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Cooter

Out west bow sling recommendations

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Heading back out to colorado next year for archery elk, looking for reviews on a good bow sling to help with the treks.

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Cooter, are you going to be doing day trips from a basecamp?  Or, are you packing into an area? 

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Probably both

Plan is to set a wall tent as base and pack in with base as an option if the weather turns or to recoup and regear.  Also depends on how my body handles the altitude and my knees the terrain......will prep but being realistic on my own capabilities.  Think base will be 8600 And pack in close to treeline at 11+

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OK, that's helpful.  Given what you're saying, my suggestion is that you completely and totally skip a bowsling.  The enemy of anyone hunting in altitude is unnecessary weight.  A bow sling doesn't weigh that terribly much, but it's totally unneeded.  If you are dead set on one, I'm sure someone here can chime in and offer some brand-related advice.  In my opinion, and honestly in the opinion of the vast, vast majority of guys who do trips like you're describing each year, you'd be much better off strapping your bow to your pack (when it's dark or when in places when there's zero chance you could get a shot) or carrying your bow in your hand.  I know that's not the question you asked but I really believe it'll be more helpful info than providing bowsling info.  Obviously, you can do what you want with the info above... 

Instead of a bowsling you'd be much better off spending your money on a high end pack.  You could haul your bow with it some of the time and it'll save your neck, back, hips, and knees a ton.  Spending money on a really, really good pack is money well spent.  I never imagined I'd spend a crapload of money on a top end pack until I hunted with three different decent packs.  I used a Blacks Creek, a Badlands, and a Sitka pack and all resulted in the same misery.  If you plan on doing quite a few trips out west I'd strongly suggest a Kifaru, Stone Glacier, Mystery Ranch, or Exo Mountain pack.  Lots of coin, but you'll save a ton of money by not wasting money on a bunch of mediocre packs (like I did and like a ton of people have done).

Also, you're talking about humping camp up over 2500' to get to over 11K.  Get ready my sconnie friend!  You'll have over 40, probably over 50 lbs and you're going to climb a long ways to a very high elevation.  Given the little info you provided, I can tell you that a lot of people who hunt out west frequently couldn't accomplish the kind of trip. Good luck and go get 'em!  I hope you do great and I hope it goes well. 

 

Sorry, my response may not be spot on for your question, but I think it's relevant and I think it's the best info I can offer.  I'm happy to try help you in any way I can, so feel free to let me know if you have other questions or need info.

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Never felt the need for one while elk hunting in Montana.  

I think a lot of people see the Primos guys, or some other high dollar hunter, carrying their bow with a bowsling and think it looks like a good idea.  These are hunts where the hunter drives up in a truck, walks a 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile to a spot, hunts there for the morning, then heads back to the truck to go get lunch.  A bowsling would be nice for that!  However, that's not reality for most people.  The hunt you're describing to me, Cooter, doesn't sound at all like that either.  I don't like carrying my bow around in my hand all the time, I'll certainly admit that.  However, I HATE carrying around unnecessary weight and I'd definitely put a bowsling in that category.  If all you're going to do is short day hunts, I'd consider a bowsling.  For any kind of multi-day hunt I think it's wasted weight.  Ounces make pounds and those are ounces I'd not want to add to the load...

If you want a gear list for multi-day hunts, I am happy to e-mail you mine.  It's tough to stick to the list sometimes and it's very easy to add in a few things here or there.  Those things add up!  A bowsling could easily be one of them.  It's super easy to add 5-10 lbs of unnecessary stuff.  The difference between humping around 42 lbs vs. 52 lbs is pretty remarkable! 

Sorry, not trying to lecture here and there's definitely more than one way to skin a cat.  I do think I'm giving good advice though and it's based on a fair bit of experience.  Far more than my experience, it's also based on a ton of experience from guys who have done hundreds of bivy trips and are extremely knowledgeable and really serious about both that type of hunt and their gear. 

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I don't think they're necessary.  Like Scoot said just carry or strap to your pack.  

Also, hauling camp from 8,600' to 11,000, and possibly coming back down to 8,600' does not sound fun.  I'm 27 and in pretty good shape, We hunted from our camp at around 8,800'.  In 9 days of hunting I only went over 10,000' two days, and I was beat each day we did that.  

Not saying you can't do it, just make sure you're in good shape, and then get in even better shape.  That's my best tip for hunting in the mountains.  

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I agree with Scoot, Mitch, and the other guys on many points, a bow sling being unnecessary as the first.  Strap it to your pack and save the weight.  Good packs are worth the money.  I have a KUIU Icon Pro 5200, which is a bit controversial (Kuiu), but a great value, IMO.  30% off sale coming up soon.  The other brands mentioned are excellent, as well.     

Second, I don't know your experience, but 2,500 vertical feet is a ton, and I wouldn't have comprehended that until I actually saw what 500-1000 vertical feet looks and feels like, but you're talking at least 3-4 miles in between base camp and spike camp.  Plan to be in incredible shape to do that more than a few times in a week long hunt.  If you haven't already, start training now.  It's really difficult for a flat-lander to properly train for altitude and the mountains.      

On each western hunt I've been on, right around the 2nd-3rd day each guy is holding their packs upside down, knocking the dust out of them, saying, "okay...let's get this down to the fewest ounces I can today".  To bring it back to the post topic, the bow sling would have been gone for sure.  WHEN you hit this point, don't get rid of your rain gear, no matter how hot and sunny it is in the morning.  Right, NoWiser?        

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The others are spot on.  You will laugh when, on day two, you are doing exactly what Lip Ripper said and literally holding your pack upside down shaking it trying to get rid of every last ounce you possibly can.  It has happened to me on every western hunt I have done.  Every morning after that you will be lifting your pack thinking "how in the H#!! is this pack so heavy?!".  Take the money from the sling and put it towards whatever else you need, be it boots that fit perfect, a better pack, or ultralight packable raingear (a necessity IMO).  I've been on 3 archery elk hunts and have been soaked multiple times on all of them.  Just make sure you can easily strap your bow to your pack if needed and you won't miss a sling.

If you are planning on hiking up 2,500 vertical feet to your hunting grounds I've got a few pieces of advice.  A. Have a plan B that's a little less ambitious, B. Get a pair of trekking poles (they really save on the knees), C. Start working out NOW! D. B bring advil and lots of it. 

Good luck!  The planning is half the fun!

 

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Awesome replies!  I have a plan B, actully the pack in option probably is B and hunting out of base camp A.  I checked before committing that i would still have a reasonable  shot hunting lower.  Ive done those vertical treks out there and they are tough!  I have more knee issues going downhill than up.

 

Scoot, will pm my email for that gear list.

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I bought one of the Primos slings when I went out in 2011.  Worked fine, but I ended up not really using it that much.

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Hmmm... I meant to quote Cooter, but I somehow ended up with a quote from Lip Ripper here.  Now, it won't let me fix it when I try to edit it.  Oh well, you get the idea of my post below...

   

 

Yep, going down is definitely much more abusive on the body than going up.  Going down too fast with a heavy pack on is particularly rough on the body- back, knees, hips, and just about everything else gets beat up.

One question-- have you done those vertical treks with a backpack hunting set up?  It's likely considerably more weight than you've done when just hiking or backpacking.  I'm not trying to be negative or to talk you out of it, but if you're new to the whole deal want to make sure you understand what you're getting into.

One more pack thing-- it's really a big deal to have a good pack that carries weight well and can haul out a load of meat without making you miserable.  I have never liked the Kuiu packs at all (love some of their other gear), but I know a few guys who love the Icon Pro.  It's a huge upgrade from their past packs and I wouldn't hesitate to get one, like Lip Ripper said.  Also, Kifaru has a sale right now on the Timerline II packs.  Awesome pack that I wouldn't hesitate to buy for a second.  Also, a second-to-none company that will treat you great.  Any of the moderate level packs will work, but your body will pay for the financial savings you get with those packs.  Trust me on this one, I'm talking from experience.  I made so much fun of my buddy Gabe for spending the money he did on a Kifaru.  Then, after hauling out an elk by traveling 23 miles to do so, I bought a Kifaru immediately after I returned and I'm so glad I did.  My body was never the same after those 23 miles with a middle of the road pack. 

Edited by Scoot

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No heavy pack....dont plan on trying to be a hero and sounds like i will be in the game if i cant hike up to treeline.     

Will let the local freaks chase em down my way, they wont know what hit em when they meet this flatlander at 8000 feet!

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I love the information shared here. This past year was my first season doing a real mountain hunt. Last year I borrowed a Kifaru pack for a basecamp style hunt. I had lots of things to purchase this year so I settled on one of the middle of the road ($$$-wise) packs. If someone was trying to find a moderately priced pack I would recommend the Kuiu or the Exo Mountain. I feel like those are the only two worth carrying that are not the $700 packs. I personally settled on the Kuiu Icon Pro 5200 and I LOVE IT!! No problems what so ever. I have a few nit-picky things such as the number of straps and buckles, but I felt the same way about the Kifaru. That being said, I carried out a cow elk on my back just two weeks ago and the pack performed flawlessly and I felt like a million bucks. My knee took a beating and I actually finished the trip on my hands and knees, literally, but my back, hips, shoulders etc felt great and handled the load well. 

 

I have a Primos bowsling and I did use it during my trip. I like the sling for protecting my bowstring and cams, but otherwise its extra weight and its in the way. It makes it difficult to use trekking poles.

I'm glad everyone else has already commented on your plan to go from 8500-11K, That ambitious in any situation, with or without a pack. Good luck with all that. 

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