Lessons from a first elk hunt for those considering the same

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gobears870

gobears870

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I found a habitat condition and population survey document for the unit I drew on the CPW site. It had an author and field office location, so I called the main number of that office and asked to speak to the guy.
 

trophyhill

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How can u get the biologist name for an area. When I asked the cpw people who I talked to, they would not give it to me. Said it would flood them and they wouldn’t do anything but answer question from people like me. I understood and wasn’t upset but it would be nice to be able to ask one of the locale guys some questions.
That’s odd. Everytime I’ve cared to ask, they’ve given me a cell number if he or she wasn’t in the office
 

willy

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Gobear870, that is a great write up. Thanks for taking the time to put it up. You started with the most important quality of an elk hunt., the mental aspect. You described it well.

Thank you
 

Wolverine

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Great write up!
I couldn't agree more on picking the right hunting partner for an elk hunting trip. Talk about a LONG drive home after dealing with attitudes while hunting.

I would add that if you are on a tight budget, put the focus on boots. You can carry lighter loads to make up for a lacking pack. You can try to move in closer for the shot without a magnum caliber. You can walk in blue jeans. Beat up feet after one day of hunting can end the hunt.
 

T28w

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Just to be clear I called the number on the cpw website. It was the “hunt planner” I spoke with.
 

Cheptastic

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If it is of interest to any newcomers, I drew up a workout plan below based on what I did last year. I'm not an expert, and everyone's body is different, but this worked really well for me. It's not a beach body workout but I lost 16 pounds and felt as strong as I have in years. I'm 36 and had only done enough in the gym recently to keep high blood pressure at bay.

The only equipment you need are dumbbells and your pack. The goal of it is to get you ready for a basecamp-style hunt, with a balanced approach to expanding aerobic capacity and building up your lower body and core strength. Some key points to keep in mind:
  • This is a 6-month program, so it kicks off in March or April, depending on your hunt date. If you aren't working out right now, start jogging and throwing in some lunges and pushups so you limber up before it begins.
  • This is designed for 5 days a week. Break it up along the week as you like. If you are getting too sore or feel like you are going to injure something, back down and take a week off. It's better to do that than get sidelined for several weeks.
  • For pack weight, I filled a roll-top dry bag with sand and weighed it with a luggage scale.
  • Dumbbells are hard to find right now, but see what you can do with Craigslist and garage sales. As the program moves along you'll need to bump up the weight you're using for different exercises.
  • If you don't know what the exercise is, look it up on YouTube.
  • For the stretch sessions, find a program that works best for you. YouTube is your friend.
View attachment 255663
This is Sweet! Thanks for sharing this!
 

Rsnyder

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BA Gobesr. Planning first hunt may end up solo. Reinforced I may be on the right track. Thanks for your time in posting
 
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gobears870

gobears870

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BA Gobesr. Planning first hunt may end up solo. Reinforced I may be on the right track. Thanks for your time in posting

I don’t know about that. I flirted with the same thought early on but when I was actually there I knew I was better off with a partner for a number of reasons. First for safety, second- driving, third- splitting up gear and camp duties, and finally, if one of us got a bull down, it would make things a lot easier.


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mtwarden

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if it's your first elk hunt, it would be really valuable to have a partner that has some elk hunting experience under his belt- shortens the learning curve and processing your first elk and packing it out solo can be a little daunting if you haven't done it before

and if that's not an option, a good hunting partner that isn't afraid of hard work
 

nvkevin

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Spring Creek, NV
Great post here. Thank you for putting this post together. I’ve been hunting ek for close to 25 years and I still learn something new most every time I’m out in the field.

One thing I would say is don’t get caught up in the latest/greatest/most expensive talk. My grandpa and uncles still hunt elk in blue jeans and sweatshirts. Guess what, they kill elk every year. Do they kill giant B&C bulls? No. Do they enjoy the hunt, company, and the fresh air? You bet your ass they do. Point being, elk hunting is an absolute blast and you SHOULD have fun no matter what. You shouldn’t measure elk hunting success by whether or not you harvest. Measure success by what you learned and if you enjoyed yourself, especially when first starting out.

Cheers.


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Rus

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Great write up. I have not got the chance to hunt elk yet but it’s definitely something that I daydream about every day. Already trying to figure out a trip in two years.
 

Ocnandmtns

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Nov 25, 2020
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Cape Cod, South FL, and NYC
Great write up @gobears870 , thank you! I also went west for my first elk hunt last year(MT archery), didn’t tag out but learned a ton and I’m hooked. I did my homework and prep but still picked up a couple new pointers from you here. Sharing great well written info and even work out routines you may have a future media platform opportunity giving Randy and Corey a little competition 👍

On the partner discussion- I agree. I hunted with another newb that I connected with on another forum but we were both starting from zero. Would be great to find a partner with some experience.
 
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casady

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Queen Creek, Az
Nice write up, but Colorado is tough if your not prepared for weather. I hunted years back around Rifle Co Archery Elk and it was always fun but hard to hunt if you out of state.
 

brettpsu

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Good write up Gobears. I'll add my .02 of the most important things to me:

1)A hunting partner with a good positive attitude especially when the hunting gets tough. Nothing will deteriorate your own attitude faster than a partner who complains about everything. If you did 99% of the planning and all they do is bitch about the amount of hunters, warm weather, lack of camping spots, etc it taxes you pretty quick. I've hunted solo, with partners and with my wife. Honestly the wife has been the best. I knew she'd be upbeat and positive the whole time.

2)Be sure your own mental state is in good shape. Make sure everything back home is set for your time gone, be prepared for the worst hunting experience, give yourself a day off in the middle of the hunt to recharge.....maybe get a hotel and good meal somewhere or visit a national park for a day. Killing something sure helps but it's not everything. Enjoy you time out in the mountains
 
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gobears870

gobears870

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Good write up Gobears. I'll add my .02 of the most important things to me:

1)A hunting partner with a good positive attitude especially when the hunting gets tough. Nothing will deteriorate your own attitude faster than a partner who complains about everything. If you did 99% of the planning and all they do is bitch about the amount of hunters, warm weather, lack of camping spots, etc it taxes you pretty quick. I've hunted solo, with partners and with my wife. Honestly the wife has been the best. I knew she'd be upbeat and positive the whole time.

2)Be sure your own mental state is in good shape. Make sure everything back home is set for your time gone, be prepared for the worst hunting experience, give yourself a day off in the middle of the hunt to recharge.....maybe get a hotel and good meal somewhere or visit a national park for a day. Killing something sure helps but it's not everything. Enjoy you time out in the mountains
Totally agree. Like I said in another comment, even I had a hard time staying upbeat after a few days. Part of that was having not been away from home for this long since having kids. We never had bad weather to compound things (just one super cold night/morning that zapped our energy) but the mental grind is very real. After four days of pretty hard charging we slept in and went fishing one day. It really livened things up and we felt better heading out later that afternoon.
 

Drewby

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Thank you for the information! I'm going to be elk hunting for the first time this year and I'm soaking up all the information I can find.

Where did you come from and what was it like getting used to the altitude?
 
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gobears870

gobears870

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Thank you for the information! I'm going to be elk hunting for the first time this year and I'm soaking up all the information I can find.

Where did you come from and what was it like getting used to the altitude?

Good question. I’m a flatlander in Texas. I worked pretty hard to physically prepare (see workout post above). Someone told me the amount of time you can run without stopping at sea level is how long you can walk without stopping at 10,000’. I don’t know if that’s backed up by anything but I kept that in mind during my training and it makes sense to me after being there.

Starting five days before departure I drank water constantly and started taking the Solitude supplements from MTNOPS. Part of our plan was to split up our drive in two days to help with the acclimation - we stayed overnight in a town at 7,000’.

Our first day we were between 9,500’ and 10,500’. I had a headache but never felt sick or got too winded. I felt great all week. I could have gone a lot harder but had to stay at my dad’s pace. My resting heart rate is 60 and it was 80 up there, which was interesting.

Between training, an overnight stay at altitude, and hydration, you can adapt pretty quickly. I don’t know if the supplements made a difference or not. They are expensive, too. It’s hard falling and staying asleep at high altitude so I took Advil PM every night. Maybe not the healthiest thing but it definitely helped.


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Drewby

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Good tip on the sleeping, I hadn't considered that. I'm also planning on splitting up my drive, but from IL its 2 days no matter how I cut it and I don't think where I'd be stopping will be very high in elevation. I think I'll keep the running/walking anecdote in my head as well. thanks!

Between training, an overnight stay at altitude, and hydration, you can adapt pretty quickly. I don’t know if the supplements made a difference or not. They are expensive, too. It’s hard falling and staying asleep at high altitude so I took Advil PM every night. Maybe not the healthiest thing but it definitely helped.


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