How many days to do a hunt justice?

DunnCoHunter

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Jun 23, 2020
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A friend invited me to go with them on a backpack hunt in SW Montana in 2022. They have done this hunt a few times in the past and usually set aside 10 days away from home. I would love to go, but between my job and young kids there’s no way that I could be gone that long.

We have a 15 hour drive to get to the area we would be hunting. My thoughts are that since we are young and dumb, my brother and I could drive through the night to save a couple days on either side of the trip. Would it still be worth making the trip if we only had 5 full hunting days to try and kill an elk?

Thanks for any input and advice!


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nettereo16

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Feb 7, 2017
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NC
Fly to Bozeman, rent a truck. If your other buddies are already driving they can bring any gear and meat back and forth. Compensate them accordingly for their gas/road time.

This gives you a few extra hunt days and sure beats driving overnight.
 

Doc Holliday

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Jun 15, 2016
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Lots of outfitted hunts and drop camps only allow 5 days of hunting. Pack in on day 1, hunt 5 days, packout on day 7. All it really takes is one good day right?

If all these past hunts he has been on have been in the exact same area you all will be hunting, then you have a huge advantage.

Are you all truck hunting? Packing in? How many miles? Logistics in and out of the hunt area should be a big factor

What does your friend say, or have you asked him this question?
 

Scott7030

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Mar 24, 2021
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I would go off from your friends past success. If they say they can get it done in 5 days then you're good to go but, in my opinion killing an elk is only a bonus on a hunt like this. Spending time in the wilderness with your friends and family is the best part. I say you're a winner either way, schedule as many days as you're comfortable spending on the trip.
 

huntabsarokee

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Apr 24, 2013
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NE Pennsylvania
If your buddies have hunted this area before that should help reduce the needed time. I would still want 5 day for rifle and probably 7 for archery on a DIY hunt. To me going guided is different and need more for a DIY. But remember its not all about the kill so either way a few days getting after it are better than none.

Driving through the night is not bad but if there will be a huge difference in altitude from home to the hunt area the first day or so may be slow moving days. That is 1 reason I prefer more days coming from PA.
 
OP
DunnCoHunter

DunnCoHunter

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Jun 23, 2020
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Lots of outfitted hunts and drop camps only allow 5 days of hunting. Pack in on day 1, hunt 5 days, packout on day 7. All it really takes is one good day right?

If all these past hunts he has been on have been in the exact same area you all will be hunting, then you have a huge advantage.

Are you all truck hunting? Packing in? How many miles? Logistics in and out of the hunt area should be a big factor

What does your friend say, or have you asked him this question?

We would be packing in. I believe he said it would be around 3-4 miles pack in, but in some rough country. And I’m sure altitude will effect us as well. My friend is actually my dads friend and in his 50s. So I think his thought process is that he needs some young blood to energize the group haha. I brought up trying to do a shorter trip, but he is trying to convince me that I should set aside more days to do it justice. But I still think a shorter trip is better than no trip at all.


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Morrid7

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Apr 15, 2018
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Texas
Even if it's for just a couple of days, you should go. Years from now, the things you regret are the things you didn't do.

Jeremy

Took the words right out of my mouth.

In September 2018 (at 41 yo), I hunted first archery in NM for the first 9 days, drove 12 hours home to work for 3 days, drove all night back to NM (arrived 7:30am) to hunt the last 2 days of my license. I filled my tag that afternoon in a spot that I hadn’t hunted the prior 9 days but thought it would have elk. Don’t miss a chance to go elk hunting even if only for 5 days.


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5MilesBack

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Colorado Springs
I would take whatever you can get. But in reality I would want at least 7-10 days minimum to do an elk hunt justice. I've been known to drive 4+ hours to get to a spot before first light, hunt until dark, and then drive back home that night because I had stuff to do the next day at home. But it's a day of elk hunting, which beats not hunting.
 

Michael Rankin

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Jan 10, 2016
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149
Another suggestion, have a plan in place with work and wife in case you kill a bull the last day. That way you actually get to hunt the whole trip. If it’s possible set aside and extra day or two if needed to pack a last day bull out. If you don’t do that you really shouldn’t even hunt that last day. If camp is 4 miles out, and you kill a bull a couple miles from camp you have a lot of work ahead of you. That could be a 1-2 days to get the elk and your camp back to the car. Terrain and size of the elk is a big variable.
 

Jethro

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Mar 2, 2014
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173
Location
Pennsylvania
If you could add just 2 more days for 7 hunting, that would be huge. Regardless you should plan on driving straight through. 15 hours is too short of a drive to plan on stopping along the way. Gas and go only.
 

Scoot

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Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
630
Yup what others have said. Work extra between now and then at home and work. Negotiate that with your boss and your BOSS. Young kids make these trips tough, but do it while you can. If 5 is absolutely all you can do, do 5. I'd fight for at least 7 though.
 

Gapmaster

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Dec 22, 2019
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Arkansas
More is always better like stated above. I set aside 10-12 days every year, but I’ve done the 5 day thing as well. Go and do what you can. Any day in the mountains is worth it. Soak it in, slow down time and enjoy where you are.
 

HunterJoeMI

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Dec 31, 2017
Messages
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Location
MI
Just go! I have driven from West Michigan to hunt out west over 30 times. Many times solo. Some times for 3 day hunts. I take off from work as soon as I can escape and drive straight through. I arrive the next day before noon (often with my dress work clothes still on) and set up camp and go hunting that night. That was with raising busy kids! Now we go out west and hunt together!

The excitement of heading west on I-80 into a beautiful Iowa sun set never gets old!
 

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Mosby

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Jan 1, 2015
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15 hours for two guys is nothing. Buy a dozen glazed doughnuts, two sandwiches from Jimmy Johns, a thermos full of hot coffee, a cooler full of Diet Coke, take all your hunting crap and hunt as long as you can.
Then drive home. Don't over engineer it.
 

Marble

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May 29, 2019
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1,253
If you left on Friday after work and returned/traveled the following Sunday, you could stretch that hunt really from the first Sunday to the following Saturday, a total of 7 days. I wouldn't hesitate to do it.

We drive straight through from CO to CA regularly. 18ish hours. And the meat survives just fine. If we leave around 6 am, we are home between 10 and midnight.

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Werty

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May 28, 2019
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431
Location
Montana
If your going to do a turn and burn hunt, be in the best physical shape you can. Physical fitness is what usually kills success on short hunts. Good luck
 

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