How far would you pack out an elk

DawnPatrol

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Dec 22, 2020
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110
Location
Nunya
Like the Supreme Court said: its hard to define, but you'll know it when you see it (they weren't talking about elk, but still). I myself haven't seen it yet.

Don't think about how far you have to carry the meat; think about how fast you need to get it off the mountain and work backwards from there.

If it's cold out (less than 45 F) you can hang it in a tree and take your sweet time. If you only have to take one load out each day, 5 steep miles is doable (if not fun).

If it's late August in Arizona, you better bring a friend or two and hustle all night--in which case you might wanna limit the length or elevation of you hike.

Put 80 lbs on your back and walk around for a few miles; uphill, downhill and off trail if you can. That should give you a sense of what's possible for you.

Also, get trekking poles.
 

drmatara

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
71
Stay within a couple miles of the trailhead and stay away from beetle kill. Two of you should be fine. You should save the heaviest load for the last.
 

MallardSX2

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Feb 24, 2016
Messages
706
Not many places you cant get to a road or trail within 1 mile of walking. My suggestion is to spend daylight hours getting through the bad stuff and then spend the night moving it down the trail or closed road.

Packing meat at night is when I prefer to walk past peoples tents anyhow. They dont tend to come out and ask 200 questions.....
 

ewade07

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Dec 26, 2017
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781
Location
MONTANA
I'll play the d*** measuring game. Three years ago I watched my buddy stick a big, mature 5x5 bull at 5 yds. Il never forget seeing that bull walk by him and him draw and let one fly. Anyways, we get him back to camp and go to bed, get up the next morning and go out hunting. put about 5 miles on, get back and THEN we decide 'hey, lets pack this guy out now'. We should have never gone out that morning and just packed to bull out. Three of us hauled meat for 12 hrs that day, 16 miles and somewhere around 5000' elevation gain.

The bar for horrid packouts was set that day, although looking back now it doesnt seem that bad. Moral of the story is, if its your first elk unt and all you know is whitetails don't get in over your heads.
 

Idaho4x4Bronco

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Oct 25, 2019
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490
Location
Sandpoint ID
It just depends. So many variables.
I can pack 100-125lbs pretty easily on a trail with the right pack and boots. Blowdowns, 30-35lbs. Some areas are so crappy you have to throw your pack over deadfall and climb over trees like a monkey.

Elevation plays a real big factor too. My whimpy North Idaho lungs don't like anything over around 6000'

Ask yourself how good of shape and how built you are, then go train and practice.

It's also a lot easier to pack elk on opening day then a week after hiking around.
 

Broadhead

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Joined
Apr 4, 2019
Messages
32
Location
Denver, CO
On my first elk hunt I was 7.5 miles from the trailhead on a well maintained trail. It had taken 2 of the 10 day trip to regain my composure from the hike in (never underestimate what carrying 50+lbs many miles will do to your body). A few days in I came to full draw on a 4x4 at 10 yards and was squeezing off the shot when I thought, "What am I doing?" I smiled and let him walk. Man, my buddy was pissed I didn't shoot... I was in way over my head, realized it, and didn't pull the trigger. Since then I have done a few 4 mile pack outs and can say that's about as far as I would want to go. Thankfully, the elevation gain/loss was only 500ft or so. Elevation is a bigger piece of the puzzle than distance, in my opinion.
 

kcm2

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
269
Farthest about 3 miles. Worst was 2 miles in a heavy rain, two steps up, one step sliding back. And the downhill in the rain was treacherous. Of course, that was in my pre-Kifaru days so the pack broke halfway out on the first load.
 

western406

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2020
Messages
21
Shoot first ask questions later. Once you pack one out on your back you’ll have a better understanding of what your limitations are. Depending on where you are you can also look up the outfitter for the area and they will sometimes offer a pack service. Usually starts around $500 and goes up from there. (not including a tip for the packer)
 

Indian Summer

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Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
1,031
screw that! heaviest first..why would I wanna be beat from the prior trips to put the heaviest load on last
Exactly. Tackle the work from the start and set yourself up for the easiest trip at the end. I don’t think I could carry my first load on the second trip! Lol
 

Elkfitness

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Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
1,451
Location
Colorado
I agree, pick the heaviest load first. I’ve always hunted solo and any elk more than a few miles back is tough. I’ve always taken parts of camp out with loads, but it is still 4 trips and if you get a big bull, the rack is not light. 5 miles back is far. I shot my largest body bull in a spot that took 2-3 hours to get back too. I shot him at 8am on a Saturday and got the antlers and last of camp back to the truck at 3p the next day. It took me a few days for my feet to feel right after all that heavy side hilling. That is the limit for me. I base how far I go back in on how much time it takes. If I’m back three hours that is 21 miles of hiking with a heavy load and you need to think about not spoiling meat.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Bowhunter93

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2017
Messages
14
Location
Indiana
I am about to adventure into the Elk woods for the first time. I am going with a friend and we are both predominantly whitetail hunters from down south so packouts usually arent that bad to non existent. I was just curious if anyone would be interested in telling some horror stories about packouts or packouts that turned out to be ideal. What to do what not to do and how far you'd ethically shoot an elk knowing you were going to have to pack the animal out. Looking forward to hearing some of your experiences and hoping to learn something from hunters that have been in this situation before. Thanks !
Definitely don’t want to find yourself on the mountain in prepared. Get used to packing out weight before you go. Pack is going to carry much different a few miles in than when you start. Know what you need to adjust.
 

HunterJoeMI

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
64
Location
MI
Do not listen to your 6 foot 4 inch 230 pound son when he says, "its only a mile we can do it in one trip! We will have my bull in the freezer in an hour and be back out hunting!" Make two trips!
 

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