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So Elk DIY Base Camp......
Ok, so I'm new to this forum for the most part. And I have scoured the internet for a proper idea, but have gotten nowhere. I am looking for a legitimate DIY base camp list for elk hunting. All I keep finding are either Bivy list's or guides that have drop camps that they want you to pay for. And even more so, where do yall set base camp at? Or does someone pack it in for you? These are the only questions i have not found answers to. So feel free to give up your lists (hahaha) And/or advice on ways to get your base camp as deep as possible. I speak for many when i say, you cant find these answers anywhere. So let's have it! What do ya got?
If I were you, I would order a book,,,, Back Country Hunting, by Cameron Hanes he puts it out together, pretty good,,,,, he has great ideas, and a list, how to go wrong
Our "base camp" is out of the back of our truck/trailer so it is quite long. Are you talking about packing in a couple miles and then hunt from there (that type of base camp)?
Good questions by Inshart.
Our base camp is my basic camping set up with a few additions for the longer stay and coolers for meat filled with frozen milk jugs. I always make sure to have a chainsaw in case a tree blocks a road.
If I remember right Matt's Book talks about this very subject & aids you in how to setup an elk camp! I'd get a copy of it! This is the Book! Public Land Elk Hunting (Black & White): Matthew Dworak
Do you mean like a spike camp away from the truck? I consider a "base camp" the same as a "truck camp".
Are you wanting to know a list for a base camp or a spike camp?
I'm thinking of doing like a canvas tent w/ cots. A cozy stay for the 10 days. I want to be away from the truck, but I also realize that hauling all that a long ways will be a mother. So definitely might be a utility trailer kinda deal. I have seen a few different youtube videos where guys look like they drive their trucks into desolate field type locations and camp right there. And they hike for a ways to hunt. I'll have to invest in some of these books. But any info on the matter helps.
Make base camp by the truck so that you can have all the amenities and can be mobile by driving to different places each morning. If you find elk in too far to realistically get on them before first light or too far to hike back from when hunting till dark, then pack in a spike camp to about 1/2-1 mile from the elk and hunt out of it till you kill one or they take off. The stuff you'd bring are completely different. At the truck, you can have everything including beer, a generator, lawn chairs, etc. At the spike camp, you only bring things that are necessities and you usually stay 2 nights, maybe 3, before heading out to resupply or go to a new area if you're not in elk.
Your base camp list is everything under the sun that you want to make you comfortable.
Your spike camp list essentially is your food and cooking stuff including stove, gas, and pan/jet boil, your water storage and purification, your tent and sleeping bag/sleeping pad, lights, clothes, tarp, hunting stuff, butchering stuff including knife and game bags, hand saw is nice. Fire starter stuff (I just bring 2 lighters and some matches). GPS, map, and compass. Batteries for gps and lights. A small towel is nice to have to clean up with or dry off with after you dip in a creek or sponge bath.
I usually limit spike camp to that stuff. If it's not too far, I sometimes bring a Nalgene bottle with some scotch.
Definitely get Matt Dworak’s book. Refer to pages 71-75.
Mobility is the key. I use a small hard-side camper that I can hook up and move quickly if the elk I'm hunting are more than a 20 minute drive. I moved my base camp 7 times each of the past three seasons. Only once did I do a spike camp, for four days, because the elk were a little too far to go in and out in the dark. Distance from the road has no bearing on where elk will be. You can find good hunting 1/2 mile from a road, and really sucky hunting 10 miles back into a wilderness. Elk are where nobody bothers them and where they have good, water and bedding shelter. That can be 1/4 mile off the Interstate.
Idyllwild has great advice. Another vote for Matt's book.
" drive their trucks into desolate field type locations" Most places public land in the west you aren't allowed to just drive your truck anyplace, usually have to stay on a two track established road and camp just off the road. It may be a crappy road, but an established road. Even ATVs are supposed to stay on them. Many places roads are even closed. May not have seen it in the youtube or article but likely there was some kind of road there. Unless packing in on livestock the big wall tents are going to be very near the truck or trailer...... and a road.
We fly with camp, two 50lb bags and a carry on. Our "base" camp is still pretty much a spike camp. Mostly base camp has a couple coolers, beverages, more food, extra clothes etc. to resupply. We can camp right there or spike out away from the road. No chairs, tables, wood stoves, etc. but it's comfy enough, we aren't there on vacation or to unwind. Some camps you see are folks who are "in to" camps and can take a day to set up and a day to take down. Nothing wrong with that if that's what you want to do. But it's not what we are there for. In all honesty we are in "camp" very little but for eating and sleeping. Recharging for the next day. A spartan camp is quick, flexible, mobile, less work/maintenance.... a hunting camp. Not a camping camp.
I don’t remember exactly what it cost. Three guys on horseback, two pack horses, dropped us 4 miles from the road... no real trail heads nearby. Came back 9 days later. About $400 apiece plus 300 to pack out elk called in from sat phone. Not my favorite hunt but productive.
If you are going out to hunt hard why bring a "house" with you. Packers are all different depending on terrain....some will say 150 lbs per horse others say 100 in rough terrain. A lighter tent with a tarp fly works great....I don`t know about others but for me cots suck. Keep in mind you need to be near water....by near I mean near. All you need for a list is to break things into groups...hunting gear...sleeping...eating... meat/cape care etc. and then create your list based on your needs in the smaller groups. If you can`t find a "packer" contact people with trail rides or day rides...I`ve had luck with those guys taking me in.
Maybe I am mis-reading you thread but it seems as if this is your 1st trip for DIY camping for elk.
I think you might be better off doing something more in the truck/Base camp and hunting out each day and back to your truck/Base camp in the evening.
After you get a couple days experience/knowledge of your hunting area then maybe go for a night or 2 Spike/Bivy camp as you most prolly won't get lost or disoriented being remote with no knowledge/experience.
Have ya thought about going with someone that has your same tag/unit and maybe having a Dry Run with them to kinda learn and see how others have done this for years and years?
Whatever you decide the best of good fortune and elk luck!
Good luck, Robb
So many variables. One of my "base camps" is an hour ride in on a horrible ATV trail, and I'm prepared to backpack-spike camp out from there if needed.
But then if you get a season like this year in N. WY where it snowed and rained for basically two weeks straight for the last half of September, with nighttime temps down in the low teens and everything soggy by day two, a decent shelter of some sort is critical. It was miserable, but I hunted every day in it because I had several different pairs of boots, a place to dry out and warm up, and comfortable cooking-sleeping arrangements.
A wall tent base camp with heat is nice too, but not nearly as mobile. This is also in mid-September at relatively low elevation (only 8200 feet)
A base camp in a roaded unit should be a piece of cake. You can use a camping trailer,wall tent pretty much everything you need having the convenience of a vehicle. If you are talking about a spike camp or base camp away from roads or in the wilderness that's a different story. In that case gotta go back Packers style or use horses and mules ,depending on the type of camp you need.
As others have stated, I always consider camp away from the vehicle as a "spike camp".
One of the downfalls to this, is you can be committed to an area that may not be productive at the time.
Base camping at your vehicle, allows you to get up early, and drive to other trailheads at multiple drainages. Sometimes you have to be mobile, to locate elk.
Best of Luck, Jeff
As most have said, elk are where you find them and the idea of planning a "base camp" that is packed in seems awfully limiting. It's a very rare place where there are elk that is not accessible from a vehicle as your base. Just my $0.02 after 35 years of chasing elk.
Ditto on the mobile base camp with spike option. The woods are getting more & more crowded during hunting season. You never know for sure until you get there. Last year there were 4-5 new vehicles/groups hunting out of "our" base camp trailhead. Having a few backup locations and the ability to shift is probably a pretty good plan these days.
Like Jaq, I'm set up for several different camping/hunting situations. Camper, large tent and gear, Bivy tent and packs. With what I've accumulated over the years, I can, and have hunted for elk every way possible.
Sounds to me like your wanting to compile a list of what you have, and what you're going to need or want. With what's been sent to you it shouldn't be hard to create what you're looking for.
My suggestion from there is compile a master list of everything you have/own, and when you pick up something new add it to the list. Same with getting rid of stuff, take it off the list. That way you have a master to start from for every trip that you can then create the list you're going to need for each hunt, or type of hunt. Mine is an Excel spreadsheet that's my starting point for every trip. From there I create a new spreadsheet with what I'm planning to take, and break it down even further with where and how it's packed (pack, toat, duffle, etc...).
We are at the point where we can be pretty flexible. We have a Cabela's Alaknak for truck camping. If we get somwhere far away and don't want to go back to "base Camp" I have a roof top tent on my Jeep. and we can spike out and hunt with a floorless tipi. On an 8 night hunt this year, we spent only half of it at our "base camp" The more you do it, the more stuff you acquire, but the more flexible you become.
As far as a base camp list it is just whatever camping gear we bring.
It depends on time of season and I usually hunt early in warm weather. I also hunt in a Toyota pickup with topper as my mobile camp. I can move and drive on really rugged roads and camp wherever I end up each day. I have a rolled up futon mattress for extra comfortable sleep which is critical for me after a long day. A portable solar shower bag is really, really nice to refresh yourself each day. I fill it up in the morning and lay it on the hood to warm up during the day. I may come back at mid day and shower or right at dark and the water is still warm. I'm in a dry climate, so a couple water jugs with spickets are really handy too for washing up, brushing teeth etc.. I cover so much country on foot that I like to clean my feet and spray them with anti-perspirant each day to cut down on sweat and blisters. I also tape up potential hot spots each day. I use some mountain house for food but change it up with things like doctored up ramen soup and canned chicken and diced celery and carrots. When you do get an elk down, carrying a 4x4 sheet of plastic in your pack is really, really nice to skin quarters or break down meat as well and has virtually no weight or space when folded up! Lots of good tips on here, you'll learn what is critical to you after a couple trips.
If this is your first time don't complicate it with packers, horses, etc. You'll learn and know so much more about future hunts if you keep it as simple as possible. All you really need is a decent area with some ability to be mobile and camp out of your vehicle.
This is my Montana set up
This is my Montana set up
This was my az elk camp
This was my az elk camp
I have two camps I set up one in the breaks in Montana that there all the time and the one I use when i'm hunting out of state
When I hunt a lone my base camp is very mobile.
Sleeping bag and pad, a couple of coolers, grill and a target.
You can stay mobile if you feel you may need to move camp. If you have know a good spot, I would opt for a wall tent style camp. You can then spike out from there if you wish with an ultra-light camp and return to the base when desired. I would recommend a "zodie shower" or similar product. Bring plenty of water or source it locally. As long as I get bathe on occasion and eat reasonably well I find I can hunt hard and enjoy the myself.
I could benefit from a being a little less focused on meals and more on the hunting. It is both a curse and a blessing but, I just enjoy eating too much and don't see food as just fuel. I can live without the wine and the beer for days at a time, but not decent food. My hunting partner can (and has gone a week) on only cans of tuna and chicken breast with little variety. I admire his will power but wish he could cook up a couple meals during the week to give me a break at the camp stove. That being said I enjoy his company and he enjoys my efforts in the field kitchen. We have learned to embrace each others style and trade some good laughs about our differences. He would like to see me improve my calling skills and my cardio. LOL! LaGriz
(OP) ----"I am looking for a legitimate DIY base camp list for elk hunting."---- Really? That's a very long list for me. By the time I'm done there's barely room for 2 guys in my 4 Runner, pulling a fold down hard side trailer (my base camp). PM sent.
Michael. Who makes that canopy for your pickup box?
Xbow - sent you a PM with a long list for both base camp and bivy. Food and more list. It will keep you busy a while! LOL
Z barebow, it’s from Soft Topper out of Boulder, CO.
I really like mine. There very easy to fold down, take off, set up etc. They handle the wind very well as well. It’s pretty solid doing 85 down the interstate.
The one thing I wish I had gotten was the bug screen for summer time and hot tempetures.
Here is the link for the guys that are interested in the Topper I have.
You guys have been very helpful! It's hard to get decent help these days. You hear so many people tell you that you have to go out with as little as possible, and walk all night and locate elk at night and hunt early morning on no sleep, then sleep 2 hours during mid day then hunt all evening and chase em' at night, the list goes on. But, that just doesn't seem fun to me. I would be crabby, and not thinking clearly. I want a nice base to chat and story tell at night, and ENJOY the hunt. Seems like a foreign concept these days. haha.
You just described 'camping' :)
Granted, telling stories and having a cocktail is part of our camp, but the story is short and so is the drink :)
the biggest asset to hunting this way is TIME,,,,, when you are short on days to hunt, its tough,,,,, my last trip, I hunted for 3 weeks,,,,, at my age, I hunt 2 days and sleep the next day,,, never in a hurry, never put any pressure on myself, if it is raining I go back to sleep,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and I do just fine
I get that I described camping in a sense. But to be fair I'm graduating out of a rigorous program and am also trying to unwind. I'll be 24 and can put quite a beating on myself and take a significantly less physical fatigue. So having a nice camp and pounding the woods is definitely an option. But seriously. You guys are a great help. Best forum I've searched so far! Thanks.
Here's my base camp - almost ready to head out, then about half set up in the pic. It's my rolling cabin in the woods. When we go hunting it's usually for most of the season. I have a wall of shelving for my hunting tubs & gear. My boys are about your age, and still don't seem to understand why it still takes me a few days to prep to go. It's because I don't want to waste a half day or more of hunting running to the nearest town for something I forgot. Some may call it camping. I call it being prepared to hunt the whole season. I was 24 once - 40 years ago.
Michael, so you can drive down the interstate w/ the topper pitched, or do you have to fold it up when going high speed?
I think you just sold me on one.