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Old October 6, 2009, 09:26 PM   #1
Major Dave (retired)
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What goes in a day pack for an elk hunt?

Going to Colorado, 2nd gun season, Oct 17-24, at 9,000 to 11,000 feet elevation. Current weather this week is lows in teens and 20's, highs in 40's and 50's. Must be prepared for 0's and 20's. Could have sudden temp drop and/or snow to 12 inches or more.

So, I think I need to load my day pack mostly with survival gear (tarp, tent pegs, parachute cord, matches, fire starting materials, etc.) and equipment needed to dress and drag out the carcass.(Knives, bone saw, small hatchet, etc.)

What am I forgetting? This is my first such trip, so I'm a "newbbie", at age 68.

Need advice, please. Thanks.
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Old October 6, 2009, 09:34 PM   #2
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Don't forget a candle
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Old October 6, 2009, 09:38 PM   #3
elkman06
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Quote:
Going to Colorado, 2nd gun season, Oct 17-24, at 9,000 to 11,000 feet elevation
What's necessary?? About 10 more weeks of excercize... Seriously, if you are in good shape you will get by.. If not,,dooooo noooot push it. People in good shape completely underestimate the effects of altitude sickness. I live at 6700 ft, trim for a 50yr old who climbs stairs every day and I still have a nagging headache for about 3 days at 10K.

Beyond that, don't put 30lbs in your pack. By the time you pack your rifle, cold weather clothing, boots, etc you will be hauling about 30lbs of gear. Pack the basic survival gear w/ a good water bladder, survival blanket of some type, knife, saw, matches and lighter, Plenty of solid energy food.
Ditch the tent pegs, etc. If you have to spend the night out, you will do best in your blanket w/ a fire close.
Good luck,
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Old October 6, 2009, 10:05 PM   #4
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Keep the load light.You should not need the tent,but take water,jerky or something like that and compass,matches and a space blanket.You will need to drink even when you aren't thirsty.And don't forget the map.Good Luck
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Old October 6, 2009, 11:00 PM   #5
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Extra wool socks!,
How far are you going to range from your vehicle? Are you staying in a camp setting?
My 1st year hunting in Colorado we hunted the 3rd rifle season. Cold wet feet was the biggest headache. I carried a mini expresso maker in my pack.
Water jugs need to be tipped over at night. Canteen had to be in sleeping bag with me so I could make Gorilla milk in morn. Good FRS 2-way radio's w/weather are a must.
Are you in a limited area or State wide?
Any cow tags?
Make sure you understand Co's. No party hunting reg's.

Good luck.
Elkman, Your high altitude cation is excellent. I am amazed with your own sensitivity, I thought that was just for us low-landers to get hit with it. I live @ 800ft.
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Old October 6, 2009, 11:29 PM   #6
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Altitude sickness is a real pain. I live at 4,620 ft/asl, and hit the mountains every chance I get. Like Elkman, even I get the headache, and sleeplessness. Even 8,000 ft can do it. The times I hit 9,000+ or camp at 10,000+, it really affects you... just resting. Once there is work to be done, you really get hammered by the lower oxygen level. It's amazing what that tiny percentage of difference in O2 concentration can do.


Other than taking it easy... I can only suggest the following:

2-3 emergency blankets.
1-2 emergency ponchos. (They're corny as hell, but come in handy for many things.)
A minimum of 250 feet of parachute cord. If you have to haul out a quartered Elk, you'll be using 20-30 feet just to secure each quarter to your pack. At the end of the long hike; you'll be greatful to cut it, rather than untying the tight, bloody, crusty knots.
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Old October 6, 2009, 11:31 PM   #7
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Depends on how you hunt?? Leaving on foot early in the morn and returning after dark??? Hunting by your self or in a party close to others?? I dont see a flash light on the list might want a small amount of tp also. Might think about a small gps of some sort. Also hope you have a good set of water proof boots, (that you have been wearing to break them in) A pair of gators would be a must if the snow is deep. Look at the small gerber light weight saws, they would aid in work on an animal, as well as cut wood limbs and such if a fire was needed. NEVER EVER under estamate the weather, MT, WY,CO weather can turn real ugly real fast this time of year. Always have your gear and warm clothes with you, even if your just taking a short hike thinking you will only be gone for a few hours. Also a good pack frame may be nice to get an animal out, Im a pretty avid elk hunter and been in areas with a down animal where your not going to just drag it out like a deer, they are pretty big and can be alot more work then you think getting them out.... Might want to have a camera also!!! IS this in grizly country?? May want to think about pepper spray or a side arm. Might want lots of extra cord to hang meat up high of you need to return to get the rest of the animal out the next day, a big bear will make quick work of a downed elk if left overnight. Might want some of the water purification tablets, and a small first aid kit with you, maybee a few extra shells for the rifle. And ofcourse the already listed items, for starting fires, ext.....
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Old October 7, 2009, 01:29 AM   #8
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Expect a storm.There is some chance you won't get one,but I expect one.

In a surprisingly short time,the ceiling will drop,your GPS won't work,and it will start snowing.Soon.it will be whiteout blizzard,sharp blue lightning followed by immediate thunder all night long,and snow 4 inches above the kneees at morning.At least,that was the weather I got 2 years ago.
But,I did expect it.We are older guys,too.And we had backpacked into the Flattops wilderness,about 9000 ft.

As our resources,like dry clothes ,were in limited supply,we decided it had stopped being an elk hunt,and our mission was to stay warm and dry ,enjoy the trip.Packing an elk out was frankly beyond our capability at that point.

The summer decision to cache some extra stove fuel and a machete for firewood was a good one.

Now,I am assuming you are talking about your day pack,not your camp gear.

Have a map and compass.Your handle indicates you are a vet.Do you recall grid co-ordinates? draw in the 1K lines.Its good to be able to give co-ordinates on the radio.Have a radio.Hydration pack hoses freeze.So do water filtration pump checkvalves..I'm thinkin MIOX,next time.Cascade makes a small fabric bucket.Trying to squat and balance edge of muddy stream is a good way to get wet feet or worse.(this is camp gear)

A walking staff can be a very good thing.

You need something to keep your butt dry.A piece of closed cell sleeping pad in your pack can be good.A gi poncho can be good.

Nitrile gloves for field dressing. Aspirin.

I had some problems with thigh cramps,talk to your Dr.I had vicadin,muscle relaxants with me,but hydration,elecrolytes,potassium,magnesium,etc might be better.

No offense,but sometimes nothing is better than some oxygen in camp.
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Old October 7, 2009, 05:44 AM   #9
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Someone above said to keep to the basics in order to keep your pack light. That's good advice.

Things I won't leave behind:

Fire starter of some kind, preferably more than one source. A lighter and a magnesium type firestarter are the norm for me. I've had the magnesium starter for years and it still works great.

A candle that can burn for 12 hours or more.

A compass and a map of the area. These can get you into good hunting areas and also save your life by showing you the quickest way out in an emergency. Know how to use 'em.

A good poncho (military type can be used for shelter as well as a garment)

A good knife and a small sharpener.

"Quick-energy" type snacks.

Water.

Bino's.

A few rounds of spare ammo.

A small first aid kit including pain relievers. Mole skin is good to have in it too, in case of blisters.

An extra day's worth of any prescription med's you may be taking. 35mm film canisters are great to keep an extra morning and evening dose in. Mark the lid for which one is which.

A roll of survey tape for marking a blood trail.

Twine or cord.

Paper towels (general purpose paper, and can also be used for marking blood trails if survey tape gets left behind).
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Old October 7, 2009, 06:48 AM   #10
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I run out of water first it seems like.Takes a lot climbing hard in dry air. I have eaten snow several times trying to stay hydrated and it's not very satisfying.It's not good to have to change your hunt to drop down and find some running water.
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Old October 7, 2009, 06:51 AM   #11
roy reali
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10,000 feet?

Oxygen!

Seriously, here is neat experiment to try.

Eyesight is one of the first senses to be affected by low oxygen. Sometimes you don't realize how much. So grab an 0-2 bottle and find a spot at least 8,000 feet up and one that you can see lights or stars. Look at the light source for a few minutes. Take out the oxygen and take several good, deep whiffs of it. Look at the lights again. You literaly won't believe your eyes.
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Old October 7, 2009, 07:34 AM   #12
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I never carried a big day pack for the elk hunts. Carry snacks, a coat in case the weather rolls in bad fast, water, and map/compass/gps unless you have a good sense of direction.

Travel light as possible.

Generally speaking, if you're not used to the altitude, it takes 1 day per 1000 feet of elevation to get acclimated.

Good Luck!!
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Old October 7, 2009, 08:26 AM   #13
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An excellent fire starter is to dip strips of corrugated cardboard into molten wax and let cool. pack into a gallon ziplock.
Strips of 8-9 inch 1/4 inch wide is ideal. Pack as many as you want but short of a deluge, only 2 are needed to start the fire if you used good kindling fuel.
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Old October 7, 2009, 09:35 AM   #14
Daryl
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Quote:
An excellent fire starter is to dip strips of corrugated cardboard into molten wax and let cool. pack into a gallon ziplock.
Strips of 8-9 inch 1/4 inch wide is ideal. Pack as many as you want but short of a deluge, only 2 are needed to start the fire if you used good kindling fuel.
Brent
I've used the cardboard stuck in a "frozen orange juice" canister, and filled with parafin wax for a candle. I'd imagine the strips would work well for starting a fire.

On that subject, one road flare, available at your local auto-parts store, will light a fire anywhere, any time, under any circumstances. It even burns hot enough and long enough to dry out wet wood enough to make it burn.

But if you need that, your hunt has now turned into a survival situation.

Yep, I've carried one at times; used it once.

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Old October 7, 2009, 11:18 AM   #15
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One mentioned wool socks. I'd go a step further. I used to duck hunt and fish in the rainy LA marsh, so I invested in a pair of Filson Merino Wool underwear. Best warmth investment I've ever made. For your hunt, I'd acquire some wool pants and a wool coat, which will be lighter and warm while wet. Add a spare wool watch cap to your pack or jacket pocket.
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Old October 7, 2009, 12:47 PM   #16
Scorch
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Your day pack has to provide the materials you need to process game as well as survive if needed. What I carry in my day pack:
Dry socks
Dry clothes (a pair of thermals and a windsuit)
Small metal drinking cup (Sierra cup)
Small lightweight mess kit
2 MREs
Soap
Matches/lighter in a waterproof container
Firestarter
Moleskin
First aid kit
Knife/fork/spoon set
Lightweight line (parachute cord)
Tube tent
Knife with 4" blade
Sharpening stone
Trail mix/GORP
Water bottle
Shop rag or towel
Paper towels
and most importantly
TOILET PAPER!! (it can be very useful)
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Old October 7, 2009, 01:28 PM   #17
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A big friggin horse

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Old October 7, 2009, 01:59 PM   #18
Major Dave (retired)
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A lot of good advice, guys!

Thanks a lot.

To answer some of your questions -
The Field Artillery lives and dies by topo maps, so, yes I use them. As a service school instructor, I taught land navigation (compass/topo map) classes on a quarterly basis for 8 years. Already marked my hunting topos at each 1 K interval. Have plotting aids (GI issue) to measure UTM grid and grid azimuths, conversion of magnetic (compass) azimuths to grid (topo map) azimuths, etc. Squared away on that.

Base camp will be at 9 K, using wall tents with cots and heaters. Will have a cook tent and 2 sleeping tents, 7 hunters. "Guide" will provide/set up tents, bring cooking pots/pans/utensils, and cook whatever food we buy and bring. "Guide" will not go hunting with any of us. Free to hunt individually, or buddy up in groups of 2 or 3, whatever you feel like.

I will probably start hunting within 2 or 3 (1,000 yard) grid squares of base camp, the first few days, before I get too brave and go out further.

I will have 4 days prior to the hunt to acclimate a little:
Leave home (500 ft elev), and travel to 3,500 elevation first night.
Second day travel from 3.5 K to 7.5 K, and spend 3 days there. Leisure time, visit w/BIL, maybe shoot some of his coyotes!
Fifth day travel from 7.5 K to 9 K (base camp).

I have been walking laps (half an hour), climbing stairs (another half hour), and walking either 2 miles or 4 miles around the (hilly) neighborhood, with a 15 lb weight in my day pack for 3 weeks, now.

What else can/should I do?
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Old October 7, 2009, 02:04 PM   #19
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I didn't see anyone mention GPS! If you get an ELK it can take you back to that exact spot, not to mention get you out. Have fun and good luck.
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Old October 7, 2009, 02:08 PM   #20
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OH,HAVE FUN.Good Luck
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Old October 7, 2009, 04:08 PM   #21
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I don't carry much as I don't want to pack in too much. My day pack consists of:

Hydration Bladder
Rain Gear
Survival Blanket
Plastic Painters drop (takes up a lot less room than a small tarp)
MRE
Lighter
Mini Mag Flashlight
LED light that clips on bill of cap
Small First Aid Kit (band aids, antiseptic wipes, mole skin, asprin & crevat)
550 cord 25-50'
Mesh game bags
2 knives
Knife Sharpener
Wyoming Saw
Binoculars
Compass and map plus GPS
Surgical gloves
Baby Wipes
Extra AA batteries
Extra Socks
Water proof bag Small
10 rounds of Ammo
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Old October 8, 2009, 02:27 AM   #22
HiBC
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OK,I did think of one more thing.I used this last weekend on a buck antelope and it worked perfectly!!

Carry a few nylon wire ties;zipties.

I tend to get surgical when I field dress.I prefer the contents of the bladder and colon do not contact the meat.The wireties,appropriately placed,work very well to tie off what is necessary.I was able to deliver an intact bladder with no dribbles.A little careful cutting around the prostate and some tissue separation and the colon and penis came up through the pelvis intact.

If you are partial to liver,include a ziplock appropriately sized.Be advised elk carry fluke,cook it.No raw liver rituals.And,whether it is a cardboard disposable or a small.light digital,some form of camera is a good thing.

Remember ,even though it might be cold,the sun can work on you.Lips!!Oh,and your hands might start drying and cracking.There is a tiny tin of Nivea works good,about 1 1/2 in by 3/8 in.

Oh,yeah,I carry a little 3/4 oz or so bottle of betadyne and a Carlisle dressing.

kraiwy has it right about the horse,but it is good to have a wrangler sort around who knows many things about horses.
Just getting a horse and going to where you are going is akin to just getting a raft and running the Grand Canyon.
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Old October 8, 2009, 03:08 AM   #23
Rangefinder
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Where are you planing to hunt specifically?

Quote:
What else can/should I do?
Relax! It's a hunt, not a job interview!

Spacific location might help a little, because you might be coming to my neighborhood (Pagosa). How about some specifics on the hunt plan? It all comes into play. I just stepped outside a minute ago and it was raining---cold, but still just rain at 7200 feet and only a light dust of white visible in the high peaks. The snow isn't hitting yet. BUT, it's getting pretty cold at the 9000-foot elevations, so I'd honestly be looking from that altitute to a bit lower--not higher as much unless you find a well-sheltered park. The bulls are pretty stirred up now, so I'd work on calling. They're herding up to move to the winter grazing grounds pretty soon. Bulls are getting stupid, and cows are looking for company.

For gear? Just like any other big-game hunt, but with the provisions in mind that it's gonna be cold. Leave your cotton at home, and invest in wool everything.
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Old October 8, 2009, 08:24 AM   #24
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Quote:
Beyond that, don't put 30lbs in your pack. By the time you pack your rifle, cold weather clothing, boots, etc you will be hauling about 30lbs of gear. Pack the basic survival gear w/ a good water bladder, survival blanket of some type, knife, saw, matches and lighter, Plenty of solid energy food.
Ditch the tent pegs, etc. If you have to spend the night out, you will do best in your blanket w/ a fire close.
What he said.
A mountaineering friend of mine observed me stuffing a bivvy sack into my summit pack. He informed me that bringing the bivvy sack along would just make me more likely to need it. Take the basics and go light. If you ffind yourself venturing too far from camp you should consider moving camp.
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Old October 8, 2009, 08:42 AM   #25
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Good for you!
You have a butler, not a guide. You are going "hunting".
I also use the UTM grid. It is amazing how rusty one gets at working map from season to season.
Hunt the saddles, plan you hunt to work your way to the saddle gradually.
Enjoy, and know that us that didn't plan an Elk hunt this year will be keeping you in our Prayers and thoughts.
And be awaiting your post hunt report.
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