Backcountry hunting

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by jwall3d11, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. jwall3d11

    jwall3d11 Well-Known Member

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    I’m curious of who on here hunts the backcountry alone? By backcountry I mean you hike in 3+ miles and stay in there for a week or longer and do it alone. What limitations do you set for yourself as far as what you pack in and do you only go in so far since you’re alone or do you go all the way? Are you local to the area or have you been hunting it for a while? I’m thinking my next hunt will probably be solo and I’m wanting to know how other guys go about it.
     
  2. wyosteve

    wyosteve Well-Known Member

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    I've done it a fair amount, but always with horses/mules. Trying to get an elk out on your back is not my idea of fun. Plus with the critters I have a few comfort amenities like a cot and chair.
     
  3. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    Alone is tough. No one to split the load up with. A week will mean a pretty heavy pack. Also having no one to talk with at the end of the day gets old fast.

    Would wind up being 3 or 4 trips to get camp and an elk out. I look forward to hearing your adventure.

    Steve
     
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  4. hrnhntr

    hrnhntr Well-Known Member

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    It gets tough after thee or 4 nights. Especially when the weather is bad. I do this consistently for archery and every once in a while rifle hunting. It gets old putting on frozen boots and things like that. But it’s a great time and unique experience. I’ve been doing it so long I have my pack and food down to a bare minimum. Sleep system, food, steri pen, knife, ultralight game bags, gps, compass, headlamps, extra batteries, rangefinder, weapon and ammo/arrows, fire starter, first aid, clothing. Do research on Eastman’s, Huntin Fool, etc. not really something you can just get from here. Plenty of good articles out there.
     
  5. jpfrog

    jpfrog Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to consider is where you plan to hunt. If you’ll be sleeping in the same area that other animals will be that might try to make a meal out of you, you might not get much sleep. Alone sounds great to me at times, but for big game that has to be packed out, plus the gear for camp, plus wanting an extra pair of eyes to watch for things that might kill or harm me when I’m tired and not as focused as I should be, I’d probably not go alone.

    Honestly, I don’t even deer or hog hunt alone here in Texas, even when I’m going to the same place I’ve been going for years and know like the back of my hand. Too many things that could go wrong- rattle snakes, copper heads, a bad fall, spontaneous bad weather...having a buddy or five with me in camp to help makes it much easier to enjoy. We all go our separate ways for the hunt, but are together for meals and can be signaled or even reached by text if we need help in a hurry.
     
  6. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    I hunt alone often. Just did 5 days (deer), about 5 miles in & 7,500 to 8,000 ft. altitude. Going in, all uphill, so coming out would be downhill. 5-1/2 hours in 14" of snow going in was rough. Two hours walking out w/o stopping. Last year I spent 9 days on a ridge alone.

    I was right there where I wanted to be. Only other hunters with horses were seen and they didn't even get to where I was till after noon. One difference was, they were fresh and I was physically spent from the hike in, although after a couple nights, I recovered. I had to walk about 1/2 mile to a spring for water but later just melted snow, which used up a fair amount of fuel but was way easier on my body. With a long hike in, you'll be wet from sweat. You'll need time for your clothes to dry or dry clothes to climb into bed with. I had neither. It was just dark when I arrived and I didn't get into bed until 10:00 pm. I was cold and wet the whole night. A work problem caused a late start that day, hence a suck-o night.

    One thing about hunting alone is the possibility of injury. You have to be very conservative about your decisions. Stepping over logs and such are fairly risky things and you can't commit to a step unless you know it's not going to end in a twisted or broken ankle. Increase the the risk when your tired or in a hurry because it's getting dark. I know a guy that broke his ankle packing out meat. Just one step around a log and "snap". He had to crab crawl 150 yards back to camp where other members got him out and to medical attention, and they also dealt with the meat and camp. If he was 5 miles in and alone, he might still be there. That should weigh heavily on a person's decisions.

    Oh, and if your going to hunt elk, two guys are probably going to be a wreck just packing meat so doing it solo plus packing your camp would require a more effort than what your body wants go give you. Seriously... you mind say's "go" but your body say's "no".

    Other than that, my pack was about 45 or 50 lbs. I was very tired + sore feet, and if I had to pack out another 100 lbs., I'd be a wreck. I could lighten it up a little bit I guess. Oh, and I didn't see a single deer and I hunted hard and binoculars helped me cover quite a bit of ground. As they say, "past results are not indicative of future gains".

    Probably the biggest factor about hunting alone is, will anybody miss you if you die? If you have a young family that need you or want a family, you should consider that. Even an injury may affect your income or employment status. This is supposed to be fun. A lot about life is just managing risk.
     
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  7. dok7mm

    dok7mm Well-Known Member

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    Hunting alone has it's perils. You need to have communication with the outside world. Get a Garmin InReach Explorer or other satellite device. It could save your life.
     
  8. jwall3d11

    jwall3d11 Well-Known Member

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    Lots of valid points and thoughts guys. I appreciate that. A little background on me. I’ve hunted the backcountry several times and in several different capacities. From fully guided hunts at 10,000’ in Wyoming’s Bridger/Teton Natl forest to diy at 11,000+ in Colorado’s Flat tops, to drop camps in the Idaho panhandle. DIY was a couple different ways as well. From packing everything you’re gonna need for 12 days on my back and hiking 5 miles to spike camp to renting horses to do the same job (which is a good option here). Plus I’ll have something to talk to if that’s how it goes. It seems like a cool option plus it would probably be an awesome adventure, if all goes well. What other things do you guys do to stay safe, to maximize your harvest opportunities, and make the hunt as comfortable as reasonably possible. Obviously horses are a great and viable option and I get this type of hunt isn’t for everybody and isn’t about comfort but more personal satisfaction. As a side note I know where I go in Colorado used to have a guide in the area who I knew was willing to help if I got in a pinch, but he’s not there anymore.