My Top Gear Picks for Backcountry Elk Hunts
Here are several tools you’ll want to consider before hiking miles from the nearest road for elk.
After dogging elk all morning, I weaseled in amidst several screaming bulls. I crept toward one of them with the thermals in my favor. Then, he bugled and simultaneously appeared at 70 yards and closing. Moments later, I buried a broadhead into his chest from 14 yards away. He collapsed 100 yards down the slope.
Welcome to the Backcountry
My version of backcountry hunting looks a little bit different than it does for some bowhunters. I don’t tent it miles deep under the stars. I usually stay at a campground in my camper. I’m a full-time freelance writer, and contrary to what some misconceive about outdoor writers, I don’t take off from writing in the fall and hunt every single day. Yes, I hunt a lot, but I have just as many assignments to juggle during the fall as the rest of the year. I need Wi-Fi and my laptop to turn in assignments every few days.
Given this arrangement, I do day hunts for elk anywhere from 1 to 4 miles deep. I leave very early so that I reach a location I want to hunt at daylight. I hike and hunt as long as I’m in the action. Then, I hike out, nap and write. I hunt a lot of afternoons, too. It’s a lot of work and sometimes a hassle to hike in and out once or twice daily. But, I’m often hunting areas just beyond where most day hunters reach, yet miles shy of where horseback hunters or spike campers are hunting. Plus, I don’t have the hassle of a tent, sleeping bag, cookware and other essentials needed for several days at a time. My style, like the others, has pros and cons.
Now that you understand what my backcountry hunting looks like, let’s discuss some gear items that I value most when I’m miles away from the nearest road.
Explore More Content
Sawyer Insect Repellent is a versatile picaridin spray recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as safe and effective for most people. Our testers liked the evaporating smell and how the spray feels once it dries.
Insects and arachnids that bite in self-defense instead of to feed -- such as yellow jackets, bees, wasps, hornets, certain ants or spiders -- cannot be repelled with insect repellents.
The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number of places they're spreading to is also on the rise.
From the Squad
Campfire conversations with our community, from Squad Members and Ambassadors to Brand Partners and the Sawyer team.