Just Getting Started

HISCRAMENESS

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Jul 31, 2012
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Ok the more I read the more I want to do it. As a flatlander (Oklahoma) I generally don't hunt "far" from the house. I have decided to attempt a DIY backpack mulie hunt in the next couple years. I have NO idea where to start.....gear, location, etc.? Can anyone point me in the right direction? This will most likely be a rifle hunt. My main concerns I think are a pack and shelter.........
 

Jordan Budd

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For a pack I would highly recommend the Eberlestock Just One series. I have the J34 and I love it... day pack, multi-day backcountry pack, and a meat hauler. S and S Archery does awesome videos on youtube on them. Other than that I am in the same boat as you are! Good luck!
 

Nick Muche

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Mar 21, 2012
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It can be very overwhelming at first. When I made the move from the midwest to Idaho, I was so confused and litterally thought I would never make anything happen. Fortunately, forums like this and a few others out there will really help you out. Read as much as you can.

I think the first order of business is to decide WHERE you want to try your luck. There are a few states that offer OTC opportunities, one of them being Idaho. You can get a deer tag OTC for about 300$ and then a 150$ hunting license. There are other options and I am sure some folks will chime in as to where and how to go about it, but most will require you to apply for an area an possibly require points.

As far as gear... A quality pack like mentioned above, around 4-5000 Cubic inches will serve you well for a 3-5 day hunt. There are a million tents and tarps out there, so do some research on what you think you will like best and compare a few in terms of weight, size, durability, etc... From there, make a choice and if you end up hating it, sell it! If you like it, use it again.

If you have any specific questions, ask them... Someone will help you out!

Take care and best of luck, planning a hunt is about as much fun as going on one.
 
OP
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HISCRAMENESS

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Jul 31, 2012
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Thanks for the replies. It is overwhelming. I would most likely be going with my brother so I wouldnt be solo on my first time out. OTC would be cool just because I could actually have a set plan without chancing a draw. I initially wanted to go archery but figured for my first backpack in hunt a rifle would increase my odds, wrong? I am going on a guided archery Elk hunt this year in Montana, but I already love the idea of doing it on my own. I feel like I have th age old desire to "Go West".
 

littlebuf

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Feb 24, 2012
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buy the best gear you can afford. i wouldn't go eberlestock but if that's your budget than it will work. and get in shape.these mountains out west are a far sight different than the 100 yard walks to tree stands and food plots in the east. you can do all the Internet scouting,satellite research and GMU odds you want but if your out of shape and cant get into where you wanted to hunt,or worse cant get back out,than it wont do you a bit of good. the rockies and cascades have the ability to eat your lunch,so bring a lite one...
 

robby denning

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Definitely get your brother on board. If he's not 100% in, find someone who is. That is the first thing.

Working in the hunting business, I've learned that many hunters underestimate the drive. They think it's nothing to drive 1-4 days to get to a hunting area, BUT, they don't consider that you lose hunting days, and you show up kinda burned out. So if it were me, I'd pick the closest western state (Colorado/New Mexico???). That will save you hunting days and the abilty to show up fresher.

If you can then find someone who will share good information with you, that will give you a huge leg-up. Nothing is more mentally defeating than not trusting your area. Really!!!! I see hard core guys give up way too soon because they don't believe in the area they are hunting and within a few days, a warm bed and a kiss from momma sounds way better and off they go, home, and the season is over.
 

weaver

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If your not going for a couple of years i would start building points in Colorado. If you dont want to mess with the draw system Idaho would probably be your best bet for otc opportunities.
 

fillthefreezer

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have you ever backpacked or do you have access to anywhere nearby you can start backpacking? this would help you feel more comfortable bringing less as opposed to over packing because your out of your comfort zone..
 

larryschwartz

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I can't help you in terms of picking a place to hunt, but you are already getting good advice there. As for the backpacking/camping/equipment I might be able to add some value here...

1. If you have never been backpacking or camping even, then you need to start doing it now, even if it is on the flat land. You are not going to be living out of some guides wall tent or lodge so you need to know that you can handle seven days sleeping on the ground, walking for a half a day or longer with 40# or more on your back, and can make your equipment work when it needs to. Nothing worse than being cold, wet, and hungry and you can't make your stove work...well, there are but you get the point. ;)

2. Definitely get into shape, for two reasons. First, you have never spent the whole day walking around in the mountains and it is different. Uneven terrain, no trails to walk on, carrying weight on your back, etc. Plus, just walking up or down hill for a few hours will be totally different to your body. The first thing that will hurt your hunt is if your body can't keep up and if your body can't then your brain won't be far behind. Second, you will be up higher and the air is thinner, so your body will need to be in the best shape it can be in just to help with the lower levels of oxygen you will be sucking in. More on that later.

3. Check out the threads on this forum, on the Elk forum on Bowsite.Com, on kifaruforums.net, and on backpackinglight.com to learn as much as you can about what gear you will need for an elk our mountain hunt and how to trim down your weight into a list of gear that will do what you need it to do with the lightest weight possible/practical.

4. You should concentrate on the Big Three first and get what will work for you and weighs as little as possible, but remember that lighter also may mean more expensive so you will likely find a happy medium between costing a little less but being a few ounces or pounds more than the lightest/most expensive options. The big three are your Pack, your Shelter, and your Sleeping system (sleeping bag, ground pad, and a ground sheet).

5. As for the pack, there will be lots out there that you like but some of them will not fit your body and you should not even consider them if they don't. By fitting your body I am talking about your torso length (do a search on here or the other sites for more information). When you wear your pack all or most of the weight should be resting on your hipbone with the waist belt. The shoulder straps with modern packs are really just there to keep the pack from flopping off of your back and to keep it from shifting from side to side as you walk. As a result, the top of the pack/frame, when it is resting properly on your hips, should come to a couple of inches above your shoulders so that the "load lifters" have enough height to lift the strap slightly up off of your your shoulders so that instead of pushing down on the top of your shoulder the strap will push back into your shoulder. Do a Google image search on load lifters and you will see what I am talking about.

6. Things at higher altitudes are much different from down on the flat. Take some chapstick with you since the air is much drier and your lips WILL get chapped. Plan on drinking lots of water each day for the same reason and you will be sweating more and breathing through your mouth more. Also, do some reading up on altitude sickness to get familiar with the symptoms and treatments. Speaking of treatments, also plan to get out there a day or two before hand to get used to the altitude. It will pay massive dividends on the hunt.

Well, that's plenty for now, good luck, get lots of practice with your gear, and have a blast!

Larry
 
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HISCRAMENESS

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Thanks for all the input guys. I don't want to sound cheap but I am hoping to find some good deals on some classifieds. And I am already thinkin about a summer backpacking trip, maybe a long weekend next year. I seem to have just as much fun planning and preparing for this stuff as I do actually going.
 

fillthefreezer

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i would plan more trips than that if you can, just being used to your gear and living out of a backpack a few days will pay off huge when hunting this way
 

bbrown

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There is alot of wisdom in Larry's post and definitely do as many trial runs as you can like fillthefreezer suggests. Also, don't fall into the trap of buying everything you read about here. Build spread sheets of what you have and want and then figure out what you really NEED.

Spending money on quality gear is something you wont regret - it lasts and if it does not work for you, you can resell it and recoup much more of your cash to "re-invest". At the same time, looking for quality used gear or comparing top end gear to similar gear that costs a bit less, weighs slightly more with a different name can get you going with good gear for alot less. It takes years and lots of nights in the woods to hone your gear list and I am not sure if it is ever really done...

My buddies have plenty of jokes about how much of a tight wad I am when it comes to spending cash but the truth is I am 29 year old in the construction industry that has struggled for years. And while I make decent money, I have bills too and life is not cheap. So I want to make sure I can stretch my dollar as far as it can.

Shoot me a PM and I will share my gear/food lists to get you going.
 

bbrown

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And as far as where - I would focus on Colorado. Lots of places to hunt deer and elk every year and play the point game. Just a few points can put you in a limited area with much better odds and less competition.
 

rhendrix

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Aug 6, 2012
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I'm in your same shoes, I'm hoping to build points in Colorado for the next couple of years and in the meantime I plan on putting in for units for the first archery season in units where I can get a OTC either-sex elk tag as well. This way I've got two species to hunt. Just something to think about.

I'm also gonna fly from southwest and scout two to three times over the next summer as well and use it as an opportunity to test out my setup, that is of course if my wife lets me. We shall see.

Good luck!
 
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HISCRAMENESS

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Ok we are thinkin southern Colorado for 2014....what is the best way to find out public land boundries and locations?
 

rhendrix

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GPS if you've got boots on the ground. Otherwise go to the GMU Map on the DOW website.
 

larryschwartz

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If you go to mytopo.com one of the options for the maps is to put on boundaries. They may be more recent than what is in your GPS and it goes on the map that you use of the hunt area.
 
OP
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HISCRAMENESS

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Would it be a good idea to try a drop camp hunt for our first time out? I know thats not DIY.....
 
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