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Thread: Packing Elk...

  1. #1
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    Packing Elk...

    For many years I have prided myself on having the ability to pack elk, and do it solo if necessary. For most bulls this means multiple trips for meat alone and going back in after camp after the pack out etc.

    This past year I knew my distance in was going to be greater than my general unit stomping grounds. So I enlisted the help of two buddies who were able bodied packers and one might argue that they were adventurous souls for even wanting to go with me.

    After that trip my assessment is that 4 able bodied grown men is what it takes to make the loads "comfortable" from a weight perspective. Heavy is heavy not matter how you slice it.

    So, what say you? How many guys do you use on elk packing trips? Are you a horse exclusive guy and don't care because your beasts of burden do it for you?
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    I don't pack #100 even on the Internet.

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  4. #3
    Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by WapitiBob View Post
    I don't pack #100 even on the Internet.
    There isn't much that makes me laugh. That one did, and yes I have packed 100 lbs, but I know there are a lot who claim to, who I know haven't...
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    Ideally, we have done two people, two trips. First is hind quarters, one a piece boned out. We always hunt with a pack large enough to fit a boned quarter. Then one person head/cape/straps, the other both fronts. We have had more and less people, so just depends of what all happens. Solo is where it gets fun! Three trips makes for a long day, especially when you're way off the grid! We've packed over 20 elk and deer and each time has it's own adventure, length and memories. I know personally, when I shoot an animal I prefer to have the heaviest load. Much higher sense of accomplishment vs. loading on a horse. But who know what I will be saying in 30 years... All I know is I didn't bone out quarters one year and I never gave 10+ lbs of bone a free ride again.

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    For us since there are usually 3 of us it takes 2 trips for an elk.
    As for those that claim to regularly carry 100 lb + packs, I'm sure there are some but most just know their pack was heavy and it sounds so much more macho to just say "it was at least 100 lbs!"
    I've done it a couple of times when I was in my 20's and only know because they were weighed in at the processor. we packed out our deer whole, we weren't smart enough to just cut them in half.
    When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

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    I usually pack with one of my sons, this season I packed one bull by myself, good thing he was only about one mile up the mountain from closest road. I take everything, heart, lungs, liver, neck, ribs, not leaving much for predators. I also packed one cow elk with my wife this year, she was about two miles up the mountain. First trip I had rear and front legs, one side of back strap and tenderloin, that was very heavy load. I like late season hunting as temperature are lower and it is easier to take care of the meat.

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    To answer your question- I use all available! If there are 5 of us in camp, all 5 go help. That said, the majority of our packs have been with 2-3 people making 2 trips. I agree, 4 is the magic number for a comfortable pack out (3 if you eliminate a big heavy set of antlers). My buddies in Wyoming are doing what CODAK mentions. They typically hunt in pairs and use large enough day packs to fit a large boned hind quarter or half a medium cow on the spot. That way they only make one more trip back for a big bull or no trips back on a cow.

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    typically solo, and lots and lots of trips.

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    I've been lucky on my last 2 elk (1 bull and 1 yearling cow ) that my son-in-law was with me both times. We do the gutless method on all game. On the yearling 2015 it was just me and him. After I shot he hiked back to the rhino and brought it around below the cow. We had our pack frames and made 1 trip out with the meat. He took both fronts and a hind quarter plus carried out the head. I had one hind the back straps and trim plus my rifle and day pack. Pack was probably 3/4 mile slightly down hill. On my bull hunt his best friend was with us and I had blown out my knee 6 weeks prior to the hunt so I could hardly walk down hill. I took out my pack rifle and trim and one front shoulder most of the way. His best friend hauled out 1 hind 1 front and the backstraps, the son-in-law had 1 hind and the head. This back out was about 1 3/4 miles mostly down hill but 1/4 mile down a steep steep hill. they helped me to the bottom of the step part and came back to get me ( luckily ) when I was about 1/4 mile from the rhino. Thank god for young kids LOL

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    I'm hoping to have an elk tag next year after several years of building points. I am planning on looking into having a horse/packer available if I kill one. I like to think I have gotten a little smarter as I have gotten older.

 

 
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