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Discussion in 'LRH Group Hunts & Shooting Classes' started by Len Backus, Sep 10, 2014.
Thanks for the response, I totally agree, and know just the spot to train for it. I have hunted high country before, I was younger then and know it will take me longer to acclimatise to the altitude. My plan is 3 day early arrival to work on that.... http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/images/smilies/shooter.gif
Best advice right there
I've been doing what's been recommended above for the last 2 years.
I'm also a flatlander, but making my cross country (no paths or trails) through the woods and swamps longer and carrying 40 pounds in the pack with rifle, wearing my hunting gear /boots, etc.
Making mostly 6 miles 5 days a week at a pretty quick pace. It was really fun in my waders & wading boots during the summer of 2014 getting ready for AK high arctic hunt. Nothing like hiking that far in 80+ muggy temps with mosquitos and deer fly buzzing. Had over 120 miles on my wading boots alone before hitting the Nigh River float. Like wearing a sauna during training.
The last 2 seasons I have hunted at 7000' and above. Still harder to catch my wind the first few days, but never felt my legs burning too bad. Haven't had the opportunity to get there early and get used to the altitude.
I'm stacking up the deer and elk points for WY so I can get there with NTO in 17 (hopefully!).
Great advice. Don't forget to ride horseback if possible. A lot of folks get really sore ridding horses if there not used to it. It can ruin a hunt if not prepared.
I would also advice, using square piece of duck tape placed on heel to prevent blistering before and during hunt.
Any reports from the second week of hunters? Did they have the similar results as first group?
As best I can construct from talking with 4 participants, the take was 3 elk for 10 hunters. This excludes Len from the statistics. Just the regular participants. Shot opportunities were the same. I haven't asked Robb or Len, figuring a post-hunt summary would be posted up as has been the case previously.
Conditioning and marksmanship were consistently mentioned as important requirements by the 2015 participants.
It was much tougher hunt conditions than the year before when we had 6 bulls down in 3 days. The following is the text of Robb's draft of the season elk hunt reort that he always posts on his website.
It was really warm. I remember watching the weather forecast as the hunt dates came closer. During the hunt, the day time temps were about 15 degrees higher than what I found on intellicast.com to be the Historical Average Highs for those dates.
I have also heard after the hunt that other elk outfitters in the area had low success due to the hot weather.
In any case, I can't wait until next year. There are going to be some very, very nice bulls to hunt next year since they made it through the 2015 season.
My 2015 trip with Non-Typical Outfitters began in 2014 when Len with the Long Range Hunting Forum sent an e-mail announcing the upcoming trip. I didn't notice this announcement, but my wife did when she logged into my account. That night after she read the announcement, she told me to sign up for the trip and purchase the preference points before October. WOW, I was now on my way, or so I thought. The months between signing up and leaving were filled with creating an accurate load for my 30-06 rifle, practicing long hours at the range shooting out to 600 yards, buying gear, taking a few horse riding lessons, and hiking.
When I finally arrived at the Non-Typical's camp the day before we were to begin our adventure, Len came and welcomed all the hunters who showed up. We selected our sleeping quarters, unloaded our gear, and headed to the mess tent to get briefed. The rest of the day was filled with qualifying by zeroing our rifles at 300 to over 500 yard steel targets on the hillside. After everyone had qualified, we were then taken down the hill to be instructed on how to use shooting sticks and our packs to create a steady rest to for the long distance shots we would need to do in this steep hill country. That night we were again briefed at dinner about the schedule for the days to come, introduced to all the guides, and the cook. After this briefing, we then headed back to our tents to prepare for the next morning.
Day 1 – Lights came on about 3:00 am, it was about 37 degrees and the night stars were visible through the trees. I slowly worked my way to the mess tent along with everyone else, ate breakfast, grabbed my lunch and water for the day, found out who my hunting partner was, and introduced to our guide. After breakfast, I grabbed my gear and headed to the horses. The guide put my rifle in the scabbard on the horse, and gave me a knee-up to get into the saddle. The horse ride was peaceful as the guide, my hunting partner and I worked our way up and down the hills to the ridge we were ultimately heading to. On this early morning trip in the dark before the sun rose, I could feel the cool breeze when we rode along ridge-tops, and had some exhilaration when the horse lagged back just to be able to trot to catch back up to the guide. As the sun rose, the three of us sat on the ridge glassing for elk below, and listened to coyotes singing off in the distance along the creek-bottom.
After some time, we went back to our horses and ate our sack lunch and spoke about other areas elk might be found. We then began our walk towards the other side of the bowl we were previously glassing. Shortly into this walk after passing some small pine trees, gray colored sage hens jumped up, taking flight from the low sage brush about 10 feet in front of us. They landed just feet to our side and we could see there eyes moving to watch us as we walked by. This first day went very quickly as we glassed, and before we knew it the sun was setting. In the starlight we put our gear back on the horses, and with the guide leading us we slowly rode back to camp.
Day 2 – Time to get up arrived just as I closed my eyes! 3:00am! As I began moving around to get ready for breakfast, my behind was sore from riding. The thought of giving up went through my mind, but left just as soon since I came here for the adventure and experience, not to quit! At breakfast we were told that some hunter had left and some were staying back. This meant that I now had no hunting partner and a new guide that enjoyed walking. This is just what I wanted, and was a reward for not giving up. As I put my gear on my horse, the new guide introduced himself and told me we were going to be doing just a bit of riding and mostly walking. The two of us rode off into the darkness under the star-light to our new hunting area. I followed the guide down a steep hill, over a stream, and through willows along the stream banks. Upon arriving at our new area, we could barely climb the hill leading our horses, so we rode them the rest of the way to a small tree grove on a finger where they could be tied to. Sun was up, and the guide led me along the shale towards an area where we could glass across the gully to a meadow where a big bull had been spotted the day before. The walk on the shale was better than riding, though we had to watch our footing since it was easy to slide as we moved forward. As we had worked our way along this slope, we noticed hunters below us, so we sat and watched them work ahead of us and up the hill. This was a great idea since they spooked five deer that ran down the shale across the creek at the bottom of the gully and up the hill across from us. Instead of going on, we decided to try a different area across the stream, so I slid down the hill to the creek at the bottom on the shale as my guide would get the horses and meet me there.
We rode back through the willows, across the stream, over fallen trees and up another creek just below our new hunting area. After tying up our horses we worked our way up game trails to the top of the hill where we could look out and watch several meadows from 400 to over 1,000 yards away. As we sat there throughout the day, again we watched a man and woman walk along a game trail and spook several deer that they were unaware of. Night fell, and the elk that was spotted the day before did not show, so we worked our way down the hill to our horses by flash-light. We led them towards the main trail along the stream bank, but had to cut several trees out of the way because we could not find our path through the fallen trees. When we finally got into the willows by the stream side, we followed game trails in the star-light. Once I was unable to see the headlamp of my guide while leading our horses through the willows, so I called out for him, no response. I looked at my horse while holding his lead, and asked him to go to the guide. Little did I know that he would take off, dragging me through the willows by his side! He stopped when we got into a small clearing where the guide was, so we got onto our horses and rode the rest of the way through the willows, back up the steep switchbacks and back to camp. I believe everyone that went out that day had an adventure, since one hunter was talking about his horse galloping and jumping over a stream they were crossing.
Day 3 – Today I was put on a different horse, I guess I wore the other-one out. We rode out of camp around 4:00 am, and were going several hours out. This horse also likes to trot to catch-up to the group, but he would on occasion pass the guide, so I had to restrain him several times. When we arrived where elk had been seen several days before, we sat and glassed as the sun came up. This was very peaceful, especially as we could look across the mountain tops and see forever. We sat here for several hours as the cool breeze blew into our faces, and we watched several deer move along the hills feeding.
We then decided to leave our horses and begin our hike to another area a bull was spotted several miles away. This trek helped me stretch my legs and help limit the pain being felt from riding the new larger horse. On the walk, we came across a hidden meadow about 50 yards wide and about 300 yards long. Here in the cool of the morning, we sat and had a snack while watching for elk that would be moving through the meadow from one dark forest to another. Without any game movement across the meadow, we moved on walking several miles, hiking up and down hillsides and along ridge tops. We arrived where a cow and bull had been spotted by another guide but was unable to get to. I was glad to arrive since the hike was tiring wearing my 30 lb pack and 10 lb rifle. Though as we sat there, we could watch the storm front begin to slowly roll in. Off in the distance we could see the angled dark lines stretch from the clouds to the mountain tops many miles away. We sat and discussed if it would eventually hit us before we left after dark on our way back to camp.
On our way back to our horses, we herd some heavy hoof prints above the meadow we sat in earlier, so we moved up a steep hill and peered into the meadow on top of the hill from the trees along side of it. We spotted nothing, so we moved through the dark forest towards the trail we had taken out earlier that morning along game trails. This was fulfilling, because we spotted many rubs, and many piles of deer and elk droppings. When we finally got back to the trail we took through the 300 yard meadow, we saw that a cow and calf had stepped on our footprint in the moist soil along the path. Wow, if we had stayed there, we might have also seen a bull, wishful thinking. About an hour before sun-down we arrived back at our horses, my horse did not like to behave and reared up several times. The guide then tried to get my horse under control, but in the end he tied the horse to his and we began leading them along the trail back to camp. Night had fallen as we were walking, and the guide knew it would take several hours to get back to camp. He told me to walk on, and he would meet me with the horses after he got them to behave. The guide caught up to me riding my horse after I had walked several miles up a steep hill, so I climbed onto his horse and rode leading the way in the dark back to camp. This made me nervous at first, but after turning off my head light, the trail was very visible in the sparse starlight shining through the clouds.
When we arrived at camp we were greeted with another hunter’s impressive 6x6 elk head being displayed in-front of the wood pile. As I entered the mess tent, the story was being told of how it was shot the night before and that morning they went to retrieve it from the steep slope. The group listened as they told of how two of the hunters worked their way along the steep shale slope to the elk while the other led the horses below them where they could work to pack it back to camp. Once they arrived at the elk, the two hunters crawled onto it, and rode it like a toboggan down the shale to the horses below. That night we were awoken several time to rain falling on the tent, and hoped with the cooler weather we would have elk out feeding early in the morning.
Day 4 – I was still sore, but after breakfast the walking helped loosen me up for the horse ride. Today, I got my old horse back and after we putting our gear on our horses the guide, hunting partner from the first day and I left for a ridge closer to camp where an elk was spotted the previous day. It was drizzling, and there was low cloud cover which made the morning cooler than the previous days. After tying our horses to the small trees, we headed out to an opening where we could glass to find the elk. As the sun rose, the guide and I watched a deer in the meadow on the ridge across from me feed and slowly disappear into the trees behind the meadow. I decided to move down the slope to watch a clearing below me while still being able to glass several miles of meadows on several ridges across from me. While sitting there a flock of small birds began feeding on the seeds around me. They landed, ate for a while, got spooked, and flew up into a pine tree in front of me, than began the process allover again. This amused me for several hours, but my mind was not on the birds but searching for elk through my binoculars just below the cloud cover.
After lunch, I walked down the ridge to a hidden meadow below where my guide and hunting partner were sitting. This meadow was alive with action. While sitting there a doe and fawn worked their way into the meadow several yards in front of me while I sat there motionless. I didn't remember if I breathed, but this gave me confidence that the animals were moving around in this dreary weather. As I watched them wander down the hill and out of sight, the sun finally shone through the clouds and began warming me to the point I removed the rain gear I put on before leaving camp. This just wasn't enough for the warm sun, so I moved behind a small tree into the shade. Here I noticed a chipmunk work its way up the trees near me, back down the tree, then across a small opening to another tree in front of me. The chipmunk made its way back down this tree and began running straight towards me. It jumped on my boot and sat looking around, then ran up to my knee. It sat there for some time looking at me, and then it chirped while moving its head around and ran off across the meadow to another tree to the left of me. I sat there for some time as the sun sank in the sky before moving back to the guide and my hunting partner. We all sat there waiting for elk to appear as the sun went down, we watched 3 deer feed along the steep hillside across from us. As the sun disappeared, we could see the lights of camp off in the distance. It was time to head back to camp, and I decided that I would leave the morning of the 5th day instead of going out hunting. That night it also rained, so I hoped that my hunting partner would get his elk that he came here for.
Looking back at the experience Non-Typical Outfitters gave me with riding horses into the backcountry, and the beautiful terrain we hunted in would be something to cherish. I thank my wife for seeing and encouraging me to go on this trip, and Len for putting this incredible long range hunting experience together.
(submitted to Len, Nov 2015)