Planning an Elk Hunt

rspecht55

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Joined
Jul 6, 2021
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14
I know there are a lot of threads out there that discuss Elk hunts. I ran across something the other day that said if you are going on your first elk hunt they would do a camp hunt rather than a pack hunt. They gave some really good reasons. I am looking to take a few years to gather up equipment and what I need. I figure If I take the time to get the equipment for a pack hunt then I could always do the camp hunt. I could not do it the other way though. I am just a midwestern Whitetail hunter looking for some sound advice. What does everyone think about how I am approaching this. Always love to hear different perspective.

Thanks!
 

BBob

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Jun 29, 2020
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1,128
Location
Southern AZ
Off the top of my head I'd agree on staying mobile and doing the camp oriented hunt first to learn what it's all about. If you commit cold with no experience to a back-country only hunt you may waste a ton of time walking in and out. If you gather pack equipment and camp hunt you then have the option of loading up and packing in if you find an area that suits you. All of my crowd stays pretty minimalist as far as gear and camp equipment out of the truck regardless, easier to stay nimble and mobile that way. None of us ever setup any kind of basecamp. It's in and out of the truck every morning and night cooking off the tailgate or an ice chest. The downside is you might have to avoid more hunt pressure. Me? I don't worry so much about that, par for the course on the hunts here in AZ and lots of NM. Working around hunt pressure is a learned skill too and you can still kill, many do it all the time.
 
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bozeman

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Dec 5, 2016
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Alabama
From a south eastern whitetail and turkey hunter POV: just go......that's what I had to do. Don't view it as a waste of time/money or you will quit, view it as paying for school......as you are learning, or at least should be with every trip. Also, keep in mind that every trip doesnt have to have a tag.....I didnt buy a tag one year and went hiking/scouting during archery season just to learn/see/observe/listen in a certain area I planned to hunt.......no pressure, less $, was able to go slow........best of luck and stay safe!
 

IdahoElk

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Oct 30, 2014
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1,955
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Hailey,ID
I wouldn't wait a few years to hunt Elk.
Car camp at the mouth of a canyon that has the proper habitat, without an established trail head and hike in a mile or two and enjoy being in the Elk woods. You don't need a pile of expensive gear to be successful at Elk hunting.
Try packing in after you get your feet wet and have a little more experience.
 

Gerbdog

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Jun 8, 2020
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387
Location
CO Springs
I agree with what others have said, i think the idea of building gear over years is brilliant.... but dont let that stop you this year from going. No better way to know what gear you will actually need and use than to be out hunting elk and learning as you go. Then 3 years from now do the backpack in elk hunting trip with all the knowledge and gear you have accumulated
 

Fullfan

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Jul 31, 2016
Messages
570
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Nw/Pa
Like others have mentioned, just go. Only way you are going to learn is by being there and trying. We tent camped for years. Started in 1983, well now we rent a furnished house. Hot showers, nice beds. Most of us are 55+ and enjoy the comforts. More expensive no doubt. But worth it.
 

Werty

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
523
Location
Montana
I live with in an hour of my unit and I truck camp/ tent camp all the time. I just hate driving the extra time

Just jump in the damn pool, it can be in the shall end, but get in!
 

Indian Summer

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Feb 17, 2013
Messages
1,081
Please explain why you can do a pack hunt but not a base camp hunt. Gearing up for a pack in hunt is much more expensive.
 

Deadfall

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Joined
Oct 18, 2019
Messages
931
From a south eastern whitetail and turkey hunter POV: just go......that's what I had to do. Don't view it as a waste of time/money or you will quit, view it as paying for school......as you are learning, or at least should be with every trip. Also, keep in mind that every trip doesnt have to have a tag.....I didnt buy a tag one year and went hiking/scouting during archery season just to learn/see/observe/listen in a certain area I planned to hunt.......no pressure, less $, was able to go slow........best of luck and stay safe!
This best advice you gonna get
 

JB64

Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2016
Messages
82
Location
Finger Lakes, NY
I'm going on my first western hunt this fall (finally) in Colorado. Im packing in, planning on staying mobile and squeezing every day for what I can. I have extensive backpacking/mountaineering experience and im excited to blend those skills with archery. All that said, the only way to gain experience is by doing it. Doesn't matter if you're a pilot, laying tile or tinkering with your arrows, just do it! good luck!
 

INgunner54

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2016
Messages
232
I've done both. It's a lot to take on packing camp in for a backcountry hunt. I did this my first time and it went fine, but you are more married to the spot because you have to burn time to pack up and hike out. This past year I hunted closer to the truck and came back every night. I was way more mobile this way and enjoyed it more. I still had the capability to stay on the mountain for a night or two if needed, but came back to the truck.
As several others have said, just go! You'll spend way too much on gear and it will always evolve. The best gear in the world won't earn you experience. Good luck, have fun!!
 

tbro16

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
17
Location
Minnesota
I'm also a midwestern whitetail guy transitioning to a CO elk myself. In my little experience it all seems to be on personal preference. Want to sleep in a nice warm, cozy cot at the truck with a stomach full of good food but then wake up an hour or two before sun up, hike few miles up the side of a mountain each morning/evening?
Or toughen it out in the backcountry? For me it depends on a few things like weather, water availability, elk movement, pressure etc. I dont think you'll know for sure whats best until you do it yourself in the unit you hunt, so do whatever you can to get out there sooner rather than later.

After a few years of "roughing and toughing" it out in the backcountry, and getting snowed/froze out after (only) 2-3 days each of my first two years, I'll now be prepared with two camps. I'll have a heated pop up ice fishing shack with cot, cooler, and all the other luxuries at the truck for breaks from the backcountry or bad weather. My other camp will be the full backcountry set up if I'm in elk or have good weather. I havent stayed long enough or covered enough ground to be a successful western hunter yet. I hope being prepared with a few different camps will help me with that.
 

DiabeticKripple

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
40
Location
Central Alberta, Canada
I'm also a midwestern whitetail guy transitioning to a CO elk myself. In my little experience it all seems to be on personal preference. Want to sleep in a nice warm, cozy cot at the truck with a stomach full of good food but then wake up an hour or two before sun up, hike few miles up the side of a mountain each morning/evening?
Or toughen it out in the backcountry? For me it depends on a few things like weather, water availability, elk movement, pressure etc. I dont think you'll know for sure whats best until you do it yourself in the unit you hunt, so do whatever you can to get out there sooner rather than later.

After a few years of "roughing and toughing" it out in the backcountry, and getting snowed/froze out after (only) 2-3 days each of my first two years, I'll now be prepared with two camps. I'll have a heated pop up ice fishing shack with cot, cooler, and all the other luxuries at the truck for breaks from the backcountry or bad weather. My other camp will be the full backcountry set up if I'm in elk or have good weather. I havent stayed long enough or covered enough ground to be a successful western hunter yet. I hope being prepared with a few different camps will help me with that.

just a thought, if heating an ice fishing tent, please bring a CO monitor. $20 can save your life.
 

tbro16

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
17
Location
Minnesota
I run a small battery operated fan and a CO2 monitor for that kind of set up. I appreciate you mentioning it though!
 

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