Epic Pack Outs

Aron Snyder

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I feel I can hold my own when it comes to packing out game, but In the last few weeks I've heard some hum dingers for pack out stories!

Let's hear about your most epic pack outs; multiple miles, forgot car keys at camp or maybe even a little pack/gear/boot failure mixed in.

Lets hear what you've got....
 

dotman

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Feb 24, 2012
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The only epic pack out I can think of is funny but only for my dad and I since it includes a friend losing both shoes in a bog at midnight without a good light a few miles from camp.

And shoes not boots is correct, I'll never wear tennis shoes after this.
 

Gman

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Feb 15, 2012
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Colorado baby!
Well once I shot a mountain goat right before dusk and realized I forgot my headlamp. That was fun.
 

Muledeernv

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Dec 20, 2012
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Yerington,Nv.
My deer last year was seven miles in from the truck at the trail head. I shot him after I stalked in to 45 yards after we took pics we boned him out we started the pack my oldest son had some meat and I had the rest and the head we made it the 4 miles back to camp. We made dinner and went to look At the pics on the camera whoops no camera I had it in a badlands clip on pocket and it was gone. Had to wait for the next morning due to rain we searched for it for two hours for it but nothing now I had to tell the wife when I get home that I lost her camera and the pics of this hunt and my youngest sons frist pack out packing all his own stuff. Still one of the best hunts I have had it is always great to be in the field with the boys.
 

HellsCanyon

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May 29, 2012
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Lewiston ID
Hunting the breaks of the Salmon River in Idaho late november mule deer hunt. had a 3-4 mile trek to the edge of the breaks, and I ended up killing my buck something like 2400' down towards the river about 3:30PM. We boned him out (me and my hunting partner) and started packing at 6 PM in the dark. The first 2000' absolutely sucked as we were going up cliffs and had 25-30MPH winds wipping us around on very loose footing. Both ran out of water about 1k' into the climb which is the reason the packout sucked so bad. Finally made it up out of the drainage to the ridge top and had that 3-4 trek back in the dark. I was so dehydrated I kept losing the trail and was getting very delirious... Most of the time we were on an old 2 track or a large path and I couldn't even get myself to stay on that path. Told my partner to go ahead of me so I could just focus on the back of his boots and knowing where to go.

Physically it was a rough packout but not horrible, being severely dehydrated was the scary part... never felt so lost in the woods before.

This year was a bit interesting packing my bear out... 60 lb pack on my back and we had to literally jog 2-3 miles to make it back to the jet boat before we ran out of light so we could run the rapids back down to our camp! Run the flats, bust ass on the uphill sections then back to a jog on the flats.

Mike
 

dotman

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Hunting the breaks of the Salmon River in Idaho late november mule deer hunt. had a 3-4 mile trek to the edge of the breaks, and I ended up killing my buck something like 2400' down towards the river about 3:30PM. We boned him out (me and my hunting partner) and started packing at 6 PM in the dark. The first 2000' absolutely sucked as we were going up cliffs and had 25-30MPH winds wipping us around on very loose footing. Both ran out of water about 1k' into the climb which is the reason the packout sucked so bad. Finally made it up out of the drainage to the ridge top and had that 3-4 trek back in the dark. I was so dehydrated I kept losing the trail and was getting very delirious... Most of the time we were on an old 2 track or a large path and I couldn't even get myself to stay on that path. Told my partner to go ahead of me so I could just focus on the back of his boots and knowing where to go.

Physically it was a rough packout but not horrible, being severely dehydrated was the scary part... never felt so lost in the woods before.

This year was a bit interesting packing my bear out... 60 lb pack on my back and we had to literally jog 2-3 miles to make it back to the jet boat before we ran out of light so we could run the rapids back down to our camp! Run the flats, bust ass on the uphill sections then back to a jog on the flats.

Mike

Sounds like an overnight setup needs to be in the boat :)
 

Matt Cashell

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Feb 25, 2012
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Western MT
I have a couple good ones.

Here's one:

A few years ago my hunting partner Jared and I had ridden the horses to treeline overlooking a huge burnt basin. The wind was whipping and snow was going sideways. The horses made it a good ways up the mountain, but we finally got to a place where they couldn't plow through any longer. We strapped on the snowshoes and headed further up the basin edge. The wind died a little, and we were able to setup the spotting scope. It didn't take long and we saw four bulls with two good sixes way up at the head of the basin. It was probably 4 miles on the ground through blown down burn and monster drifts to get over to the bulls.

Jared said, "Well that sucks."
I replied, "What do you mean? You know what the only thing between us and those bulls?"
Jared didn't answer, so I did, "Pure laziness."

Well, that got him up on his snowshoes. After long hard 'shoe over, Jared put down a nice bull. Then it took us two days of snowshoe backpacking those quarters in a blizzard (Think Luke Skywalker on Hoth) to the horses, which were even further down the mountain than the kill day, thanks to the accumulating snow. It didn't help that you had to gain about 1000 feet in elevation, either.

To this day every time we spot something glassing far away, "You know what the only thing between us and..."
 

littlebuf

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Feb 24, 2012
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6x6 bull elk solo. it was only about 6 miles in but i was by myself and there was about 3000ft of elevation gain. i was all set up to stay in the wilderness 2 weeks and i shot my bull 8 am opening day. four trips later my bull and my camp were back at the truck a little after midnight. toughest parts, crap back pack (wont mention brand but it about tore my shoulders off) and a little more than half the pack out was off trail 9good ole bush whackin) i dont know if thats epic but i do know i bought out the local store of all its red gatoraid and smelled pretty bad doing it.
 

big10hunter

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Aug 21, 2012
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Shot the Shhep at dusk. A Sheep all in one pack. Wyoming wilderness. Shot Sheep at 12,800, camp was at 10,200. Got back to camp at 2:30 am. Not too bad, but my worst.

Another pack out. Colorado Elk. Sent guys down with deboned half. We finished our half and it was dark and raining by the time we got to the trailhead to go down the mountain. The wet ground showed mountain lion tracks in the boot tracks of the guys we sent down first. Dark, raining, and yeah every noise and twig snapping on the way down made my hair on the back of my neck stand up, drop the pack and start running! :)
 

Backpack Hunter

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Some wilderness area, somewhere
A couple years back I killed a nice deer about 4 miles in, boned it out put it and everything else in the pack, stood up and promptly fell back down. I had torn my acl and mcl 4 months previous and quickly realized I lacked the knee strength, had to turtle, then push up, and pull myself to a standing position. I pretty much baby sideway stepped myself out, took about 12hrs.
 

shanevg

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Feb 25, 2012
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Lynden, WA
Probably my most epic pack out was bear hunting with my bro. We packed in after work Friday afternoon and climbed 3500 feet in 5 miles or so in the dark. Set up camp and then woke up early to hike another 4+ miles into the basin we wanted to hunt. Alec shot a bear that needed to be packed 1000 feet up to get out of a hole. On the way out his pack strap busted so we had to fix it with parachute cord. His pack broke 3 or 4 more times before we made it back to our car that night.
[video=youtube;vlIDehwwiX8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlIDehwwiX8[/video]
 

shanevg

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Feb 25, 2012
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Lynden, WA
This past year we got another bear about 1800 feet below the trail. The pack out wasn't too horrible (only about 4 miles from the car and after the initial climb it's mostly flat) other than the fact that my buddy had to work the night shift at the ER that night. We left home at 4am got, the bear to the truck at 4pm, he had to work 6pm to 6am.
[video=youtube;aYojm1fuFIo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYojm1fuFIo[/video]
 

shanevg

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Lynden, WA
A couple years back I killed a nice deer about 4 miles in, boned it out put it and everything else in the pack, stood up and promptly fell back down. I had torn my acl and mcl 4 months previous and quickly realized I lacked the knee strength, had to turtle, then push up, and pull myself to a standing position. I pretty much baby sideway stepped myself out, took about 12hrs.

Now that's epic!
 

kaboku68

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Jun 14, 2012
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Alaska
In 1987 during moose season I was 17 years old. My father shot a mulligan moose about 3/4 mile off of the road on the back side of some ponds.
It was late at night and I was trying to get it out before a bear got on it. My father had the only flashlight so I was packing in the dark. I had about 150lbs of
hind quarter on my Yukon style pack frame. I was headed toward the truck when I slide off the side of a beaver dam and fell in about eight foot of water. I tried climbing back up the bank but it was too slippery and muddy. I was not going to lose my rifle or the meat. I felt like one of those lab rats that have to tread water in a barrel until they drown. I went around in circles for some time trying to figure which way to go. Finally, I heard them honk the horn and I headed in that direction. I slowly made my way 50 yards and waded out. I had hypothermia in a dreadful way. My dad built a big bonfire and I changed into a dry blanket that I wore the blanket home.

Sincerely,
Thomas
 

a3dhunter

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Colorado Springs,CO
Aug 31, 2012
Shot my first bull at 5pm during archery season, took a few pics and started the work. I was almost 4.5 miles into a wilderness area and solo. Took about 2 hours to quarter the elk and hang three quarters. Then remove tenderloins, back strap and neck meat and then debone one rear quarter and load it all into my pack along with my day gear.
Left the kill site at 7:20pm with it raining, the first mile was blow down timber and marshy ground. Had to cross several creeks and headlamp went dead during the first mile. Had to unload pack to get extra batteries, and get going again. It had started to hail about 8:30pm, and the rain was freezing on the bushes near the creek.
Even wearing rain gear pullover I was soaked all the way through and my boots were sloshing with water by 8;45pm. At 9pm still had not made it out of the blow down and had hit the ground several times, twisting ankles and knees in the process.
At about 9pm I decided to unload the deboned quarter and hang from a tree. Left me with about 65-70 lb load which felt much better.
At 9:30pm encountered a bull moose near a large pond who decided to show he was king of the mountain, do you know how hard it is to run in the mud when loaded with meat?
Shortly thereafter encountered a steep hillside of mud, found I had to backtrack to find a way up, or walk back around the large pond with the moose.

At 11pm I finally hit a trail that would lead me out, made it to the truck at 12:30am with it still raining.
The next morning had a swollen knee and sore ankles, made it easy to call in pack horses to get the rest of the meat out. It still took 4 hours to get to the kill site with horses.

Side Note: helped a buddy pack an elk out two weeks later almost 5 miles back into a wilderness and it was easy in comparison, no rain, in daylight, and several guys to split the load. I would definitely handle things differently in the same situation.
 

sk1

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Mar 28, 2012
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1,209
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SE Wisconsin
In 1987 during moose season I was 17 years old. My father shot a mulligan moose about 3/4 mile off of the road on the back side of some ponds.
It was late at night and I was trying to get it out before a bear got on it. My father had the only flashlight so I was packing in the dark. I had about 150lbs of
hind quarter on my Yukon style pack frame. I was headed toward the truck when I slide off the side of a beaver dam and fell in about eight foot of water. I tried climbing back up the bank but it was too slippery and muddy. I was not going to lose my rifle or the meat. I felt like one of those lab rats that have to tread water in a barrel until they drown. I went around in circles for some time trying to figure which way to go. Finally, I heard them honk the horn and I headed in that direction. I slowly made my way 50 yards and waded out. I had hypothermia in a dreadful way. My dad built a big bonfire and I changed into a dry blanket that I wore the blanket home.

Sincerely,
Thomas

thats a bad day right there.
 

HellsCanyon

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Lewiston ID
Sounds like an overnight setup needs to be in the boat :)

Nix that, only water around was a few additional thousand feet below... AKA the salmon river! Wasn't going to be any easier in the morning.

Mike
 
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BigSurArcher

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May 20, 2012
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N. CA
Last season BenHuntin and I were in Nevada, and he killed a buck just under 14 GPS miles from the truck. We quartered it, and loaded it up along with our 5 days worth of food and gear, and made it about 3 miles before nightfall. Decided to spend the night and take it the rest of the way the next morning. We were at ~9,500 ft. in some vertical, gnarly rocky stuff. So what does Ben do? Lets his sleeping bag go flying off the cliff in its basketball shaped compression sack. He never found it that night, so he had to spend the night shivering in a rock crevice with 30 degree wind howling on him all night... while I snored at his feet. He swears he never got a wink of sleep, checking his watch every 15 minutes all night long. The next day, we packed our 90 pounds each packs the rest of the way- about 11 miles. Most of it was angling down hill, but still it was a hell of a haul. It took us 8 hours, averaging just over 1 mph. By the end we were walking with our back parallel to the ground, scuffing our feet, and laughing at the stupidest shit you could imagine. Pretty sure we were delirious. We didn't even have a real trail until the final mile. Recovered for less than 24 hours, then headed back up in there to kill my buck. Luckily there were 3 of us to pack that one out.
 

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