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My First Ever Elk Hunt - SW CO - Any Advise?

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My First Ever Elk Hunt - SW CO - Any Advise?

Old 08-05-2011, 08:44 PM
  #11  
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Let me add. As I said already. I live at 8500 ft. I'm hunting the muzzleloader season, and i've started to go to treeline everyday. It took me 1 1/2 weeks to start to feel normal again. It felt like I had lead boots the first week, and I was coming from 8500ft. If I didn't prepare early. That 1 1/2 weeks would have been the whole hunt, and I wasn't hauling out elk meat.

I'm an old fart, so it might not be as bad for you if you're young. I would still try and come here early so you can go to high altitude in steps. If you come here and go right up to over 10,000ft. You won't be happy.
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Old 08-06-2011, 04:58 AM
  #12  
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I agree with Muley. I live at 118' ASL and stay at 9100í and hunt up to 11,500í when I go to Colorado on hunts or vacation. I just returned from a summer vacation in south central Colorado and can tell you that altitude sickness is nothing to ignore. After my first year out there and getting very sick I now take prescription meds to condition my blood. Getting out there in advance of the hunt is important. You can use the time for some low impact scouting and spending at least 3-5 days getting acclimated to the altitude. I have shot 4 elk in the 5 years out there and all hunts have been DIY with manual quartering/ boning and packing the animals. Our first year out there was a real eye opener. None of us had ever been elk hunting or even seen a wild one. We all just studied the land and hunted them like deer without much calling. They are huge and if they are in the area they leave a lot of sign so homing in on them is pretty easy. The hard part is they are usually pretty high up so that alone puts you at a disadvantage. The wind out there is a real killer and staying down wind can be a chore since the currents are always following the land contour and getting down the canyons without spooking them is hard. Once spooked they go forever and so you quickly learn that using the wind is probably the most important thing. The Hoochie Mama is a good call since you canít screw it up. I would say use it sparingly though and use woodsmanship and stealth to still hunt your way close enough for a shot.
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Old 08-06-2011, 06:27 PM
  #13  
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Everyone has different experiences. I live at 600 feet just North of Dallas. Last year I drove out to Taos, New Mexico, in a day; drove up to 10,000 feet; parked the car; hiked up to 11,000 feet for lunch. No problem, not altitude sickness. Next day we started out very early;parked at 9,400 feet; climbed with moderately heavy backpacks to 12,300 feet; camped over night at 12,000 feet; next morning climbed 13,161 foot wheeler peak. I was 54 years old and NOT a marathon runner. I did have my weight in control. My main exercise had been walking.

Still, since you have never been in the mountains before -- I had been backpacking in the mountains many times before and had hiked those specific paths before -- you don't know how you will react. If you are overweight, this is going to be your biggest difficulty and not something easily overcome. I'm 6' 2" and weighed about 205 LBS when I started these trips last summer. If I had been 240 LBS . . . no friggin way I could have done what I did.

At this point you have limited options. You may not have much time to lose weight or get in condition. By the way, walking is a good conditioning exercise, very good. The main draw back is that the benefit is based on distance -- running you cover more distance in the same period of time, thus equivalent work out walking burns about 3 times as much time as running. But it works and out-of-shape people can do it.

Have some contingency plans in mind. Contact a packer in advance to see if you can hire someone to pack out your elk if you score. Think about hunging close to your truck. Are you hunting with other veteran hunters? Maybe they can provide some advice to you.

Last edited by Alsatian; 08-06-2011 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:22 PM
  #14  
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Here's another thought. I hike the Rockies every day of the year. I see elk at all altitudes over 8000ft. (I don't go lower)

You don't have to go above treeline to find elk if you know where to look.
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:56 PM
  #15  
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I agree 100% on the conditioning. That should be your first priority. What your looking at will not be a picnic for you at 10,000 ft. I myself being from NY, hunt around 1,800 ft tops. I run 2x's a wk, and bike 2x's a wk, plus weight lifting to condition. I've been to Colorado 3x's, all archery, at 9-11,000 ft.. I can't even imagine going out w/o any conditioning. Even with what I do, I still feel like a old man my first 3 days. 10yds uphill, and I'm stopping to catch my breath for several mins. Thats w/o packing in gear. To be honest if you think you can do it, and not have issue's. Your just fooling yourself. Most everyone not used to these heights also experiences some kind of altitude sickness. Sometimes just in the form of headaches for several days. But pushing yourself beyond your limit only increases the possibility. Way I see it, you owe it to yourself to find time to condition. I've sometimes gotten up at 4:30am, and ran 3miles before work to get my running in for the day. Not having time is a excuse in my book. You need to make the time, period!!!!!!

Last edited by BuckAlley; 08-15-2011 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:20 AM
  #16  
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I took my wife on her first elk hunt last year along with my brother. She downed a nice 6 point bull and my brother a cow within an hour and I cut both of them up and we packed them uphill about a 1/2 mile and we were done with everything within 5 hours and back to the camp for lunch. This was right at 10K feet. I usually will carry more than 60 pounds per load though. When I shot my elk in September I had one back quarter tied on to my pack and all the loose meat, backstraps, neck, brisket type stuff in the bag. Also had the antlers tied on and the rest of my stuff in my pack. It felt like I was flying after the 1.25 mile hike out and I was able to get the pack off. So it can be done quickly if you have help and expirience cutting them up and are in decent shape.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:17 AM
  #17  
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Decent shape huh! Do you have two or four legs? Carrying what you mentioned had to have been over 100 pounds, so it's no wonder you were flying when you got that load off, LOL!!! I see it's been 11 days since the OP and he hasn't been back to tell us what he has been doing since he asked. I have a bad feeling he hasn't listened and will not have any fun in that high country. I wonder if those he is going with are in the same boat because S&R out there may be busy with that group before all is said and done!

Last edited by Topgun 3006; 08-16-2011 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:46 AM
  #18  
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Well I would have preffered to have the other front quarter strapped to my back but my BIL took it first and since I shot the elk I figured I should do the heavy lifting. I am a pretty active person and used to run a ton but do not anymore. I feel like I am not in the best of shape and can still do it though. Although getting older hasn't helped me any. I play in a softball league in the summers and I get pretty sore from that now.

Being in the best of shape is definately a huge positive when undertaking this adventure for sure.
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