Few questions from a noob

LIWolverine

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Hey guys. Been dreaming of a diy backcountry backpack hunt my whole life. Finally gonna do it in Col 81. Plan on going for archery elk opener for 5 days. I have everything laid out where I'm going and kind of what to expect but it's a bit of a hike. Should be 5ish miles back to where I want to camp from the trailhead. I'm in "decent" shape. Strong but not great at cardio at the moment. It being about 4 months do y'all think I can get my cardio in line to do a trip that far? I'm trying to keep in mind if the unreal possibility of scoring an elk was to happen that I have to pack that sucker out. I'm not going solo I'll have a good partner; my cousin who is into running and fitness. I've got decent gear and I'm planning on trying to keep my pack at 50-60lb. Just as an FYI my cousin is 30 and I'm 32. He's 6'5 225 and I'm 6'4 220. We both played college ball and have kept in decent shape since graduating so working hard and pushing ourselves is not an issue. Just don't want to be unrealistic.

Other question is regarding bears. Would it be advantageous for one of us to get a bear tag? I don't know anything at all about bear hunting so have no idea if they will be at the 10,000 feet or so we are going to. Any info on bear pop in 81?
Thanks for all the info I've gleaned from here so far. Tons and tons of questions answered without having to ask.


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dec0y

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My first reaction to you post is: what are you carrying that puts your pack weight at 50-60 lbs? I would focus a lot of effort on paring this down. I typically factor in 2 pounds of food per day (which is more than I will actually eat) plus my base setup weight of 18 pounds. This means - 5 day trip is 28 pounds, before water. I don't run a spotter or tripod, so that saves me a lot of weight.

Put some serious thought into what you are bringing and what you can share.

This will improve your conditioning at that altitude dramatically. If you are just setting up base camp then you can get away with a higher base weight but it's going to be very hard to get your camp out AND meat in a trip, so you're adding 10 miles to your packout.

With regards to conditioning, 4 months is what you have to work with. No sense in second guessing if you'll be ready, just get to work asap.

I'd start with some light cardio, treadmill or stair stepper. Go for frequency, not intensity. Most of your workouts should be a 'nose breathing' exertion. Don't use your pack to train too frequently to start. Slowly add weight in your pack over the weeks, but keep the workouts reasonable to avoid overexertion.

Get out into the hills on the weekends and if you can, do some overnight trips to get confidence in your gear.

You'll do fine!
 
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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

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My first reaction to you post is: what are you carrying that puts your pack weight at 50-60 lbs? I would focus a lot of effort on paring this down. I typically factor in 2 pounds of food per day (which is more than I will actually eat) plus my base setup weight of 18 pounds. This means - 5 day trip is 28 pounds, before water. I don't run a spotter or tripod, so that saves me a lot of weight.

Put some serious thought into what you are bringing and what you can share.

This will improve your conditioning at that altitude dramatically. If you are just setting up base camp then you can get away with a higher base weight but it's going to be very hard to get your camp out AND meat in a trip, so you're adding 10 miles to your packout.

With regards to conditioning, 4 months is what you have to work with. No sense in second guessing if you'll be ready, just get to work asap.

I'd start with some light cardio, treadmill or stair stepper. Go for frequency, not intensity. Most of your workouts should be a 'nose breathing' exertion. Don't use your pack to train too frequently to start. Slowly add weight in your pack over the weeks, but keep the workouts reasonable to avoid overexertion.

Get out into the hills on the weekends and if you can, do some overnight trips to get confidence in your gear.

You'll do fine!

I appreciate the input!
I figure on taking a spotter and a tripod (neither is top end so they aren't light) plus I was adding my bow as part of my pack weight. I live around Houston so hills are almost totally out of the question lol. There are some and I'll train on them as best I can. I wasn't really second guessing myself on how much time I have to get conditioned just more on the actual distance to base camp and if it was unreasonable to think I could/should go that far in as my first backpack trip. Again, thanks for the input

Following, I'm in identical situation!

Good luck this year

Thanks! Good luck to you too!



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COlineman78

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I am the same height and when I was down at 225 it didn't take a ton of conditioning to get back in good enough shape. A solid 3-4 weeks of cardio every day: weighted pack 30-60lbs, 2.5-5 miles round trip with 1000-2000ft elevation gains. 5 miles is not all that tough for what I imagine your conditioning level is. Once I switched to a good pack I didn't have a problem carrying 60-70lbs back 5 miles with 2000-2500ft in elevation gain, but with my old 80's frame pack it sucked. Yes altitude sucks, but a good portion of it is also mental. If you have to take more breaks so be it; just don't over-exert yourself and get sick. It's not a race.

As far as bears go, without knowing anything about the unit (I hunt on the other side of the state): I'd say it depends a lot on how you plan on hunting. Without targeting bears, your only chance of stumbling upon a shot is going to be stand or static hunting. There are a lot of bears where we hunt, but I've had a shot twice in the last 5 years. Last year a really nice shooter walked right under me when I was in a tree stand and the other I was sitting on the ground in some sage brush a couple years ago and a young bear walked right at me within 20 feet before I stood up to let it know I was there. One guy that hunts the same area as us had one at under 30 feet for 10 min while sitting a ground blind at a pond that the elk like to visit in the evening. If it were me paying out of state prices and hunting OTC, I probably wouldn't bother but it's your money. Whichever choice you make will be wrong as animals always know when you don't have a tag.
 

COlineman78

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I live around Houston so hills are almost totally out of the question lol. There are some and I'll train on them as best I can. I wasn't really second guessing myself on how much time I have to get conditioned just more on the actual distance to base camp and if it was unreasonable to think I could/should go that far in as my first backpack trip.

Treadmill with a pack at 12-15 deg incline is just as much a killer. Stair stepper is the best way to torture yourself throwing in a pack every once in a while. The biggest concern isn't just 5 miles but what the elevation profile looks like. Anything more than 2000ft elevation gain over those 5 miles might be ambitious.
 

Ross

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Plenty of time to get ready👍 As noted don't focus on intensity to start but more so building endurance and gradually increase intensity and pack training. Stay injury free and get ready for a great time. With two, five mile pack out will work out just be prepared to keep the meat cool should the temps be warm during your hunt. Good luck and half the fun is the planning and prep stage.
 

mossyhorn

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Leave the spotter and tripod at home. That'll save weight. When I lived in Alaska and did a lot of flyout hunts, I typed up a spread sheet in excel and weighed every piece of gear to the ounce. It let me see where I could save weight. Maybe throw up a gear list so we can help you pick thru it?
 

wannakillabigbull

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I agree with COLineman on the bears. I used to pick up bear tags when I was in state and there are insane numbers of bears where we hunted, but only ever had one shot opportunity. If I was paying out of state prices for a bear tag I wouldn't get one. Also, if you didn't know, shooting a bear in CO means you have to get the hide/head back to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife office within 5 days of the kill (page 56 of this year's brochure). No exceptions. My best friend is the guy who checks them in at one of the offices and they don't care what your situation is. Gotta show up to one of the offices during working hours within 5 days or you're facing some big fines. Maybe you already know, but some guys don't and my friend has told me stories of guys having to book last minute flights after they got home to fly back to Colorado with the hide.

Besides that, good luck and go stick a bull.
 

Laelkhunter

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Not sure where you live (LIWolverine= Long Island?). The altitude will kick your butt if not used to it. If you have to pack in a lot of equipt for your camp, maybe consider making two trips? Your food won't be coming out with you, but maybe an Elk will need to be packed out? If you kill yourself trying to pack everything in one trip, you might be wasted and unable to hunt or scout for a day or two. If you do live at altitude, you might be able to handle it without too much acclimation. Living in New Orleans, I get up to my hunting area a week early to help get the lungs in shape. Not everyone has that luxury though, with family, work, and economics figuring into it. As far as bears, the ranch in Colorado I hunt is in 78/81. I have never seen a bear while hunting there, and I hunt the 2nd rifle season. The ranch owner runs cattle on the ranch, and he hasn't mentioned any bears before. Probably not worth the cost of the NR license, plus having to get the kill to an office for inspection within the time limit might be a major PITA.


edited to add: I saw you other post that you live in Houston. Plan on taking it easy the first day or two at the altitude, and stay hydrated which means carrying plenty of water. That will add more weight to your pack. Not a lot of water available on the Ranch I hunt, but I am not sure about the area you are headed to.
 
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Devonian

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I've hunted 81 the past 3 years and only saw one bear print and no scat in that time. If you want to pm me about where you're thinking about going I might be able to give you some insight.
 

flatlanderhuffandpuff

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I have never been on an elk hunt so take this FWIW.

You mention not having any hills to train on. Obviously that's not necessary for conditioning, but the angle your feet will be at while climbing, descending and cross hilling will be something that you want to prepare for. It's a lot different than walking up the stairs. It's tough to simulate what that will do to your feet over time and under weight.
 
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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

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Thanks for all the great info guys. I'll be skipping the bear tag. Sounds like if I'm not targeting them I won't get much chance. I'm going for elk so don't want to waste time looking for something that isn't there. I feel like if I leave the spotter at home or the truck I'll regret it. Guess I could leave it for now it being my first trip just to save the weight and bring it next time if I think it would be worth it after getting boots on the ground this year. That will be a huge weight saver. They will be plenty of water from a few sources so I'm not too worried about that part.

Here is my list right now
Pack- kifaru hunter with nomad, lh lid, cargo chair.
Tent (if I don't get a new one before then)- eureka spitfire
Bag-Zpack 20f broad long
Pad-therma rest 78"
Bino- Leupold Mohave 10x42
Range finder-bushnell scout 1000arc
Water-2-3l bladders, filter (haven't bought) steripen, no name water bottle
Food-based off suggestions, 2.5/per day 10-13lb, Starbucks via
Jetboil (haven't decided on model yet)

Bow-Hoyt Carbon Element 32 (haven't weighed with all the accessories and arrows)
Clothing (not including what I'm wearing in)-
APX Prima loft vest
2 pair wool socks
2 pair underwear
Kuiu Merino hoody
Rain gear (haven't bought)
Kill kit-
Esee Izula, Havalon Piranta, small tent rain fly (laying meat on), meat bags (haven't bought). 50' paracord,
Small first aid-ibuprofen, tape,

That's all I can think of right now. Not complete but got most of it.

I'll be doing weight training focusing on weighted lunges, squats, and deads, the bike, stair stepper and bleachers with and without my pack. Again, thanks for all the insight!




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fng4life

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That list doesn't sound too heavy at all.
One suggestion on the clothes. I only saw a vest for insulation, recommend something with sleeves. A stiff wind can make 45 feel like 25. Vests loose a lot of heat through the arm holes. I'm a vest guy but only as additional insulation not my only.
Consider bringing the tripod and get a bino adapter for it.
For training someone awhile back had a good idea. Find a ditch of some sort to walk side hill. That will help to see identify any potential hot spots from your boots.
 
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LIWolverine

LIWolverine

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That list doesn't sound too heavy at all.
One suggestion on the clothes. I only saw a vest for insulation, recommend something with sleeves. A stiff wind can make 45 feel like 25. Vests loose a lot of heat through the arm holes. I'm a vest guy but only as additional insulation not my only.
Consider bringing the tripod and get a bino adapter for it.
For training someone awhile back had a good idea. Find a ditch of some sort to walk side hill. That will help to see identify any potential hot spots from your boots.

I haven't tried the binos on a tripod but have been hearing all kinds of good stuff lately. I'll probably buy a nicer tripod that's definitely lighter weight than my current one and get an adapter. The ditch walking sounds like an awesome idea!
Yeah I'm a big vest guy. Love them and wear them all the time when it's cool enough and being from the Houston area it's generally all I need so I do use it as my primary most of the time. I'll look around for a good light puffy or other light jacket to cut the wind. See what I can find. My problem is sleeve length so I'll have to see what's out there that has an decent cut with long arms.


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njdoxie

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There is no way for someone on the internet to know if 4 months is enough time to get in shape for you, too many variables and everyone's different.
 
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All good advice so far...don't lose time worrying about "am I in good enough shape"! Work as hard as you can as much as you can (remembering that rest is ALSO very important), and go out to 81 and hunt and enjoy your time in the mountains. Plan on some time to acclimate, and then get after it. The only way to learn to hunt elk is hunting elk!! The notion that you have to train like Cam Hanes to have success in the backcountry and kill elk is simply not the case. Work hard, hunt and take what you learned into your next hunt. Because the mountains get in your blood, and one hunt is never enough!!!
 

oldgoat

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Also don't get too locked in on that spot five miles in, you might pass up some great elk walking past! Also try to plan your hunt uphill from where your truck is;-)
 

Jtelarkin08

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ive hunted 81 a few times and have never seen a bear. As for getting in shape you will be fine. 4 months is long enough to get in shape for almost anything if you really go for it.
 

seldomseensmith

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My high country advice would be to keep the sun off your head. The sun is intense at 10k and zaps you. As far as training my mindset is simple. Anyone can kick ass on a hunt for a day or two. I train to feel good day after day. I'm no coach but I do this by making sure I follow a long hard training day with another. As the spring turns into summer I can tell I'm getting there when I can run day after day after day and feel good doing it. I live and train at 8000ft so it's an advantage but just start killing your workouts and you'll no doubt be fine. Just let those dreams of the mountains drive you. That and a killer soundtrack
 
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