Caribou Gear

A first elk hunt

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
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Manetheren
I have a Havalon which is nice once the blade is connected, but it seems like you need to carry a pair of pliers just to get the old blade off safely. I did see someone with a Gerber replaceable that looked to have a better blade removable system iirc.
I just stick the tip of my havalon in a tree or in the dirt and snap the blade in half, then its super each to take off. I put on a new blade and then put the old one in the little foil sheath the new blade came in... the new havalons usually come with a blade remover.

I've used various other knives, but it's really easy to dull the crap out of them skinning and for me it's just another thing to deal with while butchering.
 

prhunter

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Aug 2, 2014
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Far West Texas
Sounds like you're headed in the right direction. Like others have said... get those boots broken in soon and get that new Leupold scope mounted on.

Also, make sure all your other basic gear such as binos, knives, pack & meat bags are good quality products.

Get in shape before the hunt.

Good luck
 

44hunter45

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Aug 14, 2019
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2,020
Location
North Idaho
I hope you have a great hunt!

I've lost opportunities on elk due to cheap scopes being broken when I came up for a shot. Never again!
As a rule, I want my glass to cost about as much as the naked rifle. Some I have cost more. Schmalts is the man for glass. I have European scopes, but I've had amazing luck with Leupold's VX-3i line. Now upgraded with even better features in the price class. I'm slowly investing in better glass for every rifle I own.

I've killed a bunch of elk with the 30-06. No matter what caliber you decide, be prepared to keep shooting until it's down. You can blow out a bulls' heart and he might stand there for a while. If the first shot is sweet, they can go right down. If they get their adrenaline up, they can take every round in your rifle. Make your first shot your best shot. My first elk took three 180 grainers from my 30-06. When he tipped over and I ran over there I found three entrance holes in a 3 inch triangle, low in the lungs. He just didn't fall down. Then he started looking a little drunk, then over he went.

I later learned I had run over to the elk with a live round in the tube and the safety off. Elk make people do stupid things. Don't be like me.

Don't be shocked if you don't get an exit hole with a 22" 30-06 on a bull elk. You often find your bullet(s) laying under the hide on the off-side. Their hide will stretch and absorb an amazing amount of energy.

If you're are having trouble getting your Axis to shoot good groups, (and you have already replaced the scope), go find the YouTubes about stiffening the stock with epoxy.
You pay in weight, but it will tighten your groups. Having said that, if it works, don't fix it.

I had to replace my 4 ply tires last year after a day of off-roading rock bruised one. Some rental companies will provide chains. Les Schwab Tire stores will sell you chains, then buy them back later if they are unused.

Knife wise - for the money, the Randy Newberg Gerber is the best thing out there. I'm using an Outdoor Edge change blade knife because someone gifted it to me and I'm cheap. I've done one elk with it and several deer and it works. I still carry a small diamond sharpener and will use it for the changable blades too. At least for skinning. Once you hit bone with them, move on to a new blade. (If anyone wants to gift me a DTS, I'll DM my address...) Replacement blades do not add much weight. Make sure you have more than you think you will need. I carry 12 in the knife sheath. Elk eat knife blades

I'm 59 this year and I'm prepping for a SE Alaska hunt this fall. My workout is hiking and climbing with my fully loaded pack. That's all my camping gear and rifle, plus extra weight to simulate hauling meat. I filled a cardboard tube with 12 pounds of lead to simulate my rifle if I am hiking somewhere a rifle is not appropriate.
I don't try to crank out personal bests. Too fast and too heavy will get you a turned ankle or worse. I do practice navigating blow downs and crossing obstacles. I use trekking poles.
Hunting solo means being aware of your situation at all times. I train the same. Idaho has plenty of natural steep for training. If I could not find it locally, I'd go find a stadium to get longer stair hikes.

My workout has also helped me fine tune my pack load-out and make sure the load bearing system is adjusted for my body. Heavy meat loads can hurt you if your pack is not right. If your pack is set up right, an elk pack load isn't really too bad.

If I shoot something in a hell hole, I shuttle all the loads to the top first, then take each load all the way out after that. Shuttling loads means more loading and unloading, but has advantages in bear country. It is nice knowing you only need to go a 1/2 mile for that last load instead of all five miles back in again. It helps if your pack has a compression strap system and you are not tying on quarters with 550 para-cord.

Good luck on your hunt. I can't wait for your report(s).
 

vanish

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Nov 25, 2015
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1,669
Location
Colorado
Havalon works great, just dont twist the knife/blade. 60A blades are stronger than the 60xt. They'll dull quickly if you cut towards bone; you want to cut along the bone.
 

mstolte

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Jul 7, 2021
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For Ammo, I check this site daily and wait for the price to be just right for what I am looking for:


Tues/Wed seem to be the best day...
 

FoodIsMemories

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Jun 26, 2021
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383
Location
SW MT
Chris I killed my first bull in 1967 with an 03-A3 .30/06. I was 12. The 06 will work just fine, killed a bunch for me over the years. 53 years of elk hunting I’d rate boots near the very top of my equipment list. My favorite elk rifle will shoot 1/2 MOA but most of the 40 some I’ve killed were shot with rifles that weren’t anywhere near that accurate. I would however up grade your scope a little. Have fun, enjoy the adventure.
Impressive! 👏🏼
 

ChrisC

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Jul 21, 2016
Messages
282
Location
Massachusetts
I wanted to update the thread with a few purchases that resolved a couple possible issues mentioned in previous posts. I also wanted to provide my current gear list in case it could be useful to other's preparations or reveal any glaring oversights that someone here may be able to point out.

Regarding the scope, I've mounted a new Leupold on my gun and am in the process of sighting it in. The area behind my house allows me to shoot ammo up to 250 yards fairly easily, maybe 300 with some careful positioning. CDS dial is on order, which they said would have a roughly 6-week lead time. Cutting it a bit close but that's my fault.

The Gunbroker recommendations ended up being very helpful, as I was able to put through a winning bid for 165 grain copper ammo, so I don't have to worry about that for a while!

As for the knife I bought one of the Gerber DTS knives and will likely carry along my havalon, though I'm tempted to get the EBS as well because why not.

Current gear list:

Clothing
FL Llano quarter zip
FL Chama Hoody
Sitka heavyweight Hoody
Kuiu superdown hooded puffy jacket
FL Uncompahgre puffy pants
Kuiu zipoff merino (200?) bottoms
FL Corrugate Guide pants
Sitka Cloudburst rain gear
UA balaclava
Darn tough socks
Lowa Tibet boots
Arcteryx Venta gloves
Kuiu superdown mittens

Gear
Kuiu 5200 icon pro pack
Sea-to-summit pack rain fly
Stone Glacier quick release sling
Platypus bladder + nalgene bottle
Sawyer squeeze mini water filter
Vortex Viper HD 15-45x65 spotter
Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42 binos
Slik 634cfl tripod, benro s2 head w/ outdoorsman bino adapter
Vortex Rangefinder
Garmin InReach Mini (still need to set this up)
Wind checker
Savage Axis 30-06 w/ Leupold Vx3hd 3.5-10x40
165 grain trophy copper ammo
Marsupial gear bino harness w/ two rangefinder pouches
Havalon & gerber DTS knives
MSR pocket rocket, pot & long spork
Various roll top dry bags for pack organization
Seek Outside Cimarron
Kifaru Smith(?) Stove
Pyro putty (on order)
REI Magma 10 degree sleeping bag
Big Agnes slx(?) sleeping pad
Sea-to-summit pillow (on order)
Tag game bags
OR Gaiters
Petzl reaction headlamp
Black diamond trekking poles
Battery charger (dont remember brand)

As I write out this fairly extensive list, I'm reminded of all the comments I've seen over the years on various forums about how stupid it is for first timers to spend all this money on fancy gear and have no elk hunting experience. I suspect I just might fall in that category. I suspect some of this may get left in the truck.

I still need to figure out first aid and general small items (paracord, lighter, etc.). Was listening to Randy's triage podcast with Tyr(?) and it makes me think I should be bring the whole ambulance with me. Was considering one of those CAT tourniquets, quickclot, skin stapler (not sure I'm someone who would thrive in a situation where I need to stitch myself) along with the more basic items.

The food menu remains a work in progress.

There may be updates if I think of something I missed (though it seems like I have everything but the kitchen sink already listed) or something changes.
 

ChrisC

Active member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
282
Location
Massachusetts
Get steri-strip and tegaderm wound closure kit, it's safe and painless to use, you don't want to be stapling a wound up in the backcountry.
Thanks for the heads up! Not sure I've heard of that, I'll look into it.

Just googled...never knew that film was called tegaderm.
 
Last edited:

pilsner

Active member
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
135
Your doctor can Rx you meds to take before and during the hunt to help with altitude adjustment.
Also some emergenct meds to have on hand:
Antibiotics/Cipro
Flagyl (water borne illnesses)
Opoid pain killer like codeine
Altitude sickness medication
Benadryl
Pepto chewable
Ibuprofen/NSAID

Toss into some tiny pull bags to organize. My medication kit weighs sub -4 ounces or so.
Super glue and some steristrips are a must have if youre gonna be using a scapel style blade like havalon! Again they cost only a couppe bucks and weigh next to nothing. Blood clotting agents and tourniquets are a bad idea with out the associated training to use them.
 

Mako3382

New member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
13
Chris I killed my first bull in 1967 with an 03-A3 .30/06. I was 12. The 06 will work just fine, killed a bunch for me over the years. 53 years of elk hunting I’d rate boots near the very top of my equipment list. My favorite elk rifle will shoot 1/2 MOA but most of the 40 some I’ve killed were shot with rifles that weren’t anywhere near that accurate. I would however up grade your scope a little. Have fun, enjoy the adventure.
Agreed, boots and optics will rank high. Have a blast
 

CJnGA

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
29
Jumping in to follow this one. Heading out on our first camp-based elk hunt this fall as well. Did an impromptu car-camping trip with the family this past weekend, so now I have a very updated list of what kind of gear I do or do not have or need to upgrade or refresh.

Good luck!
 

ammo

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2020
Messages
13
Location
Denver
Just went through my gear list this morning :)

~You're going to want to bring a TON of p-cord for hanging (not just a little bit)
~If you have time, spray your game bags down with a lemon/cayenne pepper mix - keeps the flies off
~a pillow is overkill, cut down your weight and stick your warm jacket in your sleeping bag stuff sack
 

matechakeric

Active member
Joined
Dec 15, 2020
Messages
280
@ChrisC
I'd love to learn more about your plans for renting an off road capable vehicle. Are you going through a rental company like enterprise or hertz or a different route?
 

ChrisC

Active member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
282
Location
Massachusetts
@ChrisC
I'd love to learn more about your plans for renting an off road capable vehicle. Are you going through a rental company like enterprise or hertz or a different route?
I decided to rent a vehicle from Titus Adventure Company out of Denver, specifically their Tacoma. The standard hertz rental did fine for my 2017 antelope hunt but I am guessing that the roads where I'm hunting could be worse so I wanted to rent a vehicle that I wouldnt have any coverage issues going off paved surfaces. It comes with a bunch of stuff I probably won't use (rooftop tent, kitchen gear, camping gear, etc.) but otherwise should do the job. So if anyone happens to see a white and orange tacoma in Wyoming mid October with a big ol' rooftop tent, I'm probably not too far away walking around scratching my head wondering what the heck i'm doing.

Outside of hunting, it looks like a good setup. If all goes well, might give it a try for a non-hunting trip with my wife and not have to worry about traveling with all that stuff.
 
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