Hunt Prep Information
Hunting Out West
For anyone who has not hunted the western states prior to this trip, it can be a bit overwhelming...the first thing you will notice is you can see a long way!! I grew up in Michigan and my hunts were mostly looking at thick timber with shots of 100 yards at the most, there is an enormous difference in trying to judge distance and just seeing game in this vast open landscape. It takes some time for eyes to adjust and be able to pick up an elk, sometime even as close as 100 yards. The most important piece of equipment to help with this adjustment is a quality set of binoculars (minimum of 10 x 42), not only having them with you, but using them consistently to find game. Judging distance takes time in this open landscape, so another great tool to have is a range-finder. Most of you will have a guide with you on your hunt, they will be equipped with both good binoculars and a good range finder, but its just as important for you to have these important tools with you as well!
The other major factor to hunting with us is the altitude. You will be hunting from 9,000 feet to up over 10,000 feet in some cases. You cannot train for this, however taking good care of yourself, getting some sort of physical activity, and drinking plenty of water before your trip and during your trip will help you all. I would consider our hunts on the moderate side of an elk hunt, but the altitude alone can have a big impact on your respiratory function, combine that with the adrenaline rush that comes with having your sights on a elk, moose, or deer and being prepared can be the difference between taking advantage of an opportunity and having to pass on that opportunity.
Do not think that you must become an extreme athlete to be prepared, but the better shape you’re in, the better your chances could be to harvest that elk or deer. First consult your doctor on a physical fitness program that is right for you, that's a very important step. Remember, anything is better than nothing.... some clients get ready by wearing their pack and walking the neighborhood a couple times a week, some clients go to great lengths to prepare for their hunt, my advice, do what you can and what you can fit into your schedule, it will do you alot of good not just for your trip, but your health in general! You will be eating good on your trip, the water out of our well is incredible as well...but if you can drink plenty of water starting a month before your trip, and drink as much as you can while on the trip you will adapt to the altitude and physical stress of altitude much better than if not. If anyone has any specific questions or needs specific recommendations on this subject, shoot me an email or give me a call and we can discuss.
Doesn't matter if you are hunting with a bow, muzzle loader, or rifle, the name of the game is practice! Lets break this down:
Shoot out at distances up to 50-60 yards if you can.... not that you will shoot that far in the field, but if your a good shot at 50 or 60 yards, you become a great shot at 20 or 30 yards. If you are going to shoot out at 50 or 60 yards, start your shooting session at the further targets, then move in, you will be surprised how much more confidence you have at 30 yards after shoot at 50 yards...the target looks way bigger at 30 then it does at 60! You should also be trying to put yourself in the mindset of the shot vs just shooting at the target....I like to shoot from my knees or from odd positions a lot, I also like to get my heart rate up then shoot to try to simulate the moment of truth. I would recommend shooting at odd distances as well, 32 yards vs 30 yards, elk seldom stop broadside at 15 yards, they are always moving and such so preparing for that will help you when the time comes.
Make sure all your equipment is ready to go now, archery shops are already getting busy, so bow maintenance should already be done. Make sure you tune every arrow and broad head, shoot them so you know where each set up is hitting the mark...even with today's equipment, there can be certain arrows and broad heads that fly their own way. Always carry a spare release!!!!
If your putting anything new on your bow, (new sight, rest, new arrows, broad heads) do it now and get it all ready now...once you’re in camp you should be dialed in and ready to go, that is no time to be trying or breaking in new equipment. Also keep in mind that we require fixed, cut on contact broad heads, no expendables or chisel points, we have seen way too many elk get away or get wounded due to broad heads that are not capable of taking down the large ungulates. If anyone needs any recommendations, please feel free to shoot me an email or give me a call!
When sighting in your rifle, make sure you are around 1-2" high at 100 yards, that will put most calibers around 3" high when you shoot at the lodge due to the altitude. Elk have a huge kill zone, so being around 3" high at 100 yards will allow you to hold dead on the kill zone out to 300 yards when you shoot. Make sure you purchase ammo with the same Lot Number, same grain as you will be hunting with and be consistent on shooting that ammo. Different lot numbers could have a huge ramification on the rifle's grouping ability.
If you can shoot at a range out to 300 or 400 yards, take advantage of this.... again, we look for shots to be 300 yards and under but being a good shot at 400 yards makes you a great shot at 100 yards.
As with archery, try to mentally put yourself in the moment of truth when practicing, it really does help! Practice from your shooting sticks as much as you can, there are huge differences on stability and recoil when moving from a shooting vice or bench to sticks. Even the tri-pods I recommended in a previous email are not as stable as your favorite shooting bench, so it takes practice to get good on those sticks.
I have talked to almost all of you about rifle calibers, elk are huge animals and you will need a rifle in the 30 caliber range to take them down, 7 Mags also work well, but keep your 270 and similar calibers at home, we have a wound policy, and in the past we have lost elk to the lighter/faster calibers, so we made a rule to not allow them in camp, its not work risking a wound on the magnificent animals!
If you’re thinking of replacing your scope or purchasing shooting sticks for the first time, do it asap and make sure your used to them well before you arrive in camp!
Our website has a great gear recommendation list however lets just talk basics:
Things you WILL need!
- Range Finder
- Good Pack (You do not need a huge pack, just big enough to carry water, food, extra cloths)
- Rain Gear (Early Seasons Aug/Sept)
- Cold Gear (Later Seasons - Oct/Nov)
- Good Hunting Boots/Quality Socks
- 500" of Hunter's Orange (Firearm Seasons)
- Good Gloves/Head ware
- Proper Clothing/Camo Clothing (Layers very important)
- Camp Cloths
Things you will not need:
- Knives/skinning equipment
- Sleeping Bag
- Game Calls
- Eating utensils
Lodging & Game Processing
Our lodge is fully equipped to handle all your needs, so all you must worry about is your hunting equipment. We do get a lot of questions on coolers, if your taking your meat back either processed/frozen or quartered you will need around 2 large coolers per elk, 1 large cooler per deer, some guys bring out chest freezers or homemade ice chests.... if you’re going to have your meat shipped frozen you do not need anything, the processor will have your meat shipped to our home on a freezer truck. Below is the contact information for our processor, you may want to call them if you have any questions. They do a great job for us and have a quick turnaround time unless you’re having specialty cuts (Jerky/sausage/sticks) made up, that takes a bit longer!
North Park Meats
Nick or Chad
Well, that was a bit more information than I meant to share, but I hope to have you all fully prepared by the time you arrive in camp. It's coming quick, our first clients will be hunting in 54 days!!!! Please let me know if anyone has any questions or needs any help! Look for my next email in about 10 days, we will discuss shot placement and a bit more on being prepared for your trip!
Have a great week!
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