Looking to learn - backpack archery

tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
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Central Kansas
I know there are a lot of members out there that have a lot of experience in the backcountry and I'm hoping to feed and learn off of that. I have never done a backpack hunt, but am gearing up to do one as soon as I can. I've been scouring the forum and internet and believe I have a pretty good gear list that I am going for, but what I don't know anything about, being a flatlander/farmer, is mountain hunting. Specifically I want to concentrate on early archery in the high country. I want to stalk a mule deer in the wide open of the high country. I've wanted to do it for a while, but couldn't due to other obligations, but that will come to an end this spring (finishing up my M.S. in Agronomy while working full time and family).

I have questions ranging from what to look for in a spot (mainly Google Earth), why certain units are picked vs. others, how an arrow flies at 11,000+ ft. of elevation vs 1200, to how do you know where to camp and get water? Lots of other questions I'm sure, but just wanted to get the thread started. PMs are welcome

I'm looking at hunting Colorado, no points, and I have a couple of points for Utah already for general and LE deer. Also questioning going solo or with company. Any help is greatly appreciated!
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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Feb 3, 2014
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I did a series of articles in EBJ called backcountry first timers. You should be able to read that with a digital sub.


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tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
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Central Kansas
I did a series of articles in EBJ called backcountry first timers. You should be able to read that with a digital sub.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I have read and re-read them, but would like to get in a little more detail than the articles go. Good articles though for sure Scott
 

tdcour

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Feb 28, 2013
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Central Kansas
Well, I guess I'll just ask a little more specific question to get started... What temperatures can be expected for archery in the 12,000 ft range? Apparently thunderstorms are fairly common the first part of September and possible a little snow that high up, but realistically, what should I expect on a "normal" year? Are we talking 80s during the day or 50s? I know that will dictate how far from the truck/cooler I will be able to go so I don't let any meat spoil.
 

ColoradoV

Very Active Member
Oct 4, 2011
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I would not camp at 12k but a bit lower in the trees somewhere the deer cant see you as if they skyline you or a tent once they will head out. Also if you see a storm coming get down from above timberline as lightning is real up there.

Temps plan on freezing (may or may not be warmer) to below in the AM. Highs can be 70 or 40. Warm wool hat and gloves are priceless.

I would start with one night away from the truck with the ability to return if you dont see animals for your first trip.

Good luck and the biggest part is jumping in with both feet. Stay safe as the big mountains can be unforgiving.
 

go_deep

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Nov 30, 2014
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As ColoradoV mentioned, defiantly plan on below freezing over night, and up to to dang hot during the day.
One thing that I generally do that is a down fall is think I need to hunt every hour of light and I get whipped a few days in. Relax during mid day at a good glassing point, take a nap, just don't feel like you got to be going non stop.
As far as gear, I've been told outside of a small survival pouch, if you're not going to use it more than once, you don't need it.

Good luck!
 

CoHiCntry

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Mar 31, 2011
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Colorado Mountains
You didn't mention whether or not you have any backpacking experience? I can't imagine heading out on a backpack hunt for the first time having never backpacked before. IMO, it would be worth it's weight in gold to head out on a BP trip in the summer just to get a feel for it. You could use it as a test run with all your gear and decide what you need or don't need on the actual hunt. Better yet if you know where your gonna hunt, do a BP trip in the area to get familiar with it. Who knows... you might find that it's not your cup of tea? It's not for everyone and isn't always as glamorous or as romantic as it seems looking at pics and reading stories in the trophy mags. :cool:
 

tdcour

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Feb 28, 2013
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Central Kansas
Thanks guys. I'm typically the guy that never stops hunting on a trip, so that is a good call out to take a nap and rest a little during the day. I'm sure it would be a huge help for how I would feel at the end of the trip.

CoHiCntry - I have done 0 backpacking. I've been restricted to day hunts simply from where I have been hunting and dollars available to get the gear. I definitely think it is a wise decision to test the gear out ahead of time on a camping/scouting trip. I talked to Matt a little today on the phone and he gave me some advice on some gear and things like that as well which was really helpful. Truthfully, I'm not looking for a monster. I'm looking for a challenge and truthfully the glamour I see in the trophy mags is behind the person holding the deer. It looks like some awesome country just to hang out in, let alone be fortunate enough to get a deer.

As far as the temps go, it sounds like the meat should last over a day out there if it gets to freezing at night. Am I right on that? Boning out would be a must, of course, then hang and should be ok, or does it need to get back to the truck as soon as the deer is down?
 

go_deep

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Nov 30, 2014
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If you can hang the meat in multiple bags in a dark timber patch so it's in the shad all day, de-boned, hide removed, you'll be good if it's down around or below freezing at night. I've hung meat up to 3 days, with zero spoilage in those exact conditions.
 

Matthoek21

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Mar 18, 2011
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Peachtree City, GA.
I talked with tdcour today on the phone about this style of hunting. Although he's never been on this type of hunt he does have some experience hunting elk in N.M. He has a good idea of what to expect and seems like he has the determination and mental strength to do a backcountry hunt. He is young and really wants the experience. There is only one way to get it, and that's to just get after it. I told him of some of my do's and don't's and what to expect going in to a unit semi blind. After our conversation he reminds me of me 15 years ago. He's stuck in the Midwest and really wants to get into backcountry archery hunting. He has a lot of people that tell him "yea I wanna do that" but when it comes right down to it they can't for some reason, or don't want to. We all know how hard it is to find someone like ourselves that are happy being miserable. This statement is kind of funny but it's the truth. Not many people really want to sleep on the ground, drink water purified with iodine, hike miles upon miles up and downhill, rub blisters on their feet, eat freeze dried food, and carry 50-70lbs on their back for 5-7 days. It takes a special twisted mentality, and that's why we are a small group of hunters.
Either way we talked and I went over some items to have and not have. I know everyone's list differs a little but I think he has a good idea of how to get started. I did however recommend not necessarily going solo on his first trip but that if he does be sure to have a Spot or Sat phone. Don't want to be like the guy in ID and crawl out of the wilderness 4 miles with two broken legs.
Chris, I also invited him into the network. Think it's a good place for him.
Good Luck Travis and call me anytime if you have questions. Sure we will talk again soon.
 

CoHiCntry

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Mar 31, 2011
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Colorado Mountains
That Matt makes the rounds, don't he? Lol! Let me know if you can find time this summer to come to Colorado for a BP trip. I'd be happy to take you out. Maybe Matt could come too???
 

CoHiCntry

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Mar 31, 2011
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Colorado Mountains
Chris, I also invited him into the network. Think it's a good place for him.
Good Luck Travis and call me anytime if you have questions. Sure we will talk again soon.
We must have been typing at the same time! Good idea telling him about the network. Would be a good place to possibly find a partner. Thanks Matt!
 

tdcour

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Feb 28, 2013
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That Matt makes the rounds, don't he? Lol! Let me know if you can find time this summer to come to Colorado for a BP trip. I'd be happy to take you out. Maybe Matt could come too???
I might just take you up on that offer! If I can finish getting all my gear bought it will be a very good possibility! I'll need a break from looking at corn and soybeans anyway.
 

rcfireninja

Active Member
Mar 3, 2014
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Rapid City, SD
You want to get a weight vest, find some hills of any kind around your area and start hiking. The more you can do this the better you will turn out. A scouting trip to the area backpacking is a great idea as well. I went to CO for the first time last year. I learned a ton and cant wait to go back.
 

njdoxie

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Oct 9, 2013
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be nice to know 100% that you like it and want to do it again, before dropping $$ on the best, lightest gear, but you don't want to buy cheap gear only to have to rebuy good gear later....a very good reason to have a base camp and hunt from there
 

tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
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Central Kansas
You want to get a weight vest, find some hills of any kind around your area and start hiking. The more you can do this the better you will turn out. A scouting trip to the area backpacking is a great idea as well. I went to CO for the first time last year. I learned a ton and cant wait to go back.
Weight vest isn't a bad idea. I usually use my pack with sand bags in it but this might not look quite as bad. Sadly, it is flat as a pancake out here. I get on the treadmill and crank it all the way up or head to the high school to run bleachers. I do need to get a better leg lifting schedule though. Is it best to mix in running for cardio and walking with a pack to get in shape or just the pack? Been running 3 miles a day for a while now getting up to a 4% incline but that's it so far.
 

tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
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Central Kansas
be nice to know 100% that you like it and want to do it again, before dropping $$ on the best, lightest gear, but you don't want to buy cheap gear only to have to rebuy good gear later....a very good reason to have a base camp and hunt from there
That's one thing I'm worried about a little, but I can always sell it if it doesn't work out. I also don't want to have a miserable experience and not want to go back because I had bad gear. I can always use them for shorter hunts if I don't like the high country for some reason. The two big items I have left to buy are tent and sleeping bag. I figure those are two not to skimp on. Am I right?
 

Matthoek21

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Mar 18, 2011
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Peachtree City, GA.
That Matt makes the rounds, don't he? Lol! Let me know if you can find time this summer to come to Colorado for a BP trip. I'd be happy to take you out. Maybe Matt could come too???
Lol...if y'all only knew. One day I'm in MT, next week CO, then FL and after all that I do spend some time in GA. We are always on the run. Hey you know me I might join y'all for a little BP. Never know where and when I will pop up next. Matthoek21 coming to a town near you!;)
 

tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
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Central Kansas
Another question for y'all is how much water do y'all carry while up on the mountain? I'm assuming it depemds on sources of water and proximity, but anyone have a certain amount they always have with them? When I've been day hunting I have a 3L bladder and a plastic bottle of water. Is that enough up high as well? Y'all keep an extra bottle or bladder in camp for cooking and washing?
 

crzy_cntryby

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Dec 9, 2014
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Your body will shed water through urination to adjust to elevation. Double your normal. A good filter or iodine or time to boil and cook water make up for what you don't have on your back. Most of the central and northern rockies have fairly abundant water sources. I'm also in CO and would be willing to do a BP trip with whomever what's to scout or check gear or even just get out and away.