Backpack bowhunting bears

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andlan17

Senior Member
For those of you who pack several miles back into the mountains during bow season, do you usually pack a stand in also, or make some kind of ground blind and sit on the ground? Do you figure out a way to attach your stand to your pack? I would like to do a couple of backpack hunts this coming season. Gun season is not a problem, I have a hammock seat for that. Just trying to figure out the bowhunting aspect of backpack hunting in the mountains.

Thanks.
 

jbogg

Senior Member
I have not done a Backpack hunt for bears yet, but I have done a few Backpack hunts for turkey. For bear it would probably not be practical to try and carry a stand along with all the rest of you gear. With my pack fully loaded with 3 - 4 days food and rifle I am over 50 lbs, so adding another 22 lbs for my stand while climbing those hills isn’t going to happen at my age. I use an ALPs Freighter Frame Pack with a meat shelf, and while the shelf works great for carrying my Summit Viper I don’t thick I would want to carry it on an extended hunt. Additionally you have to have a minimum of the head and hide to turn over to the DNR, not to mention the weight of the meat. Even without the stand you might be looking at a couple of round trips to pack everything back to the truck.

I do prefer to be up off of the ground during bow season, but bears don’t seem to be as wired as deer so you can definitely get some shot opportunities from the ground by brushing in a quick ground blind. Additionally, when the bear are climbing for acorns in early bow season they can make a good bit of noise in the treetops popping limbs, so having the ability to be mobile while hunting from the ground would allow a hunter to stalk within bow range.

Good luck to you. I like the way your thinking. There is a lot of land up on the NF, and if you are willing to walk a little ways you will likely have it to yourself.
 
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Buckman18

Senior Member
It really depends on you, and what kind of shape you are in. I'm not exactly a spring chicken any more at 37, but I still tote a portable more times than not. Last year during bow season, I had several walks in where the elevation climb was 1500-2000 ft and toted a climber, and my buddies toted the hammock. But... It makes hauling out your kill that much harder!

On one hunt in Towns County in October, my brother and I hiked in over 2 hrs one morning, and I happened to take my hammock on this day. I killed a nice buck, and it made the backpack out soooo much easier than it wouldve been with a stand.
 
I usually hunt, don’t camp or overnight in the woods. Thus my needs are different.

I often carry a climber and use a small Day pack that I strap to or somewhat tie inside the body of the climber. Thus can be very heavy and uncomfortable but worth it for the vastly improved view.

When I am not carrying the climber I use a larger conventional pack to go in and out to my climber. Problem here is I want the pack up in the tree with my for access and scent control, so I still need it light.

When conditions permit, topography, lack of cover, Or I’m scouting and hunting covering lots of ground, i use a tree seat, kinda half a hammock, that simply buckles around the base of the tree.

Just some thoughts , not sure I answered what you were asking.
 
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A thought on deep woods bow hunting. I love to get off the beaten path and as far away as possible but its tough early season. I try to keep my spots in warm weather 30 minutes or less. If you do kill a bear and you have to pack out you got to think about the 80 degree weather that goes along with bow season. Don't forget the yellow jackets. A lot of folks that think bear meat taste bad had bad bear meat. It will be hard to kill a bear deep in the woods and get it out in a timely manner increasing the chances for spoilage. If its above 50 degrees I always take the extra time to bone the meat out and place it in a spring or creek until its completely cool before packing it out. I use big contractor bags to keep the meat separated from the water and try to keep it covered while cooling to keep fly's and yellow jackets off. I hunt on the ground but if I was going to hunt out of a stand I would make a separate trip in and leave a stand for the season.
 
A thought on deep woods bow hunting. I love to get off the beaten path and as far away as possible but its tough early season. I try to keep my spots in warm weather 30 minutes or less. If you do kill a bear and you have to pack out you got to think about the 80 degree weather that goes along with bow season. Don't forget the yellow jackets. A lot of folks that think bear meat taste bad had bad bear meat. It will be hard to kill a bear deep in the woods and get it out in a timely manner increasing the chances for spoilage. If its above 50 degrees I always take the extra time to bone the meat out and place it in a spring or creek until its completely cool before packing it out. I use big contractor bags to keep the meat separated from the water and try to keep it covered while cooling to keep fly's and yellow jackets off. I hunt on the ground but if I was going to hunt out of a stand I would make a separate trip in and leave a stand for the season.
I have left a stand, chained/locked to a tree or under a fallen tree, but usually a bear will find it and tear at the seat pad or padded arm rest. Ive also left a game camera often to only find it chewed or dropped 10-20 yds on the ground from where I left it. So its not just other hunters we have to worry about when we leave it out there, not to mention the friendly man in the green hat.
 
Some further considerations. Like TreeCutter said,you could transport your climber in and leave it. If you kill, you can just go back and get it another day. Also, if you kill, you can leave unessential gear in the woods. Tie it up with a laundry bag and para chord, and return another day to get it. I did that on the last bear I killed to cut weight. I had to make two trips out to get all the meat, head, hide, and paws out. My distance at the end of the day was about 8 miles, and I was broke off in the worst way. I went back a few days later to retrieve my gear.
Another consideration. You had better think long and hard before letting an arrow fly. I know we're all after the big buck, the big boar hog, or the big bear. But if you are several miles back and you sling an arrow at a 250+ lb bear, your life just became a nightmare. Unless you can call up a crew quick, you will be left to deal with 100 lbs plus of bear, and you have to realistically ask yourself if you physically can do it. Most of us here can't. Your best bet would be to kill a smaller 125-180 lb bear and set your face to the finish line. It is going to be a long, hard journey from there back to the truck. You might even have to hide and leave ALL of your camping gear and non essential gear to be able to manage the weight.
Tree cutter's idea of cooling meat in a spring or creek is spot on. Let it sit in the creek for a half hour. Take that time to rest, consume calories, and hydrate because you are going to need it.
Also, JBoggs tip about a pack it good. You need a pack that can handle 100lb loads, and lots of volume. My pack has 3,800 cubic inches of storage.
Carry a couple mesh laundry bags. They cost around $1.00-$2.00 each at Walmart, and weigh less than a quarter ounce each. You can string up gear in one, and if you don't have room in the pack for the head and hide, you can strap or tie it to the outside of the pack, sling it over your shoulder, or carry it out.
Quartering up, skinning out, and packing up a bear can take time. If you kill right before dark, you might be out there a long time in the dark between dressing the bear and hiking several miles back to the truck. Make sure you have a secondary light source in case you burn through the batteries in your headlamp.
 
A thought on deep woods bow hunting. I love to get off the beaten path and as far away as possible but its tough early season. I try to keep my spots in warm weather 30 minutes or less. If you do kill a bear and you have to pack out you got to think about the 80 degree weather that goes along with bow season. Don't forget the yellow jackets. A lot of folks that think bear meat taste bad had bad bear meat. It will be hard to kill a bear deep in the woods and get it out in a timely manner increasing the chances for spoilage. If its above 50 degrees I always take the extra time to bone the meat out and place it in a spring or creek until its completely cool before packing it out. I use big contractor bags to keep the meat separated from the water and try to keep it covered while cooling to keep fly's and yellow jackets off. I hunt on the ground but if I was going to hunt out of a stand I would make a separate trip in and leave a stand for the season.
Good idea to cool the meat first. Thanks Tree Cutter.
 
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