The Million Dollar Question:
What Should I Bring on a Colorado elk hunt?
Like any sport you can spend just as much as you want. You can get every new gadget and upgrade that comes along. You can look like a walking Cabela’s catalog but is that going to kill you an elk? You and I both know it’s not. So what do you really need?
#1 Most Important!
Bring your Hunter’s Safety or Hunters Education card otherwise you can not purchase a license in Colorado!
Colorado accepts all states hunter education cards. I know that many of you took your hunter education class when you were in school and probably your mom still has the actual card stashed away with your baby footprints from the hospital. So sometimes its easier to just retake the course. The link below is an online course several of our clients have used.
You need to have layers. Mountain weather is extremely changeable. It may be toasty warm and then drop two inches of hail. Lately archery season in our area has been fairly warm, consider this when you pack. You do not want to be sweating more than is unavoidable. Not only for sent reasons but also if you get wet then once the thermometer drops you will be much more prone to hypothermia. Even though the days are warm evenings can get down right chilly.
Rain gear is a must. In a normal year we get a light shower every evening in the high country and the funny thing about it is that you generally won’t see it coming. Weather changes fast around here. So it is nice to have light rain gear that you are not going to mind packing around every day.
Our country is relatively dry by that I don’t mean that it is arid because it’s not in the mountains but I mean that the footing is stable. Even if we get a fair bit of rain things are not going to get miserably muddy except for creek bottoms and other understandable places like that. So though your foot wear should be water-resistant, I believe you should be more concerned with walking comfort than water. During the rifle seasons it can get pretty cold. As you know it is difficult to stay still if you don’t have good warm footwear and if you are watching a park stillness is imperative to the success of your hunt.
Odds and Ends
As always you should prepare for the worst and even though no one wants to get lost or have an accident, it happens. Even with a GPS, situations can occur that make an over-nighter necessary. As RV was taught in the military “prepare the worst and you will always enjoy the best”. As long as you are hunting the area RV suggested, we know where you are and if you turn up missing we will send someone looking for you. It is recommended that you take a day bag with extra food, we provide snacks for that purpose. Not only does this help with the obvious, namely hunger, it also provides a feeling of security keeping down panic and irrational thinking.
Always Always Always take a couple of different fire starting options. And make sure that one of them is on your person not in your day bag. A lighter and a Magnesium bar are a couple of our favorites even if everything is wet you can get a fire going with some magnesium shavings.
Scent Free Soap
Many people bring no-scent types of hunting soap with them. This is a misconception. No commercial soap is truly without sent. RV suggests using baking soda, it will neutralize odor causing bacteria and leave no detectable scent of its own.
See these interesting articles for more on scent control
Remember that no amount of equipment is as valuable as being in shape. The number one thing you can do to help yourself is be in as good of shape as is possible. Stair climbing may be boring and seem old fashioned but it is really a great exercise for building the muscles you will need to climb the Rockies.
ATVs; the most asked question is always should I bring my ATV? Many people who bring them never unload them from the trailer but they might be nice for you to have. So we always tell folks to bring them if it isn’t too much trouble but not to fret if it will be a big inconvenience. All of the areas can be reached with a four-wheel drive vehicle. If your vehicle is new and you do not want scratches on it or wish to put it through mild abuse I would recommend bringing your ATV.
Altitude Sickness can really make a mess out of your hunt. There is nothing worse than spending all this money and time just to come up here and be sick for three or four days. Over the years I have notice that the people who get sick are often the ones that have driven all night straight through. For this reason I highly recommend leaving early and not killing yourself on the way out. Try to keep your sleep routine as close to normal as you can.
Drink more water than you normally would on the way out and once you arrive at the ranch. For a lot of people alcohol and hunting go together like peanut butter and jelly but it will make you more susceptible to altitude sickness. (we do not allow alcohol in the public dining or socializing areas, you may drink in your cabins)
Take it easy the first day. Those mountains have been here thousands of years, you can see what’s on the other side on day two. The first day people go out they are often hyper focused on where they are going, trying to find a particular spot to hunt and of course looking for elk. They tend to ignore some things that their body is telling them. Try to toon in to your body occasionally and make sure you are not over exerting. For some reason it takes a person longer to recover at this altitude so one day of pushing it too hard could cost you 2 or even three days of nausea and listlessness.
Our ranch is NOT equipped with electricity. So if you need a sleep machine, you will have to bring a generator. Also, a car charger will be nice to have for your phones, etc. We have been living at the ranch for a very long time and living without electricity hasn’t killed us yet, so come with an open mind and enjoy the peace and serenity that the ranch has to offer.