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Need some advice from you backcountry elk slayers

MTGamecock

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2020
Messages
82
Location
SW Montana
My elk-killing experience consists of exactly 2 cows (although both are in the last 2 years), so that makes me an expert. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: Lots of good advice in this thread and it's interesting to see the divergence of opinion, so I don't think I add a lot of value when it comes to the two questions you asked. But I will add that you should be prepared to throw out whatever plans you make. Regarding the pack-out, the conditions/situation may dictate every aspect of it. A plan that works for 50-degree temps with sunny skies, calm winds, and a kill-site a mile from your truck likely won't work on a day with below-zero temps, snow on the ground, 40mph wind gusts, and a kill-site 6 miles from the truck.
 

Horseman

New member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
15
I always have a couple diaphragm cow calls at hand. Ive never called anything in with with a cow call during rifle (don’t try to either) but I can stop moving elk and keep them still for a handful of seconds nearly 100% of the time with a couple loud mews and I can do it hands free while shouldering a rifle. I will feel like I really screwed up if I forget my cow calls in camp even late into November. If I was you and I shot an elk miles from a trailhead (say the weather is sunny and mid 40s during the day and 20s at night) I would quarter the elk and hang the quarters hide on (I always bring a couple rolls of parachord), on a north facing tree in a shady spot (it’s usually a spruce). Hanging is primarily to cool your meat down as fast as possible but is also important if you hunt among grizzlies. Your first load would be all the loose meat like back straps, tenderloins and rib meat. I would skin and debone as little meat as possible right off the bat as I think meat ages best on the bone when temperatures are appropriate (below freezing at night and during the day no hotter than 50deg-always in the shade, no matter the temperature). The hide will protect your meat from dirt and seems to help keep the meat cool after it has cooled down over night. When temps are questionably high it is very important to hang it in the shade and keep dry. If you can’t get whole quarters out then I would still wait to debone upon returning for another load and only debone what I can physically get out each trip. If their is snow on the ground and bears don’t seem to be out I will often skip the hanging in a tree step and place quarters on a snowbank in the shade, hide up (to protect against small scavengers like ravens) but I always have horses so I can usually get it out that afternoon or the next morning. Speaking of that, it’s a good idea if possible to get your meat away from the carcass (for scavengers) and near an obvious tree or ‘spot’ and flag it with a bit of orange surveyors tape so that if you need someone else to retrieve your elk it is easy to locate. If you think that you might get lucky and be able to run across someone on the trail with horses willing to pack your elk out for a bit of dough you should leave the quarters near a tree so that stock can be tied while being loaded. Also if there is snow on the ground and the trip out is mostly down hill a utility sled works pretty nice for getting bone in quarters out whole too.
 

Horseman

New member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
15
I always have a couple diaphragm cow calls at hand. Ive never called anything in with with a cow call during rifle (don’t try to either) but I can stop moving elk and keep them still for a handful of seconds nearly 100% of the time with a couple loud mews and I can do it hands free while shouldering a rifle. I will feel like I really screwed up if I forget my cow calls in camp even late into November. If I was you and I shot an elk miles from a trailhead (say the weather is sunny and mid 40s during the day and 20s at night) I would quarter the elk and hang the quarters hide on (I always bring a couple rolls of parachord), on a north facing tree in a shady spot (it’s usually a spruce). Hanging is primarily to cool your meat down as fast as possible but is also important if you hunt among grizzlies. Your first load would be all the loose meat like back straps, tenderloins and rib meat. I would skin and debone as little meat as possible right off the bat as I think meat ages best on the bone when temperatures are appropriate (below freezing at night and during the day no hotter than 50deg-always in the shade, no matter the temperature). The hide will protect your meat from dirt and seems to help keep the meat cool after it has cooled down over night. When temps are questionably high it is very important to hang it in the shade and keep dry. If you can’t get whole quarters out then I would still wait to debone upon returning for another load and only debone what I can physically get out each trip. If their is snow on the ground and bears don’t seem to be out I will often skip the hanging in a tree step and place quarters on a snowbank in the shade, hide up (to protect against small scavengers like ravens) but I always have horses so I can usually get it out that afternoon or the next morning. Speaking of that, it’s a good idea if possible to get your meat away from the carcass (for scavengers) and near an obvious tree or ‘spot’ and flag it with a bit of orange surveyors tape so that if you need someone else to retrieve your elk it is easy to locate. If you think that you might get lucky and be able to run across someone on the trail with horses willing to pack your elk out for a bit of dough you should leave the quarters near a tree so that stock can be tied while being loaded. Also if there is snow on the ground and the trip out is mostly down hill a utility sled works pretty nice for getting bone in quarters out whole too.
For field dressing I bring 2 rolls of parachord, a knife that sharpens easily, it’s sharpening files and a saw.
 

Horseman

New member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
15
For field dressing I bring 2 rolls of parachord, a knife that sharpens easily, it’s sharpening files and a saw.
And if u knock one down on something steep use gravity to drag that gutted carcass or quarters down to a lower, more level, more accessible area. Whoever or whatever packs your elk out will greatly appreciate not having to redline up 800ft of elevation during the last quarter mile (or less) of their hike to your meat. There’s a ton of places within the backcountry that pack stock simply cannot get to and you and your 2 legged buddies don’t want to go either.
 

jtm307

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
822
Location
Wyoming
My experience: 7 cows and 2 bulls since 2015.
1) I've never used a call past October 1. I usually bring one in case I need to stop a fleeing elk, but I've never needed to stop a running elk.
2) I've never deboned an elk in the field and have never felt the need to. I like hanging boned in quarters and giving my self a few weeks to finish getting meat processed. If the quarters were deboned, I feel like I'd be too rushed to get the meat packaged to avoid meat loss. I also like keeping the bones for bone broth, marrow, and dog treats.
 

Duckdude10

New member
Joined
Aug 2, 2022
Messages
16
So after applying for 6 years straight, I believe i am finally on the verge of drawing a Wyoming elk tag, in the southern Bighorn Mountains. This will be my first elk hunt and I'm already regretting not going out on cow hunts previously to at least get some elk hunting experience before chasing bulls for the first time.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, but i have two specific questions i'd like to have answered if possible.

1. Do you spend much time calling in the middle of October on a rifle hunt? Should I even bring a tube along?

2. If I manage to stumble into a elk and get one on the ground, do you prefer boning out the meat completely for the pack out? Why or Why not?

Any advice for this long time hunter but 1st time elk hunter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks ladies and gents.
1. Calling won’t hurt you that time of year, but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear any talking then.

2. Kill it. Hang it. Make trips. I would bone it out after it hangs
 
Yeti

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