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  1. #1
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    How far is too far in the backcountry?

    As I have been checking out maps for new elk hunting areas I have been given an area and on paper it looks great. There are a lot of flat corridors, plent of water, and few hiking trails; however, it will be a minimum of 12 miles in. I don't have horses and I was wondering if it is too far back to get the elk out. I'm a little crazy so I'm up for a challange. The hunting area would be around 10,400 ft in early September for bow or early October with a rifle. The longest elk pack out I've had so far is 3 miles, no trail. So the question is, how far is too far to pack an elk out on your back? Any experiences, good or bad, are welcome.

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    Depend on how many other hunter are with you. If you are by yourself....better bring a skillet, cause you'll be eating lots on your way out....

    Just my little joke. Are there any ranches or any business reasonably close to the trailhead or area where you are leaving your wheels? Ask around now or as soon as possible about the possibility of renting pack stock or hiring someone to pack out your elk. I have a friend who once had a Boy Scout Troop help him for a very reasonable donation to them.
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  3. #3
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    Colorado cowboy nailed the million dollar question. It depends on what kind of help you have. If it's solo. Then really 3 miles is probably too far for 3-4 trips on your back. 12 miles and success is a tough combination on your back.

  4. #4
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    One time I put in 20 miles total packing out a single elk, that was when I was much younger and that pushed the envelope for me. That pack had 1000 feet of elevation change from where the elk was to my truck.

    A friend of mine owns an archery shop. He and his buddies are in fantastic shape. They hunt 7 miles in, as a group, and pack out an elk from that distance (one or two trips per elk). I believe they get most of their elk out in one trip (14 miles round trip). At two trips that is 28 miles total per pack out.

    At 12 miles and 4 trips to pack out an elk, you are looking at 96 miles of hiking, half with elk meat on your back. That does not even include a trip in with your gear, and a trip out with your gear, putting you at 120 miles of hiking, plus the miles you put on to hunt. Hiking 120 miles, at 3 miles per hour, is 40 hours of hiking.
    Last edited by Umpqua Hunter; 04-30-2013 at 03:15 PM.
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  5. #5
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    The other thing you need to consider are the temps on them early season hunts, your meat could spoil if you don't get it out on time...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umpqua Hunter View Post
    One time I put in 20 miles total packing out a single elk, that was when I was much younger and that pushed the envelope for me. That pack had 1000 feet of elevation change from there the elk was to my truck.

    A friend of mine owns an archery shop. He and his buddies are in fantastic shape. They hunt 7 miles in, as a group, and pack out an elk from that distance (one or two trips per elk). I believe they get most of their elk out in one trip (14 miles round trip). At two trips that is 28 miles total per pack out.

    At 12 miles and 4 trips to pack out an elk, you are looking at 96 miles of hiking, half with elk meat on your back. That does not even include a trip in with your gear, and a trip out with your gear, putting you at 120 miles of hiking, plus the miles you put on to hunt. Hiking 120 miles, at 3 miles per hour, is 40 hours of hiking.

    Wow that really puts it into perspective.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    The other thing you need to consider are the temps on them early season hunts, your meat could spoil if you don't get it out on time...
    Exactly what I was thinking. CC gave you some good advice. Line some one up to pack you out.
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  8. #8
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    That time of year can still be pretty hot, and warm even at night, just depends on what the weather is going to do. I'd agree with getting some help from somebody with horses.

  9. #9
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    That distance from a trailhead is horse territory for elk.
    UH nailed it by the numbers...

  10. #10
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    I agree with all of the above posts. If you're by yourself in the early season 12 miles is a stretch, no matter how good of shape you are in. Line up a reliable packer (and ensure you'll have cell service) or have a bunch of crazy buddies on hand.

 

 

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