DIY Elk Hunt

@Dudley Do-Wrong thanks for starting this thread as I am learning a ton. For the guys that have been out west how important is premium gear ie Sitka, First Lite, Kenetrek etc?I know that quality of gear is probably a bit more important up there with the harsh elements.
If you are camping in or near your truck or staying in a hotel the high end gear is far less important. In which case you can take plenty of clothes to keep dry and change into. The main benefits of the high end gear is that it is light weight, it dries out fast, and it doesn’t get rancid when you wear it 6 or 7 days straight without a shower. If you get flannel or any kind of cotton based clothing wet on day 1 of a backcountry hunt you going to have wet clothes the rest of the trip.
 
@Dudley Do-Wrong thanks for starting this thread as I am learning a ton. For the guys that have been out west how important is premium gear ie Sitka, First Lite, Kenetrek etc?I know that quality of gear is probably a bit more important up there with the harsh elements.
None of my gear is in that price range and I was fine, but I didn't take any cotton not even undies. While not necessarily cheap, here was my system that I hunted twice in Colorado and once in Alaska: silk base layer, merino wool thermals, polyester pants and shirt (thin, like you dove hunt in), polyester insulated bibbs (Redhead), and a wool coat. I also carried thin camo rain gear if I needed to go over the top of everything. This is all stuff I use here at home, just not all together. Also, sleeping in my base layers kept nights a lot more cozy in my 0 degree bag with a thermo-reactor liner. I think you probably just get less bulk and maybe a little more durability with the expensive stuff.
 

Gaswamp

Senior Member
boots would b the one thing I wouldn't scimp on
 
@Dudley Do-Wrong thanks for starting this thread as I am learning a ton. For the guys that have been out west how important is premium gear ie Sitka, First Lite, Kenetrek etc?I know that quality of gear is probably a bit more important up there with the harsh elements.

Get some good marino wool base layers. I've used Irish Setters Elk Tracker 12" boots for years hunting out west. Some have more insulation than others. I have killed elk in jeans and a wool jacket. IMO, do not get caught up in the name brand camo stuff. You can spend your money on other things more important.
 
Get some good marino wool base layers. I've used Irish Setters Elk Tracker 12" boots for years hunting out west. Some have more insulation than others. I have killed elk in jeans and a wool jacket. IMO, do not get caught up in the name brand camo stuff. You can spend your money on other things more important.
Thank you for that! I needed to hear that. It is a relief to not have to spend the majority of my funds on that.
 
My 2 cents from hunting out west...Wyoming and Colorado. What we wear here in Ga. will work if you are not hiking more that a 1/4 mile!
With that said...I had the exact same questions @Joe Brandon as you!
Merino wool base layers, as others have mentioned, is the best. You need one main set and a backup set...if it makes you more comfortable, a backup of the backup. You can wear merino wool for multiple days without it smelling...I promise you, I'm totally amazed at how long I can actually wear merino wool without it smelling because I sweat really bad! But most importantly, merino wool will not let the moisture stay next to your skin, and merino keeps its insulating properties even when it's wet. If you watch Camofire, you can get the Blackovis merino 45%-50% off. I have not been able to beat their price.
I ended up with Kryptek outer layers. It's hands down quality and comfort ratio to cost you will not match. I have Valhalla pants and 1/4 zip pullover, Alaios pants, and Dalibor pants and jacket outer wear. I wear Valhalla for warm to cool, Alaios for cool to cold, and Dalibor for cold. Oh, but price you say...keep reading!!! You have to watch Camofire, but you can get Kryptek at 50%...but here's the golden nugget...Sierra Trading Post will have Kryptek...and at 60%-75% cost. You will be able to wear this stuff for years to come, unless you outgrow it!!!! Sierra Trading Post has the Kryptek merino wool base layers too, but I do not find it as comfortable as the BlackOvis merino wool.
As far as boots go...again that depends on how you plan to hunt or how far you plan to go. If you have bad ankles, you better have something that will support your ankles. Putting just 30 pounds on your back and walking is significantly different, and even more so when you get in the mountains. I do not have problems with my ankles, but the typical boots we wear here, even if they are a hiking boot, are not going to provide the support for out west. There is a reason we can't find Crispi, Kenetrek, etc here in the southeast! I personally have a pair of Crispi Idaho GTX boots. They were comfy right out of the box and needed not break in time. However, I've had them for 3 years and they continue to get more and more comfortable. So, whatever you buy, put some steps in them before you get out west. And...just don't wear them only out west!!! You can catch them on sale for around 20% off. And...wear merino wool socks!!!!!!!!
One other piece of "wearable" equipment you need to invest in will be gaiters. Gaiters will keep the morning dew or snow from wicking up your pants leg. And if you cross creeks, you will increase your depth to the height of the gaiter, at the bottom of the knee (provided you have a good quality waterproof boot).
Yeah, the quality stuff is pricey...But...buy once, cry once.
 
My 2 cents from hunting out west...Wyoming and Colorado. What we wear here in Ga. will work if you are not hiking more that a 1/4 mile!
With that said...I had the exact same questions @Joe Brandon as you!
Merino wool base layers, as others have mentioned, is the best. You need one main set and a backup set...if it makes you more comfortable, a backup of the backup. You can wear merino wool for multiple days without it smelling...I promise you, I'm totally amazed at how long I can actually wear merino wool without it smelling because I sweat really bad! But most importantly, merino wool will not let the moisture stay next to your skin, and merino keeps its insulating properties even when it's wet. If you watch Camofire, you can get the Blackovis merino 45%-50% off. I have not been able to beat their price.
I ended up with Kryptek outer layers. It's hands down quality and comfort ratio to cost you will not match. I have Valhalla pants and 1/4 zip pullover, Alaios pants, and Dalibor pants and jacket outer wear. I wear Valhalla for warm to cool, Alaios for cool to cold, and Dalibor for cold. Oh, but price you say...keep reading!!! You have to watch Camofire, but you can get Kryptek at 50%...but here's the golden nugget...Sierra Trading Post will have Kryptek...and at 60%-75% cost. You will be able to wear this stuff for years to come, unless you outgrow it!!!! Sierra Trading Post has the Kryptek merino wool base layers too, but I do not find it as comfortable as the BlackOvis merino wool.
As far as boots go...again that depends on how you plan to hunt or how far you plan to go. If you have bad ankles, you better have something that will support your ankles. Putting just 30 pounds on your back and walking is significantly different, and even more so when you get in the mountains. I do not have problems with my ankles, but the typical boots we wear here, even if they are a hiking boot, are not going to provide the support for out west. There is a reason we can't find Crispi, Kenetrek, etc here in the southeast! I personally have a pair of Crispi Idaho GTX boots. They were comfy right out of the box and needed not break in time. However, I've had them for 3 years and they continue to get more and more comfortable. So, whatever you buy, put some steps in them before you get out west. And...just don't wear them only out west!!! You can catch them on sale for around 20% off. And...wear merino wool socks!!!!!!!!
One other piece of "wearable" equipment you need to invest in will be gaiters. Gaiters will keep the morning dew or snow from wicking up your pants leg. And if you cross creeks, you will increase your depth to the height of the gaiter, at the bottom of the knee (provided you have a good quality waterproof boot).
Yeah, the quality stuff is pricey...But...buy once, cry once.
Hey I cant thank you enough! This has been some great advice and I went ahead and bought a 200 g Blackovis marino long sleeve for 40$ last night off camofire! Thanks again.
 
So after the Blackovis I went ahead and bought a First Lite base layer as well as a Sitka base layer. The first Lite is Merino and the Sitka is all synthetic. I just wanted to slowly start adding after the Blackovis shirt. The Sitka will at least keep me dry during these hot initial bow hunts here at home.
 

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So after the Blackovis I went ahead and bought a First Lite base layer as well as a Sitka base layer. The first Lite is Merino and the Sitka is all synthetic. I just wanted to slowly start adding after the Blackovis shirt. The Sitka will at least keep me dry during these hot initial bow hunts here at home.
You'll be addicted once you wear that quality gear here in the mountains. It's super handy here, especially early bow season and once it hits the single digits. Plus you'll have it for Western hunts.
 
You'll be addicted once you wear that quality gear here in the mountains. It's super handy here, especially early bow season and once it hits the single digits. Plus you'll have it for Western hunts.
Thanks yes I'm really looking forward to it! I sweat so much even in the winter here late morning but freeze early so I'm hoping this will really help and reduce my layers. Cotton is just so cold when you sweat it never drys. I appreciate it!
 
Thanks yes I'm really looking forward to it! I sweat so much even in the winter here late morning but freeze early so I'm hoping this will really help and reduce my layers. Cotton is just so cold when you sweat it never drys. I appreciate it!
The one other thing I highly recommend is a Sitka piece with Gore Tex wind stopper. It's just a game changer. Literally. For whitetail, that's the Stratus or fanatic. I don't buy their stuff without it, because to me, I can't see the value there. But that Gore is something else.

I wore my Stratus Saturday afternoon in the steady rain. I never got wet. Which I wasn't sure about, but really is no big shock. But by the time I walked back to the truck, my jacket was essentially dry. Only very slightly damp, if you could even say that. I would've never imagined it would handle the rain so well. Before then, where I was sold on it was the wind stopping ability. You know how it is up on these ridge tops in December. My fanatic really puts a stop to the wind cutting me.
When I go west, I can really see me using the Stratus a lot, and the fanatic if it gets snowy.
 
The one other thing I highly recommend is a Sitka piece with Gore Tex wind stopper. It's just a game changer. Literally. For whitetail, that's the Stratus or fanatic. I don't buy their stuff without it, because to me, I can't see the value there. But that Gore is something else.

I wore my Stratus Saturday afternoon in the steady rain. I never got wet. Which I wasn't sure about, but really is no big shock. But by the time I walked back to the truck, my jacket was essentially dry. Only very slightly damp, if you could even say that. I would've never imagined it would handle the rain so well. Before then, where I was sold on it was the wind stopping ability. You know how it is up on these ridge tops in December. My fanatic really puts a stop to the wind cutting me.
When I go west, I can really see me using the Stratus a lot, and the fanatic if it gets snowy.
Is the fanatic the lighter of the two? And thanks again!
 
Is the fanatic the lighter of the two? And thanks again!
Fanatic is the insulated piece with wind stopper. It's for as cold as it will get in Georgia up to about 45ish.
Stratus is un insulated. Like a waterproof/wind proof fleece jacket essentially. It's for everything warmer than fanatic temps. Which can be a lot in the mountains of GA. Good layering and you can hunt out of it to freezing temps, but I'd use a vest for insulation.
I also have fanatic bibs, which make the set virtually unstoppable in Georgia weather. I can get by with merino baselayers and a Stratus until time to break out the bibs.
I usually climb in my baselayers and put on outer layers at the base of my tree.
 
Just wanted to add to this thread. I am looking at a '22 Archery DIY OTC CO elk hunt myself. For anyone else looking at elk hunting, the above info is great. I am a firm believer in KUIU gear. in '19 I went to NM chasing Elk and ended up sitting on a mountain top glassing in a freezing rain/snow/hail situation. I do hate the price, but I will gladly pay it. We went from 55 degree weather to snow in about an hour. I would have been absolutely miserable in cotton based hunting gear.

One other thing I will add, if you are going to an area where glassing is an option (or desire), do not buy the cheapest spotting scope you can find. Quality does make a big difference. Vortex makes decent gear for reasonable prices (I have one as well as a Leupold). Depending on the GMU we decide on for 22 I will probably bite the bullet and get a Swarovski spotting scope. My guide in NM had the BTX system and it was amazing how much clearer it was than my personal scope (same goes for binos).

With regards to physical fitness, it will all depend on the land terrain and elevation. I don't care how in shape you are in Georgia... above 7k feet elevation will take the energy out of you. In NM (7500' elevation), I did over 50 miles on my feet over a 5 day hunt. Before I left I was walking 5 miles with a pack (40 lbs) and rifle 2x3 times a week for 6 months before I left. I will absolutely tell you that it wouldn't have mattered if I was doing 10 miles a day, you can't train for elevation. DO NOT GO WITH CHEAP BOOTS! I had a decent set of irish setters and my feet were extremely sore from walking over jagged rocks all day.
 
Thread starter #77
I just turned 64 and am having back surgery next month. I try to go to the gym but my back prevents me from doing a lot. Hopefully I will recover and be able to fulfill this dream hunt very soon
 

Gaswamp

Senior Member
Getting old ain't fun
 
I just turned 64 and am having back surgery next month. I try to go to the gym but my back prevents me from doing a lot. Hopefully I will recover and be able to fulfill this dream hunt very soon
I suffered a broken back over 20 years ago. Know your limitations and listen to your body. I have been holding off surgery and will continue to do so as long as I can. Our packs were too heavy and we carried in way more food than was necessary. For some reason, I did not eat near as much as I thought I would. Drink more water than you will ever thinnk you need to because you don't sweat as much in the higher elevations.
 
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