View Full Version : How far in do you go? How far out would you pack one?

Doe Nob
07-15-2011, 08:19 AM
I did some scouting in Colorado over the 4th in the unit we are hunting this fall. I found some good areas and I think we have a decent chance in those areas that are accessible by ATV and then going in 3 or less miles on foot.

Some of the best areas I found though are not anywhere close to accessible other than on foot. The best place I found is 6.5 miles in from the trail head with elevation that goes up 1000 feet in the first mile, then drops down 800 feet, then back up 1200 feet over the rest of the trail.

My main concern is if have success back there can we get an elk out? What is the longest you guys would consider packing an elk out on foot? Also, would you leapfrog the loads out or take out the deboned fronts and come back with frame packs to get the rest?

I am in my early thirties and will be in pretty good shape, I will have 2 hunting companions who are around 60 and will be in good shape for 60 year olds.

07-15-2011, 06:12 PM
I've been known to go over the next ridge and the ridge after that and even the ridge after that if need be. If it ends up being 8 or 9 miles, well, the next day is usually followed by a little less ambition. lol. My hunting pack is capable of putting 100#+ load on it. If I were to get A BIG ONE that far in, I would debone it and try and get all the meat on one load out. If its cold out then its not a big deal. If its really hot I wont go that far back for several obvious reasons. The key is to be in great shape and it never hurts to be a little on the crazy side.

07-15-2011, 06:27 PM
Ive been in 7+, the temp does play a big role for the bacpack hunter though. One tip that I picked up in an eastmans mag is to try to hang your deboned meat over a creek if at all possible, to help cool the meat. I have had the beat hunting experiences when I get away from all others. Good luck.

Bitterroot Bulls
07-15-2011, 07:16 PM
I've packed out elk quarters those kinds of distances. It is not fun in any way, except getting done. I don't know anyone that could pack out an entire boned elk in one trip, although I have done entire boned muleys, including last season. Gaining elevation with an entire quarter is going to be a demoralizing event. If you can keep heading downhill it helps a lot. It is worth it to go a few extra miles, if you can maintain a downhill grade. Trekking poles are absolutely essential, IMO. You can stick them in the ground, bend over, and rest the handles against your shoulders to get a good rest. Just don't sit down.

07-15-2011, 08:49 PM
Just don't sit down.

Good point !

07-15-2011, 10:40 PM
Heck I don't like to pack them more than mile, but I will go about 3 miles without the horses. I helped a friend pack out a spike elk last year a little over 2 miles. (most of it downhill) I took a hind quarter, a front quarter, and the backstraps in one trip, and it wasn't to bad. Then his daughter killed a 5 point bull and it was all I could do to pack a hind quarter that same distance on flat ground. So I think it depends on how big of a bull it is too!

07-16-2011, 10:21 AM
If the temps are in the 80's how long would you have to pack out an elk if you get all the meat off the animal first and then pack it out? What would you guys say would be the least number of trips you could pack out a good size elk if it was 2-3 miles in?

07-17-2011, 01:08 PM
Yeah..I wasn't to sure that a guy could get it all in one load either. I'd sure give it a heck of a try though. lol

07-17-2011, 04:09 PM
I think if I was by myself, it would take at least 4 to 5 loads for me to get it all out, that being said if the temps are warm I'm going to get the horses or not hunt quite so far back in.

07-17-2011, 05:51 PM
I usually go in about 5 miles.. but if there is a big bull, I'm definitely not going to not go after him. The first pack out, I am usually fueled by adrenaline.. the rest of it, not so much.. We usually debone the front and come back for the rest, depending on how many people we have with us of course.
I definitely agree with Bitterroot Bulls.. Dont sit down!
But I would just say do what youre comfortable with... If you hike in 2 miles and youre already exhausted, youre probably not going to want to pack out an elk much farther than that!

07-17-2011, 08:02 PM
I'm gonna follow jenbickel around and when I shoot the big one all of her people can help. ;)

07-17-2011, 08:21 PM
lol what are you talking about.. you are my people lol so you better get to working out!

07-17-2011, 09:32 PM
Size would matter. Last year the guys camping across from me landed a nice 6x6. One hind quarter weighed in over 130lbs. He had over 50lbs of just neck meat.
The last animal I packed out was a boned out muley. Boned out it weighed in 55lbs. LOL.
I plan on landing as big an elk as I can, but I know that more than one trip with over 100lbs on my back would start to demoralize me fast. :D

Depending on your wife...as they vary in weight, Strap her on your frame pack and take a walk down the street. Wave at the neighbors, and smile. LOL.
This will give you an idea how far you and your pack will want to be friends on that trail.

07-18-2011, 04:38 PM
I agree with RUTTIN, by yourself a big bull would be 4 or 5 loads. So unless you're in awesome shape, have a lot of friends willing to help or access to horses I wouldn't kill one more than a few miles back in. 3 miles each way for 5 trips adds up quick, especially with 100 lb + loads and any elevation gain.

I like the packing your wife around idea wolftalonID haha.

07-18-2011, 08:38 PM
You guys/gals that pack them on your back, my hats off to you. I prefer to pack them on a horse and I don't have to worry about limits of going back in.

Bro in Law arrowed a big 6 few years back (we were in 3-4 miles), while we were preparing to break it down a solo hunter from Georgia happened upon us. He was in awe at how large these things are. His departing words were "There's no way I could get one out by myself, I didn't realize how big they were". Be sure to have buddies to help.

07-19-2011, 11:22 AM
me and my friend got my 5x 6 out last november in one trip, the elk had the biggest body i've ever seen, we each grabbed a front and hind quarter, and put the back straps and inside tenders in our packs and cut the horns off and went, it was mostly downhill luckily, but the snow was deep. Probably helps that were only 23 years old though :D

07-22-2011, 07:22 AM
My view on this is that it depends on how many days you have and how far in you are. If I have 9 days off and kill a bull on day one I am in no hurry to get him out quickly depending on the weather of course. As the days narrow down I hunt closer and closer to the camp. And in the early days I have spots that anything less than a 320" bull will not get shot. I try to keep reality in check when elk hunting which has costed me several successful hunts but I wasn't regretting it later. I "HAD" a hunting partner with a shoot first figure it out later mentality and he is no longer my partner.

07-22-2011, 08:57 PM
I've killed three bulls in the last three years and all have been about the 2 miles as the crow flies from the truck. It's 1800' drop down to the truck over .6 miles of the last leg. I wouldn't be able to do it without ski poles/hiking sticks. That piece of gear alone has been a life saver packing 100lb pack loads down the mountain. I always have one stick in my pack and the other comes back up the mountain from the truck on the 2nd trip back up. All of my elk have been solo packed in four seperate loads. Your silly if you don't debone either. Outdoor Edge has great video's on deboning elk. Gutless method is the way to go also.

Last years bull I tried something new and packed it out the majority of the way in a circuit. What I mean is I'd go 200yards with the pack/antlers meat in the Eberlestock Blue Widow, then go back and bear hug an Alaskan Game bag chock full of meat and carry it to the pack. Two more game bags left and then it would be forward progress again. For the steep stuff, I'd do the pack only. It took me about 10hours to have all of the meat back to the truck. I've never felt so tired in my life once the packing is done. I always end up packing out in the pitch black of night. It's amazing what tricks your mind will play on you in the middle of the night, all bloody and a 100lb of meat on your back.

The best part is eating the steak one night at the table and realizing the fruits of your labor.

07-25-2011, 10:00 AM
I'm coyoting in about five hours. Right now I'm solo cuz my hunting partners are smarter than me. Unfortunately that is where the elk want to play.

I'll be staging my quarters at a creek. I'll be deboning for the first time this year as well. This is my first year going this far back. In fact the area I am referencing I've only been in once. Last year I started exploring just to get away from the pressure and found a few honey holes but I'm going to have to earn it.

Good luck to you boys.

07-25-2011, 10:30 AM
As far as it takes to find the bulls/bucks...

07-25-2011, 11:38 PM
the farthest pack job I've done was on my largest mulie buck {175 3/8} to date 27 miles.My farthest elk was 5 miles.

07-28-2011, 09:30 PM
I can usually find elk within 6-10 miles and I debone and get it it out in 2-3 trips. If it is hot out I will submerge the meat in a stream. that usually cools it down very fast and keeps the flies off. i try to leave the hide on if submerging in water. i have also de-boned and put the meat in 2 gal. Ziplocks and then submerged it in a stream. This worked well.