Packing out an elk

deerkiller

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I’d say be careful training with 80lbs. Asking for trouble IMO. I stay under 65.


You can’t cheat the mountain
VERY good advice - SAVE your body for the chore, it is far better to make 2 arduous trips than one "killer" trip, trust me, I know …… from my experience I'd rather have to make an extra trip or two and leave the hindquarter bones in just because of how they'll carry - I'm 68, have packed so many elk quarters I honestly could not say the number, all sorts of country from "on all fours canyons" to rolling & rocky - get yourself a good meat pack like a bull pac or that one guys mention on ebay, get your first load to your destination any way you want then use that meat pack and thank me later for the advice
 

deerkiller

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Im always amazed at the dudes in hunting videos who carry a back ham and front shoulder in one trip (from a big bull). Im not weak but bloody hell that looks rough. The most I have ever carried was 135 pounds (it was both front shoulders with head and hide) for around 3 miles, mostly all down but steep down. It was rough and I was hoping a bear would eat me before it was over. The bull I got last year we ended up with 240 pounds of boned out meat. I strip them down good though. I dont like leaving anything for the bears . :) He was the biggest bull I have gotten yet and a nice 6x6.

Cnelk you must be one of those dudes thats a packing animal to take out that many elk at once. Im sore just thinking about it.

If your by a crick the meat can last a long time so no need to hurry if your by your self. Put the game bags in a construction grade garbage bag and dunk it in the crick with a tarp over it to keep the sun off. It will last a week or more easy and be so cold it will hurt your hands to cut it up. Skin the head and hang it high in a tree. You would have plenty of time.

If your in blow down country make a plan to get an animal out from under a log. A 7-800 pound animal is hard to move with two guys when under a log that can t be moved let alone by your self. And only way out form under it is pulling up the mountain (he was in a log pile so there was no way to drag him out easy with out some leverage.). In a 36 hour window of time we slept 2 hours and hiked 32k worth of steps(or it was the other way around I cant remember lol) Its not usually that bad though this was an extreme case with him being stuck. Its just something I have never thought to encounter and have moved elk before. This one was a pia though.
there are stories and then there are what actually took place - a lot of injuries come home from elk trips
I "used to" want to be "tough" but all it ever got me was HURT - braggin' rights are worthless for rehab ….
"I'm not interested in more than 4 trips" ?? COME ON …..
 

5MilesBack

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I'm not interested in more than 3 trips........but if it takes 4, it takes 4. One year I shot a 4x5 raghorn, and my buddy and I hauled it all out in one trip, so two loads. Just depends on the amount of meat. The bull in my avatar I carried out the head/cape/rack first on my shoulders because I was wearing my daypack, and then I had help from another Rokslider that was in the area hunting with his brother-in-law. They saved me from an entire day of packing solo the next day. We went back in immediately when I got back with the head, and we hauled the weighed 268lbs of meat out with the three of us.......so four loads total, and that's not even my biggest bull. Big body though. I shot him around 0730 and we were back at the truck done with all the meat right around 5:30pm.
 
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deerkiller

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Is anyone 10
I'm not interested in more than 3 trips........but if it takes 4, it takes 4. One year I shot a 4x5 raghorn, and my buddy and I hauled it all out in one trip, so two loads. Just depends on the amount of meat. The bull in my avatar I carried out the head/cape/rack first on my shoulders because I was wearing my daypack, and then I had help from another Rokslider that was in the area hunting with his brother-in-law. They saved me from an entire day of packing solo the next day. We went back in immediately when I got back with the head, and we hauled the weighed 268lbs of meat out with the three of us.......so four loads total, and that's not even my biggest bull. Big body though. I shot him around 0730 and we were back at the truck done with all the meat right around 5:30pm.
100% physically or mentally every day ? I know I am not and never have been, some days I'll accomplish things that others comment about, other days not so much (and that varies by a big swing) I've done lots of "lone kills" and decided to get as much done as I was good for, lots of times I've made a kill and packed the head/rack out and waited, a few times for an extra day, then packed the meat - there aren't very many of "us" who are supermen all the time (that was the only point to comments made, didn't mean to offend anyone)
 

ElkNut1

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This is why I train my ass off year around! When I was younger (50 & under) I didn't have to train all that hard, mostly because I'm a very determined guy & self motivated & stayed in decent elk hunting shape.

I'm now 64 & it takes 3 trips to get an elk out alone in the 1/2 mile to 2-1/2 distances. I generally All Day hunt so do not have to worry about a bivy style pack with 35# to 40# to start with. My Exo 3500 Pack weighs aprox 17# loaded for all day, 18# or so with lightweight rain jacket! With a bull down I'm ready to pack out at the crime scene!

ElkNut/Paul
 

BeaverHunter

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Another thing to be aware of is a lot of processors at least around my parts won't take boned meat and most don't even really want to take quartered game but do. They give some song and dance about needing to be able to hang the meat in the cooler and don't seem to be whiling to hang meat bags.

Just something to be aware of and check into if your planning on taking the meat to a shop before heading home.
I’ve never even heard of something like this. Guess it’s one more reason why I process my own and have for years.
 

Sundance

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Jul 9, 2014
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For packing out an elk I’d recommend two things: a good pack and trekking poles. You can score some decent poles at Costco or look at close outs at STP. Wish I’d started using poles earlier in my elk hunting days.
 

JLH208

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Mar 12, 2017
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For packing out an elk I’d recommend two things: a good pack and trekking poles. You can score some decent poles at Costco or look at close outs at STP. Wish I’d started using poles earlier in my elk hunting days.
Golden advice right there


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

deerkiller

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I’ve never even heard of something like this. Guess it’s one more reason why I process my own and have for years.
a lot of "butchers" have a set routine for an animal, especially elk, and will grumble because getting one, two, ?? at a time is some extra work - A GOOD processor will not grumble to the customer - "The Meating Place" in Hillsboro OR is one of these, they do an OUTSTANDING job (have for many years) for a fair price and will gladly take quartered meat any day
 

Jimss

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Here's some data to back up what I mentioned in my post above. The U of Wyo conducted a study on 25,000 elk of different age and sexes where they compared fied dressed to boned elk weights. It's thorough and detailed data. According to their chart approximately 1/2 of the weight of elk is bone and other parts not associated with boned meat. An average 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year old bull field dress 400 lbs and boned meat is 200 lbs. With that said, it would roughly take 4 to 5ish heavy loads to pack out a 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year old bull and 2 to 3 heavy loads to pack out boned meat. That doesn't account for the rack and cape.

Heres the link: https://www.huntingpacksreview.com/how-much-does-a-bull-elk-weigh/

Bones are a lot higher % of a elk's weight than some may believe!
 

muddydogs

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Here's some data to back up what I mentioned in my post above. The U of Wyo conducted a study on 25,000 elk of different age and sexes where they compared fied dressed to boned elk weights. It's thorough and detailed data. According to their chart approximately 1/2 of the weight of elk is bone and other parts not associated with boned meat. An average 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year old bull field dress 400 lbs and boned meat is 200 lbs. With that said, it would roughly take 4 to 5ish heavy loads to pack out a 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year old bull and 2 to 3 heavy loads to pack out boned meat. That doesn't account for the rack and cape.

Heres the link: https://www.huntingpacksreview.com/how-much-does-a-bull-elk-weigh/

Bones are a lot higher % of a elk's weight than some may believe!
Ya but were not talking a field dressed bull were talking a quartered bull, most of the bones are already left at the kill site. So while the info is cool it has little bearing on packing quarters were a 3ish year old bull might have 25 pounds of bones left in the 4 quarters.
 

Jimss

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They removed the head and lower legs below the knee joints, hide, and intestines to get the field dress weights. You can twist and turn the facts but the U of Wyo test of 25,000 elk pretty much shows that a boned elk is 1/2 the weight of a field dressed elk. They didn't mention anything about the ribs so I'm guessing they are included in the ribs in the field dress weight. If you "bone" the ribs (which you mentioned in your post the meat processors don't want you to do) you'll still be packing out a couple extra trips or hauling A LOT heavier load if you don't bone out the entire elk! The front and rear hind quarter bones weigh a lot more than what you think on an elk! I wish the U of W would have weighed all the bones for their report....it would have answered that question!

The other benefit to boning out your elk in the field is you don't have to deal with tossing smelly bones in the garbage when you get home and process your game. I'm sure a lot of guys process their own meat. My wife sure is glad I don't have smelly bones sitting in the garbage bin for a week!

The bottom line is....do you want to end up packing more trips and heavier loads with bones included? If I'm 2 to 5 miles back in steep, rough country is it worth saving several trips by boning.....heck yes...it's a no brainer!
 

Dlbuttram21

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Jun 9, 2019
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4 trips is what it takes me. We have killed several bulls over the years. ALWAYS debone! There is no reason to pack all the bone weight out. A lot of states will not allow you to bring bones across state lines due to the cwd threats. I’m not familier with where you are hunting but coming from Colorado back to Tennessee with bones other than skull cap will bring you a hefty fine and loss of trophy.
I cape the head out and just bring back the skull cap from kill site. The elk head is a chunk of weight. Be sure to have some sort of saw for that part.
Happy hunting.
 

BK Ammenwerth

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Jan 13, 2017
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I must be the minority. With 1 buddy we normally haul it out in 1 trip. Front and rear quarter each. And then the lucky guy to kill the bull takes the rack, the other loose meat bag. Unless it’s in a total hell hole. Granted we are relatively young (late 30s and in great shape) Honestly it’s a pretty vague question. Terrain varies greatly where the elk actually dies. We normally hunt central ID which is rough country. But most bulls killed are sub 4 miles in. The real challenge isn’t the miles but the vertical. A 5 mile packout with say a total up n down of under 1500 ft isn’t too bad. But if it’s 2-3 mile with up, down, up 2000 feet...... brutal!!! But it’s that uncomfortable mental and physical challenges that you will really relish later.
 

kiddogy

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two years ago my niece kilt a spike and I drug it in one trip to the highway, while she and her father went and got the truck, which was about a mile or so in other direction and drove it around to bottom of mtn.

probly had to drag it about a half mile or so . I even got to the highway afore the truck did.coarse it were downhill the whole way and there was 3-4 inches of snow on the ground
 

Bearshirt

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Michiagn
The back hams on the bull I shot was 80 pounds with the bone in(bone weighed 10). Thats a bag of concrete! Then if you add a front shoulder (anyone ever weigh one of those?). And extra cuttings and head? Our loose meat bag weighed 65 pounds. So you could be talking about over 200 pounds for one load if your taking a front and back plus loose meat and head. Or you guys leave a lot of meat behind. One back ham is as much as my hips can take. Unless we are close to the road.
 

HunterJoeMI

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Dec 31, 2017
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MI
1.Have everything with you needed to break down an elk - "kill kit" (good game bags, Knives, saw, nitrile gloves)

2. Hunt with a pack that you can bring out a first load - learn the gutless method.

3. Take out all the good meat and leave all the extra weight.

4. 3 trips 75 pounds = 225 pounds that will get all the boned meat off of "most" elk.
 

townandcountry

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Jul 20, 2019
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FNG here to learn and I appreciate all the experienced guys chiming in. Will definitely have trek poles and a come-along in the truck! I can’t even imagine the kind of person that would steal a rack out of a truck or hiding spot... and then what, make up some story about how you got it? Man, that is some low low crap how could you live with that???
 
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