12 miles is long way... "can't cheat the mountain pilgrim." I agree with all that has been said here from twelve miles being too far to effectively pack out an elk without spoilage that early in the autumn to the "gutless" method. It is not about being a hero and muscling your way into trouble it is about the responsibility of the hunter to glean as much meat from an animal as possible and get it to the table so it is fit to consume and therefore not wasted. Get horses! Period! Or a host of buddies to help you. I am a school teacher and I've heard tell of a Biology teacher/football coach who arranged for his entire team to help him pack out an elk over Labor Day weekend if he was successful. He was hunting ten or twelve miles deep and knocked down a bull. He quartered it, hung it, loaded the "straps" in his pack and hoofed it down to town as fast as he could. He called up his team and all thirty of them hiked up the mountain and got that elk down the same day finishing just after dark! Now that is resourceful! Gonna keep that one in mind.