SOLO? IS IT POSSIBLE WITH ELK?

rmyoung1

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It's amazing how Google Earth can talk you into things that you quickly realize you can't do once you get there in person. Be honest with yourself. Topography, altitude, physical fitness, size of the elk, distance from the vehicle all play a role. But be honest with yourself. I think it would be very easy to get into trouble if you are new to elk hunting and your first trip is solo in high, tough country (and CO has plenty of it). The last elk I shot in Colorado was a cow only 1/2 mile from the truck. Could've packed it out solo easily. The one before that was 2 miles from the truck but massive elevation gain with blowdown and plenty of misery between the kill site and the vehicle. It would have taken me days to finish the job alone. And then I've killed a CO elk eight miles from the trailhead at 11,000 feet. There's no way I could do 64 miles (16-mile roundtrips per elk quarter) in that country with heavy pack loads for half of those miles. That elk came out on horseback. A lot of variables come into play!
 
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Elk and "flat" country don't mix unless you are paying to hunt private. Plan on it being a real MF'er and a minimum of 4 trips for a decent bull.

Ya I figured there are not alot of flat areas, but I guess I ment more like hill valleys instead of mountains. I was thinking of looking more in the southern parts
 

wyoboypt

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I’ve done it several times. Being “in shape” is helpful, but a bit over rated. I’m 5’11 and 145. I don’t work out. As long as you eat enough calories and think smart, you’ll be fine. The first reply on your thread by daltrix99 is 👌🏼
 

MTGomer

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I packed last year’s bull out solo. But he was also in a place that was pretty easy, which is why I shot him.
It’s just totally dependent on distance, terrain, fitness and willingness.
A lot of the places I would like to hunt elk are simply too far to do it backpack, which complicates things. It’s good to have friends with horses.
 

KipCarson

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Bossier City, Louisiana
I am glad there are plenty of people on this thread talking some sense. In the past several years I have seen way too many people making bogus macho claims about how much they carry, how far they carry it and how quickly they did it. I have only been involved in a handful of elk pack outs and none of the bulls could have been hauled out with anything less than 3-4 extremely full loads. (I saw one guy claiming to carry out 3/4 of his elk in one trip?) You can do it solo, I plan to do it myself eventually, but you are very wise to go in asking questions and having your eyes wide open. Good luck!
 

klwinter921

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Missing the Root
I’ve done it several times. Being “in shape” is helpful, but a bit over rated. I’m 5’11 and 145. I don’t work out. As long as you eat enough calories and think smart, you’ll be fine. The first reply on your thread by daltrix99 is 👌🏼
You must be a beast!💪 Packin elk out of the high country and you don't work out!?😲 I workout all year long as a lifestyle and I still have to grunt pretty hard hauling elk out. I'm impressed!!:)
 

GrantK

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while I 100% agree with the majority here that it is totally doable I would throw out one more consideration: what is your ability to get the meat cool? that more than a lot of other things helps me make up my mind in the shoot/don't shoot equation when I'm solo...

for example, if you are on a huge north-facing slope with heavy timber it is pretty much a green light, quarter and hang and you have days to get it out, even if its really warm... big south-facing open slope? better have a plan, and a patch of timber or other shade close enough to get it to quick, getting it cool fast is key, bust your ass to make sure that happens no matter what it takes, once you are cool and hanging then you have some wiggle room with packing, but blow that and meat is going bad fast...

getting an elk solo is an incredibly rewarding experience, just make sure to think about what you are committing yourself to before the trigger is pulled.
 

wyoboypt

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You must be a beast!💪 Packin elk out of the high country and you don't work out!?😲 I workout all year long as a lifestyle and I still have to grunt pretty hard hauling elk out. I'm impressed!!:)
It’s been a while since I’ve killed one in high country. Lately I’ve been hunting some “desert” elk so the worst part about it is the heat. I’m really just a skinny guy. One trip at a time. Nothing fancy. No super long hauls. It’s always a grunt either way!
 

BcGunworks

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I’m going to do it this coming season...my training already started with sacks of sand in the pack.

I pack a whole deer out In one trip. It’s not horrible. But I expect by the 4th trip with the elk I’ll be bitching. 🤣
 

wllm1313

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But I expect by the 4th trip with the elk I’ll be bitching. 🤣
2nd ;)

Mix a bag of gummy bears with a scoop of Gatorade powder. Sounds disgusting, but it’s literally the best packout snack of all time... might quell the bitching to the 3rd trip... maybe
 

Elkdog

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Nevada
Sorry if I missed someone mentioning this but Randy has a great video on boning an elk out. Watch it a few times if you aren’t familiar with the process. Don’t carry any weight you don’t have to.
My last elk took 2 1/2 days to get out. I carried a small tarp up the 1st trip to shade the meat that I hung on a couple small aspens. The days were in the high 40s but frost stayed in the shade of the tarp all day long. Take your time and enjoy that part of the hunt as well.
 

2rocky

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Also, It IS possible to hunt elk where it is not necessary to have a frame pack to haul meat. I can think of a couple of my hunts where I was able to drive to where my elk killsite with a 4WD pickup. FWIW that Day got up to 107, and it was 90 degrees that night at 11pm when I took the quarters to the cooler in town.

I'd rather get to know new country the first year with a cheaper tag in my pocket. After 2 or 3 years in a region you will know what is possible. Then your success rate will go up exponentially just from boots on the ground experience.
 

buffybr

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Here's another YES. I've done it for 50+ years, and along with elk, also moose, bighorn sheep, and a mountain goat. Although I did cheat on some of the elk, the moose, and 2 of the rams as I used my horses.
 

morley.tyler

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PDX
Don’t underestimate what 5-7 days does to a mans mind. I Personally find refugee in peace and silence, but many can’t handle it. You never know til you get after it.
have fun and stick to your plan and limits. Emotions have a way of interfering w/ IQ when it comes to elk.
 

tmiller

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Jun 11, 2017
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Agree with the comments in this post. I hunted solo last year in CO, because I was not able to find a hunting partner. If I had gotten an elk during archery season, the warm weather may have been a problem. The steep terrain and deadfall makes hauling the elk out a major challenge.

Unless I'm lucky enough to draw a good GMU, I'll probably be doing another OTC archery elk hunt this year. If you end up deciding to hunt with a partner, or at least share a base camp, send me a PM.
 

BestDeerHunterEver

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Feb 25, 2018
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How possible is it to hire someone in advance to help you pack out the meat if necessary? Like a local outfitter? Probably depends on the area/outfitter but just curious... might be something to think about for a solo hunt as well.
 
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