Now or Never and My Wife Wants to go!

Valkyrie

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
113
I’m going solo. After three seasons not working out with my hunting buddy for mostly work reasons and COVID last year, I am not waiting any longer.

I spent the last year shooting, tuning my gear, cycling, and studying here and everywhere on success and failure stories.

I have no illusions of success. I’m going to do a five day OTC hunt in CO. Back pack in, set up a spike camp and go from there. I’m experienced at backpack camping and do a couple trips with my nephews scout troop every year so I have a good system set up already.

My hunting gear is solid. Just finished up the TAC at Seven Springs last week and I’m shooting great out to my comfort zone of 50 yards though even at 70-80 I was doing ok but I’d never take a shot at an animal that far. Fifty yards is my hard limit.

I’m doing five days of hunting and a couple days drive on each end.

My bow and arrow set up:

Mathews Traverse. 70lb 30.5” draw. 70% let off. A Stan SX3 release and a Scott caliper backup.
260 spine Easton Axis 5mm 30”carbon to carbon with 125gr vented VPA 3-bladed BHs. Two inch Blazer vanes
The arrows weigh 520grs +/- 1.5 grains over a dozen I have built up. This set up shoots really nice even though AA says I’m weak spined. Haven’t clocked them yet but really don’t care to, they shoot great.

Have a pair of 10x40 Nikon Monarch 7s and an angle compensating rangefinder in an AGC harness.

I am tweaking my pack though. An Eberlestock F1 mainframe and a Little Big Top. Two man Alps Mtring tent. Have had it and the pack out hiking and it feels ok so far.

Trying to decide on some small things. Fire Maple stove and titanium cup and long spork. Small med kit. Fifty feet of para cord and two carabiners. Game bags from BO. Down 20 degree sleepibag, sleeping pad, inflatable pillow, water filter and bladder. Toiletries, A headlamp, Garmin GPS as a backup to my phone, Bow maintenance stuff like a few essential Allen wrenches, super glue, small chunk of string wax, extra D loop and a couple extra nocks and some serving string. A leatherman multitool. Three Bic lighters in different compartments of my pack and a small fire kit. A Gomboy folding saw. A 26k mha Anker battery pack. Spare set batteries for everything like headlamp GPS and rangefinder.

And as for clothing. Two pair of merino socks, a base layer merino shirt, a light hoody, light pants from Sitka, two pair drawers, pair of gaiters, vented ball cap and a merino beanie. Maybe some sort of puffy style jacket? I have a pair of broken in Crispi boots I’ve been wearing early whitetail hunting for a couple years and love them.

I’m working on food by actually eating what I think I’ll use here at home to see how it works out. I plan on a 3000 calorie diet per day.

So for I have come up with the following or a single day.

Breakfast: a packet or two of maple cinnamon oatmeal, instant coffee, peanut butter and crackers.

Lunch/snack: Trail mix, electrolyte drink mix, protein bars, more peanut butter snack crackers and a cinnamon raisin bagel. Dried fruits.

Dinner: MH meal, some sort addition to bulk up the calories in the MH meal? Maybe add some instant and cheese as a side?

So that’s what I’m working on now. Let’s hope life doesn’t get in the way again this year.

Ideas?
 
Last edited:

Firestone

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
185
Location
Northwest Montana
I will say I think backpacking into an unknown spot for your entire trip might be a little risky. But if that's the adventure you want then get after it. Best of luck
 
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Valkyrie

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
113
I will say I think backpacking into an unknown spot for your entire trip might be a little risky. But if that's the adventure you want then get after it. Best of luck
I’m not a risk taker or adrenaline junky but I’m in good shape and smart woods-wise. I’ll have an InReach with me. And I know my mental and physical limits. But if there’s one thing I do love, it’s camping and being outside. My dad took us all the time when we were kids. Fishing, hunting and just for fun.
 

bozeman

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
1,573
Location
Alabama
Go! Best of luck to you……just make sure someone knows the area you are going to!!
 

Rob5589

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2014
Messages
3,792
Location
W Sac CA
I’m not a risk taker or adrenaline junky but I’m in good shape and smart woods-wise. I’ll have an InReach with me. And I know my mental and physical limits. But if there’s one thing I do love, it’s camping and being outside. My dad took us all the time when we were kids. Fishing, hunting and just for fun.
I think what he was saying was to stay mobile and willing to move if the area doesn't pan out.
I am of absolutely no authority on killing elk but, one thing I picked up on from people that are is to stay mobile and have a plan B, C, and D. Good luck!
 

ElkArcher918

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
286
Location
N. CO
Valkyrie, I think you have the right attitude, doing your research/preparation , and picking up decent gear. As a solo hunter it's just a matter of gaining "in the field" local knowledge which can only be obtained by actual hunting the unit (unless you know a local or go guided). Just go into the hunt with tempered expectations and remain mobile. If you can stretch out your hunt from 5 days to 7-10 it would give you more time to learn the area and make the necessary relocation adjustments in the event you are not finding elk in spots you anticipated. Hunt hard but enjoy the ride. Elk country is God's country.
 

Nickofthewoods

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2018
Messages
734
Location
Colorado
Personally I'd go with the short spork.. long sporks have well known issues just use the search function.
Plus if you get a long spork you won't have the opportunity to lick your fingers at the end, which is every Backcountry Hunter's favorite part of bagged meals.

I could certainly be wrong since I don't know how many crackers etc., that you are bringing but your meal descriptions sound short of 3k calories/day. Good plan so far though. I'll give a vote in favor of bringing a packable micro puffy jacket, I still heavily use mine even though it is half duct tape now from all the campfire embers from over the years.
 
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Valkyrie

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
113
Plus if you get a long spork you won't have the opportunity to lick your fingers at the end, which is every Backcountry Hunter's favorite part of bagged meals.

I could certainly be wrong since I don't know how many crackers etc., that you are bringing but your meal descriptions sound short of 3k calories/day. Good plan so far though. I'll give a vote in favor of bringing a packable micro puffy jacket, I still heavily use mine even though it is half duct tape now from all the campfire embers from over the years.
You’re right. I’m gonna have to add a few protein bars or something. I’ll tweak it. Maybe add a snickers bar or two and some dried fruits.
 
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Valkyrie

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
113
You will have a great time but I would try to double the time if at all possible.
Gonna be tough. Active duty navy. Archery whitetail starts soon after and then a deployment later in the winter. Add in family stuff and the Labor Day holiday and I’m pretty tight on time through the fall. I’d love to do ten days but don’t think it’s doable. See how it goes.
 

slvrslngr

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
719
Go for it! Put in some work and have fun. An easy way to add a few calories to the MH is adding some butter or olive oil, it'll help the flavor as well.
 
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Valkyrie

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
113
Honestly, too many excuses, stay home. Not what you want to hear but save your money. The fact you are concerned about it cutting into Deer hunting time is a head shaker. Good luck sir & thank you for your service!

ElkNut
Lol. I know!!!
 

Marine4life

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
Messages
339
Location
Missouri
Go and have fun. I have done a dozen or more trips by myself over the years and it adds a great perspective on life. Only suggestion I would have is plan to be mobile until you find elk


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Michael Rankin

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
202
Seems like your pretty well set up. If I was in Your shoes I would make the trip happen. I hate thinking I’m going to do something, and it gets pushed back.

What time of year is your trip? First week of September and last week of September most likely will have huge differences in weather on average, which could require different clothing. Also what average elevation you planing on being at? Temperatures at 3000ft and 8000 f

Obviously the more days the better, 5 actuall hunting days is pretty short. If you kill a pretty good bull all by yourself 5-6 miles out, you could be looking at a few days to get meat, horns, and your camp back to the rig. If you are successful, can you add extra days if needed? I do several short 3-4 day hunts each elk season, but always have the ability to come home late if successful so I can hunt the entire trip.
 

Michael Rankin

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
202
Here is what I pack for elk hunts. There are some notes in the list about items brought later in September when the weather typically changes. This setup works for me in rain, snow, and sun and temps down around 30 degrees

Backpack list

Sleep System
*Kelty2 person tent
*Thermarest Neo Air Xlite sleep Pad
*REI Sub Kilo sleeping bag
*Klymit Xpillow inflatable pillow

General gear
*Hunting tags & ball point pen in zip lock back with 1 extra zip lock per species if
hunting multiple species on trip
*Breeze squeeze wind tester(use a lot when calling to get set up properly)
*Platapus Big Zip 3 liter water bladder
*Garmin Montana GPS
*Black diamond Icon headlam
*Extra batteries for headlamp/gps
*1 roll toilet paper up to 7 day trips
*Glen Berry Thunder Bugle reeds(1 per day)
*Phelps gray Amp mouth reeds (1 per 3 days)
*Wood Wise external reed cow call
*Jet boil stove
*Small Giga Power fuel can for jet boil
*Spoon
*Lighter
*Coghlans Fire starter paste
*Katadyn Hiker Pro Water filter
*Flip flops to wear at camp
*20ft paracord rope(clothes line @CamP)
*Mole Skin and Leukotape(for blisters)
*Tooth brush & toothpaste
*Qtips
*Non scented deodorant

Skinning/ meat hanging/meat care
*Bahco 396-LAP 7.5 inch blade hand saw
*Havalon knife with 6/8 xtra blades
*Gerber Metolius EZ Open knife
*6 Carabou Gear 20x38 game bags, trash bag,30ft paracord all vacuum sealed together.

Clothing
*Stocking cap
*Smart wool gloves(2 pair if long trip/wet weather)
*1 pair KUIU Aattack pants
*1 KUIU 125 Ultra Merino LS Crew T Shirt
*1 pair KUIU calf high merino socks
(2 extra socks for tripsover 3-4 days)
*KUIU Ultra Merino zip off bottom
*KuiU Ultra Merino 145 zip t
#Kuiu gator
#Kuiu chugach Nx rain pants/jacket
#First lite puffy jacket
#KUIU Peloton zip jacket

#items dependent on weather forecast.
If doing 7-10 day trip, weather forecast not reliable for that length of time and all items are packed.

Food (per day amount)
*3 packets instant oatmeal vacuum sealed
*1 or 2 cliff bars
*2 cups low fat granola, 1/2 cup instant milk, 1/2 cup freez dried strawberries vacuum sealed
*2 Starbucks via
*2 powdered pedialyte/Gatorade packets
*Mountain house meal for dinner
*1 oz jerky
*1/4 cup mixed nuts






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Crowmangler

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
548
Location
North Carolina
I know it's not included on a gear list but don't forget the most important part...have a solid plan for getting the elk off the mountain & caring for the meat. Have coolers with ice waiting at the truck.
Definitely line up a packer or have people on stand by to help.
Counting camp, you're gonna have 5-6 loads to haul out on your own. Lets assume you're 4 miles in... that's a lot of miles (& multiple days) with a heavy ass load on your back.

Water water water. Are you sure there's gonna be a reliable source where you're going? It may be bone dry again this year. If not keep a large amount at the truck just in case. Have at least 1 back up filter.
 

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