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My 2021 Second Rifle Elk Packing List

This year I’ve yet again drawn tags in a unit around Steamboat Springs for second rifle elk. This year will be like my previous seasons in some ways, and unique in others. My hunting buddy had to get surgery this year, so both from a leave perspective from work and an able bodied perspective, he’s sitting this one out. With some new map waypoints in my clutches this year I’m returning to the high mountain territory of the Gore Range but will this time be truck bound camping. I may spike out for an evening or two, but generally I want to use my tipi tent where I can for wood stove warmth. Packing will be a little different this year so I wanted to get it out there in front of you all with my elk season packing list.

Second Rifle

Colorado is making a plan to move many hunting seasons to the right a little bit, creeping second rifle further into November, pushing the further seasons such that there’s snow accumulation and elk and mule deer approaching their winter ranges. That means that it’s unlikely that I will have the spastic weather I’d had in years previous where you can easily get sunburn and sweat through your underwear one day and freeze the next day. This is going to be all cold. There is likelihood that again this year will be a snowy one, so considerations have been made on my list. Having my truck with me means that I can pack a little more, and live a little more comfortably.

On the Truck

Packing for elk depends almost as much on gear in the truck as it does gear in camp.
A solidly packed truck is a mobile base camp and repair center when you’re in the field.

On the truck I’ll have all the things you would expect for an elk hunt and all the recovery gear you’d expect from an off-road adventure. I’ll need to be able to self recover if anything goes awry, and limp back to the nearest town. A tool kit, tire chains, and recovery gear are all necessary but you’ll also want everything you don’t have on your back or at spike camp.

  • Tire Chains for all four tires
  • Extra fuel
  • Basic toolkit
  • 2x Large Coolers pre-iced down
  • Hi-Lift Jack
  • Traction Pads
  • Patch kit
  • A boatload of water, 7 gallons or so

Camping Gear

My camping gear will be much the same as when I’m backpacking, but this season I’ll have the benefit of off-roading in, finding a spot that’s wide enough preferably with a fire ring and pitching my tent nearby.

Mess Kit

An army fights on it’s stomach, and the orange army is no different. My elk packing list includes my backpacking gear with some minor modifications.

  • MSR Pocket Rocket and fuel cannisters
  • Optimus Sparky Piezo Lighter (and matches)
  • Snow Peak Mini Solo Cookset
  • Sea to Summit Long handled Spork
  • A whole mess of dehydrated food (Heather’s Choice, Pinnacle Foods, Backpacker’s Pantry, and Mountain House). I plan for minimally two meals a day, a breakfast and dinner with snacks for lunch.
  • Snacks (Epic Bars, Clif Bars, Stinger Waffles, Packeroons, F-Bomb Nut Butter)
  • Clif Shot Bloks

In My Pack

In my pack I’ll have extra layers, kill kit, and all of the gear to support an elk and mule deer hunt. Time is running short for me to come up with mule deer tags, but hopefully something shows up on the leftover list soon!

  • Outdoorsmans Long Range Optics Hunter Frame Backpack
  • 2-3 Liters of water in a Source Hydration bag
  • Medic Kit
  • 2-3 forms of making fire
  • Mess kit
  • Hillsound BTR Stool
  • Vortex Spotting Scope
  • Outdoorsmans Tripod and Binocular Adapter
  • PhoneSkope Digiscoping Adapters for Cell Phone and GoPro
  • GoPro
  • Garmin inReach
  • FirstLight Uncompagre Quilted Jacket
  • Glove Liners and heavy weight gloves
  • Additional pair of Merino Blend Socks in a dry bag or Ziploc
  • Kill Kit

In The Kill Kit

The Kill Kit is the amalgamation of gear you need only when the animal is down. I usually keep two sets of game bags with me while hunting. One that’s for a mule deer sized game animal and one for an elk. One of those sets of bags is always benched and sitting at camp or the truck so I’m not schlepping extra weight while hiking.

  • Argali Game Bags
  • Kinves of Alaska Whitetail Hunter with Gut Hook
  • Rubber Gloves
  • 2-3 1 Gallon Ziploc bags for organ meat and Caul Fat
  • Zip Ties for carcass tags

On My Person

Ensuring you have all your gear for the field starts with your elk packing list.

I’ll be honest, I keep a lot of crap on me. No packing list for elk season would be complete though without agonizing over personal clothing options.

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Tags: , , Last modified: October 16, 2021
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