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Thread: Solo pack out question

  1. #1
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    Default Solo pack out question

    What do you guys do when you kill and animal, your by yourself and you must pack out meat before the trophy (hide, head/horns). My target species are bears and caribou. Do you seperate the trophy from the gut pile before leaving the site with the first trip of meat or??? How about if there are two people but you still need to take to trips, do you leave one person on the site or???

    Thanks in advance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    What do you guys do when you kill and animal, your by yourself and you must pack out meat before the trophy (hide, head/horns). My target species are bears and caribou. Do you seperate the trophy from the gut pile before leaving the site with the first trip of meat or??? How about if there are two people but you still need to take to trips, do you leave one person on the site or???

    Thanks in advance!
    Depends of course but I don't like leaving capes for too long cause bears seem to love chewing on the nose and ruining them so I usually bring them out pretty quick... Usually no matter the situation I butcher and seperate but simply a few feet away and start packing, bears will either be there or they won't.. If I know they are there waiting I may move the good stuff a bit further away from the kill but again it's situational to me. If two guys we both start packing... Just approach the kill sight carefully. Watch what the birds are doing and maybe even put a stick with a flag on it in the gut pile so you know if its been hit by a bear..

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Typically I do all the butchering first and will move everything away from the gut pile before I start any major packing. Usually not a problem in my areas, but I like to move the meat and trophy items to an area with good visibility so I can see it when I come back for the second or third load.

    Bears supposedly will hit a gut pile before anything... don't know if it's true- but I haven't walked in on one yet.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    You will want to separate anything you want to keep from the gut pile. Another good thing to do is to urinate all around the stuff you want to keep before you leave. If you have any nice, sweaty clothing like an undershirt, leave that draped across the game bags or on a bush right next to it. The bears will avoid human scent whenever possible. We have had bears walk right past an entire moose laying on the ground that had t-shirts draped across it to get to another moose that had nothing "protecting" it.

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    Why not just pack it all out at the same time? for a large animal like caribou with large antlers nice heavy hide, you can "Shuttle your load" also known as "leap frogging" I have done this before with moose, you can keep the whole animal in your sight at all times (for example 100 yards at a time), You could move your animal piece by piece along with your gear and camp along side it. eventually making it back to your final destination. Takes a little time but at least your moving.

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    The longest solo packs I've done were in the neighborhood of ~8 miles (1 caribou and 1 sheep at that distance). Both times I would shuttle loads as kahahawai describes, but I would go probably a mile or so between drops. While keeping it in sight at all times is nice, the process of loading and unloading your pack takes a fair bit of effort. Still, only being gone from a stash for 30-60 minutes at a time cuts down on the risk of loss. One time I did have to leave half a caribou and a rack at the kill site for four days in late September due to a massive storm. When I got back in I feared the worst, but instead I got an amazing surprise. The gut pile and carcass was picked clean, and judging by the tracks that littered the valley I am certain it was done by more than a few wolves. Every bone was showing white, but they didn't so much as touch my meat bags or antlers sitting only 10 yards away. Incredible. Credit the days of prayer put forth from a poor college student in need of the meat or the human scent left on the game bags - whatever it was, it sure makes for an awesome memory.

  7. #7

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    I support the leave lots of human scent. Last fall I left the meat in a tree for one night and the cape for two nights and neither got touched. My first time doing that though so hope it wasn't a fluke.

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    Thanks! I don't tend to go along but i'm getting hard up for partners so the question crossed my mind.

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    I also do the shuttle method, it works especially well with two guys. You don't have to leave anything behind, I would bone everything out when legal as well.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Thanks! I don't tend to go along but i'm getting hard up for partners so the question crossed my mind.

    If Im not working and your hunt is a shorter one (like 2-3 days) you can always ask for help. I like to get out and going with another person is a good way to learn some different stuff.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

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    I've left pieces (or most) of an animal overnight twice in bear territory......each time I separated the guts from the meat best I could, left them in an open area so I could see them from a goodly distance when retrieving them in the light. I firmly believe the guts are the first thing they go for, but also believe that it's up to chance. Every year guys get charged while on a carcass but many more go back the next day to find nothing amiss besides a few ravens and magpies if that.

    Several times more than that I've left a moose head til the next day (I rarely have the gumption to pack out the head after humping a moose back to the boat in the twilight. I left it 50 yards from the guts and they have all come home unscathed.

    I firmly believe that with all the whizzing, sweating and general stinking up of a kill site that we do while butchering big animals, there is enough man scent in the area to give any predators lots of pause before striding in and claiming a carcass. I have had buddies that had bags of meat taken but it's usually a snatch and grab.....not a big hungry bruin standing on the ribcage kind of situation.

  12. #12

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    I've done many pack out with moose. Back in the day, I could bone out a moose and pack out in 4 trips. Last big bull I was a 3 1/2 mile solo pack. I could only get 2 trips in per day, so it took me 3 days to get it all out. Have NEVER had a bear problem and all meat was butchered and in game bags at the kill site. I did leave a sweaty shirt on top of the tarp covering the meat though. For sheep, the whole sheep goes in the pack and then my gear. There are no "two" trips with them.

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    Great question. I pay more and more attention to this as I hear stories of losing meat and trophies. I heard of two sheep heads lost now due to predators or other hunters. I do the shuttle thing but try not to let anything out of my gun range for very long, especially in a busy area for hunters. I could shuttle my sheep loads several miles at a time because it was a wide open glacier valley with no predators of hunters in sight. Then when I got to the brush and other hunters I kept the packs very short to protect both meat and trophies. I shot a pretty nice caribou and shuttled out the meat and two different parties told me of encountering the horns in the woods before I got them out so in a busy area I wouldnt leave them unattended very long. I have a family member who shot a moose here on the kenai only a half mile from his truck and by the time he got back for the second load it was buried by a bear. They saved most of the meat but its a good lesson on leaving your meat or trophies.
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    Only had a problem once. We were hunting Mulchatna caribou and killed a smallish bull. We butchered the critter and had shuttled it about halfway back to the lake. It was getting dark so when we got the first load to back camp we decided to get the rest of the meat (1 hind quarter and one shoulder) and the horns the following morning. The next day,we got to where we stashed it (3/4 miles from camp)...but no meat! As it turned out, there was a wolverine den about 50 yards from where we stashed it. The front quarter was chewed on but mostly intact and was found halfway to the den, the hind quarter was part way inside the den openning and had been peed on by the wolverine. The horns had been chewed but left at the stash site. We salvaged everything, but those quarters required quite a bit of trimming when we got it home. Wolverine pee is very stinky!!!!!!!!

    Incidentally, we ran into the wolverine several times over the next couple days, once in a stand-off at about 30 yards with lots of growling and hissing (from the wolverine). He did not come off as a pleasant critter, but we let him walk as it was early August.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    Why not just pack it all out at the same time? for a large animal like caribou with large antlers nice heavy hide, you can "Shuttle your load" also known as "leap frogging" I have done this before with moose, you can keep the whole animal in your sight at all times (for example 100 yards at a time), You could move your animal piece by piece along with your gear and camp along side it. eventually making it back to your final destination. Takes a little time but at least your moving.
    This method works great!

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    Fantastic info from everyone, I really appreciate all the info!

    I really like the leapfrogging idea, particularly when the fiance goes!

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    One of the first things I learned on my own when I started guiding was the importance of shuttling meat. It's almost like the tortoise and the hare scenario.... If you try and pack a large load a long distance it can finish you, but you can haul smaller loads all day long. Reason being, for me anyway, is that once you drop that first load, you take a nice leisurely walk back to the kill and it rejuvenates you to a point that you are ready to haul another load.

    But first and foremost, I always moved all the meat and trophy a good distance away from the kill site before I even started to shuttle any meat....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    All I can say is good on you guys for being as to leapfrog moose. I wouldn't do it on a bet.. It's all all I can do to get a quarter in my pack and on my back let alone to do every couple of hundred yards or so. I put a quarter on by back and take it out. I like to get in and get it done.. On a sheep hunt I can see some possible benefits but never on a moose...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    All I can say is good on you guys for being as to leapfrog moose. I wouldn't do it on a bet.. It's all all I can do to get a quarter in my pack and on my back let alone to do every couple of hundred yards or so. I put a quarter on by back and take it out. I like to get in and get it done.. On a sheep hunt I can see some possible benefits but never on a moose...
    Hmmmmm.......interesting, I never did it on sheep, but did most the time on moose...... Of course it always depended on how the terrain was and how far the pack. If not needed, then I wouldn't. And I never shuttled only a couple hundred yards....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  20. #20
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    I've left all or part of an animal over night a few times. Only had a bear come in once. I killed a moose by myself late in the afternoon. Completely dark by the time I finished quartering it up. I got 1 load out by myself in the dark. Went back with a friend the following day for the rest. The carcass had been covered up by a grizz. The kill site was in the middle of a couple year old burn. No trees close by to hang meat in, so my game bags with the rest of my meat were just laid out across a couple logs about 10 yards from the gut pile. Bear never touched them. We didn't have to pack too far, so we didn't shuttle. It is a good way to do it, though.
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