitude and just go do it.  a big bull will take you 5 trips and spike will take 3 trips.  western hunter no disrespect on your post lots of truth. 

No disrespect taken.  In fact I'm glad that you and a few others bring much more encouragement to this fellow.  Like I said before, I don't want to discourage anyone, just want to shed some light on the reality of it and nothing more.  It's one thing to think things through, it's a whole other thing to experience it first hand.  But experience is how we learn and grow, right?  I recall Gen. Colin Powell once saying to some newly commisioned 2nd Lieutenants "experience comes from bad judgement, good judgement comes from experience".  That statement is true of every walk of life.  I think this guy should go for it.  I'm not advising nor against hunting alone.  In fact I find that I often hunt alone when I'm with a party, we generaly spread out upto a three miles apart sometimes.  My thing is that when it comes to elk, more often than not you are going to need and want some help and you are going to want some essential equipment too.  Maybe this person already has all the stuff they need, but just thought I'd mension it anyway.  This person said they have help if they fill the tags.  If everything is well planned and prepared enough it should be a rewarding experience. Again I'm very thrilled to hear a young adult wanting to accomplish something for themselves.  I think this is a great goal and one they can be proud of for the rest of their lives. Happy Hunting!

numbnutz's picture
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If you can bring a buddy, if

If you can bring a buddy, if not and you do get an elk in the back country you can pack it out by yourself, hundreds if not thousands do it every year, it will just take time so be prepared.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Congrats on becoming "legal"

Congrats on becoming "legal" and good luck!!! Thumbs up

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