How many days to you devote to an elk trip?

5MilesBack

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
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13,863
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Colorado Springs
For me it's more about the timing of the hunt. In Sept for archery, I want the entire month. For a rifle hunt later than Sept, maybe 10 days. I hate the cold.
 

Indian Summer

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Feb 17, 2013
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1,774
Great thread for first timer trying to plan my trip. I like the 3-1-3 lazy day in middle idea.
I plan mine around the locals. On Fridays I hike into my spike camp and hunt higher and further on the weekends. Saturday evening and into Monday the hunting keeps getting better. After my Monday morning hunt I drop back down to base camp.
 

tntrker

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Aug 7, 2018
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673
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Upstate SC
I'm doing an 11 day archery elk this year. Looking for that herd bull within 60yrds..
 

Steelhead

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Dec 20, 2016
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54
Location
Idaho
7 - 10 days allotted here, but my trailhead is only 4-6 hours away. Also gated by how much time I can get off from work.
sounds like your experienced so this may not apply, but the older I get I find I need to accept some transition times at the start and after the hunt.
We spike camp several miles in and I'm usually carrying around 60# of camp, food, pack etc. Even though I run and workout year round I find my body...my legs...need to go a bit easy the following day.
Anymore I try to spike in NOT the day before opener because I know I'm going to hit it hard but my performance is not going to be great since my legs are adjusting. Seems like I hit my mountain hunting pace at day 3 and can go on and on after that. It's weird, but again, sinking into my 50's has changed that. So, a couple days before opener if possible.
After the hunt, hopefully with meat hanging at spike camp, it will very likely take days to get it, and camp, back to the truck. Might be able to break it up and make a meat run between hunting, but most likely it all goes out when we're "done" hunting. Depends on the number of guys packing, we have 3-4 and always get multiple bulls. So some guys might be doing meat runs while others work on filling their tag but we typically only can pull off 3 trips to the truck and back per day which sucks hard.
Just another thing to consider. ...then meat cutting and packing time once you get home which takes a good long day by myself or half day with buddies and BS time.
 

MadMaxx

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Joined
Jun 1, 2022
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I hunt in the White Mts. in Arizona and I go for 7 days....best week of the year..my son, that was the third elk we shot that year
 

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tdhanses

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Sep 26, 2018
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5,113
I determine how many hunting days I want, usually 10 days with a possible side trip of 5 days hunting at times, days for driving are then added to the hunting days, for me it’s usually a day each way even if driving all day, but if it took 2 each way I’d just tack that on to the hunting days in planning but not reducing days for hunting, so a 10 day trip will be 12 or 14 days.
 

H2PVon

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Joined
Jan 3, 2018
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164
Location
Western PA
Usually leave Thursday night and drive straight through so not losing an extra day. lets us hunt Saturday-Saturday. Then leave and drive straight through getting back Sunday night in time for some sleep then work Monday.
Although there have been a couple times I walked in to the house at 7am Monday, showered and headed to work.
 

2rocky

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Jun 21, 2012
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Nor Cal
I'll second the 3-1-3 model. Often on day 4, I might be moving to a new drainage.

I have killed on day 3 more often than any other day...
 

sterlryu

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Dec 2, 2021
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7 days with 2 days for travel (works out to a week and the weekends before and after).
 

Kurts86

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Aug 15, 2020
Messages
84
If I have a limited entry elk tag I’m probably going to realistically burn 7-8 vacation days which ends up being 11-12 days. With a lesser tag I’ll just take 5 days off and have 9 days in total. That’s mostly a function of how many vacation days I can get for myself and how much childcare help I can get with 2 young kids and wife working long hours.

With flying you can shave off 2 days of travel in some cases and you arrive fresher than driving 20 hours solo. It’s not always practical depending on the unit, season and intended hunt but you can pick up some time there. Packing elk solo can also take an extra day on the back end of a hunt compared to having help so a meat packer can definitely buy some time. If you are pressed for time there is a savings there.

At the end of the day I’m usually getting 4.5-6 days of actual elk hunting in for a given trip coming from out of state.
 

sodaksooner

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Joined
Feb 5, 2014
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884
Location
Tulsa Ok
Typically I will take half a day off on Thursday and leave mid afternoon. I can be in Colorado by midnight. Usually stop at a rest area or Wally world parking lot and catch some z's until early am. Can be at camp by early afternoon Friday. This lets us set up and if time allows we can stretch our legs for a quick easy evening hunt. We hunt pretty easy on Saturday as well but will hunt hard through next Friday evening. Pack up camp Sat am and back in OK sunday evening. I could hunt Saturday as well, but my brother has a full 2 days of driving versus my 1. I am usually 10 to 12 hours of driving each way depending on the area we hunt in that particular year.
 

Read1t48

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Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
383
Location
Oregon
Eight to 10 days is usually all I can handle physically.
You can’t say that with “Rambo” in your ID. I’m changing your reply to:

“I Want Them To Know That Death Is Coming, And There Is Nothing They Can Do To Stop It.”​


In all seriousness...8-10 days is great, especially in the backcountry.
 

timekiller13

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Dec 28, 2015
Messages
682
9 days total. 3 total days driving, one scouting day, 5 days hunting. But I hunt 1st rifle so 5 days is all i have to hunt anyways.
 

Wheels

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Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
637
Location
Missouri
Hard to draw tags, I’m hunting the entire season or until I kill. I’m retired now, but during my working years, I would plan on at least 2 weeks hunting.
 

PaBone

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Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
137
Location
Western Pa.
Two weeks in September for me archery hunting Montana. I need to save at least another two weeks for the whitetail rut in Pa and Ohio. I'm close to retiring and my plan in retirement is spend the entire archery season bow hunting elk, fishing and camping.
 
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