Sitka Mountain Gear
My New Mexico Elk hunt
Contributors to this thread:
spinedoc 28-Jul-19
Sean D. 28-Jul-19
nmarchr 28-Jul-19
Barrera 28-Jul-19
nmwapiti 28-Jul-19
PREZ 29-Jul-19
Castle Oak 29-Jul-19
altitude sick 29-Jul-19
Buglmin 29-Jul-19
Scar Finga 29-Jul-19
elkstabber 29-Jul-19
sdkhunter 29-Jul-19
AZ~Rich 29-Jul-19
SteveB 29-Jul-19
Thunderflight 29-Jul-19
Dogman 30-Jul-19
glidingindian 02-Aug-19
glidingindian 02-Aug-19
Bowhuntinnut 03-Aug-19
Boris 03-Aug-19
From: spinedoc
I finally drew an elk tag. I hunt in Unit 15, Sep 15-24. I live in PA and have no time to scout, so I am hiring A3 outfitters to help me. They have been easy to deal with so far and I am looking forward to the hunt.

I needed to get my gear in order. I am using a Bowtech Realm SR6 set at 63 pounds, Easton Axis arrows, broadhead TBD.

Coming from PA, most hunts are done in rubber boots. I am breaking in a set of Salomon GTX 3 mids and a set of Crispi Thors. Still got to figure out some clothing options.

Not sure about style of hunting. Ryan from A3 said it could be anything from a blind to spot and stalk to calling on the move.

I'm pretty excited for this opportunity. Trying to build my stamina and extend my range. Shooting pretty good out to 50 yards. Going to try to get proficient to 70, makes the 40 yarders a little easier to consider.

If anyone has any ideas on clothes, weather conditions you encountered while there or terrain descriptions, I would love any insight or stories about your hunt. I plan on getting in the best shape I can , trusting A3 to get me where I need to be and making an ethical shot.

Looking forward to a safe, enjoyable first trip to NM to hunt elk.

From: Sean D.
A3 is gonna put you on some great bulls. Good Luck!

From: nmarchr
Could be in the 90’s in the day and 30’s at night, expect rain daily, and make sure you have a good day pack. Something that is quiet while you move and fits well, you could end up putting the miles on the old boots daily! Be prepared physically and you’ll have a great time!

From: Barrera
Hope you get a nice one as outfitters aren't cheap. Dont think you'll need to shoot past 40yds.

From: nmwapiti
Most likely warm and dry, but you might get some hard rain in the evenings. Best of luck. Hope they are screaming for ya.

From: PREZ
I will be in N.M. unit 23 the week before you are. My best advice is break in your boots, be ready to do 10 miles up and down the hills daily, know where your broadheads are hitting and a good pack that is comfortable and not overloaded with things you really don't need. Good Luck.

From: Castle Oak
One lesson I learned while hunting in NM: on each hunt take twice as much water as you think you need. Also, chap stick and saline solution for your sinus' are your friend. I was not prepared for the low humidity and did not take enough water on my first hunt. Did not make that mistake again.

Quiet clothing. No cordura,

Know the trajectory of your arrow.

If a bull is 40 yards and there is a limb at 10 yards, or 30 yards covering the vitals. Will your arrow clear it. Can be the difference in a shot or too much time spent assessing the situation.

I’ve had 2 of those situations in unit 15.

From: Buglmin
Unit 15 is a fun unit when the bulls are talking. The old days, when you had no idea what was gonna come into your calls, seeing those big trashy bulls, Gila monsters. Are you hunting one of the private ranches, or running around on public? Different story, private to public.

If it was me, I'd be using a pair of lite weight hiking boots for 15. Daytime temps can get high, and it's not like you're chasin sheep and needing heavy boots. Good luck, have fun, and don't pass up a 300" bull hoping you'll find something bigger.

From: Scar Finga
Congratulations on a great tag!! I would add the following...

Break in those boots, rough terrain and side hilling, and know how to properly lace them (youtube videos). Also breaking in your pack is just as important, make sure it doesn't rub to much anywhere. You can use Leuko tape for that as well, and on that note, Take Leuco-Tape! Learn how to properly apply it to blisters and hot spots- Youtube the videos!

Light weight, high quality clothing is a must!! Packable high quality raingear and a merino vest. I always pack an extra pair of Merino socks in my pack. I also use gaiters all the time in months with rain. they will keep your pants and socks dry if the grass is wet, and keep you dry if you need to cross a stream.

I also take a good bow sling or attach my bow to my pack while climbing. I prefer the sling, because I can shoot with it on my bow and it's readily available. A really good set of hiking poles can be a game changer in rough terrain and while packing out meat. I only use one, but I always have it with me.

And what was said above, don't put to much crap in your pack!!! I carry socks, lots of water, I carry three liters no matter what. I have ran out of water 5 hours from camp and it sucks!!! Plans and weather can change in an instant, so be prepared. rain gear, trekking poles (I only use one), a beanie, snacks. I also pack my In-Reach, it's worth the weight to me. A very simple small first aid kit with a space blanket, I also use it to as a ground cloth to keep my meat clean . light weight game bags, you will need several of them. Maybe a water filter, if you need one, buy a really good one, it could save your life!!! That should be all you need.

I would ask the guide the following questions... Is the Outfitter/ guide packing out all the meat, cape, antlers... If not, you will need a pack that can handle a very heavy load, 60-100lbs depending on your abilities. They may expect you to help and they will be very appreciative if you help with the packing! Break in your pack, and train with the pack and heavy loads in realist conditions, not walking on the sidewalk. Does he carry a first aid kit? Does he have an In-reach if you are in remote areas. Does he carry a water filter or do you need one and is water (streams/ lakes) available where you are hunting? Lots of things to consider!

It could be very warm in September, even at altitude!

Good Luck and I hope you have a very successful hunt!

From: elkstabber
Good advice above. Also, if you have any allergies be prepared because the allergens in NM will be different than what you get in PA.

From: sdkhunter
Congrats on the tag! I've never been lucky enough to hunt 15 but I've spent time in that general area of the state... Be ready for anything weather wise. Have some decent rain gear (you may not need it or may need it every day). I'm sure outside of your weapon and clothing your outfitter would have the bare-bone items needed (and will provide a list of items to bring) so I would focus on the 'extra' items such as some gloves and stocking cap for early morning ATV/UTV rides in the cool morning, chapstick & some baby wipes... I've experienced more warm weather down there than cold so I'd bring at least a couple of pairs of the convertible pants (I'm often in shorts by 9-10AM) and a few short sleeve shirts in case it gets really hot - ability to dress in layers is key..

Make sure to practice in-bwetween distances (not just 30, 40, etc) and even make sure to do at least a few shots in less than ideal form conditions - from your knee's, etc...

Good luck!

From: AZ~Rich
All good advice. I would x2 on having quiet gaiters. Just walking in the shin high wet grass in the AM will quickly soak your legs and boots. Have packable light-weight rain gear. It can be just a drizzle or a torrential downpour that time of year. Stay away from cotton tee shirts as you can wring them out from just the sweat. Layer with lightweight and loose breathable non cotton shirt over very thin polypropylene base tee. No need to bring anything warmer in your pack... save that for being in camp at night. If its chilly in AM I know I will warm up by walking and with increasing temps so I leave my light jacket or pullover. I do bring one for the afternoon hunt when I may end up out all night...(i.e, dressing out a bull). Lighter weight waterproof boots are all that's needed as most terrain is forested or open meadows with some rocky slopes, but not very extreme like sheep country. Good luck! you should have a great hunt.

From: SteveB
Congratulations on the tag, I’ve always wanted to hunt 15. Looking forward to your story!

Good luck! I hunted that unit in 2012 for the 1st ML season.

From: Dogman
Ryan is a great guy, he will take care of ya!

you said second week, assume you meant second hunt starting on 15th . Have hunted that unit a dozen times with draw tags and several purchased tags (ouch!) , and two youth hunts with kids. First one cost $1800, you know where they are now. I found the good moisture years to be great, always in bugling bulls if later season. drought years sucked. you have good moisture so should be good.. I would find an outfitter with such a tag, too far and too much to have to startfrom scratch. Terrain can be really easy, bulls close to road. second season probably got to get as far from traffic as possible and that means steep. some years u ran into others, other years not so much. Agree it is not as great as few years ago but there are some giants there. Have killed a few fine bulls there in the 330 range. tell us how you did and congrats on a great tag!

crap- I didn't have my readers on, was replying above to another Unit 15 post! sorry about that but congrats on your tag, you will have a great time. from what you originally posted and the replies you are well prepared. Good luck

From: Bowhuntinnut
Congrats on the tag, that’s a dream tag for me! I predict you will be unhappy with those mountaineering boots on that hunt! I would go with a more athletic boot to cover more ground. Under Armour or Danner or the like. A lot of flatter country, cedars and p&j country, you won’t need sheep boots. Good luck!

From: Boris
Hey spindoc, go done to the BOOT BOX in Meadville. they have great boots at great prices.

  • Sitka Gear