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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: State College, PA
Re: what to take in backpack for elk hunt
For day trips, hope for the best, but have backup plans for the worse. Big country out there, can get turned around easily so have a plan in case things happen. For that, space blankets, waterproof firemaking stuff, whistle, etc. All that stuff is really lightweight...
Trask has a pretty solid day-pack plan for ya but here's some other thoughts I would add to the mix:
Depending on what time of year you are going out (archery, or rifle season) the weather can be quite different and can occasionaly have wild swings in any season. I've done archery hunts where it's 60 degrees during the day and a storm blows in, temps drop 30 degrees and you get hail/snow storms by afternoon. So I like to dress in leightweight layers that you can shed, or apply as necessary no matter the weather.
They make some great tech-light silk gear that you can wear or shed quickly w/ temp changes. Rolls into nearly nothing in a pack in is super light. Great stuff....I'll have a fleese layer w/ me as well as wind/rain gear shell. I like the MT050's for that....great for blocking wind/rain should it arrise.
For water, I really like a hydration bladder system that clips next to your face for easy access to water, cuz you'll drink a ton if you hike like we do (though we don't do day-hikes, we camp for 10 day stretches on our own in the middle of nowhere). If you are hunting in "teams", there should be at least one guy w/ a quality water-purifier in each "team". If you are hunting solo, each guy should have one. You can go thru a LOT of water when hunting out there....and lack of water can kill if things go bad. Headlamps (w/ extra batteries) are great for handsfree light....
I try and save weight as much as possible, and fluids are heavy, so I only take water w/ me. High protein/carb snack bars, gorp, candy bars, other light weight foods. Food/water will get you thru some rough encounters of fatigue....
Can't over-estimate the need for a good quailty cutting/gutting/sharpening setup. The last bull I killed last year, we had to stop and resharpen our gear 2 different times (we had 2 sets) before we got it done....bull capes/bones are brutal on even the best of gear.
Hope that helps, anything else let us know.
I live to hunt....and hunt to live!