Which hunting camp is right for you!

Just as one size does not fit every style of hunting camp fits well. As Hunting interests have and always will fluctuate with the ages, one of the aspects of hunting is on the rise more then ever before, that aspect is camp hunting.

Which actually makes sense if you look at society as a whole. The much more widely accepted sport of backpacking is growing ever more popular, and as with interest comes innovation, higher quality, lighter, cheaper, stronger, equipment coupled with greater cellphone reception, GPS equipment like the (Garmin inReach Mini) becoming ever more advanced and affordable. Amazing digital maps like BaseMap/ONX we as well as our loved ones can have peace of mind while exploring and testing our limits in some of the worlds most unforgiving places.

Backpack hunting also known as bivvy hunting is only one method of hunting more remote. So lets break down the different methods to get farther out, as well as give you guys some tips I’ve picked up over the years that you can incorporate so you can utilize them to get the most out of your next adventure.

Let’s start with the least extensive form with is (Base camping) named for you guessed it! Camp that is established at the base/bottom of that mountain. Generally at a trailhead often utilizing a large tent/tents/wall tent, camper/RV/truck or cabin. One of its perks is you have many of the luxuries of home due to generally not having to concerning yourself with weight. Which is nice for carrying that extra gear like a target, it’s always a good rule of thumb to bring your archery target to confirm your zero before the hunt each day. Additional archery maintenance and repair equipment on a hunt can make or break a hunt in the event of a fall or mishap with a broadhead touching your bowstring.

(This method is also a great one to incorporate with your bivy hunting. As it allows you to get much further from civilization without having to rely on mother nature to provide. Having coolers or refrigerators with extra (DOS) Days of Supply, 5 gallon water jugs for drinking and harvest cleaning.

Which is huge if your exploring an area you have never been, I’ve been into areas that show water on the map to find nothing but dried up beds, So always make sure there is a water source you can use until you can confirm a natural source that can be purified. other great items to have are a more extensive med kit injuries are generally small and can easily be fixed with a small kit that only weights a few pounds and fits neatly in your pack, this advanced kit may save a life in case of extreme emergency and maybe not necessarily just yours. dont just buy it and put it in the hunting box, learn how to use it attend a remote emergency response course, or EMT Course costs are generally pretty low and the knowledge and confidence of being prepared is unparalleled, a spare bow/bow press. again if you buy a press learn the ins and outs of bow maintenance, there are literally tons of online resources for working on your own equipment, if your more of a hands on instruction kind of person ask your local shop if you can tag along for a few bowbuilds or be taught by working on your own. (while still offering to pay the shop maintenance fee its a small cost for a great advancement in your archery knowledge.) all in all the benefits of base camping are vast and with so many great benefits incorporating it into your style hunting will allow you to get out further and stay out longer which in itself leads to a higher probability of success.

The second method is Spike camp or Drop camp are very similar only really differing in what who is running the camp, more often then not using the term Drop camp its being used to describe a type of guided hunt, where as a spike camp is used more to describe a DIY style of a similar camp setup. Both methods involve a large gear dump in a remote location that is generally comprised of larger tents that are left standing day in and day out during the duration of the hunt, supplies like water cans and coolers with rations, saws, axes larger cooking equipment like campfire cooking stands, Outdoor generally brought in before opening day on foot or by pack animals. This method runs a much higher risk of unwanted looting by both hunters and animals then the other two methods, for this reason it should be more of an option if you have none hunters tagging along that want to just stay at camp or hunting private land. (When setting up these camps for solo operations or large all hunting parties use your surroundings to your advantage, a good rule of thumb is build your encampment on the west side of the mountain as prevailing winds generally blow east to west, doing so will help ease the potential headache of a blown down camp, buy aftermarket tent stacks strong and long buy a good staking hammer that stays with the tent(insure it isnt going to rub a whole in your tent.) utilize camo tents or netting and brush in your camp. This will help it blend into the environment better and help shield it from potentially curious eyes. DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN CAMP. if you absolutely must find a nice dead-fall with lots of branches and stash/cache them in its cover using either an extra dry, an earth tone tarp that can be covered with foliage or a hard box/bowcase that can be shallowly buried. Take your time in marking its location on your app or map. When using an app mark it directly as it lays as well as 10 to 20 paces back. Take a few minutes and note your directional orientation and other potential landmarks, if nothing stands out mark a tree to the left or right of the cache, or several trees on the most likely path that will be traveled when returning to the cache. DO NOT mark the cache tree directly. These steps will help ensure both your peace of mind as well as the safety of your valuables so you can better focus on the hunt.


The third and potentially the most popular and my personal favorite. Bivouac/Bivy or Backpack hunting. This type of hunting draws its namesake from the use of the shelter the bivouac sack, which got its name from the 18th-century Swiss German usage of Beiwacht (bei by, Wacht watch or patrol). It referred to an additional watch that would be maintained by a military or civilian force to increase vigilance at an encampment, which was then adopted by the British empire, then ultimately the United States Military. According to Merriam-Webster. This method requires the hunter to carry his or her camp on their back while they hunt. At the days end of each day the Hunter sets up camp, tearing it down before heading back out each morning. With a few tweaks this absolutely the best method for public land hunting given the advancements in backpacking technology from the packs & sacks themselves, to lightweight tents (if your bivouacking in wet climates), ever growing and evolving Extended Condition Weather Clothing Systems (ECWCS is not just made for cold weather 😉 dry bags, portables stoves, freeze dried foods, water purification and food supplementation. The possibilities and budgets are absolutely endless, I know that’s no even what your concerned with is it? No its the sheer thought of carrying an entire camp on your back seems daunting as hell. Don’t fret I got your six.
First and foremost you must plan accordingly you do not need ALL the latest equipment an entire sleep system or every piece of your favorite clothing system to hunt August or September Elk. my article (Pnuma System recommendations) has so much more on that. Know your area, is your hunt GMU in a no burn zone, chances are even if your not, open fire in prime elk or animal country period is less then ideal, not only the wildfire aspect but any animals in the general vicinity may not move, but this more then likely it will disrupt their pattern, even more so then just the hunting presence. so just skip the hatchet, instead incorporate a JETBoil a the inital costs are higher then alternatives, but the long term benefits are well worth it, fuel canisters are cheap, and they last for a long time for there size for a 7 day trip 3 is more then enough. the entire weight of the system with fuel is less then 1lbs,with all 3 fuels your still lighter then your average 14″ hatchet. The largest portion of your weight lays at your biggest weakness, your DOS that’s right your water & food. A single a gallon of water weighs 8lbs, on a 10 day hunt that recommended DOS is somewhere near 8 gallons or 80lbs of just water. (a more accurate way to calculate water consumption is 3 to 6 oz per mile walked with weight). Foods will account for roughly 20 to 30lbs more. As you can see this adds up very quickly as a way to offset this combine what you learned about caching above. Bring DOS in before the hunt, or plan on going for a resupply at your truck midway through, you can also having local friends that are coming bring in DOS before the hunt if you are hunting out of state of your local area. For most its best to just go in a little heavy with roughly 6 DOS if its a 10, 4 DOS if its a 7 day 3 if its a 5 day. Cache and mark your Extra DOS, NEVER Drop it all and a good rule of thumb is always carry at least 2 DOS. Establish a good sized grid area to hunt for that day within your physical scope, and work the hell out of that grid. If you wind up ass deep in elk you can put them to bed, pull out your bivy sleep in them, while still have another DOS on you. This allows you to get some of that weight off your back allowing you to move more quickly and stealthily, better allowing you to get a good feel for the area, all while still having your DOS in reach.

As revolutionary adventure and backpacker Mark Twight states in his book Extreme Alpinism “It’s easy to be hard, its hard to be smart”. Logistics play a huge part in our successes, both at home as well as in the wild. It’s how we train, how we pack, how we move, how we shoot, the way we think and interpret animal behaviors, all must be calculated. you will be putting it all to the test you will learn you will find holes in your system, you learn from them, mend them and be here for it. That how we become the best versions of ourselves. Go forth and explore our vast land we are truly blessed to share with such majestic creatures.

Pnuma System Recommendations

The game we persue are incredibly resilient, highly adaptive creatures, known to take refuge in some of the harshest and vast places known to man. Braving the elements to living amongst them in this array of climates means, our gear as well as ourselves must be just that. there is no one size fits all garment, and due to the infinite variables these are simply recommendations of the system that will perform best in that environment. use personal discretion to ensure optimal performance at your comfort level.

Early August-Early September

Example: (High Desert) Elk, Deer, Pronghorn, Oryx,

Conditons; Hot Dry Day/Cool Mornings/Night 40-110°F

Hunt Type: Spot & Stalk Bivy Camp

(Terra/Caza Pattern)

Rogue Performance Long Sleeve Shirt

Tenacity Pants

Gunnison Hoodie (chilly mornings while on the move)

Pnuma Cap

Neck Gaiter for Dust storms/concealment/insulation

Bino+Tech Harness

IN PACK

Shenandoah Fleece

Tenacity Jacket

Pnuma Dry Bag

(Temps can drop drastically in the desert as the sun begins to fall at 28.8 oz (1.8lbs) its a no brainer.

Chosis Day Bag

Non-Pnuma recommendations for early season in the desert, Lightweight UV gloves, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Midsize pack.

September Rut

Example: Rocky Mtn. Elk, Deer, Pronghorn, Oryx,

Conditions: Cool/Windy/ Potential Rainy 50-90°

Hunt Type: Spot & Stalk Spike Camp

(Terra/Caza Pattern)

Rogue Performance Base layer LS Shirt

Tenacity Pants

Gunnison Hoodie or Insulator Vest (chilly mornings while on the move)

Pnuma Cap

Neck Gaiter for Dust storms/concealment/insulation

Bino+Tech Harness

Creatine Mountaineering Pack

IN PACK

Rogue Performance Base layer Pant

Lightweight -Tenacity Jacket / Midweight – Shenandoah Fleece or WayPoint / Heavyweight – Selkirk Jacket use your best judgement for average weather for your area to plan accordingly.

SPECIAL NOTE!!!

Pacific Northern Roosevelt Elk, Black-tail, Bear, Cougar, Sheep. (ANY SEASON)

Never EVER leave the truck without 3L ELEMENT PROOF Rain jacket & Pant

ADD Shenandoah Fleece to packing list above as well for any hunting in the PNW

Non-Pnuma recommendations for the rut, Lightweight UV gloves, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Large Pack

Early Late Season (October-Early November)

Example: Western Elk, Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Oryx, Southern Whitetail

Conditions Cold, Wet, Windy, Potential for snow 20-60°

Hunt Type: Ambush (Stationary) Hang & hunt/Blind, Coldcalling (Active) Spot & Stalk

Merino Wool Base Layer Pullover

Merino Wool Base Layer Pant official

WayPoint Vest

WayPoint Pant

WayPoint Jacket

WayPoint Glove

Recon Reversible beanie/ Balaclava

Late Season (November-January)

Example: All Elk, All Deer, Pronghorn, Bear, Cougar,

Conditions: Cool/Windy/ Potential Rainy 20-60°

Hunt Type: Ambush (Stationary) Hang & hunt/Blind

Selkirk Jacket

Selkirk Pants

Insulator Jacket

Insulator Vest

Insulator Pants

Merino Pullover

Merino Pant

Merino Visor beanie

Icon X heated core Vest

Icon X heated core Pants

Icon X heated core Hand warmer

Chisos Day Pack for treestand

Creston Mountaineering Pack 3500ci for elk hunting. if your bivy hunting and will be remote you may need a larger bag

Initial Ascent 4K 3 gear combo as well as the Initial Ascent 2K for late season elk packouts while bivy hunting are great bags depending on the amount of time your spending out. 5 packs 1 frame For pack specifications and feature click here for the IA4K & IA6K features, 2K Specs can be found here. All great options depending on your primary intentions for the pack.

The Calling

Pulling security in Afghanistan

Today I want to talk to you about my past, my driving force for Wapiti_Fit. I like many was raised in a hunting and guiding family. though I feel extremely blessed to have had the upbringing I had, we heavily relied on the fall harvests and garden to keep our pockets, and stomachs in the black throughout the year. From a very young age my Dad showed me the necessity of good work ethics. One of my most notable memories, was when I was about 10 years old.  The water line had cracked from our frost free water faucet, we proceeded to dig it up, the ground solid frozen as if it was stone. Not long after starting I began to complain of the difficulty of the task at hand, he let me ramble on for a moment as we both ran shovels. His face began to fill red. I paused only to catch my breath, then proceeded like the onrey child I was. No more then a second later he looks me dead in the face and said “You know!, if you ran that shovel as much as you ran your mouth we’d probably be done already!”  Then quickly put his head back down and continued to work. I fell silent the rest of the time. Once done he said if it sucks don’t complain about it, no one gives a shit they know it’s cold they know it’s hard they are right there with you. So do yourself and them a favor, if it’s a crappy job and you hate doing it, bust your ass. The harder you work the sooner it will be done. Those moments have stuck with me now for over 20 years, through the cold high mountains of Afghanistan. And to every job I’ve ever had.

Ive always had a fascination with hunting when I wasn’t in the woods I could be found sitting and watching Realtree Outdoors and Mossy Oak hunting the country with my grandpa Theo (dad’s dad) for hours. My dad was a rifle hunter his brothers and our cousins were bowhunters. But I could never justify buying an adult bow for as much as I could buy a rifle for. I had the bug since my parents bought me youth bow when I was 6, just lacked the budget. This obsession with the outdoors eventually landed me in the presence of a then Australian and New Zealand outfitter, that would guide in the western United States during our seasons then Australia in our “offseason”. Glenn was an great man with an amazing family. He loved my passion and drive to learn and offered me a position in his outfit. I began to train myself on the species and habitate for the next 9 months. Until one day as I’m in the school bathroom critiquing the military uniform ensuring everything was dress right dress for the Veterans Day program I’d has the honor to depict a soldier. When I was suddenly flooded with a calling so strong it could not be ignored. It was in this moment that I knew I was intended to serve. Shortly after I informed him I could no longer work for him. I’d been called to serve. I enlisted and left at the end of that next September.

During my time in Afghanistan we did somewhere around 14 air assault missions into the mountains via chinook. I was a grenadier for 1 and SAW Gunner the rest of them. During one of the first few we were dropped off at 4600 feet with full gear and ruck with 5 DOS (Days of Supplies)  in May or June. The OP where we were going to be setting up camp was at 10K. It’s hot as hell but we’re climbing that summit more within our reach with every step. So after 4 hours of straight up vertical. We were literally steps from cresting the summit  when we suddenly begin taking strong fire from our left on top of the summit. A small enemy squad was setup on the  the opposite side of its summit. Putting fire heavy fire on the our unit as we peaked the summit. In moments like this you have no choice but to drop your gear and engage. Luckily during this conflict we sufferes No U.S. or allies. I’ve seen this very thing in combat as well as on the mountain. Its what you do in these moments where your most tired, when the weakness is creeping in, that detemines who you are and ultimately your successes.

After returning, my passion for hunting was still very much alive despite the loss of friends and allies. I reached out to my one outlet My dad, who had become heavily plagued with gout. And could no longer handle the strenuous effort and miles required to hunt the mountains of the west. One day just a few months before his passing I was talking to him from JRTC in Fort Polk La. He was very depressed, plagued by the condition and overall health. I can remember him being very monotoned discussing the how his gout increased the difficulty level of his daily tasks to the point that he even hard time doing simple chores like washing dishes and feeding the town animals. He was by far one of the hardest men i’ve ever known,  So you can imagine my astonishment whilst hearing this, realizing it had to be absolute torture if he was talking about it. I had recently been talking to my section leader about bowhunting and treestand hunting on the our home base of Fort Campbell Ky. I mentioned the idea of flying him and my mother out for a hunt where he could just hang and hunt. Which would eliminate the demands of western spot and stalk hunting. His demeanor changed immediately, and we ended the conversation with an excitement of the pre-season. A possibility that I feel he thought he’d never feel again. He would pass suddenly from a blood infection 3 months later in June.

Needless to say I was crushed and coupled with the loss of a few amazing friends, it was mentally crippling, my biggest outlet would forever be changed. Complaining wasn’t an option I had responsibilities to my family to hold strong and provide. After leaving the military my mind was telling me my opportunity had past.  After all I was no longer a kid and couldn’t imagine leaving my family for 4 to 6 months to guide hunts abroad.

After the military I attended trade school in the pursuit of a career as a diesel technician in 5 years I had worked for Kenworth, Cat and John Deere. All extremely high profile dealers in terms of dream jobs for a technician. But my passion was not there, I loved it, but I could never get comfortable. I rarely worked in the shop, as I preferred to work alone outside as quietly as possible. The busy noise of the shop gave me extreme anxiety, this coupled with other symptoms. I would later find out this caused by a silent enemy.

One day during work, through the busy buzz of work I heard to coworkers discussing archery deer season. And just like that the passion flooded back in. I became obessed all over again. I finally had the means to afford a bow, a distaste for sudden loud noises, coupled with my hunger for a good challenge. Ment bowhunting would be a natural fit.  As many veterans can attest, precision has a particular appeal. Once again in my life I realized I wasn’t on the right path. At the time I had no idea how much archery and bowhunting would change my life. Through the loyalty of my family I found the strength to climb and seek my goals with a hunger of a spring grizzly. A hunger to guide people in life and in the backcountry.

I want to take you back to that moment when we’re topping that summit and feel as though you have nothing left. And opportunity presents itself. It is my passion to grow hunters as well as myself to trive and excel in those moments. Join me in becoming hunting and survival specialists. Standby #WapitiFitNation there is much more to come!

How to become a Knowledgable bowhunter in 5 Steps (The Wapiti_Fit way)

So you want to become a hunter and not just any hunter but bowhunter. You have little to no experience, and dont know anyone that could teach you. Fret not my friend I’ve got you covered.

1. Learn your Draw Length a very quick definition. It’s the distance from the back of the grip to the corner of your mouth on your dominate side (face should be fully relaxed) You’ll need at least 2 things a tape measure and a wall.

Make a relaxed fist with your non dominate hand. Then Raise your arm to the wall (like your making a T, and lightly touch your knuckles to it. naturally turn your head

Place the medal tab of the tape, under your thumb be sure to maintain the same pressure with your knuckles on the wall. With the tape in your dominate hand. Place your thumb on the bottom edge of the tape nearest the opening. Stretch the tape to the corner of your mouth hold lock the lock by slide your other fingers over it. Look at measurement that is your draw length

2. Selecting a bow within your price range, for years I’ve shot Hoyt they design and build the strongest and most reliable bows on the market. Depending on your budget I will sometimes recommend buying used either from your local authorized dealer, or your local craigslist.com type websites i.e Letgo, Flip etc. Using this method you can cut your starting costs in half, while still getting everything a beginner would need to start shooting arrows. And do just that shoot a lot it’s not a hobby it’s a lifestyle

Follow the link below to learn how to Buy a used bow like a Pro

3. Know the game you seek, study their habitate, demeanor, patterns, and scout! This will require your to have map reading skills Follow this link to get a head start

4. Find your access. Search [YOUR STATE] department of fish and wildlife there you will find General Game Units and public access information, harvest records and all game regulations. Know the laws for your state. Many states have minimum poundage and broadhead restrictions.  Go into your local sporting goods dealer or tackleshop to buy your license rather then doing it online this will allow you to ask any questions you may have.

5 Gearing up. At minumum your gonna want a very comfortable pair of light boots, an extra pair of thick boot socks a range finder w/ ARC technology and set of binos 10×50 or better with bino harness, or a spotting scope. Camouflage is important but not a neccessity when your starting in fact some states require hunters orange be worn during bow season as well Know the law. When first starting out buying $1000’s of dollar in top of the line camo makes little to no sense. Train your feet, mind and body to move with the trees once you’ve done that. You may find the need to upgrade your camo.

Until then your a #publiclandowner Go Hunting enjoy the wild places and wild game filled with all his many blessings. For more Follow Me on Instagram @Wapiti_Fit and/ or Subscribe to Wapiti_Fit Youtube

 

 

 

Sharing the Tradition

Success is bittersweet

As hunters the changing of leaves brings a sort of excitement. That one might compare to that of a child the night before Christmas. This is more often then not, as a result of grewing up in the hunting lifestyle. Generally from along line that has passed this tradition on.

Some were not as fortunate. Some are completely opposed and appauld by the idea of providing food with their own hands. While others are opened minded with a genuine curiosity. Yet! they have no real direction on how to obtain the resources and knowledge required to become hunters let alone an ethical and knowledgeable one.

The sterotype most hunters face is “BUBBA truck hunter”(An overweight gun toting drunk redneck who drives around shooting innocent animals all day) that is definitely not the case. And the only way to prove it is to show those who have even the slightest interest in our way of life

I would be willing to bet, that very sterotype stems from a lack of confidence & hunting knowledge.  Ultimately leading those individuals to say “ Well hell! I don’t know what to look for, so I’ll just try driving around to see what i can find.”

As experienced hunters we have a responsibility to our way of life, to help educate and mentor those who lack the knowledge, yet possess the desire to become a provider.

If you lack the knowledge yet posses the drive to become a better hunter at any level.  That is the purpose of this blog, combined with informative YouTube videos, and daily instagram posts.

Join the #WapitiFitNation where we help you build confidence & self-reliance at any level. Through tactical fitness & weapons proficency. You are the future of hunting and conservation