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Joined: 02/25/2007
Posts: 53
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

I am fortunate enough to be able to take a week off for my backcountry excursions. I realize packing a big bull out may take two days and then some, depending on how deep in I hunt. So I'll just concentrate on elk the first 3 days and deer the last two. Thanks to everyone for your input, I was beginning to get discouraged. Now I know it is possible to do it Jeremiah Johnson style.

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 601
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

go for it. it might take a couple of days. What you are asking has been done before and will be done again.

tim

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

IMO the first minutes after the kill count the most. Make those minutes count, and it will allow you to stretch out a bit the minutes and hours (and days, gulp) following.

IMMEDIATELY after kill - get the hide off the meat and meat off the frame and into the shade or where it may aerate and cool. If there are flies or wasps around - use breathable game bags. Generally it seems there is enough moisture on the meat to start an immediate evaporative cooling process. You might take big chunks off at first - and then go back and further cut the chunks down ... the smaller the chunk the easier to cool. But don't get them too small.

I am sitting here thinking that if you are in elk country - somewhere around you the elk are able to find places to cool off - so there should be some places to store / cache your meat. You might be able to hang or lay out your meat at night - but before it starts warming up - consolidate it and put it in a cool, shady place. Once cool and consolidated - use the mass to your advantage.

Clean, dry, cool ... are the key factors.

ALSO: you do well not to mess with gutting it. Along with that - I don't even get near meat that is brutalized by bullet impact, or dirty. A little bit of bad meat in the mix can really make a mess of the whole thing.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 03/28/2007
Posts: 44
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

If you are planning on saving your bull's cape for a mount, Make absolutely positive that you go to a taxidermist now and start practicing taking the cape off the skull and neck. At those temperatures, you're going to need to get ALL the flesh off the lips, eye lids, and nostrils. You're also going to need to turn the ears. These jobs are not impossible and it isn't rocket science, but a bit of knowledge and practice will go a long way toward saving your trophy hide. I know that you will need to get the meat out first to save it, but the cape is going to ruin very quickly unless it is taken care of to preserve it for the taxidermist. If I were you, I'd get the meat boned out and hung in good game bags in the shade on a North slope. Put alot of pepper on the bags. Then get to work on the cape. If you've practiced, you should be able to get the cape taken care of in 2 hrs or so. Talk to a good taxidermist and get his instructions now beforehand. It may just save the trophy of a lifetime for you.

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Location: Washington
Joined: 03/11/2006
Posts: 80
boning

When you bone them out you open a bunch of surface area to bacteria. Take some citrus with you and spray the meat every day after the kill. you can rid it of the bacteria that will eventually spoil the meat. The pepper for flies is a good idea. You might take some salt too...pack it out in your belly! Big smile

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 03/18/2007
Posts: 30
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

All I will say is that anybody that is foolish to think that they can carry a elk that many miles in that temperature - and hopes to get most of it out in one day is crazy.

Either pay a man to haul it out for you. Burrow, Jackass, Horse, 4 wheeler or what ever you can get in there.

Get it to a refridgerated cooler as soon as possible.

Pay some people, especially college students to help pack it out for you.

A cell phone or a good walkie talkie would probably reach out far enough to contact them after you kill it.

Pay them and buy them some beer and give them some of the meat and you will be 1000 x better off than if you actually shot one - and god forbid something happened to you physically and you got hurt or disabled all over a elk.

I have 4 ruptured discs in my lower back and my back problems started 12 years ago when I was loading some whitetail deer into the trunk of my car.

Now I am in a lifetime of pain and suffering - all for one hundred pounds of meat.

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Joined: 02/25/2007
Posts: 53
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

Buckmaster,

I didn't say anything about doing it all in one day. The majority of backpacking elk hunters here seem to think that it is indeed possible if taking the proper steps. It seems that with the guidance given to me in this forum I have more than just one day to get the meat in a cooler.

As for the challenge andd risk involved, that doesn't bother me in the least. I realize the dangers of hiking off trail deep in the wilderness by myself. It is for these reasons that I choose to hunt this way. As a US Marine I have endured some of the harshest conditions on the face of this earth in no less than life threatening conditions on a daily basis for months at a time. So please don't call me foolish and assume that your state of physical condition and intestinal fortitude are the same as mine. I am up to the challenge and look forward to it.

Alamosa's picture
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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

We haul them on our backs pretty often.
My guiding principal is to get the best and the most meat first (i.e., hindquarter).

In these pictures these army duffels with 2 straps are not comfortable but they work. A quality expedition pack is far more comfortable but it means stinking up a nice pack.

If the meat is already cold a thermarest pad will keep it cool in the duffel and put some padding between the animal and your back. If the meat is still warm the duffel can be soaked to provide some evaporative cooling.

Of course while you are carrying you have to have a plan for the remaining meat - hanging in the shade, buried in snow, or use a cold stream to conduct temperature without getting it wet.

Back at your vehicle, each of these large marine coolers will hold 2 hindquarters.

With the warm temps you describe you will have to have this well planned. I believe you can do it.

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 601
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

I have packed alot of meat out in my lowe contour iv internal frame pack. yes it is dirty and when i back pack in the rain some of my stuff comes out with some pink shading to it. But i wouldn't use anything but a backpack. The shouleder staps, waist belt and chest cinch strap all work good.,

I have also used a mountain bike. While not allowed in desingated wilderness, Mountain bikes can definatly speed up the process. Not a motorcycle but a bicycle.

tim

Alamosa's picture
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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
Packing Out an Elk Alone on my Back

The Lowe Contour IV is the exact same pack I use. I didn't have a picture of it. Small world. That pack really works for a hindquarter!
I suppose if I were to scrub mine with some detergent it could be suitable for camping use again.

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