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Hunting pack??

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  • Hunting pack??

    When you are caribou hunting do you usually just take a day pack with butchering and survival stuff in it with you while hunting or do you carry your meat packing pack?

  • #2
    Depends on whether you want to make an extra trip back to camp for the meat pack. I hunt with my meat pack when I'm planning on packing meat.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard


    • #3
      Depends on how far we are hunting from a vehicle or base camp. Generally I wear a small internal pack that holds 4000 ci that contains all my butchering equipment and survival gear but still has enough room to carry 40 pounds of boned out meat. That way I can at least carry back a small load on the first trip back.


      • #4
        Frame pack

        I have adopted the practice of always using my frame need to waste a trip with a day pack and leave anything more than necessary out until the next day in my opinion. Should be able to take at least 2 quarters back on the first trip, along with tenderloins and backstraps with a frame. Also affords the option of packing all the cool but unecessary stuff around for days on end and then trying to figure out how to carry it all back with the meat


        • #5
          Go Prepared!

          I feel it is essential to take a pack with you that will allow you to carry a full load of meat back to camp on your first trip. This is especially important if you are hunting by yourself, more than a mile from camp, have 2 tags you want fill, or are toward the end of your trip.

          I have harvested 6 bull caribou in AK. These were all respectable size bulls. They all took 4-5 round trips depending on how heavy I loaded my pack and if I chose to keep the cape. I have only been lucky enough to find a trophy bull within 1.5 miles from camp once. A couple of these bulls were as far as 5 miles as indicated by the GPS.

          Let's make up a reasonable scenario to show the advantage of getting that first load back to camp without an empty return trip to fetch a pack frame.

          You are on an 8 day hunt with day 1 as the fly in day and day 8 as the take out day. Legally you can't hunt on day one if you've been in the air. Realistically you can't hunt on day 8 since you need to break camp and be there when the plane arrives. Even day 7 will be quite limited in the radius you can hunt from camp because if you get something you must get it back before nightfall. That leaves you 5 full days of hunting if the weather cooperates and your body holds out.

          Typically if you are looking for a trophy bull you will have to work for it. I never like to fill my tag on the first day out since I like to get a feel for the size and quantity of animals I will see on the trip. Let's say you hunt within 2 miles of camp on days 2, 3, and 4. By the afternoon of day 4 you are feeling a little discouraged and realize you need to make something happen pretty soon because your hunt is half over. You really don't want to lower your standards and take a smaller bull but the thought crosses your mind. You are already 2 miles from camp. You glass the distant tundra and spot a nice white maned bull moving along on the far edge of a lake about another mile or so away. He is the biggest bull you have seen so far so the game is on! By the time you get around the lake, cut him off, and have him on the ground you turn on the GPS and camp is 3.5 miles away.

          After pictures, gutting, skinning, bagging meat, etc. (allow 3-4 hours) you feel a need to get back to camp as it will be getting dark in a couple hours. Whether you have your pack frame or not, you will have to leave most of the meat over night, taking the risk of losing some of the meat to bears. You have already walked at least 3.5 miles one way so your total distance travelled that day will be at least 7 miles because you may have walked additional miles while hunting that morning. Even if you had time to do it before dark, an additional trip would mean you would have walked 14 miles that day, some of that loaded with a heavy pack. Even those of us that are young and in good shape are starting to have second thoughts about now. You could avoid 7 extra miles of walking just by having that frame with you!

          Let's say you didn't have the frame so you put the heart, liver, and a backstrap in your daypack and head back to camp for the night. The next day (day 5 of 8) you work really hard and do two heavy loads, 14 miles worth and are exhausted. On day 6 you know you can only do one load since your feet are blistered and it's pouring down rain, so you talk your buddy into giving up a day of hunting and you each get one more load back to camp. Day 7 you make your final trip to retrieve the remaining meat, antlers, and cape but deep inside it really wouldn't hurt your feelings if the bears ate it during the night. By day 8 you are more than ready to go home.

          The moral of the story is carring a 5 pound packframe can save you an entire day of work. Don't be tempted to stray too far from camp as that distance really multiplies if you kill something. Allow more than 8 days for your hunt if you want two bulls, don't have help, or are limited to carrying loads less than 80-100 pounds. Consider carrying or at least having the option of a bivy sack so you can do 1.5 trips in a day. This will allow you to protect your meat in the field at night. Hold off the flame throwers here guys! Don't camp at the kill site with the bivy sack. Move all meat to a location out in the open at least 1/2 mile away from the guts, carcass and hide. Set up your bivy a few hundred yards upwind of the meat cache. Have a powerful light ready in case you need it. Stay clean and blood free when packing meat by temporarily putting it in trash compactor bags when you have it on your back. Don't leave it in the bags for more than a few hours or it will start to spoil.



          • #6
            i always take my frame pack. usually take the bare essentials with me to minimize the weight. saves a trip since you can't carry very much of a load with a day pack.


            • #7
              I use an internal pack made by Kifaru. I carry my gear in removable pouches that I can attach when I want to carry meat. The pack distributes the weight well and I can pack half a caribou in it (boned meat). Around 65 pound is enough of a pack for these old legs. Jim


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