Packing out an elk

Smithb9841

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May 26, 2019
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Hey guys will be doing my First elk hunt this year in Idaho will Be Going solo, my cousin might be able to join me for a day or 2 but not sure if he will be able to take time off yet. Anyway I’ve been training with a 50lb bag of sand in my pack and am going to Be moving up to an 80lbs bag next week. I’m 28 and I’m in pretty good shape. I plan on hiking in from
Camp a few miles for the hunt.

So my question is if I am Lucky enough to get a bull down how many trips do you guys usually take to pack out an elk? And in
What order do you take the quarters out. I’m comfortable with quartering an elk out and getting it hung up just curious how many trips you guys take to pack your elk out?
 
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Smithb9841

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Probably should add not new to hunting I’ve deer hunted since I was 12 but always have hunted where it was easier to drag the deer to the road instead of quartering up
 

lacseul

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Solo at least 3 deboned, there huge animals!

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7Bartman

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Yeah, I tried the same a few years back. I wouldn't stray too far from trailheads if you are planning on getting one out by yourself. I'd say 3-4 trips depending on bone in/out, bull/cow, and how steep/far you have to travel. Don't forget the trekking poles!
 

Mulyhuntr

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Packed out my first elk last year with my 58 year old dad. We were 5 miles deep and it took two trips. We weren’t staying the night so didn’t have a ton of gear with us. Shot elk at 530pm and got back to truck at 130am. Took the next day off and went back in to get the rest of the meat the following day. What a grueling experience.
 

Vaultman

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I am a Bone IN guy, as I have just never done it de-boned.
A big bull (or a big cow)... 1 trip per hind quarter, shoulder backstraps & tenderloins = 1 trip, other shoulder and head = 1 trip. So 4 (maybe 5). (A small elk you may get away with one less trip). And on the next day REST.

If I have a canopy on my truck that locks, I take the head out first, stuff it in a trash bag and hide it in the canopy. (This works well if no one sees you, but if someone sees you you may be nervous all the way back to get your meat). I fell like this way I am not leaving it in the woods where someone could find it and be gone in 20 minutes never to even know they were there.
But don't take it out first and just leave it in the back of an open truck bead. If that head grows another backpack and gets in someone else's truck you may be hurting that way too.
 

muddydogs

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My first trip is usually the loose meat bag and if its a smaller elk like a cow I might take a front.

Once back at the pickup I off load anything I don't need in the pack but this will very with how far I have to go and time of day. Am I far enough back in that I might need survival gear? If its late in the day is there a possibility I might have to spend the night if something happens?

From here it just depends on how far I have to pack, type or terrain and how beat up i am. I have carried a front and hind of a big cow before for a couple miles but the last bull I shot it was all I could do to get a bone in hind off the hill. Speaking of hills it matters if I'm loaded doing up or down the hill, I can carry a lot more weight down the hill then up.

So long story short it just depends on when, where and how big.
 
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Smithb9841

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Thanks for the info everyone I was assuming 4 trips. And will be about dead after haha. This is what im Most nervous about is the pack out if I am lucky enough to get one.

Along the lines with what vaultMan said, do you guys normally drop off your head and meat a few hundred yards from
Truck to keep it from Getting taken? Has anyone ever actually had someone take there meat or elk head?
 

TC406

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May 22, 2019
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If I have a canopy on my truck that locks, I take the head out first, stuff it in a trash bag and hide it in the canopy.
I get your logic but this is illegal most (all?) places. Please don't give out illegal advice to new (elk) hunters. Trophy is the last thing out of the woods. If you're that paranoid stuff it under a tree or cover it up with pine boughs.

Smith, take it easy ramping your training pack up that heavy. I just got overzealous on a trading hike that I felt good on the whole time, but it turns out I jacked up my knee at some point. Gonna set me back a few weeks at least. The pack out will take as many trips as needed. Have good game bags and take the time to debone, less for weight and more to let the meat cool better.

Don't forget the trekking poles.
 

805Bowhunter

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Like others have said, I would make sure you are in good shape but dont go too hard and get hurt. I never put more than 45 in my pack during training and just make sure to hike for a few months leading up to season. I also would check regulations as I believe that taking the head out first is illegal in Idaho. I've never done it that way. I've never heard of someone having anything taken either but maybe that is me being naieve and not ever experiencing that.

One thing I would add is look up outfitters in the area that you will be hunting. Not sure where you will be if there will be cell phone coverage or not (maybe you have an inreach), but I would ask about horse packout options. Last year I shot a bull and was able to inreach a friend of the outfitters (whose contact I had been given after calling the outfitter) and he and his wife brought horses in and helped me pack out. I've been told by different outfitters over the years in different states that "if we're not busy, we'd love to help out but our clients come first." Every year, I make a handfull of calls before I go to see if this is an option/possibility so that you may not have to carry the whole thing out on your own. Nothing better than enjoying a beer on the trail while a few horses carry everything out. Kinda feels like cheating.
 

TC406

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I was a competitive swimmer for 14 years. I think I have PTSD from so many flip turns lol. But yeah, probably not a bad idea. That and don't be a dummy and get overzealous on a training hike.
 

wapitibob

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Probably should add not new to hunting I’ve deer hunted since I was 12 but always have hunted where it was easier to drag the deer to the road instead of quartering up
You'll be just fine and you can take the head out first in practically every western state. It's a good idea to do your own research.
 

Mike 338

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It's good your getting your legs in shape with a pack and hopefully hills. Boned out, we usually get 225 lbs of meat including heart and liver. Horns are extra and heavy. One guy mostly uphill 4 or 5 trips. For safety and your own general health, don't load up your pack to heavy. Make an extra trip rather than breaking an ankle. Trekking poles will probably help a solo packer. Have a good time.
 

cnelk

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How many trips? Depends.

I have always approached it with caution. Whats the hurry? You're done. Embrace the suck.

If solo - First trip for me is loose meat and a front shoulder.
Second & third trip are the hind quarters
Fourth trip is the other front quarter and antlers.
Sometimes I do 5 trips and take the head/antlers last.



Last year there was a guy in western Colorado that packed out his 6x6 antlers first, went back for more meat and came back to having someone steal his rack. Never found it

Choose wisely


 

juan trueno

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Generally this is about what i do. This works out to about 65- 85 lb loads (usually the first load is big) plus whatever gear and water you have. Witha spike or a cow 3 trips is pretty reasonable. I’ll carry those shoulders out together. The real art to e scouting and boots in the ground scouting is finding the daunting locations to get into- the places no one wants to go because it’s tough going that simultaneously “aren’t that bad” on the way out.

1) backstraps, tenderloin, hindquarter
2 ) hindquarter
3)shoulder and meat
4) shoulder and head
 
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LostArra

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How many trips? Depends.

I have always approached it with caution. Whats the hurry? You're done. Embrace the suck.

If solo - First trip for me is loose meat and a front shoulder.
Second & third trip are the hind quarters
Fourth trip is the other front quarter and antlers.
Sometimes I do 5 trips and take the head/antlers last.



Last year there was a guy in western Colorado that packed out his 6x6 antlers first, went back for more meat and came back to having someone steal his rack. Never found it

Choose wisely


I guess I should look on the bright side of only drawing cow tags. One less trip and no one has stolen an udder.
 
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