by Marc Warnke
I recently went on an archery elk hunt in British Columbia with my Train to Hunt friends. Flat out…it was the hardest hunt of my life. To encapsulate the difficulty, I climbed and descended over 25,000 vertical feet in 5 days of hunting! That meant 2-4 hr climbs in the dark, every morning and out again most evenings! Without year round training, like Train to Hunt, we all would’ve been bloody nubs by day two.
During the hunt we got absolutely dumped on for two, of the five days and drizzled on, the other three. It was wet, slippery, muddy and cold. The hunt tested my conditioning, my gear, and my attitude. My attitude was tested most on my last hunting day when we went on a two hour “alder crawl” in the rain. I fell, at least, 10 times (alders are slicker than snot when wet). And not just a light fall, but a splatter against the undergrowth face-first kinda fall. I had at least two “brush fits,” and cussed like a sailor more than once.
Did I get my bull, you ask? Yes I did. Was it a big bull? No, it wasn’t. Were you proud? Yes… proud as hell! Would you go back? Hell yes!!!
What would bring me back to BC? Many things, but two things stand out. Number one, I like to challenge myself mentally, physically and spiritually (I prayed a lot on this one). I can’t think of a bigger test of an elk hunter to cover country in a place like Southern BC where the elk think they are mountain goats. The country they live in always surprises me when I hunt there. Why they live in the rocks, and ribbon timber and in slide shoots at the bases of the cliffiest cliffs, at the tippy top of the mountains still causes me pause and wonder…oh, and resentment, the bastards! Number two, because of it’s northern proximity; the bulls bugle harder, earlier. I like to be in the elk woods most of the month of September and I like to work fired up, bugling bulls. Early season in the lower 48 always leaves me wishing it was later and the rut was heavier, so instead, early season I go North.
This is a very intensive gear hunt because my gear literally had an impact on my well being. It wasn’t just a comfy thing. It was a right gear or face misery and possibly a bloody death thing. My Kenetrek boots were the foundation. Without their wedge-like, side-hilling, toe-digging-in, vertical-climbing, fit-you-like-a-glove ways, I would’ve been done, day one (like my cameraman). Secondly, my Kryptek layering system and all it’s options, kept me dry and warm. Two pieces that stood out for me on this hunt were the Kratos vest and the Posiden raingear top and bottom. All three pieces could be carried, very compact, and totaling less than a pound and a half in my lightest and smallest pack, the Tenzing 1250. Those 3 pieces, saved my bacon. Lastly, my Kershaw knives, made quick work of the boning and we were able to get my elk out in one load with the help of Tag Bags (oh ya, forgot to tell ya, you have to beat the griz to your critter when he’s down). As a side note, I carried 40lbs out in my 1250. It wasn’t what it was made for but it took the weight well. We had 4 in our party, and we made the young’ns carry the brunt of the meat.
In conclusion, BC is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Hunting elk, with a bow in that country is something every hardcore elk hunter needs to do just at least once. Just to see if you got the salt. Happy hunting.
Learn more about this hunt here: http://gothunts.com/british-columbia-elk-hunting-averaging-300-bulls/
Watch some of our hunts on our Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/gothunts