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Bivy hunting
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Mike Dombrowski
(Bivy_Hunter) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Bivy hunting on 04/26/2011 19:55:01 MDT Print View

I've been doing some bivy hunting in the Rockies this 2011 turkey season and it has made for a great time. In anticipation of the upcoming big game seasons, I would like to hear from those hunters that have bivy hunted.

What were your most memorable moments?
In retrospect, what gear could you do (or not do) without?
What pack did you use for your hunt?
Funny stories?
Anything else you can gleam from your experiences?
etc, etc

Lets hear your story.

James Horner
(jbob19) - F

Locale: Ontario
Not true bivy on 04/26/2011 21:06:47 MDT Print View

I've yet to do a TRUE bivy hunt. ( Bivy hunt definition: hunt with your whole kit on your back then sleep wherever your hunt ends that day)

What I have done is hiked in and set up a spike camp then hunted from that.

On my first backpack hunt my Dad killed a calf moose and I packed out all of the boned out meat. It was only 1 mile back to our truck so it was no that bad, BUT the pack weighed 122 lbs.

I have modified a an eberlestock pack so all that is left is the harness and frame. I then strap a dry bag on to this to lower the weight. It works great for light loads and OK for heavy stuff

What I really like for water out of a spike camp is a gravity filter. I HATED pumping water in the dark after a LONG day of hunting.

I use a golite hex 3 for my Dad and I and it works good for two guys. This year on our elk hunt we added an 8x10 silnylon tarp and rigged it up over the door to act as a vestibule, this made for a very comfortable camp.

I have my gear pretty dialed in but added a few things this off season that I am excited about.

I picked up a westcomb specter event jacket, mb ul down inner jacket, WM apache bag, MEC 165 gr/m2 merino hoody and I am excited to use these pieces in the field.

I live in Ontario Canada and this type of hunting is unheard of, people think my Dad and I are nuts. Everyone here drives around on ATV's and doesn't venture far off the road.

Combining backpacking and hunting is awesome. It requires different/more gear and techniques but the basics of hiking are very much involved.

I suspect that many seasoned hikers would make pretty good backcountry hunters as well.

Mike Dombrowski
(Bivy_Hunter) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Bivy hunting the Weminuche on 04/27/2011 07:04:45 MDT Print View

James, thanks for your story.

You have a good grasp on the concept of bivy hunting. At its core, it is lightweight backpacking (or even ultralight) mixed with a tradition of hunting that reaches back thousands of years.

I have the pleasure of living next door to the Weminuche Wilderness (488,340 acres) and the San Juan National Forest (almost 1.9 million acres). This provides for countless hours of quiet time, exploration, and hunting. All of this time in the field also allows me to test various types of gear. For me, this is a fun aspect of bivy hunting.

After some consideration, I find that I become an oz. counter down to the tenths when I know there is a possibility that I will be carrying out meat that could weigh up to 150lbs. Here are two questions for those bivy hunters out there...

What is a good target capacity and weight for a bivy hunter's pack? Any favorite packs?

Edited by Bivy_Hunter on 04/27/2011 07:56:55 MDT.

James Horner
(jbob19) - F

Locale: Ontario
South San Juan on 04/27/2011 11:44:48 MDT Print View

Mike, that would be a great place to live.

My Dad and I made the trek to southern CO and hunted in the South San Juan Wilderness area last fall for elk. It was a LONGGGG drive from North Bay, On. What a gorgeous place to live. The second spot I had for elk would have been in the Weminuche Wilderness but I had more intel for the area we chose.

As far as packs go I think the Kifaru is the best option out there. I have a Spike camp and it is an awesome 2300 cui pack. I would love to have a 5200 cui pack that weighed the same as my spike camp but could handle 100 lb loads. The KU 5200 or 3700 would be my pack of choice if I had the coin.

Mike Dombrowski
(Bivy_Hunter) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Bivy Hunting - Kifaru Late Season G2 3200 on 04/27/2011 16:25:33 MDT Print View


I too enjoy the use of a Kifaru pack. After a month or so of deliberation between Mystery Ranch and Kifaru, I went with the Late Season G2 3200. It seemed like it presented a solid balance between pack weight, capacity and strength. I considered the KU series initially but I opted for something with a little more durability. Nothing super scientific was used for my choice, I just lean towards the more hardy feeling packs because of my experience in the Marine Corps. I've worn through a few packs made of "light weight" material.

During cold weather (turkey, late big game) season, the Late Season G2 3200 provides enough room for me to carry three days worth of gear and supplies. This also includes my sleeping bag (WM Antelope MF) carried internally. The only item I carry externally is my Therm-A-Rest. It weighs in at sub 20 without food and water. With the food and water it comes in at about 27lbs. I've been very pleased with the pack thus far. I have yet to try it with a full load of meat. We shall see.

Something I am debating is whether I should look into a "light weight" rifle.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Been there on 04/28/2011 23:30:14 MDT Print View

I've bivy hunted for deer 3 times in Pennsylvania. I was successful once. Rising at 5 AM to a cold breakfast is a must.

Packing at "O-Dark Thirty" is not fun but getting underway at dawn with rifle in hand is a great feeling.

P.S. Mike, a light rifle will be around 6 to 7 lbs. I still like my Savage 99 .308 lever gun at 8 lbs. (8.35 W/ scope). It's an iconic eastern deer rifle and great for fast follow-up shots.

Edited by Danepacker on 04/28/2011 23:33:30 MDT.

William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
Sacrifice on 04/29/2011 01:40:45 MDT Print View

No experience with bivy hunting just spike camps but I work at a archery shop and borrowed a badlands sacrifice for a backpacking trip and it's a awsome pack I loaded it down with 80lbs of weight to try it out around the neiberhood and it did well almost bought one as my all around pack but it wasn't quite light enough wonder if you could get ahold of Cameron Haynes he designed the sacrifice for badlands and I know he does a lot of bivy hunting and is a ul kinda guy

Mike Dombrowski
(Bivy_Hunter) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Been there on 05/03/2011 18:44:02 MDT Print View


Haha, I wake at 4 AM to take my time and eat some warm oatmeal. Not a necessity but helpful nonetheless. Time is no object as "O-Dark Thirty" was a way of life in the Marine Corps. One thing I did get tired of was carrying the weight. Hence the desire to drop weight on the gear including the rifle.

Right now I carry a Remington 700 BDL in .270 WIN. Stoked with Federal Nosler Accubonds at 140 grains, I am hoping to maximize the potential for my area and muleys. In the Weminuche Wilderness, there are opportunities for distance shots. My goal is to get it dialed in for 400 yards making everything closer that much easier. I haven't weighed the rifle/scope package (9lbs maybe?) but I know it is still a little heavier than what I would like to carry. Weight, cost, effectiveness, etc.. Trade offs, you know?

As you know, the weight to benefit ratio is important to the bivy hunter. When you bivy hunted for deer, what was your estimated pack weight?