32 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: 08/14/2006
Posts: 31
Packing out game questions

Hello all, my buddy and I are doing an Elk hunt this October in Colorado and I was wondering if some of you pros could help me out.

One of my main questions is, "What's the easiest way to get the Elk back to camp?".

We are camping just inside of a Wilderness Area so if we have an Elk down it's foot travel only to pack it out. I've thought of a few scenarios to get it back to camp.

1. Cutting two poles for dragging two quarters at a time
2. purchasing two of those long slender plastic sleds, tie on two quarters per sled, attaching a harness and pulling it out.

Have any of you tried either of these methods? Will they work? And, what works best for you?

Thanks,

BT

Don Fischer's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3173
Packing out game questions

Take good backpacks and game bags and bone it out where you kill it. You'll probally throw the bones away anyway

WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2363
Packing out game questions

Hello,
For starters you will not be able to drag out a bull elk, either with poles or sleds. You'll understand what I meam when you get your elk. They are just too heavy and massive.

You will have to clean and quarter the animal where it drops, so before you pull the trigger make sure your elk is in an area that's easiest to pack out of.

Quarter the animal. I won't go into any detail with quartering because it will be to lengthy here. There are plenty of good field dressing books out there with good step by step photographs in them, buy one. Without pack animals (horses or mules) you two will have to make a few trips back and forth to get all the quarters out. Just make sure you have plenty of daylight left. If the work takes you into the night then carry a bright lamp with spare batteries and bulbs and know your way back and forth in the dark.

Don Fisher has given you good advise by telling you to bone out the meat. It does take longer to do, but it will save you a lot of weight.

Hope your buddy has experience hunting elk. If not then you guys should bring along someone who has at least some experience. It's not like fishing or bird hunting. For safety sake and for respect for the animal, elk hunting isn't one of those sports that you learn from the blind leading the blind.

Good luck! Hope you have lots of fun on your hunt.

Offline
Joined: 08/14/2006
Posts: 31
Packing out game questions
WesternHunter wrote:
...It's not like fishing or bird hunting. ...

Dang! You mean I can't just put it in the rear game bag of my Barbour jacket!

Don Fischer's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3173
Packing out game questions

Dang! You mean I can't just put it in the rear game bag of my Barbour jacket
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sure ya can. Just cut off the feet first so they don't hang up on branches.

Offline
Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Packing out game questions

Dragging ... Ughhhh ... been there done that ... terrible.

I agree with Don ... bone the thing out. Except I disagree with cleaning it first. Never mind the cleaning (so-called `gutting'). Just take the meat off the animal and leave the gew inside. Cleaner, less germs, smell, fly attraction, etc. Carry out only meat. See my article ... the topic is deer but the idea is the same. Go in with sharp knives, keep `em sharp, and don't cut yourself.

http://www.serioushunter.com/adventures/un-dressing-deer.htm

If that big bull is in my cross-hairs, it already means I'm in a place where I want to kill him - I'm not going to wait until he steps into a place where he's a little bit easier to bone out. But if I don't have to drag - extraction is much easier.

Practice my article on some deer first. It is rather amazing, after some practice, how fast you can get an animal out of the field, and when you arrive home - it is half butchered.

We have some early hunts currently going on up here in Idaho. My buddy got an elk at sundown the other evening ... me and another friend arrived at the scene - knives flew - we had all the meat, and a few bones - back in town well before midnight ... relatively short carry to where we could get a quad. Same buddy got a deer a couple nights later. About forty minutes after he pulled the trigger he had all the meat in the car, left a meatless deer in the field, and was halfway done butchering it himself.

Don't mess with the guts unless you like their taste (in the rest of the meat).

Learn the applicable game laws. In Idaho you must take out even the rib meat. Ughhh. Sorry, but that's the law. So, I bring out all the meat except any and all around the bullet/arrow path(s). Don't mess with it. Don't risk ruining the rest of your premium stuff with some bloodshot, dirty stuff. Gotta leave something for the coyotes.

redrider's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
Posts: 2603
Packing out game questions

Serious Hunter - great article! I'll be trying that this year. I've always skinned, gutted, and hauled to butcher, but this year i'm going to take care of myself. This will help alot. I probably will go ahead and hang first because we usually have clear access to get to most spots we hunt. Drive in load up and take to the pole. Will make a little easier keeping off ground. Great way to get it out of the field though if you were in difficult place to get to and by yourself Thumbs up

Offline
Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Packing out game questions

Right on!

Offline
Joined: 08/14/2006
Posts: 31
Packing out game questions
Don Fischer wrote:
Sure ya can. Just cut off the feet first so they don't hang up on branches.

Ha ha!

Thanks for the link and Ideas SH!

We have all agreed help the others out with field dressing and getting the meat back to camp, so between the three of us we should be a-ok!

Offline
Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
Packing out game questions
bootytrapper wrote:
Thanks for the link and Ideas SH!

One of these days we'll get some better pics, and maybe even a decent video.

... great method for extracting animals from ravines. cool

Offline
Moderator
Joined: 12/03/2005
Posts: 1691
Packing out game questions

I've done this with moose,suppose an elk is not much different;
After dressing the animal, remove as much hide from one side and then roll it over and do the other side. Improvise something as a tent peg to stretch out hide to make an improvised table. This is the best way I found for keeping your meat clean.
May be a little difficult with a heavy animal, I know.
Good luck Big smile

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
Rules with packing out elktrouthunter1204/02/2011 19:36 pm
packing outbearklr1610/20/2010 11:39 am
An Exoskeleton: Packing game out in stylebitmasher503/10/2004 19:53 pm
It's my dads turn!hawkeye270504/30/2012 14:54 pm
Packing with LlamasBuck Snort212/31/2003 08:27 am