Into the mountains: the pack list
Information on necessary clothing, shots elk hunters sometimes take, and the trip’s outfitter.
• Daypack choices range from waist packs to larger backpacks. Weight, carrying capacity and comfort should be considered.
• Layering is even more critical in mountain hunting than in flatter landscapes, such as Minnesota’s. Even when temperatures hover in the single digits, hunters can sweat heavily climbing hillsides.
• For this reason, synthetic, breathable base layers are widely used, and are best overlain with other synthetics. Experienced mountain hunters often wear high-tech, lightweight outerwear made by suppliers such as Sitka and Kuiu.
• Well-made lightweight boots also are important. Insulated, stiff (but comfortable), high-traction outsoles with waterproof leather uppers are a must, as is extensive break-in before the trip.
THINK LONG RANGE
• Sometimes elk are killed at 100 yards or less. But 200 to 300 yards is more common.
• Some elk hunters — such as David Irons of Sammamish, Wash., who hunted in the camp described in the accompanying story — employ custom rifles and loads, and regularly are on target from as far as 800 yards.
• The average bull elk success rate over the firearms season for hunters in Bob Marshall Wilderness camps run by Sun Canyon Lodge (suncanyonlodge.com) ranges from 30 to 40 percent, with opportunity rates higher.
• The camp is well-run and competently staffed, uses good stock for mountain travel and also offers summer fishing and pack trips. The phone number is 1-888-749-3654.