Contributors to this thread:
Which route would you take?
Hunting a new area this year. One of the spots I'm focusing on requires either a 1.4 mile hike (376' elevation gain plus a significant drop) or a 2.36 mile bike ride. (678' elevation gain) The ride would be on a closed service road for about a mile and then on a horse/bike trail. Hike will be on horse/bike/hiking trail. I have worked pretty hard for a 53 year old who started out the year at 252# and is now at 215#. I have been biking 5 days a week for the past month and lately I have been doing an 8-9 mile ride that has 400' of elevation gain and loss to try to simulate what I will be doing. (5 miles are almost perfectly flat so most of the elevation gain is in a 2 mile stretch).
My hunt cannot start until I have either done the hike or the ride so I will be doing that distance in the dark both going in and out.
The hike would be pretty easy going in but the one short stretch would suck coming out. I think the ride in is pretty doable for me and the ride out would be a piece of cake. I also picked up a child trailer for $20 that I hope to use to haul out my elk. Not sure if it will work on the trail, but am confident it would be a huge help for the last mile on the service road.
Finally, I haven't actually been on either path. I'm working off information from local authorities, Google Earth, etc.
So what are your thoughts, suggestions? Hike in, Bike in or Bike until it gets difficult and then hike from there?
Bike, then walk bike, then bike again.
The 1.4 miles and 376 feet gain won’t be bad. I would not be riding a bike in the dark if it rocky county. Coming out of there in the dark and tumbling over handle bars because you hit something in dark would suck.
I'll stick to hiking if it's me....
I'm voting with the hike in crowd. I might see it differently if the ride was in the daylight, but biking in the dark on unfamiliar terrain sounds dangerous.
Should clarify. First time in will definitely be in daylight. I may also consider biking in, spending the night in woods then out again at mid day.
An eBike would get you in and out in 10 minutes!
I prefer to bike if I can, and also spike out where the elk are. In and out mid day during down time is my vote. Super easy with a bike, even easier with an eBike
Bike. No problem in the dark if you have a decent headlamp. My workout routine is biking about 11 at night and I am doing about 12.5 mph average on a 6.5 mile ride. That is what I am set up for but you have to do what you feel comfortable with. Just remember you may be fixing a tire in the dark if you hit a rock wrong. Speaking from personal experience on that one.
1.4 miles would get ya barely warmed up and stretch out!
Easy pack out if ya harvest.
Good luck, Robb
Wreaking on a bike can end your season. 1.4 miles and 376’ gain is a normal AM jaunt to get from your bedding area to the Elk bedding area. Approx :30 travel time.
I'd hike so I didn't have to mess with the bike. Not a bad hike at all. Especially, if it's on trail.
If you do bike, wear a pair of safety glasses. The tips of head-high branches hanging down from above can appear quickly, especially if you’re focused on rocks and roots on a horse trail.
Another Bowsiter who’s rung his bell a time or two after hitting one of those roots might recommend from his experience that you wear a helmet too.
Without a doubt, Id hike.
I would opt for the hike personally. the real advantage for the bike is the decent in the evening would promote recovery especially on an extended hunt.
Can’t speak for elk but will for a 300lb black bear that child cart will haul one of them out no problems...if the trail is fairly good trail I would bike no question ...if it’s full of rocks and big azz roots and a tough bike ride I would prob just walk it ..
Hike...without a doubt. 1.4 miles and 376' elevation gain is nothing.
I would hike to hunt but would use the bike for the 2nd load of meat.
I'd hike, the bike is just one more piece of heavy equipment you have to muscle around at some point.
The weight limit on those kid trailers is far less than what a whole load of elk meat weighs, and if you load that trailer up for the trail part it will be extremely hard to ride. I'd park the bike/trailer at the end of the forest road and walk from there, then take 2 trips back and forth with the loaded trailer if you kill an elk.
I'd bike it.
Trick your bike out with one of these lights they turn night into day. If possible go a few days early and do the ride in daylight, scouting out the situation will be priceless.
Good luck and let us know how you do.
Cygolite Metro Pro– 1,100 Lumen Bike Light– 5 Night & 3 Daytime Modes– Compact & Durable– IP67 Waterproof– Secured Hard Mount– USB Rechargeable Headlight– for Road, Mountain, Commuter Bicycles
As long as you go in during daylight, I think bike gets the nod. I did something similar in 2015. Closed/locked FS road. ~ 3 miles. But I didn't have a trailer. Rode in with 50+ pounds on my back. Not the wisest decision I have ever made. It sucked starting and stopping.
When you pack out your bull, you will be able to coast to the truck!
Last Season, I went down several times on the bike coming out in the dark, on a horse trail (2 miles in/ 2 miles out).
Opted to walk in early the next morning...called in a 290 bull to 20 yards, only to find that my cable had slipped off the cam from the night before.
Bull hung out for 10 minutes, could have shot him a dozen times as he walked around me. So if it's me in that situation...I'm walking!
On my mountain goat hunt a few years ago, I was covering 4.5 miles and 3000' elevation gain every morning, The first half of that distance was a logging road that was closed to motorized vehicles. I'd hoped to cover that stretch on my mountain bike, but that idea quickly went away the first time I attempted it. The ascent was brutal....I used up far more energy on my bike than I would have on foot. The decent was flat out scary...constantly on the brakes and struggling to maintain control on the loose rocks and gravel. I burned the boot leather from that day on.
Thanks for your input guys. I think my plan will be to hike in the first day so I can see what the road/trail looks like. I will definitely take my bike on the trip because if the road is decent, which I believe it is, I think I will be able to do a quick 1.5 miles on the bike which would then make the last mile easy. I also think it would be the best way to pack out an elk. Yes, I figure it will take two trips with the trailer I have but that beats the heck out of four on foot. :)
BTW, what I've shown in the elevation graphs is just what I have to cover in order to legally start hunting. I doubt I will be lucky enough to get into elk right away so there will be more distance and elevation past that point. However, that is the junction where the two options meet and the furthest point I can take the bike.
Since you have no real destination in mind I'd walk & bugle enough to try & locate a nearby bull. If no response then I'd start bushwhacking towards areas that I'd researched previously, eventually elk will be found if area isn't hunted too hard!
That's a fingers crossed area with easy access so be willing to work harder than the last guy!
Paul, Oh, I have some destinations in mind. :) Yes it will be a new adventure. There is a lot of country past my starting point and I will explore as much of it as I need to in order to find the elk. I will have a nice truck camp but am taking gear to bivi as well. I will work hard, but hopefully, I will work smarter. I've found that is often more important than how many miles you hike or how much elevation you gain. BTW, thanks again for those snuffers a couple years ago. I still have them in my quiver. Good luck to you as well. September is coming!
Hike 100%, either trail is an easy hike. You've done the work to get in shape and lose the weight. Enjoy your hike!
OTC Off A Trail!
OTC Off A Trail!
OTC Off Dirt Road!
OTC Off Dirt Road!
OTC Off Dirt Road!
OTC Off Dirt Road!
Darrel, that's awesome, I hope you can put one through an elk this year!
I mention Calling/Bugling during your hike from the road/trail because it can flat out work in locating bulls especially while dark & right into the day. I call to bulls on a yearly basis like your situation, some spots don't pan out but many others do! I keep moving & bugling, not much on cow chatter until a bull is located & then it depends on his attitude.
These photos are from last years elk, they were taken right off a trail or less than 1-1/2 mile from a dirt road. I bugle to locate then move in & bring them to me! Try it sir, it works! Don't be bashful about using that bugle & don't concern yourself whether the bulls are talking on their own or not, get them to respond to you! Good luck!
Hike... take your time slow and steady.. listening for any elk and stopping occasionally to locate.. no bike to deal with
Personally, I always take the option that is least likely to interfere with my hunt. I'll go to great lengths to not spook game while in route. If spooking game isn't a concern then go with what you are most confident with or easiest.
I'm a good mountain biker and would bike that in a second, in the dark. Get a good Niterider or other brand headlamp. I prefer one on the bars and one on the helmet (note I mentioned HELMET - wear one!). With a light setup like that riding at night is piece of cake.
I'll also add that I recently got a QUALITY fat tire full suspension bike and despite being heavier it rolls with ease places my racing FS MTB can't.
Lastly, a BOB trailer (single wheel) tracks WAY WAY better behind a MTB than a kiddo trailer with 2 wheels. The BOB follows you right along on single track: the kiddo trailer wheels often hit stuff to the sides that you can't avoid. Of course a BOB is more expensive, and as of yet I don't have the ability to modify my BOB to fit the fat tire bike.
Yes, a helmet is a given and I'm pretty leery of a spill ruining my hunt so I'm leaning against the bike unless I find the road/trail to be especially good. It will also depend on where I find elk. There are a couple places where if I happened to find elk, the bike would make even more sense.
I know a Bob trailer would be better but I snatched what I have for $20 so its worth taking with me. Now, if I buy that Fat Tire Ebike I'm thinking about before next year, I probably will consider that a necessary investment. :)
While I'm leaning towards hiking, the idea of a downhill easy ride back to camp though is awfully appealing. I hate hiking back to my truck in the hot sun in the middle of the day, but a cool mountain breeze would feel pretty good.
Either way, it will be a blast. Now I just have to decide if I'm leaving on 9/2 or 9/9. Lots of pros and cons about that one.
376' of elevation gain in 1.4 miles! I didn't know Kansas had an elk season.
I have both, bob single wheel and burley two wheel. I pack elk with the burley. The bob never made it out of the yard with about 80# on it.
Mulecreek, Actually KS does have an elk season. Only a few tags but it has one. :)
However, the 374 elevation gain is just a ridge to cross and it comes with a 414 elevation drop in the last 1/3 mile and then I start climbing again. :)
Personally I’d try both and base it off which one made me less sweaty. I bike at night often, if it’s rocky and loose I’d suggest 2 bright lights. One on bike and headlamp. Other issue that could pose a problem is bike/trailer may be loud and spook the game on way in?
I'd hike. However, as soon as I killed an elk, I'd go and get the bike. Looks like it will be downhill on the way out on the bike - that will be so easy on a bike compared to packing an elk on your back.
This is actually kind of a funny photo. My son killed a bull 8 miles up a closed road. He boned out the elk, and I took the whole elk out in one go. All I had was a cheap old street bike, and a game cart that I tied to the bike. I was surprised at how well it worked.