Packing in vs. out

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by milanuk, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. milanuk

    milanuk Well-Known Member

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    Hello there - please bear with the newbie questions (regarding backpacking and such) :D I grew up on a ranch with a freezer full of beef, and deer literally walking through the yard, so I didn't do much big game hunting back then. Since then... the few times I've gone hunting (and dropped something) it was typically somewhere that a reasonably motivated person could drag/carry a deer to someplace accessible by vehicle. After a nice weekend hike w/ the wife and plenty of time to think whilst on the trail... I got to thinking, and thought to myself - how in the hell would you get an animal back *out* of here (4+ miles in from Cottonwood - basically the 'end of the road' on the Entiat River road) - and thats not even that rough of a trail! Don't have a horse, and don't plan on getting one just to go hunting :rolleyes:

    I've been kinda interested in trying backpack hunting for a while now - if nothing else, to simply get away from the 'road' hunters from the coast. Problem is... I normally hunt solo when I hunt big game at all, and by the time I tally up everything I think I would need to make do in the great outdoors for even just a couple days 'roughing it'... my Kelty Redwing 3100 pack is getting pretty full. Then I get to thinkin'... assuming I *do* manage to drop an animal... how many friggin' trips is it going to take to get the meat, the hide, the antlers, etc. back out, even if I had a bigger pack?

    Do you guys who backpack hunt typically hunt in teams (two, three, more?) and split the load going in and share the load coming out? Do you just take select cuts and maybe the rack and leave the rest of the carcass for the coyotes (they have to eat too!) ? Or do you just keep making multiple trips back and forth? Seems like keeping the remants clean and not gnawed on would present a problem?

    Sorry if this seems like beginner 101 questions. Figured you guys might have the answers if anyone does.

    TIA,

    Monte
     
  2. WildcatB

    WildcatB Well-Known Member

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    I bone them out. I have a Kifaru Freighter that carries more than my knee's will handle. If I had to buy a new pack today, I'd get an Eberlestock J104. They are very comfortable and hold lots of meat. Both packs will handle an entire boned out mule deer in one load. You'll have to take 4-6 trips if you kill an Elk solo (not easy, not fun and not recommended).

    Where I live (Nevada) it's illegal to take the choice cuts and horns and leave the rest. I think most states have similar laws.

    If it's too late to pack it out or will take more than one trip, put your coat or shirt on the carcass to keep the lions & coyotes away.

    If it's warm, be careful. It's easy to ruin the meat. Don't kill something in the backcountry if you can't get it out before it goes bad.


    Paul
     

  3. milanuk

    milanuk Well-Known Member

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    Paul,

    Thanks for the response. The bit about using extra clothes - and the human scent - to keep animals away from your kill sounds like a great idea. Please note, I wasn't advocating any of the methods I mentioned, simply inquiring what is 'normal' and/or legal. Good to know that it's not legal in some areas to 'cherry pick' from the carcass. Seems like kind of a wasted effort anyway.

    Monte
     
  4. Topshot

    Topshot Well-Known Member

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    +1 on what Paul says.

    Also what I do is pack in a lot of my gear weeks ahead of my main hunt and set up a stash. I also allow plenty of time for the hunt and the meat recovery. Its no good shooting a big animal way back in the scrub if you have to be back at work the next day.

    If I shoot something then I take as many trips as it takes to get it all out!!!

    The important thing is to get the meat out fast. Don't worry about your equipment. Just hide it in your stash and come back and get it some other day. That way you can carry the maximum amount of meat out each trip.

    Also you can pack one load out, then drive home and pick up the missus. Hike her back in and use her to help carry some meat out. It is sure to be a bonding experience LOL:D
     
  5. chimpac

    chimpac New Member

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    A wheel or wheels is the answer to the frieght problem. I have a wheel on my camp trails frame pack that I can put on for trails or take off for rough terain. A company in montana or idaho makes a one wheel two man cart for taking out the meat. North vietnam transported a lot of war materials to the south using bicycles. A loaded bike pushed by a man walking beside with an extention on one handlebar for steering control.
    A few years ago I saw an ad for an outfit called a mule which was a pack with a wheel to carry 100lbs. I cannot find it on line now.

    If you are going to stay over night you need a light weight shelter with a centerpole chimney/stove you can make yourself. Check out my post on this forum or google chimpac or centerpole chimney for arguments on other forums.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  6. WildcatB

    WildcatB Well-Known Member

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    Wheels and carts work great but you can't use them in a wilderness area.

    Paul
     
  7. Nvhunter

    Nvhunter Well-Known Member

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    For me, prescouting, preplacement of gear, team hunting and high camps are the solution. Base camp down by the truck. Before season starts I pack minimal gear for a 3 day stay to the ridgelines. We go up and come down the mountain as needed. We generally stay for 24-36 hours at 10000 ft or above (hunting) and then take a break down the hill for a day or so.

    But don't think all the good ones are that difficult. I have seen record bucks push into the lowlands during the season. Those old experienced deer are smart.

    The day or two before opening day I am already above or at the level of the game. One hunter harvests and the other helps pack the meat to the high camp or to the low camp depending upon what time of day we are finished deboning.

    I bone it out and backpack out all the meat - and antlers if it is a buck. I prefer the Eberlestock J-107 series backpacks. Several of my other friends use other style packs. All have benefits and drawbacks. It's tough.

    One thing about the packs that is rarely covered. Purchase one that has a quiet material. The canvas and codura packs are really durable, but the deer will hear you at quite some distance with that material scraping against the bushes and trees. A soft exterior minimizes the scraping noise. A removeable waist pack is helpful. You can drop and mark the main pack and stalk a bit closer with the basics (permit, Binocs, rangefinder, etc..) with a waist pack.

    Following a harvest it is generally a two day job-at least- to recover the meat and high camp gear back to base camp or a freezer in the nearest town (generally at least 60 miles away).

    Don't let anyone snooker you into thinking it is enjoyable. It's one of those events I love to hate. High alpine hunting it is the most exhausting, frustrating, thrilling and fulfilling activity I have ever pursued.

    I know many in this forum are hell bent on taking that 1000 yard shot and that may work well in the flat lands where a truck or ATV can get you to the kill. But, out here in the mountains, remember, if you shoot it at 1000 yds across the canyon...you have to go retrieve it.

    I am glad I have the opportunity to pursue this sport before my age catches up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  8. Tim in Washington

    Tim in Washington Well-Known Member

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    Go to www.kifaru.net you will find the solutions to your pack Questions there.I had a J104,Ithought the flexability of the non rigid pack would allow better use on a mountain bike,WRONG.The center of gravity is to high and the pack seemed way to flexable to carry alot of weight.Tim
     
  9. Randyd

    Randyd Member

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    I agree and want to add that it is also a time consuming task.
     
  10. Randyd

    Randyd Member

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    After getting home from packing out an elk, I was watching the history channel and saw a video of North Vietnamese troops pushing bicycles loaded with supplies and thought that was an excellent idea and could be developed for getting an elk out. Their bikes had the seat removed and used a longer seat extension to hold onto as they pushed the bike. I have wanted to develop this idea for my next hunt. Removing the pedals would make it easier to push. Creating a net made of webbing would be lightweight and ideal for strapping one or two elk quarters onto the bike. This would also make packing supplies and equipment in and out of the back country much easier. Anyone else have any thoughts on this idea?
     
  11. Tim in Washington

    Tim in Washington Well-Known Member

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    those single wheeled "Bob" trailers look like a real good idea.The center of gravity is real low and they are rated at an 80-90 lbs. load,I just wander if you could rig that wheel with a brake. Tim
     
  12. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    I have been backpack hunting my whole life even when packing in with horses it was the use of a backpack that got us up into the high bowls where it’s so rough you just didn’t want the noise or bother of a horse

    Before we had horses we tried all kinds of wheeled contraptions to get our stuff into a base camp and the game out but nothing worked well except on a really good horse trail that wasn’t too steep. In the rough stuff you would work yourself to death. Bad idea in my opinion.

    Get a good backpack and equipment that fulfills your needs and go hunting. There is nothing easy about backpack hunting except maybe looking at the maps all summer but in my opinion it’s the most satisfying way to hunt. Learn how to bone an animal out properly and check the regulations in the state in which you will be hunting as to be legal if leaving anything behind such as the ribs.

    If you hunt mule deer by yourself like most of us and your packing out the meat, cape and horns of a mature buck it will take two trips. If you just load meat and horns and leave the cape and ribs and if it’s not a big buck you can get it in one load not including your base camp stuff.
     
  13. Ryan527

    Ryan527 New Member

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    Does anyone know a good instructional book that shows how to properly bone and field dress big game animals? I have been looking but have not found a definitive guide. I would also like to butcher the animal myself, so if anyone knows any good books on butchering after you pack it out.

    thanks
    Ryan
     
  14. Tim in Washington

    Tim in Washington Well-Known Member

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    on kifarus forum if you do a search of "gutless method" a guy called Timberline dida real good write up on it a couple of years ago.