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Idaho elk 2022


Gencountyzeek
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18 minutes ago, Gencountyzeek said:

Part of idaho im going in supposedly from all my research does not have grizzlies. Black bears and wolves are plentiful.

Unit 1 has more grizzlies than anywhere in the lower 48. Love to see you shoot a wolf!

 

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38 minutes ago, Gencountyzeek said:

Possibly the most important piece of gear so far. Garmin inreach mini 2. Tiny gps, but i will be able to send txts to my family while i am gone and out of cell service, also and most importantly the SOS feature. 

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Nice!.. We're planning on trying out the Zoleo this year(satellites texting when linked to phone). 2 weeks without any outside communication is a long time these days..lol. Besides the safety aspect , it would have saved us a lot of feet miles when we hunted separately and wanted to meet up somewhere besides back at camp.

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40 minutes ago, ncountry said:

Nice!.. We're planning on trying out the Zoleo this year(satellites texting when linked to phone). 2 weeks without any outside communication is a long time these days..lol. Besides the safety aspect , it would have saved us a lot of feet miles when we hunted separately and wanted to meet up somewhere besides back at camp.

It was between the inreach and Zoleo for me. What swayed my purchase was my buddy got the inreach also.

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I recommend leaving the backpack at camp and just carrying the essentials in a Fanny pack for day hunts.  It don’t take too long at high altitude to learn that carrying extra stuff is not worth the extra exertion required.  
 

For water, I would go in with a one quart canteen of tap water (that is plenty for all day on unsuccessful hunts) and a small bottle of purification tablets.  You will need gallons of water if you have to haul out meat.  
 

When I dragged a gutted mule deer carcass, 5 miles thru the Rocky’s by myself (dumb move) in my mid 30’s,  I consumed about 2-3 gallons of water.  Each time I emptied the canteen, I refilled it and added a purification tablet.  They take a while to work but by the time I was thirsty, the tablets got the job done  That was faster than stopping and filtering would have been.  You can drag or haul while the tablets are working.  
 

 

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11 minutes ago, wolc123 said:

I recommend leaving the backpack at camp and just carrying the essentials in a Fanny pack for day hunts.  It don’t take too long at high altitude to learn that carrying extra stuff is not worth the extra exertion required.  
 

For water, I would go in with a one quart canteen of tap water (that is plenty for all day on unsuccessful hunts) and a small bottle of purification tablets.  You will need gallons of water if you have to haul out meat.  
 

When I dragged a gutted mule deer carcass, 5 miles thru the Rocky’s by myself (dumb move) in my mid 30’s,  I consumed about 2-3 gallons of water.  Each time I emptied the canteen, I refilled it and added a purification tablet.  They take a while to work but by the time I was thirsty, the tablets got the job done  That was faster than stopping and filtering would have been.  You can drag or haul while the tablets are working.  
 

 

5 MILES?

That's the same (not really even close!) to dragging a gutted mule deer from Niagara Produce to Transit Valley Country Club.

I'm not going to call BS this close to Easter so I'll hold off till next week.  :)

 

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9 minutes ago, wolc123 said:

I recommend leaving the backpack at camp and just carrying the essentials in a Fanny pack for day hunts.  It don’t take too long at high altitude to learn that carrying extra stuff is not worth the extra exertion required.  
 

For water, I would go in with a one quart canteen of tap water (that is plenty for all day on unsuccessful hunts) and a small bottle of purification tablets.  You will need gallons of water if you have to haul out meat.  
 

When I dragged a gutted mule deer carcass, 5 miles thru the Rocky’s by myself (dumb move) in my mid 30’s,  I consumed about 2-3 gallons of water.  Each time I emptied the canteen, I refilled it and added a purification tablet.  They take a while to work but by the time I was thirsty, the tablets got the job done  That was faster than stopping and filtering would have been.  You can drag or haul while the tablets are working.  
 

 

I am new to the western hunting. But I iliked having my pack with me. The bag separated from the frame and makes room for meat hauling, so I was always prepared to haul without taking a trip back to camp (which was often miles) I would always fill the 3 liter water bladder with electrolytes mixed in in the morning. Many a day , I had to refill at a stream with our filters. I havn't had a chance to try purification tablets .

Also the pack allowed for easy shedding and storage of layers. Don't forget my 2 MRE's  and emergency kit..lol

After typing it all out,  I'm thinking maybe I pack too much.. ha .ha.  Unless I'm going outback I carry the same pack even  deer hunting now. But I'm a sweater I need room for all my warm clothes because I cannot wear them in.

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14 minutes ago, wolc123 said:

I recommend leaving the backpack at camp and just carrying the essentials in a Fanny pack for day hunts.  It don’t take too long at high altitude to learn that carrying extra stuff is not worth the extra exertion required.  
 

For water, I would go in with a one quart canteen of tap water (that is plenty for all day on unsuccessful hunts) and a small bottle of purification tablets.  You will need gallons of water if you have to haul out meat.  
 

When I dragged a gutted mule deer carcass, 5 miles thru the Rocky’s by myself (dumb move) in my mid 30’s,  I consumed about 2-3 gallons of water.  Each time I emptied the canteen, I refilled it and added a purification tablet.  They take a while to work but by the time I was thirsty, the tablets got the job done  That was faster than stopping and filtering would have been.  You can drag or haul while the tablets are working.  
 

 

I will always have my pack with me. At all times it will have, first aid, kill kit (bags,tags,knife, and license), rain gear, insulating layers, trekking poles, food, water, spotting scope and tripod, o shit stuff like fire starter and emergency blanket, head lamp, possibly more. The pack will probably weigh around 20-25lbslbs after camp is set. Im fine with that especially if i do shoot something a couple miles from camp, not going to walk back to be able to pack out quarters.

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49 minutes ago, Lawdwaz said:

5 MILES?

That's the same (not really even close!) to dragging a gutted mule deer from Niagara Produce to Transit Valley Country Club.

I'm not going to call BS this close to Easter so I'll hold off till next week.  :)

 

It was mostly downhill and a relatively small deer (1.5 year old spike).  The uphill parts were tough, but the worst part was when a couple dogs devoured the young buck’s heart and liver that I had in a plastic bag.  Surely you have heard that story before ? 

Most of the drag was down a public hiking trail that runs up to fish creek falls, near Steamboat Springs CO.  When the two female hikers called off their dogs, they looked at the bloody carcass and said : “ewe , that’s gross”.   I told them “I was trying to get Bambi to the vet but your dogs just ate his heart and liver “.  
 

43 minutes ago, Gencountyzeek said:

I will always have my pack with me. At all times it will have, first aid, kill kit (bags,tags,knife, and license), rain gear, insulating layers, trekking poles, food, water, spotting scope and tripod, o shit stuff like fire starter and emergency blanket, head lamp, possibly more. The pack will probably weigh around 20-25lbslbs after camp is set. Im fine with that especially if i do shoot something a couple miles from camp, not going to walk back to be able to pack out quarters.

Have you ever hunted at high altitude ?   The higher you go, the tougher it gets to carry unneeded gear.  Maybe Idaho is not as bad as CO in that respect.  I carried way too much stuff on my first hunt out there only.  You will find out what I mean on your first hunt if you haven’t been up high before.  
 

After that first hunt, I carried only the essentials in a Fanny pack.  I rigged that with suspenders to distribute heavier loads and used string to roll up outer clothing layers as it got warmer.  We were hunting a high desert area so rain gear was not ever needed.  

 

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2 hours ago, wolc123 said:

It was mostly downhill and a relatively small deer (1.5 year old spike).  The uphill parts were tough, but the worst part was when a couple dogs devoured the young buck’s heart and liver that I had in a plastic bag.  Surely you have heard that story before ? 

Most of the drag was down a public hiking trail that runs up to fish creek falls, near Steamboat Springs CO.  When the two female hikers called off their dogs, they looked at the bloody carcass and said : “ewe , that’s gross”.   I told them “I was trying to get Bambi to the vet but your dogs just ate his heart and liver “.  
 

Have you ever hunted at high altitude ?   The higher you go, the tougher it gets to carry unneeded gear.  Maybe Idaho is not as bad as CO in that respect.  I carried way too much stuff on my first hunt out there only.  You will find out what I mean on your first hunt if you haven’t been up high before.  
 

After that first hunt, I carried only the essentials in a Fanny pack.  I rigged that with suspenders to distribute heavier loads and used string to roll up outer clothing layers as it got warmer.  We were hunting a high desert area so rain gear was not ever needed.  

 

Altitude affects  each person differently.....I barely see any difference at 8'000 feet, but a hunting buddy of  mine is affected  much more than I am... From 8000 to 11000 I need a day or two to acclimate....Never hunted much higher than that...

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6 hours ago, Pygmy said:

Altitude affects  each person differently.....I barely see any difference at 8'000 feet, but a hunting buddy of  mine is affected  much more than I am... From 8000 to 11000 I need a day or two to acclimate....Never hunted much higher than that...

I went with (3) buddies, sadly just one is still alive.  They had  been out there many times previously and shared elk meat with me from those trips.  They were all at least a few years older than me at the time.  Their usual “pack horse” buddy couldn’t make that trip and they convinced me to go.

  They took me to 10,000 ft, on the first day.  Their good buddy, who lived out there, drove us up “to the top” in his 4 x 4.   That drive took a long time, going up all the switch-backs.  I definitely remember that day being the second toughest, as far as being able to draw a breath.  
 

The worst, was the day I stupidly dragged the spike buck down alone  (from about 9000 to 7000 ft ). I had walked up “to the hotspot” myself, from a lower trail head where we had parked the truck, early in the morning.  
 

I killed my mule deer on the last day that we hunted.  Elk were our primary objective.  The afternoon weather was warm and the Elk were still up high in the “dark timber”.  None of us saw a legal bull on that trip, but we brought back (3) Muleys. (Elk needed 4 points on a side minimum on our $ 275 otc tags.). A mule deer needed just one point on the $ 125 tag.
 

Earlier in the week, the other guys left their bucks, where they killed them, and got help to go back up and drag them down.  Since it was our last hunting day, and my deer was smaller (maybe 150 lb field dressed), I let the other guys keep hunting elk, and I dragged it down myself.  
 
Thankfully, it was mostly a downhill drag, and the trail ran along fish creek most of the way.  I drank at least 2 gallons of water from that creek on the drag down (after bouncing it around in my canteen a while with purification tablets).

A few of the uphill stretches of the drag were especially brutal, and I started one small avalanche going downhill, when the bucks butt snagged on some boulders.  It had got warm by the afternoon.  I packed the carcass with snow when I was up high. 

One buddy couldn’t believe that I dragged it down alone. When he saw it lying next to the truck (I was too tuckered out from the drag to try and lift it into the bed by myself), in the late afternoon, he said “what, did you have an adrenaline rush or something”. 

Having aged considerably, and discovered the real beauty of “free” Adirondack deer hunting, there is no way in hell that I would pay more than $ 100 for another western hunt of any species.   I am glad that I did it once when I was young.  Without that, it would be easy to take for granted, just how good we have it (deer hunting) right here in the mountains of NY. 
 

Until you go out there, you don’t have a clue how much better it is in the Adirondacks, with about 5000 ft less of base elevation (cold hard fact), as well as better scenery and much better tasting deer (in my opinion).
 

I’d say the western elk are almost tied with our whitetails in taste, but the muleys (post rut from that higher desert area) sucked on the table.  The meat had the flavor of sage brush.  Our buddy, who lives out there, loves coming back here for whitetails, but he feeds mule deer from his area to his dogs (when they have misbehaved).  
 

The elk from out there are very good though, and he shoots at least a cow every year.  He must get sick of it eventually, because he always loved coming back to NY for some whitetail.  

 

 

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16 hours ago, wolc123 said:

It was mostly downhill and a relatively small deer (1.5 year old spike).  The uphill parts were tough, but the worst part was when a couple dogs devoured the young buck’s heart and liver that I had in a plastic bag.  Surely you have heard that story before ? 

Most of the drag was down a public hiking trail that runs up to fish creek falls, near Steamboat Springs CO.  When the two female hikers called off their dogs, they looked at the bloody carcass and said : “ewe , that’s gross”.   I told them “I was trying to get Bambi to the vet but your dogs just ate his heart and liver “.  
 

Have you ever hunted at high altitude ?   The higher you go, the tougher it gets to carry unneeded gear.  Maybe Idaho is not as bad as CO in that respect.  I carried way too much stuff on my first hunt out there only.  You will find out what I mean on your first hunt if you haven’t been up high before.  
 

After that first hunt, I carried only the essentials in a Fanny pack.  I rigged that with suspenders to distribute heavier loads and used string to roll up outer clothing layers as it got warmer.  We were hunting a high desert area so rain gear was not ever needed.  

 

Ill be hunting from 8k to 10k. No i have never hunted at that altitude before. Even more of a reason to have life saving equipment with me. Again i find it incredibly dumb to leave my pack, the thing made for hauling meat possibly miles from where i may kill a animal. This hunt is going to kick my ass whether or not i have a extra 25lbs on my back. Im looking forward to this challenge. 

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When I hunted lions in Arizona in 2012, we carried 1 empty water bottle each and filled up from streams every-time we got thirsty to save on weight. No tablets, which in hindsight seems dumb but luckily I didn’t get sick. I lost like 7lbs the first day when we did 10-15 miles on foot.


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2 hours ago, Gencountyzeek said:

Ill be hunting from 8k to 10k. No i have never hunted at that altitude before. Even more of a reason to have life saving equipment with me. Again i find it incredibly dumb to leave my pack, the thing made for hauling meat possibly miles from where i may kill a animal. This hunt is going to kick my ass whether or not i have a extra 25lbs on my back. Im looking forward to this challenge. 

That’s pretty high.  The first day will be the toughest, because you won’t yet be acclimated to the altitude.  Combining that with overloading, makes for a double whammy, that will suck some fun out of the experience.  

 How heavy is your rifle ?  It would be worth the risk to go in light the first day, (maybe leave the spotting scope and other items that are not absolutely necessary).  You could work your way up each day, carrying a little more weight.  That would make your hunts more enjoyable, and increase your odds of success.  

I still vividly remember my first day hunting the Western mountains, and how I was thankful just to get back to the truck, with all the stuff I had carried in with me.   I could have stumbled within 50 yards of a big 6 x 6 elk for all I know, and not even seen it through my steamed up glasses, as I was sucking wind.  
 

By the end of the week, and after loosing the “unessentials”, I was acclimated well enough to drag a gutted mule deer 5 miles out of some brutal terrain.  That said, I’d never drag out another whole mule deer carcass, and most certainly not an elk.  Cape it, cut off the meat, tie as much as you can carry to your pack frame, and make multiple trips if necessary.   So yes, don’t leave your pack, just leave as much of the “extras” as you can, at least on the first day.    

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53 minutes ago, wolc123 said:

That’s pretty high.  The first day will be the toughest, because you won’t yet be acclimated to the altitude.  Combining that with overloading, makes for a double whammy, that will suck some fun out of the experience.  

 How heavy is your rifle ?  It would be worth the risk to go in light the first day, (maybe leave the spotting scope and other items that are not absolutely necessary).  You could work your way up each day, carrying a little more weight.  That would make your hunts more enjoyable, and increase your odds of success.  

I still vividly remember my first day hunting the Western mountains, and how I was thankful just to get back to the truck, with all the stuff I had carried in with me.   I could have stumbled within 50 yards of a big 6 x 6 elk for all I know, and not even seen it through my steamed up glasses, as I was sucking wind.  
 

By the end of the week, and after loosing the “unessentials”, I was acclimated well enough to drag a gutted mule deer 5 miles out of some brutal terrain.  That said, I’d never drag out another whole mule deer carcass, and most certainly not an elk.  Cape it, cut off the meat, tie as much as you can carry to your pack frame, and make multiple trips if necessary.   So yes, don’t leave your pack, just leave as much of the “extras” as you can, at least on the first day.    

We are getting there 2.5 days prior to the elk opener. I plan on camping by the truck the first day to acclimate, i have a handful of glassing spots picked out so far. In those 2.5 days i plan on packing lightly until we have eyes on a good bull. Obviously everything can change when boots hit the ground.

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48 minutes ago, Gencountyzeek said:

We are getting there 2.5 days prior to the elk opener. I plan on camping by the truck the first day to acclimate, i have a handful of glassing spots picked out so far. In those 2.5 days i plan on packing lightly until we have eyes on a good bull. Obviously everything can change when boots hit the ground.

That’s a very good idea, getting out there a few days early.  It would have been nice for us to have done that, rather than arriving the evening before our first hunt, but we were limited on “vacation days” from work.
 

(5) of us split up with two trucks (the locals, and the one we drove out there).  One crew would go in from the top each day (long truck ride, short hike), and the other from the bottom (short truck ride, long hike).  We alternated days hunting from both spots.  We stayed in a condo near a big ski resort where the local worked as a maintenance mechanic.  We got cheap “pre-ski-season” rates during big game rifle season. 
 

All the mule deer were killed by the bottom crew, but the elk that we saw were up high (and none had the required four points on a side).  Had we killed anything up high, it would have been tougher, uphill drags to the truck.  
 

As mentioned, I didn’t care for the taste of the mule deer, but I know others have liked them, and I suppose the taste is highly dependent on when and where they are killed.  The local, who we hunted with in Steamboat, doesn’t like them from that area anytime.  
 

He killed the biggest one when we were out there (a 6x 5 that had to be 3.5 or older), and gladly sent all of it home with us, not even wanting to keep a back strap for himself.  We also brought back my buddy’s 2.5 year old 4x4 (which he had a shoulder mount made from), and my spike.  
 

We mixed all the meat together and split it up between (4) of us when we got home.  For all I know, most of what I got might have came from that older buck.  Maybe the spike would have tasted better.  
 

Hopefully, you get into some elk. I have never heard a complaint of how they taste no matter how old they are or where or when they are killed.  Being a pure meat hunter, I don’t know if I would ever be willing to kill another muley, based on taste alone. I also don’t care for the looks of their racks or shoulder mounts (elk are pretty nice looking though). 

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