I have posted on here several times asking about various outfitters and who to go with what state and all such things like that. Well I finally booked one. I'm going on the 2014 long range group hunt with the guys from here, we will be hunting wyoming with non-typical outfitters.
With that out of the way I have a few questions for some of you guys that have some experience. I live in KY so I have not hunted elk before or dealt with any kind of steep terrain or mountainous operations. I have a custom 300 win mag with a 27" barrel which I plan to shoot. 208 amax is the bullet I plan to use. I have an eberlestock gunslinger2 pack.
Now for the questions. I need some binos, I own a leica 1200 rangefinder and a leupold spotting scope so I'm good with that but I need some advice on binos. I'm working on getting some horse riding lessons since I have never ridden one and didn't plan on it but I'm going to have to on this hunt. What shooting sticks do you all recomend. What level of physical fitness is really required. Is there any specific workout you all recomend. Do I need to go full special forces training or do you just need to be able to hike 3 or 4 miles in rough terrain.
What about rifle weight. Mine weighs about 12lb right now and I'm considering putting it in a mcree chassis which might add a # or 2.
What will shooting positions most likely be. Is there much of a chance of having to make 100yd or so off hand shot or is most of the shooting from a supported position of some sort. I'm interested in any help you all got to offer. Workout ideas, equiptment, training ideas, or anything that first timers usually fall victim to.
I dont know your age or physical condition. Type of hunt some what dependent on outfitter. I DYI and at 50 I would not add a # to my rifle. I am also a lifelong elk hunter and live the lifestyle,put alot of elk on my back and still am,at 175#'s its alot of work, guide probably do this for you which is huge benefit. I run 10 type bino but if breathing hard a 8 x is easier to steady.If you dont ride a big wide horse can make you stiff and kind of puts stress on your knees, you may want to get offa bit and walk and stay loose,get help with saddle fitting. Im used to dyi so gear adds up fast,coat warm enough to glass for awhile,rifle pack,lunch,water lazer,gps,sometimes I use crampons in steep fresh snow areas.The days in a row take there toll.Ask about type of hunt, I hunt alot of wildeness that has not so good access and steep.Then being real fit important,Iwould want scabboard for horse. For shooting I usually field improvise,use what ever. I take a tree trunk for aid over off hand any time I can, but have shot many offhand in tight timber,usually 50 yrd type.Or in the high country it can be ridge or finger ridge shooting
I forgot to add that stuff. I'm 35 and I'm a pretty big boy. I'm working on that though. I'm a big guy anyway even when I'm in real good shape. I got out of the army about 5 years ago and kind of let myself get out of shape. I have started working out now though to get in shape for this hunt next year. So hopefully that won't be a problem. We are hunting 2on1 with a guide but I expect I will have to do my share of packing
The only guided experience for elk I had was vey physically tough in the Bob Marshall in Montana. Although I did have the flu, which made it extremely hard. Usually the guides are really fit and run around those mts a lot. Not my style of elk hunting. I like to move slow, super slow. I tend to kill more stuff that way anyway. Or glass, let your eyes do the walking. But if its guided try to get as fit as you can! Good luck!
I have spent the past 6 years hunting SW Montana. Spent a lot of time horseback and on foot. We border national forest and hunt mostly from the house now, our average morning hunt will take us 6-10 miles round trip on foot. We are still learning the area and have been very successful so far. Our terrain is primarily steep and mountainous, I good pair of broken-in boots is a must have. I currently use Kenetrek's, I am very happy with their performance. I use a Leupold 12x50 pair of glasses that have served me very well, definitely buy the best pair you can afford. I have been looking at vortex for my next set. My father-in-law just purchased swarovski and they are amazing.
I would also recommend keeping your rifle as light as you can while maintaining a steady platform for extended range shots. My hunting distance ranges from up close to 800 yds, so my current gun is set up for both opportunities. I think your gunrunner pack will be perfect for your needs, I will be purchasing one for next year.
Every outfitter and guide will have different expectations for their guests. I would prepare for a demanding hunt so you will be up for anything. Its sounds like you are off to a great start.
I run a type of pack that you can get a load of meat in duffle or add a frame to same system.Big helps carry weight, but sometimes little more h20 to get by on My kid just got out of MCRD bit back and had been doing alot of work with 75# pack.We where packing out and he passed me and took rack form me all up hill,didnt see him till later at the rig.He sailed out,told me he was first up the Reaper, thats what happens when you raise your kid in the mountains
I think you would be best served to talk to the guide and even Len about expectations for the hunt. How much are you on horseback during the day, how far can you expect to hike, etc. The last thing you want to do is get there and not be physically prepared, especially after throwing that kind of money at a hunt. If they say be prepared to hike 6-8 miles a day, I would be sure you can do 12 at home. The weight of your gear, gun, pack, etc combined with the rugged terrain will make that walking much more difficult. The other thing to remember is the altitude. I live in the Denver area at approximately 6,000ft and when I get up to 9-10k, it makes breathing difficult. I can't imagine coming from sea level! All of this is why I would suggest being able to hike twice as far mileage-wise at home before the trip.
As far as training goes for the trip, stair steppers and running are good. Even jumping on a bike can help with getting your legs in good shape. If you can load up some weight in a pack and go on hikes or get on the stair stepper, all the better.
One other thing to mention as far as weight of your rifle goes: I would highly suggest not adding weight to it. An 8lb rifle can feel very heavy after trudging through the mountains all day, let alone a 12lb one.
Now everything I said goes out the window if you are on horseback all day and don't have to do much walking! I just highly doubt that will be the case. Good luck!