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#7045269 - 11/06/12 Today I am a backpack hunter :)
thumper338 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/10
Posts: 116
Loc: Colorado
Until today I've been backpack camping with guns during hunting season. Not that I haven't filled the freezer before, but since I've been backpacking for elk, the elk have been elusive... until today.

Friday I got a late start. I'd just hit I-70 when my wife called and reminded me that I'd forgot to sign my mail-in ballot. Doh! Turn around and head back to the house to take care of civic duty before fun.

An hour delayed I still had time to get things set up before dark. I happened to find poles in convenient lengths to set up the new tent using a tripod and the hang loop.


Right at dark I heard a bugle... and thought to myself "no... that must be some deranged hunter... they should be done bugling by now."

Saturday morning I set off in the direction where the bugle had come from and I heard what I thought was someone on horseback on the ridge above me. I thought it was a horse because it sounded like sticks rubbing on fabric. Then I heard a bugle confirming in my mind that it must be a hunter. I had just entered the trees and I heard it again and close. I took five more steps and spotted a 5x5 or small 6x6. He was backlit and I couldn't get a real good look. There were also a couple of cows with him, but with the tough light and the trees I couldn't get anything lined up before they disappeared over a rise. I followed, but as I approached a clearing I saw the bull staring at me from behind some trees. I sat down but it was too late, he turned but wasn't in a real hurry. I took a chance and crossed the clearing and about the time I got to where he had been the hillside erupted with the sound of thundering hooves... It sounded like there must have been 30 or 40 head going in all directions.

I sat down for a bit and let things settle. I headed in the likely direction the went and did hear another bugle after 20-30 minutes. By this time I'd realized that I'd forgotten to grab my lunch packet so I headed back to my camp before venturing further.

While back at camp and regrouping from the morning excitement I took time to gather some trees to cut for firewood. Then I sat down and snacked while deciding how to approach the herd I'd busted earlier. While I was sitting there there was the thunder of hooves and 30 or 40 head burst off of the ridge on the north side of my camp!



Where's my gun!!! Behind me, I grab it, shoulder, pick up a target, pull the trigger, nothing! Damn, safety, flick the safety off, pick up another target, pull the trigger, click... damn, made safe for camp. Load a round and pick up the last cow in the group... boom. She disappeared into the draw. I watched the rest of the herd head about face and head up the lower section of the ridge they'd just bailed off of. I thought better of myself and picked up my stuff to go look and see if I'd hit the cow on my first shot.

I got close to where I'd last seen her when I caught movement headed up the hill to my right. She was on the move and disappearing into some thicker trees. I had a brief glimpse of a patch of fur and I took another shot. I saw her limp and then disappear. I climbed the hill in search, and she was laying down with her head up. I fired another shot into her neck so she wouldn't get up.

I thanked her.



Then set about to work using the gutless method for the first time. I'll try it again given the chance.



Back at camp with tenderloins in the bag hanging from the pole.


Yum! tenderloin for dinner.



Sunday: Personal satisfaction in hauling out a load on my back! Today I am a backpack hunter.
I'm also quite pleased with the LLBean pack. It was easy to keep things contained and reasonably distributed.




However my feet paid the price. I swear my feet must still be growing. I've had different problems over the years with heel blisters, or with toe problems, and this year I had both.




I made arrangements with an outfitter to pack the other half of my cow, the hide and the head. He was supposed to get my gear too, but he didn't show on time so I'd reached my drop dead time for making the hike out. Every step hurt. Three hours of backpacking, >1000 feet up and down over a ridge to the car with what felt like someone pounding on my toes with a hammer on every step and jabbing a poker in my heels.

My luck was good though, the outfitter had been running late and still had grabbed my cow. One of his hands passed me with the rest of my cow with about 3/4 mile left to the car.

Painful but successful and satisfying. I'll do it again next year. In the meantime I have a list of todos and at the top of the list is some new boots.

--thumper338

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#7045407 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: thumper338]
snubbie Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 10/30/11
Posts: 2211
Loc: Western North Carolina Mtns
Wow what a great story and even better photos! I love that last photo of your camp with the cloud illuminated.

Ouch,sorry about your feet. Rarely have I dealt with a blister but once or twice I have and I know how crippling and painful they can be. I will say my feet have grown as I have aged and the last hiking boots I bought were 1 1/2 size larger than anything previous. I was wondering why my toes were always scrunched up!

The LLBean pack looks like a decent meat hauler. I bought one of those a few months back but haven't had opportunity to use it.

Did you haul your camp in on that LLBean and, if so, what kind of bag did you use? Also, what tent/shelter is that?

Congratulations on a great hunt and thanks for posting!


Edited by snubbie (11/06/12)
_________________________
Gloria In Excelsis Deo!

Originally Posted By: Calvin
As far as gear goes.. The poorer (or cheaper) you are, the tougher you need to be.




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#7045413 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: snubbie]
alukban Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 06/09/11
Posts: 632
Awesomeness! Congrats!

I'm still in a bag this AM, waiting for more light in hoping to see deer bedded down my shooting range smile

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#7045437 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: alukban]
arffdog875 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 08/19/09
Posts: 521
Loc: Grand Junction, CO
+1 awesome story and photos! Congrats on elk meat in the freezer! Thanks for sharing!

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#7045569 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: thumper338]
chapped_lips Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 1553
Thanx for sharing!
I recall your post about the LL Bean Carryall pack and bought one.....will employ it in 24 days.
Surprised to see a tent in your camp.....in your earlier post you used plastic tarp to rig a tent and vestibule....who makes the tent?
What was your water source or how much did you haul in?

Hope you don't lose those two toenails.

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#7045592 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: chapped_lips]
BlackWidowTackle Offline
Member

Registered: 11/30/11
Posts: 124
Congrats on your elk and the sucks about your feet!
_________________________
www.blackwidowoutdoors.com
andrew@blackwidowoutdoors.com
(678) 694-7534

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#7045698 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: BlackWidowTackle]
Maverick940 Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 1970
Loc: Alaska
Thumper:

That's a great story and there's lots of lessons in that tale for everyone.

In terms of your double-boots [from the looks of it, I presume they're plastic mountaineering or the older full-grain and full-shank (4/4 shank) mountaineering type] and the issues you suffered in relation to those double-boots, try changing out the inner-boot if it's worn. That might help.

I once had a pair of Scarpas that never caused foot issues over the course 120-day in-field season. And then, suddenly, the very next year they caused my toes to go black on two separate 90-day in-field seasons. In short, I had the same problem you did, while on your recent hunt.

So, I ordered the next size up (size 46). The larger size lasted three years (seven 90-day seasons) and then I had to switch them out, because they were falling apart from heavy field-use.

Anyway, try one size larger.

Maverick

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#7045716 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: snubbie]
thumper338 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/10
Posts: 116
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: snubbie
Wow what a great story and even better photos! I love that last photo of your camp with the cloud illuminated.


That's one of my favorites too. I took that with the HDR setting on my phone. No cell service, but all my music and a journal app made for nice evenings. It was nice to jam some tunes while butchering too.

Quote:

The LLBean pack looks like a decent meat hauler. I bought one of those a few months back but haven't had opportunity to use it.

Did you haul your camp in on that LLBean and, if so, what kind of bag did you use?


Yes I used the LLBean to haul my camp. Search for my review thread on the LLBean for an idea on how I pack.

Quote:


Also, what tent/shelter is that?



That is a thumper special (there's a thread with more detail about the tent). I finished it Wednesday night with just enough time to seam seal it before driving up on Friday.

Quote:


Congratulations on a great hunt and thanks for posting!


Thanks

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#7045772 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: thumper338]
Huntr Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 10608
Loc: New Mexico
Congrats on a fine hunt! Great pics and story. I totally understand the blister issue. My feet decided to grow a few years ago, and I still am having issues getting a good fit again. Very expensive and VERY frutstrating!

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#7045848 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: chapped_lips]
thumper338 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/10
Posts: 116
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: chapped_lips
Thanx for sharing!
I recall your post about the LL Bean Carryall pack and bought one.....will employ it in 24 days

I hope that it works as well for you as it has for me.

Quote:

Surprised to see a tent in your camp.....in your earlier post you used plastic tarp to rig a tent and vestibule....who makes the tent?
What was your water source or how much did you haul in?

I'd used the tarp setup for four or five years and it was wearing out. In that time is figured out what I wanted in a shelter so I started designing one after last year. I talked the wife into the fabric for my birthday and it sat there until push came to shove and if I wanted a new place to sleep... well I finished it in the nick of time.

As for water. I had enough for my hike in, and there are several springs in the area where I camped. That reminds me I had a failure of the handle on my hiker pro filter and had to use my Gerber to pump water. Add another thing to the TODO list.
Quote:

Hope you don't lose those two toenails.


Me too. Thanks,

--thumper338

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#7045960 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: thumper338]
evanhill Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 10/06/09
Posts: 618
Loc: Western Colorado
congratulations!

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#7045975 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: thumper338]
pointer Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 9621
Loc: Indiana
Congrats!! Glad I'm not the only one that posts up gnarley foot pics... laugh

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#7046016 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: Maverick940]
thumper338 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/10
Posts: 116
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Maverick940
Thumper:

That's a great story and there's lots of lessons in that tale for everyone.

In terms of your double-boots [from the looks of it, I presume they're plastic mountaineering or the older full-grain and full-shank (4/4 shank) mountaineering type] and the issues you suffered in relation to those double-boots, try changing out the inner-boot if it's worn. That might help.

They are LaSportiva Glacier with OR gators, so no inner boot to change out.
Quote:

...snip...
Anyway, try one size larger.

Maverick

Thanks for the idea, however those were the largest in 49s. The issue is that I have long skinny feet, 15AA. So finding factory boots is a real challenge. LaSportiva traditionally runs narrow and until recently they were awesome. I guess I'll see how good the REI satisfaction guarantee is.

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#7046049 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: thumper338]
Maverick940 Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/19/12
Posts: 1970
Loc: Alaska
Yeah, finding sizes that are over 46 is pretty tough, in terms of European boot manufacturers. I had to look long and hard just to find Invernos in size 46. Had to order them actually, because no one carries them (in this country) in that size, in localized retail stores. Recreational Equipment Incorporated is pretty good when it comes to returns, even after use. I recently returned a headlamp to them that I used for several months. They took it back, no questions asked. I then ended up with a Black Diamond, which I like, a lot.

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#7046748 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: Maverick940]
338WIN Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/05/01
Posts: 973
Loc: Bothell, WA USA
REI is like Nordstrom. They will take back just about anything and be happy doing it.
Then they have a huge garage sale and get what they can out of this stuff. Some great deals to be found.
You'll have no problem with the boots.
BTW, I have the same long narrow feet and finding boots without spending the same as you would for a small car is tough.
Great report, thanks for sharing with the class!

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#7046889 - 11/06/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: 338WIN]
EricM Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 5210
Loc: SoCal
Congratulations!
I loved your storytelling and felt like I was right there with you.
It's crazy how they came right down into your camp area.
I also like the HDR tent/cloud shot.
Beautiful!

Eric

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#7048238 - 11/07/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: EricM]
Diyelker Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/16/11
Posts: 389
Loc: Too far east
Congrats thumper! Nice work all around.
_________________________
What happens when you get scared half to death...twice?

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#7048287 - 11/07/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: Diyelker]
gwl Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 139
Nice job on the hunt.I love the tarp tent. Have you tried just regular hiking books for hunting.

I also got a llbean pack after reading your report. I sewed some para cord loops on pack and attached it to the frame. Super easy and very handy.

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#7049747 - 11/07/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: gwl]
Orion2000 Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/09/11
Posts: 2059
Loc: Central KY
Congrats on the elk ! Great story. FWIW, I have the same foot problem. I was size 11D for 30+ years. Feet started "growing" about 5 years ago. My latest pair of Asolo Sassalongs are 14E. No more toe bump on the downhill's. Again, congrats...
_________________________
Left handers are in their right mind...

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#7069145 - 11/12/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: thumper338]
Armen Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 537
Loc: Arizona
Great story! Congrats on the elk, too.

That had to be an extremely satisfying feeling sitting alone back at camp that evening with elk meat hanging in the trees and elk tenderloins sizzling in the skillet.

I'm a big fan of the gutless method. I haven't dealt with pelvic bones or poop chutes on the last 7 animals I've killed.

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#7075336 - 11/14/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: Armen]
RyanSinBA Offline
Member

Registered: 11/14/12
Posts: 17
Cool Story, makes me wish I lived in an area where I could get more Elk.

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#7080055 - 11/16/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: thumper338]
Ghostwalker Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 1083
Loc: Nebraska
Great story! Glad you got your elk, you certainly earned it.

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#7105789 - 11/24/12 Re: Today I am a backpack hunter :) [Re: Ghostwalker]
Killertraylor Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 03/03/08
Posts: 3039
Loc: Warren, OR
Excellent story and pics. Much appreciated and congrats!!

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