View Full Version : Packin' Meat.

Jon Boy
03-14-2012, 04:32 PM
I didnt want to thread jack sslingers thread so here goes. Bitterroot and Kevin both have suggested a SPOT or satellite phone to contact a packer to get an elk out of the woods. Only problem is i'm in college and am broke and the 2 ranchers ive talked to want money and not labor, and outfitters want even more money. So most likely I will be packing it on my back. I will "probably" get some help from my brother and room mate in packing it out but theres always a chance of that falling through and I like to hope for the best and plan for the worst.
So what are your guys' suggestions for packing an elk out of the back country during archery season? How much does an average sized boned out elk weigh? How many trips does it take you?
I hike with a pack every evening and have upped the weight in it from 40 lbs in january to 60 now and hope to be at 80-85 by hunting season with longer distances. I do various other strength and conditioning exercises as well. Im not new to breaking down and boning out game so thats not an issue. I have a pretty good idea as to what Im going to do but would like to hear your guys' suggestions.

03-14-2012, 04:52 PM
I would plan 5 trips on your own. You are pretty fit so you can get it down to 4. Also depends on how much gear you've packed in too. Also on how far in you killed your elk will also be a factor. Drink a ton of water and don't try and pack out the entire thing the first trip you will burn yourself out. With 2 guys you can make it in one trip again depending on how much gear you have. Good luck and defiantly bone out you elk.

03-14-2012, 06:08 PM

JonBoy, It depends what your hunt area is like. I built this cart because i knew if i shot the elk, where they had been when i scouted them, then it was all down hill to the truck. It was kind of crude but worked quite well. It keep the heaviest part of the load within 12" to 18" of the ground so it made it very manuverable. It was just a bmx tire with hand brake and aluminum sides. I looked at a few on the web and just decided that they wouldn't work ( most were two man or had two wheels) so I made my own.

Jon Boy
03-14-2012, 06:17 PM
I thought about a cart as well. Most of the areas I hunt arent designated wilderness so it would be legal to do so. I hunt pretty far off the trail but it would definitely be nice once I got to the trail. I would still have to make the first trip to the truck to get the cart though. Thanks for the suggestion ill look into it.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-14-2012, 07:05 PM
Jon Boy,

Elk are big, even the little ones.

Plan on a minimum of 200 pounds of boned out meat. Truly huge bulls will bone out over 300. then you add the head (and cape?). It is heavy. It will pay big dividends to find some friends. Beer is a great bribe, just make sure you get to the beer AFTER the pack.

I you do it on your own, it will be a monster chore, but you will just need to keep plodding along, and you won't get as gassed if you keep the loads around 60 pounds.

It gets exponentially easier with each additional packmule ... err ... friend.

Jon Boy
03-14-2012, 07:53 PM
I hear yuh Bitterroot. Im sure I will get at least 2 guys to help out I just want to be as prepared for the worst as I can. I dont want the thought of it to limit my hunting style. If I do end up having to do it myself the antlers and camp are going to end up being last and probably staying in there for another week until I get back to them because there going to take whole nother trip.
So far my plan is to get the meat boned out, wiped down with citric acid, in meat bags, and hung up hopefully over a creek or at least in shaded/windy/north facing slope as fast as possible. Doing this I think will give me 48 hours to get the meat out and in a cooler in above average temps.

03-14-2012, 08:54 PM
Terrain, distance and weather are the main factors to consider I think. I consider these factors and limit myself to them, it is easy to get in over your head. I carry everthing needed to quarter, hang and wrap in game bags with me on a pack frame when I hunt when solo. That way I can take a load out with me if successfull and get the rest the next day. I always have friends on stand-by to help and have extra pack frames ( and cold beer in a cooler) in my truck just in case anyone else wants to help out. I've been lucky on elk and haven't had to do it all by myself yet. I prefer to leave the leg bone in the quarters to keep the meat rigid, and get the weight as high on the frame as I can.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-14-2012, 08:57 PM
I prefer to leave the leg bone in the quarters to keep the meat rigid, and get the weight as high on the frame as I can.

I prefer not to carry extra weight myself. The only bone I back out on my back is the skull (well ... and antlers).

03-14-2012, 09:10 PM
BB im not as experianced as you, my theory is if its over 75lbs whats another 10? I havent had to pack elk more than 2 miles though.

03-14-2012, 10:11 PM
I packed out my elks cape,skull and horns for 7 hrs. He was a 350" bull. I killed him rite at dark and it was -10. I had 4 guys with me thank god to pack out the meat. If I were to do it again I would have left the cape, but it was my first bull and I wanted to take everything. We were at 11k when I shot him and we dropped 4k in elevation to get to the valley floor. Talk about biting off more then you can chew. We should have taken our time and packed a small camp and stayed the nite then packed out in the morning. Pretty much stupid looking back on it now. Two of my buddys were injured on the pack out. One twisted his knee and the other his ankle. To sum this up before you pull the trigger think about what it's gonna take to get him out.

03-15-2012, 07:18 AM
I am like Timberstalker, I have everything I need to do the job with me at all times. My Badlands 2200 will handle a quarter on the way out to either get the horses or get a friend. I don't like to let to many people know where I hunt, so sometimes it is just me or my hunting partner to get the work done. Most of the time by the time I get home and load horses I could have the meat out, so most of the time it comes out on my back.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-15-2012, 07:23 AM
Horses and hauling elk go together like cookies and cream:


03-15-2012, 08:40 AM
This is one of those instances when the more the merrier come into play! Get help my man, packing out meat is never easy and being alone will make a hard task even harder. It can be done, but having at least a couple hands with you will make the pack out alot easier while being able to joke with your partners making the experience that much more memorable and enjoyable. It's like training for the hunt, sometimes you need your huntin buddy for that extra push of motivation! I hope you get the opportunity to pack out some meat on your back this fall WITH or without help!

Big Sky
03-15-2012, 09:32 AM
[QUOTE=Bitterroot Bulls;22296]Horses and hauling elk go together like cookies and cream:

So how much beer will it cost me to get you to bring your horses down to bozeman this fall? :D

Old Hunter
03-15-2012, 09:45 AM
I started to hunt elk in the 50's with my dad. We always packed out the elk on our backs. Sometimes two elk when we had a good hunt. My dad passed away in the mid 80's, and i've hunted alone every since. I'm 69 now, and still pack out the meat alone. It's part of hunting for me.

I have no interest in antlers though. So, they stay at the kill.

With that said. My elk days are drawing to a close. I'll probably just hunt muley's from now on. Well......not this year. Maybe next year. :)

Jon Boy
03-15-2012, 10:41 AM
[QUOTE=Bitterroot Bulls;22296]Horses and hauling elk go together like cookies and cream:

So how much beer will it cost me to get you to bring your horses down to bozeman this fall? :D

I will double what ever Big Sky offers :eek:
That must of been an eventful morning, great pic.

Well we'll see what happens, im sure ill get some help. Ill be prepared either way for when I get my bull, there is no doubt in my mind a bull will fall from me this fall.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-15-2012, 11:33 AM
Well guys,

If I can help you out, I will.

03-15-2012, 03:05 PM
BB im not as experianced as you, my theory is if its over 75lbs whats another 10? I havent had to pack elk more than 2 miles though.

I had the pleasure of packing out this large bear. The pack was maybe only a mile up to the top of the mountian. I left the bones in as it was faster and I wanted to start getting the meat up the mountain. I got it all in two trips (very heavy trips) and after I de-boned the guy at home and weighed the bones themselves I will never NOT de-bone a big animal again. The little bit of extra time would have saved me about 17lbs per load. Just my two cents.