Contributors to this thread:
I'm looking to cut about 5 lbs off my current pack weight. The first item on my list is downsizing from my Wyoming Saw that my dad gave me years ago. It's awesome, but heavy.
What's everybody using for a durable, dependable saw on their backpack hunts? I used only a havalon on a coues deer a couple years ago on a backpack hunt, but the thought of only a havalon on a mule deer or elk is kind of intimidating.
Thanks for any input you may have.
I vote no to the saw or a small cable saw if you must have one. But I prefer euros to skull caps
I'm curious what you need a saw for? I've been backpack hunting elk, deer, mtn goat, sheep, and moose for 40 years and never bring along a saw? That's a no brainer for me....leave the saw or hefty knife at home!
My favorite knife for boning meat and caping is a Outdoor Edge knife with replaceable blades. I used a havolon knife on a couple trips and it was pretty dangerous. On a dall sheep hunt the blade snapped and almost went into my leg! That was the last time I used a havolon.
If you are trying to shave pounds off your pack I would recommend weighing every item on your list on a scale. The heaviest items on your list are likely where you will loose the most weight the quickest (tent, backpack, tripod, sleeping bag, mattress, camp stove, clothes, etc). This usually comes at a cost. Dependable, ultra-light gear is usually fairly expensive!
Your tent and backpack are likely the heaviest gear you can shave pounds off of. Most guys bring WAY too much gear that they really don't need! A lot of guys bring way too many clothes. I weigh all my different clothes and figure out which shirts, pants, raingear, socks, etc I can shave weight off. If I'm only hunting a few days I may take food I don't need to cook. That eliminates a stove plus fuel, frying pan, etc. You may think I'm crazy saying this, but it really isn't that big of deal eating cold food for a few days. Some guys can't live without coffee and there are ultra-light stoves and fuel available. You may want to try a scouting trip in the summer to test things out?
You can do everything you need to with one small replaceable knife.
I will take a pic of mine as it is meat on one side and wood on the other, very lite and I use it a lot over the years.
To each his own for sure
Pretty light, fine for deer and camp chores . Not sure it’s up to the task of a moose , I broke a Gerber saw on a moose once and it kinda sucked .
On my moose hunt we used a chain saw to cut out the antlers. Of course we also had an Argo!!! On a backpack hunt I'd carry a cable style saw if carried any saw at all, which I don't.
Is your Wyoming saw the smaller model ? If not , you could get the smaller one and have a great saw but be a tad lighter .
Bahco Laplander folder is an excellent saw in my experience. The blade is tough sharp and the handle is decent.
Fastest way to remove a skull plate is with hatchet...but I'm not packing one around on an elk hunt!
Skull plate is the only reason I need a saw, I use a Gerber folding saw, pretty light and small.
How much extra do you think the skull without the bottom jaw weighs vs just the skull plate?
How much does a saw plus skull plate weigh? I bet it’s about the same as the skull without the lower jaw.
Remind me again why you want to carry a saw around?
Agree with Ucsdyder - I never use a saw. I prefer the Euro look so typically want to save the skull in the first place, but when you compare lugging a saw around for days/weeks/years hunting versus the few times you actually need it to the weight of hauling out a skull from a successful hunt it's a no-brainer for me.
That said the Trailblazer Sawvivor is/was an extremely light saw similar to the Wyoming saw. The problem was finding bone blades for it - most places sold it with a wood blade, although bone blades were available. It's no longer made, so even finding one may be difficult.
Couple things to think about for lightening the load:
Cut down on clothing. Plan on wearing the same set for the time you are in there. Limit yourself to packing only a merino top and bottom, a pair of extra socks, and lightweight rain gear. Don’t get wrapped around the wheel on being scent free because you can’t.
Take a pack of scent free wet wipes for “spit baths”. Worth their weight in gold!
Take food you don’t have to cook and leave the cooking stuff at home. Think stuff like dry salami, cheese, crackers, granola bars, vac sealed burritos, etc. get creative for variety.
Usually there’s a water source where you are hunting. Use it and don’t pack extra water. There are great purifying filers out there that are lightweight and work great. Instant tea, coffee, or fruit drink mix is good for variety.
Find a good lightweight bag and tent. You can probably shave at least a pound there.
Diet to lose weight. Every pound you take off before the hunt is one you won’t have to lug up the hill!
Spend time with your pack and get used to carrying it before the hunt. You can load it up and just do an hour or so in the evenings or weekends to know how to make adjustments when you’re changing up loads on the hunt. Also, practice shooting with your pack on.
Be careful not to leave your pack or boots on a stalk where you can’t find them in the dark.
Make sure those boots are broken in and fit like a glove.
Agreed, no saw. I also used to carry my Wyoming saw but soon realized it was totally unnecessary. Every bone has a joint which can be easily cut through with a decent replaceable blade knife. I hate packing out bones which I have no use for anyways except the shanks which are great for osso bucco. I personally use a Havalon and have never had any issues with blades breaking, snapping or cutting me but everyone uses tools differently. To each his own... As far as skull plate only vs whole skull not that much weight difference for me to justify carrying a saw for the entire hunt as opposed to just packing out the skull. I guess you could just keep the saw at camp and bring it back on your second, third etc... trip when you plan on packing out the antlers if it's that big of a deal.
I carry this folding exchange a blade saw. Comes with bone & wood blades that can be changed at a push of a button. Also comes with a sheath for belt carrying. can be has for $20 or less
Small Wyoming saw has a shipping weight of 1.4 lbs so it must be less than that. I use it only for cutting the antlers off although I suppose it would work if you wanted to bring back elk ribs or true osso buco.
Easiest way to cut down weight is to find a young guy to hunt with and make him carry the head back to camp.
Treeline if you want to get crazy about weight leave the wipes in the sun for a few days and dry them out. When you get to your backpack camping spot add water to re-moisturize.
Agreed on clothing. Bring an extra pair of merino underwear and socks. Rotate daily. Everything else I use is also merino and I wear it daily. Never had an issue with merino smelling.
That would be crazy, but probably effective:)
They are an amazing invention, tho! Heck, that might be the one thing I would want if I were ever stuck on Naked and Afraid!
Treeline if I ever see you naked, I'd be afraid LOL
Thanks for all the input guys. I either ride my bike or run at sun-up, and lift when I finish, 5 days a week. I hike with a pack when evenings permit. Weekends when i can, i love to go backpack at Valle Vidal or in the sandhills behind my house in our "West Pasture." But thanks for the motivation, I've been pushing harder than ever bc the Colorado altitude I'm headed to in August is much higher than my NM country. I also eat right. Although, when I have my daughter on the weekends, she taunts me with ice cream! I have some about twice a month too!
As for gear, I'm pretty lined out as I've been acquiring better gear every year. Some of you will complain about my optics, all vortex, but that's ok, I'm very happy with it all.
The only extra clothes I have are rain gear (kuiu chugach), a change of underwear and socks, and a puffy (not sure which 1 I'm taking yet.)
My tent is a BA copper spur. Thermarest neoair pad. 0° kifaru slick bag(I'm a cold sleeper, and I like synthetic....so this isn't negotiable...lol)
The stove idea is good. I love my coffee, but I could just heat some on a fire every couple days. I hate mtn house anyways!
I was planning on taking 3 liters of water in my bladder, but I'll cut that and just take a couple bottles and use my Sawyer mini and maybe take my bladder empty to use for camp water.
As for the saw, thanks for the ideas and suggestions. I have the older bigger 1, Buskill. I'll have to look at their current offerings. I may just throw mine in my "basecamp" totes, and go with my havalon only though. Thanks again guys!
WV Mountaineer's Link
I run a primos in my day pack. Good unit
I carry a saw too. I used to carry a Gerber folding saw to cut the legs and horns off. I do prefer a Euro mount and, when I kill one I intend to do that with, I just take the whole head. I quit using the gerber when I broke it. I since switched to a wire saw. Been using it for for the last 5 seasons or so. Works great. Haven't been elk hunting with it yet, but, one of these has done a dozen deer and, still going strong. Weighs nothing really and, takes up very little room in your kill kit. God Bless
If you are a non-resident no reason to bring out the whole head. Most state CWD laws prevent you from even taking it across state lines unless you boil it in camp and have it completely clean. For that matter most states allow only boned out meat to cross state lines. Check the law in every state you cross.
I have cut the skull plate off of several and it is no fun with a small folding saw. I picked up a larger Corona folding saw for this fall. It cuts through wood more than twice as fast as my other folding saws. Hope it does the same on a big mature bull skull cap!
I often wonder why hunters haul the entire skull out of the woods when the are either going to have it mounted or just a wall mount no skull. Do you have any idea the weight of a Elk or Moose skull? It makes a saw feel like a tissue.
I have used it a lot over the years from wood to bone
The Teeth on both sides are certainly wore down from back in the day when I bought it.
+1 joehunter---very true if you are crossing state lines travelling home.
If you can do carbon layup, I made this one at home. Tips the scale at 4 ounces. I've skull capped 4 or 5 elk, a couple deer, a couple barbary sheep and probably more with it. Wax mold and epoxy. I need to do a little more work on the design. Made one for bowboy that the end cap apparently keeps coming off. I really need to get a 3D printer to make better end caps.
I really like the one NMWapiti made for me. Just had to do a slight fix. Love how light it is. Before this I always packed a WY Mini bow saw.
That saw above has promise....
Either decide you need a saw or don't. Don't is the lightest option.....
And that depends on what you may use it for. If skull capping, bones AND packability are the requirements, the small WY saw is the gold standard. If you want to work at it a bit harder the gerber saw will work and is lighter. Both work OK for wood with the wood blades. Anymore that's the only reason I would have one in a day pack.... to make ground blinds and cut shooting lanes. BUT.... if that's pretty much all I would use it for, I'd take my folding Silky as it kicks about any other compact wood saw up and down the block and runs it out of the neighborhood..... that thing is a beast.
Theres no way I'd pack a saw in on a backpack hunt. Just me tho! Would be nice to have at times but not nearly enough for the weight and space in the pack it would take up.
Another vote for no saw. I’ve packed out plenty of elk and never wanted or needed one.
"How much extra do you think the skull without the bottom jaw weighs vs just the skull plate? How much does a saw plus skull plate weigh? I bet it’s about the same as the skull without the lower jaw."
My saw and a skull plate/horns weighs less than half of what the whole head minus jaw weighs.
I cap everything. Never did like the euro look except on antelope.
The folding Gerber will work, but they're on the same level as a replaceable blade knife. I've broken so many of them over the years my garage looks like a used gerber factory.
Capping a skull is weigh lighter than a euro and way less time.
I'm still looking for that perfect saw, but the Gerber works, just be careful as they can "hurt you"
Caz, the Bahco Laplander (Scandinavian military uses them) folding saw is slightly heavier than the slide out Gerber and 10X tougher and cuts well too. I had an old Gerber that was made in Finland and liked it. It finally got dull and I got the a couple of the new Gerber Chinese made sliders that bend/break in a few uses in my experience.
Use what you want, but I follow one policy,,,,,ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain, so pack accordingly...............
At 68 this fall will be on a solo elk hunt,,,,,, going to shoot a nice big cow, for my winter meat
I don't carry the saw with me in the daypack or backpack elk hunting but it goes in when I am packing the meat to take the antlers/skull cap off. On the other hand, it always goes when I am hanging whitetail stands.