Tight Spot Quivers
Wilderness hunt or same old same old??
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Gapmaster 22-Jan-19
elkstabber 22-Jan-19
Cheesehead Mike 22-Jan-19
Brotsky 22-Jan-19
Gapmaster 22-Jan-19
Z Barebow 22-Jan-19
Gapmaster 22-Jan-19
HULLHEAVER 22-Jan-19
SoDakSooner 22-Jan-19
Mule Power 22-Jan-19
Franklin 22-Jan-19
Glunt@work 22-Jan-19
Deertick 22-Jan-19
BULELK1 23-Jan-19
joehunter 23-Jan-19
Mule Power 23-Jan-19
Cheesehead Mike 23-Jan-19
Gapmaster 23-Jan-19
Gapmaster 23-Jan-19
From: Gapmaster
22-Jan-19
I’m new here, but not to hunting. I’ve archery hunted elk in Colorado and NM 12 times and been fortunate enough to take 3 elk with one 330” bull. I’m not a rookie or an expert. I’ve always hunted public land DIY from your standard “truck” camp. I generally go into the nastiest stuff I can find and don’t shy away from long walks in the dark. This being said, I’m considering a pack in hunt on foot into a few different wilderness areas. I have settled into a very decent area I’ve been hunting the last few yrs but long for a new challenge. I’ve got the gear and the know how, but I’m a little concerned on “wasting” days of hiking just to go where everyone else is going. Any suggestions? Stick with what’s decent and familiar or go for broke into the back country. I’m not asking for exact locations on anyone’s spot. Just opinions. Looking at West Elk, La Garita, or Lizard Head?? Thanks in advance!

From: elkstabber
22-Jan-19
Number 1 consideration is not how far in to go, it's how will you get that elk out?

22-Jan-19
Backpacking in and spiking out is sometimes done partially for the experience of doing it rather than solely to increase your odds at killing elk. Some people would rather get in and away from the trailhead and away from most people, cars, trucks, horse trailers, ATV's, UTV's, road noise, etc. than stay at a truck camp with a lot of people around even if there were fewer elk up in the wilderness...

From: Brotsky
22-Jan-19
Elkstabber +1. That is the real consideration. We were in almost 6 miles last year but we had 4 guys. I would have never considered going in that far with any less guys. We can get a bull out in one trip and even then it is a bomb to the truck and back to camp. Multiple trips would have not been an option, maybe for guys who aren't fat and in there 40's but still tough. Figure if you go in 5 miles even you are looking at a 10 mile round trip from your bull to the truck per load. It adds up fast solo or even with one partner.

From: Gapmaster
22-Jan-19
I’m looking at maximizing hunting time. Seems I hike as much as I hunt sometimes. I’ve packed a lot of elk out on my back so I’m not unrealistic on the work.

From: Z Barebow
22-Jan-19
Double edged sword. You MIGHT see less people hiking/camping away from a trailhead. Will you see more elk? What happens if you don't see elk? Do you hike back out of the area you worked so hard to get into? Or do you wait because your research tells you they HAVE to be there?

If I know there are elk in where I am going, I like to camp in the backcountry. Many times I can hear the elk during the night and that tells me where to head in the morning.

BUT if I am not finding elk, driving to a new area vs hiking to a new area is the way to go. (And I need to be prepared to do this several times)

From: Gapmaster
22-Jan-19
That’s my only reservation...the elk not being there. Nothing beats “boots on the ground” just not as easy 13 hrs away. Having multiple backup plans is always a must. I guess I could always give the Wilderness a shot and then fall back on my trusty areas. Does anyone know much about La Garita? Not wanting spots, just general info. I haven’t found much out there and haven’t physically been in that area much.

From: HULLHEAVER
22-Jan-19
In the last few years I have noticed a pretty substantial increase in people in the backcountry/wilderness. Places I used to have to myself are now "crowded." (And I am not talking about hikers) If you hike in 5-6 miles and it's "crowded" it's a long hike out to throw a dart at another spot.

From: SoDakSooner
22-Jan-19
I think we saw more people in the wilderness when we spiked out last time than when we just truck hunted. It was fun though and we managed to get in the elk, so no complaints. Didn't shoot one but had multiple opportunities inside 50 yards(damn deadfall)

From: Mule Power
22-Jan-19
Unless I have a few seasons of experience in the atea I’d never invest the time and effort into packing a camp in and being commited to that area. If I knew enough to know it was worth it then fine. If not I’d hunt it from the truck camp until I confirmed it was a wise decision.

From: Franklin
22-Jan-19
My 'go to place' is in the Wilderness area. 2 decades ago I hooked up with a horse guy to take me in and out whether I score or not. It`s fairly reasonable and have grown to be friends. I would prefer to hunt where others are not even if the animals may be more abundant elsewhere. Just my personal preference.

From: Glunt@work
22-Jan-19
There are 3 reasons I don't pack way in to elk hunt very often:

I'm not interested in packing an elk out more than a couple miles alone.

If it's a bust, it takes longer to relocate.

I have access to a comfy cabin where I can step out the back door and start hunting. Not the best elk spot but the friends are great.

That said, it is fun getting way back in and sometimes once you are there you can be on elk day after day and never get more than a mile from camp. You really won't know if it was the best plan to fill a tag until you go. If solitude is part of reason, you likely need to be as far off a main trail as you would need to be off a road. Backpacking in for elk is getting real popular.

From: Deertick
22-Jan-19
Elk not being there is a huge deal. I prefer to be in wilderness, but after a few seasons of “missing” the elk, and then having to move, I don’t do it much any longer. Horses help, but it takes multiple guys who know horses to make that work. Now, I prefer mobility. I’ll do wilderness hunting again, but only when I can “afford to” from a perspective of not getting into elk, because that’s a real possibility and it’s not easily remedied.

From: BULELK1
23-Jan-19
Nothing Beats knowledge and experience in any unit.

Going into a knew area can be a lot of fun though, for sure with a mid-summer scouting trip to get to know the lay of the land----->ect.

What ever you decide, have a great bow hunt.

Good luck, Robb

From: joehunter
23-Jan-19

joehunter's embedded Photo
4 miles in a Co wilderness on 2nd day of a bivy hunt. Came out and it sure was nice to already have a nice comfy camp set up on the road to come back to!
joehunter's embedded Photo
4 miles in a Co wilderness on 2nd day of a bivy hunt. Came out and it sure was nice to already have a nice comfy camp set up on the road to come back to!
joehunter's embedded Photo
1.5 miles in from a comfy road camp. Sons Wy elk.
joehunter's embedded Photo
1.5 miles in from a comfy road camp. Sons Wy elk.
I do a combination. Have a nice comfortable road camp set up with all the extras- wood stove, hot shower, air mattress, generator and pre cooked good food frozen in a freezer. Then have ultralight gear to bivy hunt. Pack weight for Bivy is less than 30 pounds with added tent, pad, sleeping bag, and food that is added to my normal day pack that always has kill kit, rain gear, water, safety kit,puffy coat, extra socks, gortex socks in case boots get swamped. This way I am flexible and can hunt any way needed.

From: Mule Power
23-Jan-19
Flexibility... always a good idea. At some point you’ll need to regroup.

23-Jan-19
If you're capable of packing in 5-6 miles to do a wilderness spike camp hunt then you're probably capable of checking out the area on a 10-12 mile round trip day hunt from your truck. That might be a wise option before you commit to an area and pack in with a heavy pack. I've done that before and hiked into an area on a day hunt with a light day pack to check it out before committing. Sometimes I find what I like and I pack in the next day with my spike camp or I move on. You could also do a 1-nighter hunting/scouting trip with just your day pack, some food a sleeping bag and a lightweight tarp before committing to packing in.

From: Gapmaster
23-Jan-19
Thanks for the thoughts and opinions. The bivy style hunt with a “truck” base camp may be the best option for what I’m thinking. Especially learning a new area. Glad I asked because for some reason my SIMPLE brain didn’t even think about that. I was thinking “all in or bust”. I’ll concentrate on that approach until I hopefully find that sweet spot. Thanks again to everyone.

From: Gapmaster
23-Jan-19
One more question, and I don’t expect a huge response on the open forum. Any ideas about the West Elk Wilderness? Just trying to get a feel for elk populations and hunter density. I’ve read through the CDW info, but personal opinions usually pull more weight than numbers on a page. I’m guessing the main trailheads are overrun. Accessing through more remote locations may be more challenging physically but more rewarding for less pressure?? Just spitballing here guys.

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