By Jason Reid
(New York, USA) Yes, I come from New York, but elk country is where a large portion of where my soul calls home. Early season archery elk hunting deep in the backcountry takes a range of gear to ensure safety, comfort and success. Some have already begun their late summer sojourns into the wilderness as photos on social media are already trickling in.
Here are key pieces of Elk Hunting Gear for my 2016 hunt.
Elk Hunting Gear – Bow and Arrows:
Starting with the business end of the hunt, my bow and arrow rig combines what I felt to be the best for the price. First, my bow is actually a used piece I bought online. The Mathews Heli-M might be a few years old, but it is a light and fast bow which fits my personality. Exactly what I wanted for mountain hunting. The arrows are Beman Hunter Classics at 400 grains. Even though there are more popular arrows available, these arrows can take a beating and drive a broadhead deep into a target. For broadhads, I chose the Shuttle-T Lok from Trophy Taker. This makes two pieces of gear from Trophy Taker on my bow as their Option 6 Sight will help guide the arrow home.
Elk Hunting Gear – Boots:
Great debates can circulate around boots. Perhaps it is out of superstition I bought a fresh pair of Keen Liberty Ridge Boots. They are not too harsh on the wallet and break in easily, but after a week of truly difficult hiking last year, they look like they went through a meat grinder. Regardless, they are a comfortable boot and I chose them again for this year.
Elk Hunting Gear – Socks:
I did not pack enough sock liners last year. Big mistake. Wigwam makes great Sock Liners which provide a comfortable layer of protection for your feet. Just pack enough so you can rotate them throughout the week. The best way to buy them is on Amazon to save on cost.
Elk Hunting Gear – Optics:
Optics are a storied part of any gear bag. This year my optics changed a bit. The Nikon Arrow ID 3000 Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder is my new range finder and provides bowhunters great options when trying to range your target in thick brush. My binocular choice also changed this year as well to the Sightmark 10X42 Binocular . They provide great clarity do not take much room in your pack. These are brand new for me and I will report back after the hunt on how they perform.
Elk Hunting Gear – Clothes:
Sitka Gear is what I choose to invest in for the quality. New to my Sitka Gear System Optifade Wardrobe includes the all-new Mountain Pant and the time honored 90% Jacket. My favorite part of the Sitka system comes in the base layers as they keep the body regulated, dry and warm on cold mornings.
Elk Hunting Gear – Packs:
My day pack will be the Alps Pursuit Bow Pack. I’ve had this pack for several years now and normally use it for deer hunting. On this trip I will have to bike 16 miles into camp and because the Pursuit Bow Pack has the ability to carry a bow on the back, I keep my hands-free to focus on riding over tough terrain. The pack also has waist support which is huge for hiking all day. In addition, the multiple compartments can keep my day gear, plus food and water store nicely.
Elk Hunting Gear – Headlamp:
Hands-free operation in the dark is critical. The Black Diamond Icon Headlamp has been my favorite headlamp for many years since it produces 320 Lumens. You might as well have a car headlight strapped to your head. Weak light streams are a thing of the past and since this product is built for avid mountain climbers, you can rest assured it can withstand the abuse hunting season brings for many years.
About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid balances passions for business and outdoor media. While careers in different industries keeps him busy, his passion and commitment to adventure bowhunting and capturing outdoor stories is unwavering. Follow the adventures on Facebook.