Ultralight Hunting: Towards a Coherent Definition
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Home › Forums › Campfire › Editor’s Roundtable › Ultralight Hunting: Towards a Coherent Definition
- This topic has 153 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Mike M.
Feb 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm #2176206Todd OndickSpectator
1)By going "gutless" HOW are you removing the hanging tenderloins on an animal?
-The video Chris linked to shows it well and Dave pretty much summed it up. Not truly gutless, as you are eventually entering the abdominal cavity. I wait until I have most of the meat off the carcass, then put a slit in the abdominal wall along the ventral line to reduce pressure; this is important or you'll have loops of intestine popping up in your way! Make a cut below the spine starting at the last rib and working back until you have enough working room. It is dicey, getting into that tight space with both hands and a knife, but doable. I would never leave the tenderloins either. If it is a young elk, I'll get in there for the liver and heart, too, but at the very end.
2) What do you need a ring saw for if you have a good sharp knife?
-Capping the skull to take only the antlers, or getting through all that neck tendon and ligament. I can do it with a knife but WAY prefer a ring saw. It's also real handy for a fire when my digits cry mercy!
BTW, I agree with the 10x binocs, but for a decent exit pupil, I prefer 10x50s
-Yeah, the more light in, the better. Under 40mm is tough to use hunting. Mine are 19 year old Eagle Optics Rangers; some of the best $$$ I've ever spent. Blew a tube two years ago and they replaced one lens, focus knob rubber, both tubes, and both objective rings under the lifetime warranty…without me asking. They'll get my money again.Feb 20, 2015 at 6:31 pm #2176227
I think the wide variety of firearms and cost that's why Whelen never went into great details about how much a rifle should weigh.
He went through several different kinds, including his favourite sporterized 1903 Spinfield which would be about 8 lbs, not including scope.
But it's kind of difficult tell your readers to buy this and this specialized rifle when for a lot of people, at the time when book was published, one rifle is all they ever going to own.
Whereas the other stuff he recommends in his writings can be obtained by anyone regardless of class or income.Feb 20, 2015 at 7:14 pm #2176239
Okay, looked in his book On Your Own in the Wilderness (1958) on page 52. In addition to the cartridges in the rifles, he recommends two or three in the pockets, 15 big-game cartridges and 5 small-game cartridges in the rucksack. Grouse-loads can be found in his other books Wildcraft and Mister Rifleman. The reason why he recommends so many is: one can shoot meat for the pot or for their pelt. Or in an emergency, a volley of fire can used as distress signals.
Watch, compass and waterproof matches should always be in the pockets of the pants on the person. So I am assuming this is "worn weight".
For butchering large animals like a moose, he recommends hacking with an axe or cutting with a folding saw or hacksaw. For medium-sized games like deer, a skinning knife and a whetstone is all that is required. These should be stowed in the pack.
Packs for one-day hunts should never exceed 10-lbs, and overnight stays or week-long trips should never exceed 15-lbs (page 50). For still-hunting or hunting close to civilization, pack should not weigh more than 10 lbs (page 51-52), and for wilderness hunting (eg. northern British Columbia), 15 lbs.
There is a mention about cameras, but nothing about how much it should weigh. He just says many sportsmen like to take pictures of their trophy. He did say this is optional, and it should only be carried in the backpack.
As for clothes (page 53), down insulated jacket, and mittens specially designed for shooting in cold-weather. Mackinaw recommended by earlier woodsmen like Kephart are not necessary as they are outdated and bulky to wear while walking through the woods. But those are not required of people who live in warmer climates.
This section intrigues me because there's a lot of people out there in the bushcraft community who think down-filled jackets are inferior to mackinaw.
The only extra garment that should be carried by everyone is a woolen shirt if the weather should unexpectedly becomes chilly.
For protection against rain, poncho. Ironically, he also recommends wearing it as a vapor barrier liner in cold weather too. He didn't actually use the term, but he conveyed the concept.
For sleeping, he says a down-filled mummy sleeping bag are lighter, warmer and more compact than woolen blankets of old. One can even supplement the sleeping bag with fire if needed.
For binoculars, he just wears it around his neck; probably why the weight was never included.
For grubs (page 54), rolled oats, cornmeal, egg powder and milk powder is all that is required to sustain a person. Sugar, salt, bacon, tea, chocolate and dried fruits will add variety; and it is recommended to experiment at home. For a hunting trip, he recommends bringing enough for seven meals. He made a slight remark about people carrying too much food. I am assuming he is making another jab at Horace and Nessmuk who like to bring luxuries on them. Wouldn't be surprised as he makes lots of remarks about how woodsmen of earlier decades were doing things wrong.
For cooking, he recommends an old fruit-juice can with a wire bail attached. Those who want a frying pan should use an Army mess-kit, not a pan from home. He recommends bringing only a spoon as one already has his hunting knife and a fork can be replaced with a stick.
In addition to all this, he also recommends bringing a plastic bag about 15 in2 for carrying back offals home.
Shelter is not discussed, but he does go into great length elsewhere several times. His favourite is making a tarp out of plastic or parachuter's nylon.
The hunter's pack should not weigh more than 15 lbs for all the above, including consumables.Feb 20, 2015 at 7:15 pm #2176240Todd OndickSpectator
Todd, a few questions.
When ranging via mildot, you're depending on a know dimension within the target, yes? Brisket depth of a given number of inches and so forth. How precise can you get with this method? Seems like beyond 300 yards a laser would still be a worthwhile investment. On the other hand, being able to range and shoot fast between 100 and 200 would be darn handy.
-I tried to find the original article I read on this, but couldn't. but, yes, the premise is that a bull elk chest from top of spine to the bottom of the brisket is ~32”. A cow is ~28”. A Deer is ~17”. I’ll put up a link to give credit when I find it. First saw concept here and adapted it to mildot after reading this. I found that the Shooter app could do the math for me by happy accident!
To practice, I took a cardboard box and covered one side with white paper, then cut out a 32" and 17" rectangle from black paper and glued this to the white background. Looking through the scope you count the number of mils covering your black rectangle. In the Shooter app, the range estimation function asks for the number of mils and the target size. Enter these and it takes you to that distance on the range table- your dope. This gives the number of clicks needed for proper elevation, given your ballistics. I was skeptical, but was within 3 inches of center of mass at all sorts of distances from 50 out to 250 yds and within 6 inches at ranges between 350 and 450 yds. The error grows with distance, so yes, I'd use the rangefinder for looong shots, if I'd been practicing for them.
To make my card, I entered half mil increments into the Shooter app from 1 on up to 6 mils of coverage. The card is really simple w/ two columns- mils covered by the animal’s chest on left and elevation clicks on the right. I started using it this year- it works and is fast.
Regarding plastic meat bags, have you run into any issues with the meat not being able to breath or cool on a multi-day packout in warmer weather?
-To be honest, I try not to hunt when it is warmer than 65 degrees out, unless I’m within a couple of hours of the truck. Ultimately, I’m in it for the meat, and I want it to be as high of quality as possible. If warm out, I’ll hang quarters, then bag when cool to the touch. Flies are not too much trouble where I hunt. I also try to move things into the shade, and down by a creek if possible, especially if overnight. I've used mesh game bags, but the plastic keeps the meat cleaner, reduces oxidation of the outer layer, and keeps my pack relatively gore free. This is all anecdotal, mind you. There are definitely others out there with way more experience who could better speak to this.Mar 25, 2015 at 10:43 am #2185894Ian ClarkBPL Member
@chinditsLocale: Cntrl ROMO
Wow, it has been a while since I've been on BPL so I didn't catch this story earlier. I was actually surprised that there wasn't any lash back from purest and suggestions that it was more appropriate for rokslide. So praise to DC for the bold step of submitting this article in this forum.
I was also surprised by the responses seeming mostly from the rifle hunters and meat hunters. In my mind, one of the biggest difficulties in using what I would normally use on a light backpack walk with hunting is the noise factor. Most light backpacking gear is noisey when you get within 50 yards of the critter on a stalk. This is especially true of raingear where when even from a stationary position the movement from drawing a bow can be impossible with out the quietest fabrics.
There is also a geograpical and goal difference in the responses. It is apparent that meat hunters doesn't worry so much about sizing up an animal before starting a stalk. However, since I live in an area where free meat is available all winter on the HWY the value of taking any animal in the backcountry to me is extremely low. If I am going to harvest, it beter be worth it to me to pack out. I past up on countless muleys last season because the only two bucks that truly impressed me, I was unable to seal the deal on. However, it was still a great hunt to me because I was in the mix with animals every day including a cat at about 40 yards.
With my goals in mind and the CO high country I hunt and scout, optics are essential. Some of this is for the pure pleasure I get out of just seeing critters in their relaxed natural state and trying to get a good digiscope photo. On the other hand, if it isn't an impressive animal to me I am not going to invest the couple of hours that a spot and stalk can take in country I hunt. I know this is all foreign to someone who lives back east, but I can spot and verify a 350 plus bull 1-2 miles away, but due to the severity of the mountains around here it will take hours just to get in the same basin that bull is in. Thus the hunting goal and geography dictates my optics. My method of take, bow or muzzle loader with iron sights, dictates a precise ranging tool such as a LRF. With that in mind, I will use my LRF like binos and my 11-33 spotter for guaging, digiscoping, or just watching wildlife all without getting busted and pushing critters. Weight well worth carrying for me, but then the harvest is not really my ultimate goal. After the critter is down, it is all anticlimatical for me and just pure work at that point. Obviously your goals, geography, and methods may vary.Mar 25, 2015 at 11:44 am #2185924
Thanks Ian, I've really been gratified by the reception here, and learned a lot from the discussion. This article was a bit too wonkish for Rokslide, I think.
Bow hunting isn't something I have much experience with, beyond the stuff I did out of a treestand growing up in Ohio (where I mostly wore jeans or insulated cotton coveralls). I still have my old Darton bow, but with early rifle season in the Bob starting Sept 15th, archery doesn't really give me any opportunities I don't already have. If I lived in a different state I'd be much more motivated to expand my weapon options.
Is the quieter rain gear from First Lite and Kuiu still to loud for archery hunting? The PU coated plain weaves they're using seem like the best possible compromise between making a WPB quiet while still keeping the face fabric from gaining a ton of weight when it inevitably gets wet. I can certainly see how my Goretex anorak would be less than ideal for archery.Mar 27, 2015 at 12:40 pm #2186753Ian ClarkBPL Member
@chinditsLocale: Cntrl ROMO
I am still experimenting on rain gear. Unfortunately for the longest time I tried some soft faced rain gear that I found with a saddle and saddle bags in the bottom of a creek one hunting season. However, it was heavy and when the soft face exterior fabric became saturated it was heavier and prone to leakage. I did try a first lite rain jacket this year, but I was unimpressed with it. It seemed especially prone to condensation and could of been lighter. At the same time I was wearing a pair of Kuiu rainpants and was very impressed with the lack of condensation and construction. So right now I am experimenting with a Kuiu rain jacket. If it is raining, there is a reduced issue with noise while the rain is falling. I think it will still be a struggle to draw a bow quietly after the rain has stopped and there is that moment of deep silence in the saturated forest. Maybe this season will reveal that, or maybe not. We can only hunt the rut in CO during ML/archery season and few ML tags will ever be had with out some points saved up.
The one thing that causes me pause about hunting gear is something you alluded to, the bells and whistles to attract the hunter's wallet. I really don't need pit zips and fancy waterproof zippers. A couple of long torso pockets with mesh interiors have always done me well enough for ventialation. I reckon I'm not the target customer since most of the purchases I have made recently were either prodeals or oversized clearance items that I altered with a sewing machine and seam tape.Mar 27, 2015 at 1:10 pm #2186763
Under 5 lbs unscoped (they show the weight for other models on the site). Close to $200.
Shorter range, but light ammo. Compact plus one screw takedown.
http://www.advanced-armament.com/300-AAC-Blackout–Handi-Rifle_p_630.htmlMar 27, 2015 at 1:32 pm #2186776
for closer ranges, light weight 9 oz. Less than $20
With the rifle and scope you could have the Grease Pot of hunting rifles.
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=28250Mar 28, 2015 at 9:52 am #2186966
That's a nice option David. I wonder if another 1/2 lb could be shaved off of it.
300AAC is reported to be a great SBR round. Shortening the barrel and then making it legal again by adding a permanently attached flash suppressor might take some ounces off of it. Seems like the stock could be lighter too but with a 12" pull, maybe not by much.
Edit to add: Anyone aware of a single shot break action like this in 6.5? I just skimmed through 6.5 Grendel Forums and didn't see one noted on there although they have a section dedicated to bolt action/single shot. Possibly a re-barrel job on a 7.62×39?Mar 28, 2015 at 5:28 pm #2187065
The H & R company just went out of business, Remington owned it and closed it. The company was 150 years old. So these guns are almost half price while they last.
The front of the stock might be replaceable with something lighter. People classically mod that part on their wood stocked models.
The butt stock is hollow, tho there is a long steel bolt to hold that on. You may be able to find some kind of lighter bolt? Aluminum or ti?
The 16" length gives good velocity for the round. Shortening it starts to degrade the velocity. You can compare to the m4's with 9 inch barrels. It already has threads for a suppressor. Make it more LNT by being quieter. No hunting in WA with a suppressor tho.Mar 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm #2187256Mar 29, 2015 at 9:04 pm #2187338
Thanks Ian. I have what is probably an outdated prejudice against PU raingear, and Kuiu in particular hasn't convinced me otherwise. I like that they are bold enough to, as they just did, come out with a rain jacket with no pockets. I'm not at all sure it will be a commercial success, but respect.
The demise of H&R is indeed sad. I have a .243 youth model Handi for which I bought and fitted an adult-sized stock. It shoots about 2 moa. My rough recollection is 6.5 pounds with a 2.5x Leupold UL scope mounted. The ergos and balance aren't very good, but the break down feature is nice.Mar 31, 2015 at 6:42 pm #2187926
It's really sad to see H&R go, but again the local friendly gun-shops made the switch to IZH (now acquired by Kalashnikov Concern), TOZ and Turkish manufacturers as soon the news about Remington acquiring the brand broke.
After talking to the owners of those stores, they didn't like how Remington degraded Marlin guns, and didn't see the point of stocking H&R anymore if other companies offer similar products for much better quality than what Remington could produce for less value.Apr 1, 2015 at 9:22 am #2188055
" The mineral compounds, interestingly enough, not only bind the bio-degradable bullet together, but they provide nutritional benefits for any game that might ingest the projectiles. If an animal eats the bullet, it won’t get sick — it will actually get healthier."
http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2010/04/new-from-new-zealand-jacketless-bio-degradable-bullets/Apr 1, 2015 at 9:46 am #2188062
The bio degradable bullets sound great but I'm concerned about how well/poorly the bullet will expand upon impact. That may be the difference between dropping the deer, or having it run off only to die a slow painful death later on.
I skimmed through the article and if they mentioned it, I missed it.
I did some lazy googling and found one article where the author claims to have found a copper round that expands well and is well suited for deer hunting. At $200 and 5lbs, I'm awfully tempted to put that handi rifle into a shopping cart. Even if I never took it hunting, it looks like a fun little plinking rifle. Alas, my lunch money is already spoken for so it'll have to wait.
Re <4lb AR prototype from another thread
This is intriguing. There are a few sub 5lb ARs out there. Here's an example:
My rifles have all been built by someone else and I'll full admit, this is pretty far outside my area of expertise. I wonder if the same rifle could be built with a 6.5 Grendel upper with no or little weight penalty. Also, from what I've read, the New Frontier polymer lower seems to get pretty good end user reviews. I wonder if it would shed even more weight from the rifle in this video vs the magnesium alloy lower he's using.
For the money, the Savage 11 6.5 Creedmoor lightweight hunter looks like a nice compromise of an affordable rifle, suitable cartridge, and lightweight at 5.5lbs before optics.Apr 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm #2190359
I know Locus Gear CP3, Ruta Locura Yana and Gossmear Gear LT4 are pretty popular in thru-hiking, but what would be considered as the bare minimum in backpack hunting?
My main concern would be the lateral stress of a 130 to 200 lbs individual with 80 to 130 lbs backpack on the down-hill descend.
Any idea? I would like to replace my Black Diamond Contour Elliptic Shock with something else. I would order GG, but the inability to stow them away inside the pack bugs me a bit.Apr 8, 2015 at 7:56 pm #2190397Jeremy GBPL Member
I picked up a pair of Carbon Fiber Ultralite Vario 4 Trek Poles from MLD when they had them on sale before Christmas. I used them for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and they seemed really sturdy. MLD did their research to find the best and lightest poles. They are spendy, but are the best poles I've had so far and I've tried a few different kinds. They do break down, so would fit nice on the side or inside of a pack. Here are the comments direct from the MLD website:
Why We Love This Pole!
1: 145cm- longer than most poles- no need for any pole jacks in the Duomid, SoloMid and SpeedMid in the normal low pitches. Allows higher pitching of Tarps and TrailStars.
2: Very Strong carbon- not the weaker thin wall 3- 4 oz carbon poles that are always breaking tips and shaft connections.
3: Very Light weight. Yes, it is about 1- 1.5oz more than the very lightest CF trek poles- but these are Full Length, Full Strength and Full Featured. These are the lightest 145cm three section full strength poles available.
4: Adjustable top section uses a cam lock for no slip reliability. The bottom two sections can not slip.
5: Strong enough for winter snowshoe and touring ski travel, interchangeable snow basket available (not included).
6: Excellent swing weight and balance. They even feel lighter than they are and fit just right in the hand making for less grip fatigue.
7: A single pole can be stripped of the handle and strap with the end capped to make a 5oz super strong tarp or pyramid shelter poleApr 8, 2015 at 9:02 pm #2190418
The BD Alpine Carbon Corks are still unmatched in this category; lightish, compact, and remarkably strong. You can cut quite a bit of weight by replacing the grips.
I've never seen the Komperdell pole MLD sells in person, but I'm finished with the avy-probe style collapsible poles. Seen too many jam in a way which was hard if not impossible to get unstuck.Apr 9, 2015 at 9:45 am #2190512
I know on Rokslide, Z-Poles from Black Diamond are widely used. On paper, those Komperdell would be super for the weight-saving benefit.
In practice, I am not sure. Seems like hunters who use their trekking poles as shooting rests, tipi-poles or monopods use an adjustable. But, on the other hand, there is no point in carrying an adjustable if one doesn't plan on using a shooting rest.
Might have to buy both.
Thanks for the suggests, David and Jeremy.
They may be spendy, but buying new hiking equipment is cheaper than getting a new rifle.Apr 9, 2015 at 10:31 am #2190530Jeremy GBPL Member
I just noticed that Sierra Trading Post has the 145cm version on sale right now. $129.95 Pretty sweet deal!!Apr 9, 2015 at 4:34 pm #2190646
I have had in total three sets of the BD Carbon Corks. I originally bought the newest flicklock version and unfortunately, left them at the trailhead in the North Cascades NP a couple years ago.
Then Steep and Cheap cleared out the older style and I picked up two more. I'm a farily large guy and have had a few opportunities to abuse these poles where they've saved me from a spectacular tumble. You may find a lighter pair of poles but I can confirm that they are indeed tough. I'm fairly meh about he grips and have removed the straps. Next order of business will be to replace the grips.
The Locus Gear CP3 trekking poles were a hit at the Point Reyes GGG this year as there were a few people who hiked in with them. At today's exchange rate, they are $117 before shipping.
The pole is skinnier than the BD carbon corks. Jennifer removed the Locus Gear grips and put on the Gossamer Gear kork o lon grips. While I've not had an opportunity to thoroughly abuse a pair of these poles, they appear to be every bit as rugged as my BD Carbon Corks. Everyone I spoke with seemed to confirm that they are indeed built for abuse. If I had to buy some trekking poles today, I'd get these.
It is possible to put the GG grips on the BD Carbon Corks but the poles are thicker and it appears that it can be done if you are careful. Sticks Blog YouTube channel has a video on this.Apr 10, 2015 at 7:34 am #2190826
A few tips on installing GG grips in a sustainable fashion. Watch Chad's videos to see why you need to prepare well to fit the 13mm ID grip over the 18mm OD BD pole. It can be frustrating.
Sand out the first few inches of the grip with sandpaper and a dowel. Taper it out to at least 16mm.
Measure the depth of the grips, and mark that distance with tape on the pole. The grip material stretches and it's easy to make them asymmetrical.
Put a small amount of Gorilla glue down into the grip a few minutes before installation. This is imperative. If you do not lock the end in place the pole shaft will under heavy use eventually push the plug out of the grip, which is annoying.
When everything is ready, immerse the pole end in mineral spirits and immediately work the shaft down into the grip. This will give you ~20 second where if you did the sanding the insertion should go slick and easy.
Twist the grip a little to ensure and even coating of Gorilla glue, and let it dry inverted overnight. This will give you a setup which will wear like iron. The only thing to watch for is mice and other critters, which will chew on the grips for salt.Apr 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm #2190916
I did this with some leftover paracords. Of course, BPL probably would endorse spectra, but that material cuts into my shoulders. Plus, I have paracord lying around for shoe-laces. It's not very often I have other materials.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XBe6_0zK8s (not my video)
It still baffles me archery-hunters would pay $20 for someone (Rick Young) to do it professionally which really amount to 7' to 8' of cord, and some key rings.Apr 10, 2015 at 10:15 pm #2191048Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
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