Backpack hunting question

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by Donger, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Donger

    Donger New Member

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    I'm looking for information on backpack hunting. I do a lot of backpacking and a lot of hunting but I've never combined the two activities together. If you backpack into the wilderness and you're hunting for 2-3 days, how do you have room to pack out your game when your backpack is full of eqpt? And, how do you clean off the blood and gore from the backpack after the hunt? I'd appreciate any info or suggestions of books or dvd's. Thanks in advance
     
  2. Topshot

    Topshot Well-Known Member

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    Pack in your gear in the weeks before your season and do some scouting. Leave your gear set up for the season.
    If you shoot an animal then leave most of your gear at the camp and only take out your rifle and the animal once it has been cut up into smaller bits.
    Hunt with a mate and share the load. Make more than one trip if needed.

    Don't worry about the blood, if you quarter it and let it hang in a tree overnight most of the blood will drain away and once the meat has set, it will not bleed very much. Use a cotton meat bag to keep it clean. Blood will wash off your gear with cold water.

    You can go back and get the rest of your gear another time.
     

  3. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    your a 9 year member and this is your first post? Welcome
     
  4. partisan1911

    partisan1911 Well-Known Member

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    The careful examination of your equipment and physical condition is the key to success. Only on a few occasions have I been able to pack an entire animal out with my camp and everytime it was a matter of mental stamina over physical. I have done 30mile hikes to get to where the animals are and doing multiple trips really were not a good option for me.

    The proper pack is the only way that made it possible. Limiting yourself to only the key essential equipment was far more important than weight. Much of my equipment finds its way strapped to the outside of the pack which leaves the main compartment of my pack dedicated to packing out the animal itself.

    You really have to teach yourself that it is ok to be a little tired, hungry, and cold. Of course that comes with limits. The distance you hike in has to be planned according to how much "survival gear" you pack in. Never extend yourself so far that you cannot make it safely back to your vehicle that has additional supplies.

    All of the areas I hunt have no cellular reception but a detailed travel itinerary is always left with people I know can come assist if I don't return on the day I am expected. Basically don't leave anything to chance. If I say I will be back on "x" day. I ensure I at least have some communication with my buddies on that day.

    I would recommend doing buddy hunts and share equipment until you really figure out what equipment you can do without.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
  5. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Your first post after nine years as a member...wow...how did you remember your login? I wouldn't have had a chance to do that!

    Len, that has got to be some kind of record!?

    partisan1911 has good info there regarding gear and physical shape. Sounds like you should know a bit about both from your description. I think combining a background in multinight backpacking or climbing with hunting can produce some great results. If you've backpacked or climbed quite a bit, you'll be familiar with availabe gear and be able to hygrade the best stuff and leave the rest at home as an anchor traveling light and fast with just what you need. LRH bring enough heavy gear of it's own with optics (rangefinder, binocs, spotting scope and tripod) and typically a heavier than usual rifle, such that it is even more important to use the best gear. Gear that is rarely purchased from the likes of Cabelas, for instance...not to knock Cabelas, but it's name is not synonomous with light and/or fast when it comes to backpack hunting, for the most part. JMHO

    Just make sure you have an appropriate shelter than can take a beating and keep you dry and never let your sleeping bag get wet--two among several of my mantras and probably two of yours.

    Many here like the Eberlestock packs. This is the pack I use: LongHunter Hauler Has a nice packbag that attaches to it or, make a packbag yourself. Custom made to you and you can haul stuff around and immediately be ready to haul all or part of an animal out with it. I've hauled out all of a nice 4pt Mule deer and bear this year with it already. Hauled several elk and another deer out over the years. Had if for 7 years I want to say and hauled a few critters with it. Hauls your firearm very nicely with the 'Gun Bearer'. From the sounds of your backpacking experience, you may know of the 'Mountainsmith' brand. Patrick Smith started Kifaru after he sold Mountainsmith, so he knows a thing or two about lightweight and functional--something many brands do not.

    Patrick's shelters are also something else. Check out shelters on his website.

    I ended up building my own tipi and used one of his stoves with a custom lenght stovepipe.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f61/tents-backpacking-26738/

    I built in some venting, an attached floor and bugproofing that his tipis don't have. I like nature, just not the 6 or 8 legged kind crawling into my sleeping back with me at night. My 10' dia. by 7' tall shelter weighs 6.5 lbs and the stove (which drives us out of the tent at full roar), another 3 lbs. I use this setup for November elk hunting.

    Anyway, better stop rambling here...but there's some ideas perhpas for you to consider.

    Edit: You mentioned backpacking into the wilderness. If by 'wilderness' you mean a desginated 'Wilderness Area', it's not legal to leave stuff (like a camp) setup for any length of time you may not be there. Designated wilderness areas are the most highly protected recreational lands. Absolutely nothing mechanized allowed--the wheel on a game cart--mechanized--not allowed. So setting stuff up a few days before hunt won't cut it. Wilderness rangers have very little compassion for bending the rules at all in designated wilderness and they will throw the proverbial book at you. Just a note re a post above...
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
  6. partisan1911

    partisan1911 Well-Known Member

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    Most of my equipment is not even meant for hunting ie. stoves, tents, clothing. For shelter I bring a two man three season tent that weighs 3lbs. I only use it to sleep in. When I go by myself I can drag the top of my pack in and zip around it. Otherwise the pack stays outside.

    I have used the eberlestock dragonfly for a couple of hunts and it worked well. The smaller pack forced me to take a critical look at all the junk I bring. Most of my hunts I use the Cabela's guide pack because it can hold alot of animal. I am not a big fan of cabelas either but my packs take alot of abuse as I climb through alders etc. and flop my butt down with all that weight it is holding. The pack itself is torn up pretty good but gets the job done. The frame is bent in a few spots and beat up pretty good but I can make them last about five years before I have to buy a new one for around $100 or so.

    One more quick note. "nothing is waterproof". I don't care what the ads or warranty say.
     
  7. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    Put some real thought into how much gear you really need to take in. I have an Eberlestock J107 and used to use a Cabelas Gun+Bow, and I have had no problem, with either pack, getting out an average mule deer along with the remaining 2 days of a 3 day camp.

    After a very mentally challenging hunt through deep snow last year, I went a little weight crazy this year and cut about 8lbs off my load. Lighter stove, lighter fuel for it, lighter tent.

    If you are going to stay long enough, multiple trips will be the norm. For elk, unless you have 3 guys and two don't shoot an elk you will NOT bring a bull and antlers out in a single trip. So don't hike in further than you can get the meat out (in as many trips necessary) before you risk it going bad in whatever weather you have.
     
  8. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff from someone who's dunnit... Usually in the terrain I'm in for elk, I may be able to bone out the fronts and pack 'em out together, but so far it's been five trips--4 quarters and camp. Don't get too far as ATH says. I hear of guys that get 10 miles in--start doing the math--each trip is 20 miles and how much of that is off trail. Haven't seen an elk yet that was killed in the middle of a nicely maintained trail...:rolleyes:. Does a person have the stamina and time (weather, what's happening to the meat?) to do that?

    'Nother big safety/balance/knee saver for me is a quality set of trekking poles--they really help with the big loads going up and down. Extend 'em for going downhill obviously. I use 'em to get to camp, the typically stow one in my pack when out hunting for the day with a lighter pack just incase I get something--just trying to reduce the chance of injury, etc.

    Anyway...lots of stuff to consider. Oh...when by myslef I carry one of those GPS enabled PLB's registered to me as cell service is usually non-existent if something were to go wrong. When by myself, I just try to hunt hard, but not do anything stupid. The not doing anything 'stupid' part is hard for me...:D:D
     
  9. Donger

    Donger New Member

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    Thanks to all of you for the good info. I guess some of you are amazed that I've been a member for 9 yrs without a post. I've never had any good input before and I used this site for all the great information that other members have provided. Anyway, here is my equipment list: Eberlestock Gunslinger pack, MSR water filter, Kelty 3-season tent, Kelty 20 deg down bag, bivy bag, 1-2 liter camelback bladder for water, Gaz propane stove and fuel, freeze-dried meals, aluminum cup, and 1st aid kit. For a minimum 3-day stint in the field, my pack is about 70% full. So, is it better to bring up an old, empty external pack for packing out the meat and come back for my equipment? I'm estimating a minimum of a 10-12 mile round trip.
     
  10. partisan1911

    partisan1911 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't bring a pack frame with your setup, it will only add more bulk and weight. Your packing list leaves out alot of stuff ie. pocket knive, bone saw, gps, raingear, headlamp etc. These are all small items that can be put in external pouches or in your pocket but they add up to bulk and weight. Your tent and possibly even your sleeping bag can be strapped to the outside, there are alot of attachment points. Start looking around for military style pouches that will fit your situation.It is pretty much given that the big compartment of your pack must be left for meat and game bag. Just line the inside of your pack with a big meat bag and start dumping the meat in there. Strap all other junk on or shove it in your pocket.

    Using my eberlestock dragonfly I have successfully packed out my camp for a week as well as #130 pounds of meat,cape, horns. The pack out is never fun but can be done.
     
  11. Strider

    Strider Active Member

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    I backpack hunt in one of two ways, depending on how far in I am nunting, what I am after (deer or elk), and how much help I have.

    If I am in 6 hours or less, I tend to use ultra-light pack equipment, including the backpack, and leave my heavy pack at the trailhead along with an extra bag, mat, and food. For deer, I will pack the meat out in one trip and then go back for my camp. If we are able to spread out the meat between buddies, we can sometimes come out in one heavy load.

    If I am in farther than that, I and my buddies take our Eberlestock packs in with us. This gives us more options since we can pack 100 lns or so if necessary.

    My ultra-light pack and gear weighs between 35 and 40 lbs depending on weather and how long we will be out. Food is between 1 and 1.5 lbs a day. My packs going in have weighed as little as 55 lbs and as much as 92 lbs.

    As far as cleaning the blood out of your pack, I use soap and water. My Deuter was quite a mess after I returned from Wyoming this year and a ligttle soap, a rag, and 5-minutes with the hose and it looks as good as new (alomost). On my camo packs, you can't see the blood :D

    By the way, Partisan 1911 summed packing out correctly as 99% mental.
     
  12. Donger

    Donger New Member

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    Thanks to all of you for all the good info. I definitely got some great ideas. I will try my first backpacking deer trip in next year's season.