Spike Camp Hunting Techniques

Ironman8

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
927
Hey guys,

I've always done basecamp hunting but really want to get into spike camp hunting, especially when I go for elk out west. I understand how bivy hunting works, it's pretty self-explanatory, but spike camp really appeals to me. So I'd like to hear a few of the techniques/processes you guys do when hunting in this manner. Here are some topics that I'd like to hear about:

How far from the trailhead/main road where you parked do you like to hike in to?
How far from your hunting area do you guys typically set up camp?
What gear are you taking from your camp to your hunting area?
What gear do you leave behind at camp?
What kind of emergency/contingency gear do you take with you?
^(mostly interested in whether you bring a simple shelter that you can setup to keep out of the elements while glassing)
How do you typically schedule your day?

Any other details would be appreciated :)
 

jmez

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
6,057
Location
Piedmont, SD
How far depends on where the elk are located. We go far enough that we are within an easy half hour hike of where we are going to be hunting. Easy as in get high so you don't have to climb much, just hike straight to where we start. This often changes during the trip. When the elk move pack up and move with them. About 2 miles for us the last few years.

We basically set up in the hunting area. Go hunt right from camp.

Gear: Tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, Jet Boil stove utensils and food for whatever number of days, heads up decoy, game bags, knife, water filter, camp towel, baby wipes, toilet paper, compass, gps, map, 50ft paracord, 1 extra pair wool socks, 1 extra set wool boxers, rain gear, vest, beanie, gloves, contacts and solution, toothbrush and paste, camp soap (small film type), waterproof matches, two bick lighters, one with gorilla tape wrapped around it, vaseline coated cotton balls, magnesium bar, space blanket, one roll gauze, one telfa pad, personal locator beacon, two windchecker bottles, binos on harness, range finder, various calls, bear spray if in a grizzly area, headlamp, and small camera.
 
Last edited:
OP
Ironman8

Ironman8

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
927
Thanks Jmez.

Since you mentioned hunting right from camp, how much do camp smells, campfires, movement, ect. affect elk patterns around your campsite?

And as for the gear question, I guess it boils down to just wanting a little better understanding about what gets left at camp and what goes with you to the hunting spot (if it's not from camp)...basically how much weight am I cutting out of my "daily" pack for actual hunting activities vs. just doing a bivy hunt and keeping everything with you. With packing so minimally, it seems like the only thing I would be comfortable leaving behind would be extra food....in the event that I have an unplanned night away from camp...(I wouldn't want to be caught out in bad weather without my shelter, extra clothes, sleep gear, ect.)
 

gobbler1662

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
1,096
Location
Prineville, Oregon
Out here in Oregon we usually hike in two or three miles from the trail head. Just far enough to get past the day hunters. We usually hunt right out of camp a few days until we terrorize the elk and they start getting scarce. That is when we usually take 3-4 days food supply and go lightweight on a bivy hunt. We usually leave our para tarps and extra food back at spike camp and anything else we dont need. We've hunted this area for years so we have several designated bivy sites all with water nearby. So it's easy to just head off and enjoy the hunt. We usually know where the elk move to so we can move a couple miles and be right back into them.
 

jmez

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
6,057
Location
Piedmont, SD
They don't seem to affect them much. We hear elk bugling near camp at night and they are generally still there in the morning. If you know for sure they are using an area heavily I wouldn't set up camp in the middle of it. If you camp near a water source then there is a good chance the elk will be in the area at night.

We don't pack up our camp. I leave my tent, bag, and pad. Leave all but one days food, the utensils, and jetboil. Also leave the extra contacts saline, tooth paste/brush in camp.
 

Broken Arrow

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
230
Location
Grain valley, Mo
This year was my first time elk hunting. I started out about 3 miles in but due to hunting pressure I ended up 5 1/2 miles in camped about 1/2 mile from the elk ended up shooting a cow 6 1/2 miles in. I think hunting pressure weather and time to pack an animal out dictate the how far. I looked for elk, once I found them then I started hunted them. But if you are on a 10 day hunt and it's day 9 closer to the trailhead would probably be best. In a nut shell and IMO start close work your way out then as your hunt nears the end start working your way back.

As far as day pack... Clothes water filter/ bladder food for a day first aid/ fire starter a light tarp for shelter contractor trash bag and an emergency bivy bag + kill kit and hunting gear is all I took. Maybe 15-20lb pack weight.
 
OP
Ironman8

Ironman8

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
927
I guess where this question really is coming from is trying to figure out the most efficient way to bring emergency gear and some form of shelter without bringing a whole bunch of extra gear and without turning it into a bivy hunt. The emergency gear is obviously for a bad scenario such as an injury or in case I lose my pack (most of this is carried on body) while the "extra" shelter is mostly for getting out of the rain while spotting or for an unplanned night out.

The best I've come up with is to use my ground sheet that I use at camp as my tarp while out hunting. I will also have my sleeping bag (really a quilt with a zipper) with me since that is part of my insulation in my clothing system, and I'm a big believer in always having a spare set of dry clothes (merino baselayer, socks, and beanie/neck gaiter) in case you find yourself in a wet/cold situation. All this together should weigh no more than 3lbs on top of what water, food, and hunt gear will weigh.

But since I've never spike camped, I was just wondering if I was missing some techniques that would make all this a moot point.

As far as day pack... Clothes water filter/ bladder food for a day first aid/ fire starter a light tarp for shelter contractor trash bag and an emergency bivy bag + kill kit and hunting gear is all I took. Maybe 15-20lb pack weight.

Is your light tarp and emergency bivy separate from your normal sleep/shelter setup?
 

Ross

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
3,808
Location
Liberty Lake, WA
For me when spiking, I will leave all unneeded gear for the day at camp..so my pack will only include while hunting for that day....knife, food, water, extra layering clothes, rope fire starter, headlamp, game bags, binos and saw. The balance of gear bag, shelter, pad etc will stay at spike camp keeping my pack around 17 pds excluding weapon for the day.
 
OP
Ironman8

Ironman8

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
927
Just out of curiosity, do you guys hunt through the rain? Assuming you do, what do you use to keep you and your gear out of the rain? Rain jacket and pants will only do so much when you're trying to glass your area...
 

jmez

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
6,057
Location
Piedmont, SD
The only clothes I take during day is rain gear. Rain gear and a pack cover are all I use if it rains. I don't take any sort of sleep system. I have a space blanket in my pack would use that and start a fire if I didn't get back to camp.
 
Top