after the elk was down and you are packing out the meat
And keep in mind that this is exactly when you will meet up w/ yogi...AMHIK. Only bear encounter I ever had up close and a short barrelled pistol is not the preferred weapon. I don't care if it's a .454Casull.
Back to what seemed to be the guys' question,,
1: For self defense against 2 and 4 legged threats(other than bruins), about anything will do. A double stack auto is a great choice.
2: Do not be tempted to do the "coup de grace" on your elk unless it is a [U]legal[U] hunting caliber. Although common sense tells you it's the right choice to use your .357 or .40 to finish him off, it's illegal.
Most Wyo law enforcement don't hardly look at us while packing, while hunting. If you choose to carry a pistol, the only inquiry might be from a G&F officer, making sure you know the rules about it's legality.
I personally stood talking to a sheriff last year for about 30 mins while carrying, while he was considering giving me a ticket. He didn't seem bothered by the sidearm.
I'll still go back to the original comment though, unnecessary and heavy, especially not being used to the altitude.