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View Full Version : Getting an Elk out of canyon solo



Islandwarrior233
09-23-2012, 11:22 PM
I know this sounds crazy, but has anyone ever done this before? I usually bow hunt but this year I drew an awesome eastern oregon rifle bull tag. None of my friends or family can go with me because of work. I have been tracking the weather, and it seems like it will be a warmer late october. Anyone ever get a bull out solo without horses using a creative technique or tools other than a chainsaw winch? Also does anyone have any tricks for keeping the meat cool if I have to leave it there all day? I am guessing the temperature is going to be around 45-50 at mid-day. It is the Imnaha unit.

Chippy Hacky
09-24-2012, 11:25 AM
That is some steep, steep rugged country. The meat should be just fine if you can hang it in the shade. It will get cool enough at night that if left in the shade during the day, you will be fine. I would suggest finding someone who can get horses in there to help you if it gets too bad. Don't mess with it, just bone it out to begin with, then have the phone number handy to the packer if you get in over your head.

squirrelduster
09-24-2012, 09:02 PM
I just made the decision to not go after a bull last week due to hunting alone in horrible country but it was hot. I didn't think I could get him out before he spoiled.
Your situation should be different, the weather will be reasonably cool during the day and probably in the 30's at night. Bone it out and then spread it out to let it cool at night then put it in a cool shady spot during the day while you are packing a load to the truck. Should be fine but you will work your butt off to get him to the truck. Be in really good shape and good luck.

Maxhunter
09-25-2012, 07:44 AM
I have taken many elk out solo by myself. Like stated bone it out get the meat of the ground and in the shade. When I lived in Utah the archery season always opens in mid August, so the weather is pretty warm. I've never had any met ever go bad. Boned out is should take you about three trips tops. Good luck!

Old Hunter
09-25-2012, 10:22 AM
Been taking out elk alone since I was 40. That's 30 years ago. Boning it out is the only way to do it. Hang what you haven't taken in a cool spot, and just keep trucking until you have it all.

I'll be going for another bull in a month. Should be fun.

jjenness
09-27-2012, 09:46 AM
You are definitely going to want to bone it out. If you have never boned out an elk before, then talk to someone who has to get some tips. You probably could find some sort of video's online too I would guess. Whenever I pack large loads out, I usually leap frog the loads. It helps break up the hike and gives you shorter goals each time you start hiking. Good luck.

Old Hunter
09-27-2012, 10:29 AM
Boning out is the only way to do it.

http://vimeo.com/34615004

trophyhill
09-30-2012, 03:56 PM
my buddy uses one of those plastic taboggens and drags his

Old Hunter
09-30-2012, 05:11 PM
Drags the whole elk?

Islandwarrior233
09-30-2012, 07:32 PM
Does he use a pulley system or a hand crank? I don't want to bone it out, rather quarter it and get it out that way so I can hang them when I get to a locker

A3dhunter
10-01-2012, 02:29 AM
my buddy uses one of those plastic taboggens and drags his

using this method you can do whole quarters and it keeps the weight off your back, it can work good in some places but not so good in others.

Vanish
10-01-2012, 01:32 PM
Does he use a pulley system or a hand crank? I don't want to bone it out, rather quarter it and get it out that way so I can hang them when I get to a locker

You want to do it solo and in a canyon but you don't want to bone it out? :confused: You can still hang meat bags in a locker.

Shoot a small one?

Bitterroot Bulls
10-01-2012, 01:37 PM
I agree with Vanish, meat hangs just fine in game bags. Bones are tough to eat, I would rather leave them at the kill site, myself.

bigshot
10-01-2012, 02:21 PM
The reason for boning meat besides lightening your load, is to cool the meat down. The bones put out heat for a while after the animal is taken, which can cause your meat to spoil from the inside out. If you don't want to bone the meat, it helps to make cuts into the sides of the quarter up against bone, so the heat can escape. I have learned while packing out many bear quarters, this helps cool the meat down on those warm days.

Islandwarrior233
10-01-2012, 07:31 PM
Thanks for clarifying bigshot! I may bone it out now. Themain reason other than easy hanging for quartering it was I feel like I would be in a hurry and I would make bad cuts and ruin the roasts and steaks. I know how to package it up, but I like to take my time when doing that. I don't want to come out of te canyon with two slashed up bags of meat. I guess I will make my decision after I punch the tag. Thanks a lot!!

wapiti66
10-01-2012, 08:40 PM
Also...to speed up the process, use a good sharp knife to bone out the elk, that will cut your time down fast as anything. This year I used a Cutco hunting knife, and I was very impressed how much easier it was to deal with the elk with a sharp knife that kept its edge for the entire process.

Gperkins21
10-01-2012, 09:22 PM
By A Eberlestock J107 it has a mesh meat pack that help keep your meat cool!

Gperkins21
10-01-2012, 09:23 PM
By and Eberlestock J107 it has a mesh meat pack that help keep your meat cool!

Old Hunter
10-02-2012, 07:01 AM
Thanks for clarifying bigshot! I may bone it out now. Themain reason other than easy hanging for quartering it was I feel like I would be in a hurry and I would make bad cuts and ruin the roasts and steaks. I know how to package it up, but I like to take my time when doing that. I don't want to come out of te canyon with two slashed up bags of meat. I guess I will make my decision after I punch the tag. Thanks a lot!!

Did you watch the video I posted?

dito
10-02-2012, 03:14 PM
Slashed up meat tastes the same as un slashed up meat!

llp
10-02-2012, 04:18 PM
I spent the last three days hauling an elk out of the backcountry solo. Over five miles and 2000+ vertical feet each way. No one is saying it is easy, but a boned out bull can be packed out by one person before the meat spoils. Carry game bags, at least get the quarters off the body quickly, and keep in the shade. Boning helps, but it is most important to get the quarters of the frame, and all the loins, loose meat etc. removed. Even in warm temps meat won't spoil very quickly if kept in the shade in game bags. Due to distance and terrain, it was a 7 hour round trip for each load, and a large bull requires 3-4 loads in the 100 pound range. Just plan to sweat a little, and you can get the job done.
llp

ando_31
10-02-2012, 05:50 PM
You guys are crazzzzzzy. I once drug a mature muley myself for 2 miles up and down some nasty buttes and I thought that was tough. I can't imagine dragging an elk out that far. Don't get me wrong, I would try it in a heartbeat, but I'm sure its about 20 times more difficult than what I did.

My younger brother was lucky enough to get a ND elk license. I remember him being concerned about dealing with an elk miles from any road. Turns out after 23 days of hunting in the most remote areas he could find, he saw a herd of elk about 200 yards off the road while on his way to his nightly viewing area. He got out and stalked up on the elk. After a 70 yard shot the elk actually took off and ran towards his pickup and died only 50 yards away from his pickup. It was a 5x5 that scored 226 (not the biggest, but pretty nice for a DIY on public land considering he lost his patience and was willing to shoot a spike at that point in the hunt). He had a couple of people help drag the elk onto the road, drove down into the ditch, dropped the tailgate down and backed up to the steep ditch. He said his tailgate was level with the road and the elk just slid right in there. He always has been one heck of a lucky hunter/fisher...now that I think about it, maybe he's just better than I give him credit for.

dcannon
10-02-2012, 09:40 PM
I usually just quarter the elk & pack it out using a frame pack. It takes 4 trips with a bigger bull but I find less meat is wasted without boning. I just try to shoot less than 5 miles away.

tdub24
10-03-2012, 07:41 AM
Did you watch the video I posted?

Old Hunter, I watched that video and it gave some good information, thank you. I have only been apart of the process twice, but have never done it myself. Do you find it easier to bone the quarters out while still attached to the animal or is it easier to quarter it first then bone it?

Chippy Hacky
10-03-2012, 07:56 AM
It is easier to do if the quarters are off, basically you are just breaking the animal down, just like you would do if you were processing the animal at home. The problem is that it takes more time to take the quarters off especially if you are by yourself. It is also cleaner to leave them on as there just isn't a tarp or table handy. All in all, having done it both ways myself, it isn't that much of a difference. In the field, I leave them attached as it is usually pitch dark, I cant's see good, I am cold and hungry and am too far from camp so anytime saved I am good with. If it is an A.M. animal and I am with someone else, I will usually whack off the front quarters and let them work on them as I am doing the rest, just because the fronts are so easy to whack off and it seems to go a little quicker.


Old Hunter, I watched that video and it gave some good information, thank you. I have only been apart of the process twice, but have never done it myself. Do you find it easier to bone the quarters out while still attached to the animal or is it easier to quarter it first then bone it?

Doe Nob
10-03-2012, 08:02 AM
Quarter first then bone. I just replaced the old blue tarp I carry in my pack as an emergency shelter with Tyvek as its lighter and tougher. This also doubles as a nice big clean sheet to put meat on when you tag something and a place to work on deboning.

The other tip I would say is doing it by yourself as other said, you have to be smart about where you are going after the animals, the old adage "hunt up - pack down" is a big consideration when solo.

Old Hunter
10-03-2012, 09:06 AM
Old Hunter, I watched that video and it gave some good information, thank you. I have only been apart of the process twice, but have never done it myself. Do you find it easier to bone the quarters out while still attached to the animal or is it easier to quarter it first then bone it?


I've always done it with the quarters on just like the video. I didn't have the video when I first started to do it, and I made a bit of a mess, but I got it done. I'm much better at it now, and the video helped. You'll be happy you did it when you start to haul the meat out. Plus, when I get it home it's easy to package it up and into the freezer. I don't age elk, and it seems fine to me.

EdD270
10-19-2012, 04:02 PM
Plan on boning it out, pretty much butchering it, on site of the kill. Then figure about four or five backpacking trips with the meat.
Game bags hung in the trees in the shade will preserve the meat for a couple of days, meat is usually "hung" anyway a few days to help tenderize it.
If you can get some horses, should only take one trip after it's boned out.

llp
10-22-2012, 02:40 PM
Anyone that tries to drag a mature elk very far will learn the folly of their approach. Unless the hill is quite steep, and you are going down hill, it just isn't feasible with even a couple people. Quarter and pack it out at a minimum, boned out is even better. An elk is not a big whitetail. Take an entirely different approach to getting it out of the woods. Bring a pack frame.
llp

trophyhill
11-05-2012, 08:13 PM
Drags the whole elk?

no he takes half out at a time. thats why he likes to hunt high. sometimes the sled goes all by itself on its way down and he doesn't even have to hang on to it lol