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Location: Kansas City
Joined: 04/14/2005
Posts: 6
Wilderness Elk Hunting

Fellow Elk hunters,

I need some advice/help. I am going on my first do-it-yourself wilderness arhcery elk hunt. I have been elk hunting four times and have killed one, but for this hunt I have some specific questions: 1) For those that use Cat Quivers, which one is the largest, the VII or the IV? Water may be scarce, how much water, if any, do you take with you (I am planning on loading my 4 wheeler and riding to the northern edge of the wilderness area and using it as sort of a base camp)? Would you go with a sleeping bag and bivy sack or light weight tent? What brand of freeze-dried food do you recommend? For a stove, I am thinking about either the Brunton Raptor of the MSR Dragonfly, which is best? How much fuel should I take (I'll be hunting ten days)? I'll be hunting late August, early September. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you!

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
Wilderness Elk Hunting

I've done some wilderness camping/hunting in the past so I can answer a few of your questions.

As for water, it is not possible to carry enough water on your back to last you 10 days. It would simply weigh too much--in excess of 40 lbs! What you need to do is get a filter of some sort (I use a PUR) and filter water out of streams and ponds that you find.

I carried a light-weight tent, but if I did the same again (I'm getting too old for that kind of spartan camping!) I'd think seriously about a bivy sack.

Freeze dried foods are all pretty comparable, and I've always found that after a day of hard hunting I didn't really care much what I ate as long as it filled me up. As such, I buy whatever is available cheap. Usually I have instant oatmeal for breakfast and a freeze dried meal for dinner. I also carry some instant coffee for in the morning, as well as some Tang--hot Tang is actually quite good on a cold morning.

I like and use an MSR stove, but I've heard good things about the Bruntons, too. I don't think you'll go wrong with either. As for fuel, it depends to some extent on whether or not you are allowed to build a fire. The last few years here in Colorado we've had drought conditions and open fires have been prohibited in most areas. If I can build a fire I usually do that, just because it kind of "feels good" to do so and it saves fuel. If not, it's the little stove all the way. If only using the stove, I plan on 3-4 ounces per day.

Finally I would remind you to be careful how far you hike in and where you hunt, since you're going to have to pack out any elk that you get, and no matter how much of a he-man you are it's going to take a couple of trips at least to pack out an elk on your back.

Good luck!

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Moderator
Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Wilderness Elk Hunting

As far as provisions, food and water. If you can, before the actual expedition. take a trip to the area you plan to hunt and drop provision. This will guarantee that you have plenty to sustain yourself for an extended trip. Make sure that the items are well protected from the weather and critters.
When we did our extended, wilderness backpacking trips. We never carried more than 3 days provisions, excluding water.
I did carry the provisions for a 9 day trip one time, with the exclusion of water. It was strictly hiking. No hunting gear. The pack started out at about 50 ibs.
Alway take a tent or shelter. You don't have to use it. They can keep you out of the weather you may or may not be subjected to.
A good light weight flashlight with extra bulbs and plenty of batteries.
A box of wooden matches protected from the wet and dampness. Leave the bic at home. You'll want a fire for warmth and comfort every day.
Cooking can be done on the fire but, take a small light weight stove with several small bottles of fuel rather than one or two large bottles.
Some fuels don't work well at higher altitudes. Do some research with what is available to you.
Water, food and warmth and shelter from the storm.
Take, at the least, 20 more rounds than you think you will need.
Take good care of your feet. They are going to get you in and OUT. When you get wet. Get dry, when you get back to camp.
It's a great experience.

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Joined: 06/18/2004
Posts: 66
Wilderness Elk Hunting

I agree substantially with donmillion, that a litre of gas fuel will last about 5 days in a MSR Whisperlite stove. So, for ten days, take two litres of gas fuel. It isn't the end of the universe if you run out of fuel. You can always make a wood fire if you are desparate. Take some extra fuel if you flat don't want to run out -- maybe a 1/2 liter sized bottle, which would only be about an extra pound to carry. You could also eat cold meals -- you should have extra food and it would be wise to have some non-cook food to cope with the prospect of running out of fuel. I like to use the gasoline stove to cook because it is fast, hassle free, and clean (that is the pots don't get black soot on them). I love campfires as a ambience creator -- the wood smoke, the hynotizing flames, the nourishing heat -- but collecting wood is just another time eater.

In the past I have found that I eat less food on a backpacking trip than I expect. I don't know if this is an effect of altitude or what. I would expect to be able and want to eat a cow, but it didn't work that way for me. Of course, coming back home with left over food is not a big problem, it is running out of food two days from the trailhead. Just providing this as food for thought.

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Moderator
Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Wilderness Elk Hunting

One more item I would like to add.
On one occasion. We were up in the California High Sierra's in August. We were hit with a storm that left 2 feet of snow on the ground in about 2 hours. Go with preparations.
The items you'll need are a personnal preference. I met a guy 30 miles from civilization with an estimated 80 lb. pack. He was loaded down with every freeze dried product, that comes in a glass jar, that can be thought of. It worked for him.
Don't forget a small lightweight fishing rig. Those cold water mountain trout make a fine meal along with a salad of wild onion and watercress.

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Location: Kansas City
Joined: 04/14/2005
Posts: 6
Wilderness Elk Hunting

I really do appreciate the individuals that took the time to reply. Thank you very much. One more thing that I forgot to mention: I will be hunting alone. Does anyone have experience with a satellite phone? I have seen on the internet that you can rent them by the week. Any suggestions on the best sat phone? Also, does anyone know of a good book on wilderness elk hunting? Thanks for everything!

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Moderator
Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Wilderness Elk Hunting

Look for articles and books written by Bob Rob.
There are many article written on solo hunting. The library is a good place to start looking.
Solo requires completely different precautions for safety.
Never knock an arrow until you see game in shooting range. Arrow can't be pulled out. They have to be pushed through. The broadhead removed. Then pulled out. It sounds very painful. Be very careful.
Watch your footing. On one trip I slipped off a log that was wet with the morning dew. Dropped six feet. Jammed my knee and had to finish the trip with a swollen knee. About 35 miles in at the time.
Don't leave any food or dirty dishes laying around camp. It attracts a large assortment of critters looking for an easy meal.
Remember your the new guy on the block.
When you get into the wilderness areas where the critters haven't had any reason to fear humans, they get curious and aren't afraid to approach. Use caution. They are wild and they will defend themselves if threatened in any way.
Alway carry a strong, heavy bladed fixed blade knife. You may have to cut yourself out of some brambles or ? and you don't want any cuts or open wounds that could fester. Always have the knife with you.
Do your research before you leave. A telephone won't help if you don't have it with you.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
Wilderness Elk Hunting

I hunt alone and have looked into the possibility of a satellite phone. I came to the conclusion that they are too heavy and too expensive to be practical.

On the other hand, I have been giving serious consideration to one of these...

http://www.vitelectronics.com/ac2790.html

As they come down in price they look very appealing. I'm thinking about asking my wife to get me one for my birthday this year. It's a lot more expensive than what we normally budget for birthday presents, but she worries enough about me when I'm out hunting that I know she'd consider it as much a present for her as for me!

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Wilderness Elk Hunting

Great advice from others, the only thing I would add is take a few MRE's. They provide great nutrition and calories and come in a small package. In most cases you don't have to cook or heat anything, they're just ready to go. The trick to them and dehydrated food is to pick up some condiment packages from fast food joints. You can get salt, pepper, salsa, ketchup...etc. I like the black bean burrito MRE with taco bell salsa for example. Good luck and be safe.

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Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Wilderness Elk Hunting

I can't add much to other good advice already posted. However you don't say what elevation you will be hunting. Might want to take a small radio and listen to the evening weather forecast. Depending on the elevation/location an early snow storm isn't totally out of the question in September.

Seems like every year there are backcountry hunters that get "suprised" by the elements, although usually it is later in the year (october/november).

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Joined: 05/14/2005
Posts: 11
Wilderness Elk Hunting

so how much do tose satallite phones average?What does the service cost per month?

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