Gear to bring on first time Montana Elk hunt!

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by Greywolf18, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    My Uncle and I are going to Montana to go elk and mule deer hunting in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The Outfitter is saying to try and limit it to about 40lbs. I've never gone out west hunting so I'm curious to what everyone here takes with them. The outfitter sent us something of what they suggest, but would like to get more opinions because what works for one guy doesn't always work for another. I know my uncle said he was going with his usual western setup (he goes yearly) and wear uninulated gore-tex and then just layer underneath. What do you guys wear? What would you suggest to a guy that's used to doing his hunting in NC/VA treestands? We will be going end of Oct into Nov.

    Any suggestions on a lightweight but warm sleeping bag that won't break the bank?

    I'll be taking my semi-custom 30-06 (22" barrel) with me and plan to shoot at most 2-300 yards. I was thinking 168gr berger classic hunters. I've searched and searched and haven't seen anything about them in regards to elk so was curious if anyone used them last year? If not them, I was thinking 168gr accubonds or TTSX's (assuming I can find either of them).

    Thank you for the suggestions and help!
     
  2. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    Nothing wrong with layered Gore-Tex. That’s what I wear in the mountains or for that matter also on the plains. Dress as you would sitting in a NC tree stand with temps from 10 to 50 with or without rain or snow then having to walk back to your truck or another tree stand two to five miles uphill.

    Shooting distance from ridge to meadow or meadow to meadow across canyon can be long. If possible, try not to limit what range or conditions you will be making shots unless those distances are near your comfort and condition level. Talk with your outfitter on what to expect. Practice and create drop tables out to 500 yards or longer if you have the experience and equipment. Several of my work associates have been hunting the Bob for decades. Anymore they tend to see more wolf than elk and opportunities for an elk are slim compared to 10 years past. Maximize your harvest potential by practicing shots longer than 200 yards however be aware of your limits with both range and equipment. Buy a wolf tag!

    Good luck on your hunt. The Bob is beautiful country.
     

  3. Rick Richard

    Rick Richard Well-Known Member

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    I hunt about the same time of year in wyoming and I am limited to 40 lbs also. I take in three pair of clothing. Shirts, pants, underwear, outer wear all of some type of synthetic blend. Merino wool for long under wear and wool blend socks. In additipon, I use Goretex rain gear which can also be used as a outer layer when the wind kicks up with the cold.

    The most important item to mention is good boots. They don't have to be insulated, but a little insulation may be needed if you are sitting for awhile when temps are down. I would recommend spending the money and purchase high end boots like Kenetrek, Lowa and etc..

    As far as sleeping bags, get one that is rated to 0 degrees. You can get by with a +15 if the tent is kept heated throughout the night. My preference is a rectangular style and not a mummy. I just like the extra room. REI is a good place to look for one and you can usually lay in it at the store to try it out.

    Your choice of rifle will work, but would not be my first choice as mentioned by MMERSS. If you are going to put out that much time and money, then I would want something that will reach out a little further so I could capatilize on any opportunities.

    Not sure if I provided enough info, but you can PM me with your number and I will be more than happy to discuss further.
     
  4. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input!

    I'm going with the 30-06 just in case we are walking for long periods of time up and down the mountains and not on horseback. I have a 7WSM that is my long range rig that shoots great with the berger 180gr hybrids, but I don't want to be walking up and down those mountains with a #16 gun! The outfitter had mentioned that the majority of the shots are between 1-200 yards due to the conditions where they hunt at which is another reason going with the lighter rifle.

    I just bought a new pair of Danners for the trip. I've always had good luck with Danners and find them really comfortable, at least the ones I've been fortunate to get issued have been. Ordered them last week so I have time to break them in and ensure they are good enough to walk around all day.

    I've heard about the wolf in that area which has me a little nervous especially since who knows how long it will be before I can afford another elk hunt. However, the whole experience of just horsebacking into there and the scenery will be worth it. Another bucket list about to be checked off, hunting out west :D
     
  5. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    Yes it is beautiful. You may even stumble into a Griz hopefully far enough to enjoy the view and maybe take a picture or two. The scenery is the trip.

    Your -06 will work. As mentioned, if possible practice with the rifle to extend your range to practical. There are not near the number of elk above Choteau and Augusta as in years past. You never know what opportunities you may encounter. Additionally I've seen some big mulies taken from near or above the treeline. Having a rifle capable of 400 to 500 yards can be a bonus even though traditional outfitter ranges are below 200 yards. Nothing wrong with practicing for the "just in case." Like, "just in case" a wolf is in a meadow 500 yards away with a valid tag in hand!

    Have fun and take a bunch of pictures. Your outfitters will take good care of you.
     
  6. Rick Richard

    Rick Richard Well-Known Member

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    Griz is a definite possibility. I made two hunts last year and saw Griz almost everyday. In fact, the last trip we had a hunter in camp that was attacked by a sow. He was lucky to just end up with numerous puncture wounds, broken rib and a minor lacerated lung.

    Oh well that is a different story and don't want to hijack the thread.

    OP, good luck on your trip. I can promise you it probably will not be your last. Once the mountains get into your blood you can't shake it out.
     
  7. mtnwrunner

    mtnwrunner Well-Known Member

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    One, actually two items that I ALWAYS bring with me in the mountains are a puffy jacket and a good windshell. Get yourself a quality down coat and a shell that will go over it. They are invaluable if you will be riding a horse or sitting and glassing. Both are packable and compress easily and are light weight.

    Randy
     
  8. Rucker61

    Rucker61 Well-Known Member

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    With regards to a sleeping bag, I don't like them and don't use them. Consider a quilt instead, like www.enlightenedequipment.com. You don't use the insulation on the bottom of a sleeping bag, anyway.
     
  9. The Guide

    The Guide Well-Known Member

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    Bring good pants and good boots. Know your drops out to 500 yards as previously posted. Listen to your guide as it is his lively hood to make you successful (or at least try and make you successful) in your trip. Don't be surprised if they weigh your gear and make you leave any overages in your car.

    Jay
     
  10. Marble

    Marble Well-Known Member

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    Do not underestimate layering! It is a must for hunting in the mountains. Uninsulated water proof out layer, lighter layers up top with a medium jacket. Make the layers up top stuffable so you can put them INSIDE your backpack if needed.

    In my pack I carry thick waterproof gloves.
    Finger mittens with covers.
    Thin single layer real wool gloves, I primarily wear these while hunting and keep an extra pair in my pack inside a ziplock bag.
    Extra pair of socks.
    Regular Ball Cap and a thick beanie.
    Face cover.
    At least two light sources.

    I focus primarily on the things that I may need if I get them wet, loose them or ruin them. I want to make sure I have the things I need to keep me warm and comfortable. Obviously I take more than above. Depending on what your hunt is set up like will also depend on what you carry.

    Let us know and we can help!
     
  11. sarge retired

    sarge retired New Member

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    wool, if you have it, for clothes. I wear railrider bdu's and a sleeping indian shirt with a field jacket. this will work down to below zero. wool ball cap and scarf.

    patty capilene 3 or 4 base layers or marino wool 2 or 3 and wool socks such as Russell markets

    I've seen way too many fleece outfits fall apart. perhaps others have differing experience.

    buy the best boots you can't afford...Russell moccasin come to mind and go walk hill and dale in them. north fae makes decent sleeping bgs by one rated to 0 or more. gets damn cold in a tent.

    if your boots suck you will be crippled after the first day and most likely lose a few toenails. hunt's over.

    assuming your hunt is in oct/nov you should already be up to walking 5 or more miles.

    run the bleachers in a football field

    wear Gore-Tex if you don't want to see elk since most of it is noisy. I carry a rolled up genuine gi poncho.

    not breaking the bank and elk hunting are mutually exclusive terms.


    leave the 06 at home and take a 300 or 338.. for hunting in the bob I'd do the ttsx;'s

    if the 06 is what you have then become very good at hitting a 6-12 plate at 300 yds. same goes for whatever caliber you take.

    barnes ttsx and x are simply the best terminal ballistics bullet made.

    I've shot berger's in high power competition for years and plan on continuing to do so. I kill big game in the dark timber with barnes or partitions.

    truly LR shooting starts at 800 yds that is a different matter. 600 to 800 is by definition mid-range.


    hunt light, you need a light, rain gear, good binocs, folding knife, fire starter and a canteen and some food. plus a mp and compass. dark timber and gps's don't always get along...besides you have a guide, but you need to know where you are at.

    take a small first aid kit. bandages for sprains and pain pills.

    all the above should fit in your pockets....or a waist pack

    many carry enough gear to equip a squad

    a parting thought.. if you are not sweating, bleeding and/or puking you are not elk hunting in the dark timber.
     
  12. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    Having been on a few elk hunts, including 2 somewhat near where you are going, I'll throw this in - use the GoreTex only when sitting or if there is precipitation coming down. Yes, it breathes, but not when you're walking. You will sweat a lot if you wear it when active.

    I often wear just base layers and start out feeling a bit cold if they have me walking. It doesn't take long and I'm nice and warm. I then put on my additional layers when I arrive at the stand.

    Good luck!
     
  13. FULLFAN

    FULLFAN Active Member

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    "a parting thought.. if you are not sweating, bleeding and/or puking you are not elk hunting in the dark timber. "

    Don't sit and wait for them, play the wind and go look for them.\

    And do not forget the Advil..
     
  14. Marble

    Marble Well-Known Member

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    I also carry:

    2 pullies to get my elk in a tree
    Small bunch of rope
    Saw
    2-3 knives with a sharpener
    Black plastic hefty bags
    Small tarp
    Home made fire starter
    a few lighters plus water proof matches
    Food for two days
    Rhino radio and a cheaper Motorola
    Extra batteries
    Mirror
    Camera
    Sometimes a small light weight 22 pistol


    Seems like a lot. My pack weighs around 20 pounds full, maybe 25.by then end of the day it weighs quite a bit less when I have drank my fluid and ate my food.