2012 Season Review

Frequently asked questions:

  1. How do you take nice photos of the hunt and my trophy?
  2. What is the best time to hunt a specific species?
  3. How far of a shot can I expect to have?
  4. If I donít get one can I return at a reduced rate? (Hunt option depending)
  5. What is the policy on wounded game?
  6. Is there time to take more than one species on a 10 day hunt?
  7. Is It better to drive up?
  8. How do I book my flights?
  9. How far will we have to walk each day?
  10. Is there a 2 on 1 hunt and whats the pros and cons?
  11. What are your recommendations for type of boots and packs for a backpack hunt?


You only get one chance to take good photos of your hunt.  Bring a good, Digital or compact 35 mm or similar camera. Generally, 200 or 400 speed print film works the best for field shots. Fuji film is hard to beat. Kodak also works well. I recommend a 4 or 5 Megapixel camera like the Cannon Power shot S400 or S500.

  I will help you obtain nice shots of you and your animal.  Make sure to take pictures of camp and people. Having people in a picture will give you a better perspective as to the size and splendour of the landscape.

  The following are important things to consider before wasting film:

  1. Clean the blood off the animal as best as possible and stick the tongue back in itís mouth. While taking pictures, the mouth can be held closed with your hand, by the ground (Moose, Bear and Caribou) or with some string or dental floss.  To do this, cut a slit in the upper and lower lip or use needle and string or floss and tie/sew the two together.
  2. Maneuver the animal into a natural position with a nice background.  Pictures that include a view of a far-off mountain and sky in the background are nice.
  3. Remove all blood, rags, backpacks, etc. from the fore and backgrounds.
  4. Take pictures with and without your weapon, and make sure the barrel is not pointed at anyone.
  5. Take both horizontal and vertical pictures and some that are up close and some farther away (more scenery)
  6. To best show the animal, sit behind the body (but not directly behind the horns/antlers) and sit in front of, but behind the plane of the animal.  It is better to keep the horns against a natural background (earth or sky), not a shirt, jacket or beaming white face.  Take pictures in several poses, as you never know what will turn out the best
  7. Fill the frame, but do not cut off the animalís legs, your gun barrel or head/hat.
  8. Pay attention to the sun -- it is best if the sun is behind the photographer.
  9. Make sure the soles of your boots or palms are not pointed at the camera, keep a low profile (sit or kneel) behind or in front and to the side of the animal and donít wrap your hands around the horn tips so that they are concealed.
  10. Take a lot of pictures, and Iíd even suggest shooting some slide film (Fuji Sensia) if the animal is particularly large.

    Note: After youíve got your film developed, please send us several copies of your best images and a copy of the CD with all your scanned pictures.  (This is very important). If you have extra negatives or slides they would be greatly appreciated.

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What is the best time to hunt a specific species?

Going by species there are a few different answers. There are your spot and stock type hunts and animals like Sheep, Goats, Caribou, Grizzly, and Bison where the rut and calling isnít a factor.  Basically you glass till you see the one you want then sneak up until shooting range and let him have it, for these type of hunts dates arenít really going to make the hunt more successful. Its more of a personal preference. For example.

Mountain Goat, the early season is probably better,. There is less chance of losing day to weather, and being wet the whole time, but thereís a trade off . The hair on a Goat is much shorter in August then it will be in November and the Goats move less once the snow there to stay.

The same goes for Sheep the days are longer in the beginning but the hair is short. On all these hunts the animal your after will still score pretty much the same. Its kind of up to you if you want long hair not. On some sheep hunts like Bighorn the first hunt and the last are my favourite. The first hunt the Sheep havenít been bothered for the whole year and in some cases they might be living in a bit more open country.  The last hunt is also awesome the Sheep are moving from their summer ranges to their winter ones and if you know the path of travel it can be very successful. This time of the year you can catch the big guys who have been hiding in the timber all year long.

Grizzly Bears are a bit different thereís a spring hunt or a fall hunt both can be very good. The spring hunt the bears will be eating as much as they can, as soon as the grass starts coming up the bears will hit that hard to speed up there system from the winter hibernation period, the claws are at there longest at this time of year, there hides are good early but can get rubbed by the beginning of June. By mid May there boars will have another thing on there mind and will be traveling a lot more. If you have this hunt it can be very successful all you need to do is find a sow and he will come. The fall is a great time if you want to hunt more species on the same hunt, the bears are feeding on berries and if you can find a good patch you should get lucky. The fall bears are generally heavier but will score the same as a spring bear.

The then there are your rut or calling type hunts for , Moose, Elk, and Deer, where you sneak into the areas where they live and call them into you as if you were one of them.

Starting with Moose , Undoubtedly the best time is September 20th to October 1st the prime rut here the bull become what we say are STUPID! They have one thing on there mind. This time you might not even have to call just the sound of your horses going down the trail can trigger a bull to grunt and come crashing in.  But there are other hunts that can also produce.  Many people look past August 15th at this time the bulls are still in there summer range and at the final stage of growing there massive antlers. Here all they do is eat and lay down and eat , in most cases they wont move more that 500 yard for the whole hunt. The bulls donít want to damage the growing antlers so the stay up in high basins or plateaus in the short brush , this making them very easy to spot then stalk.  If you donít mind a velvet moose this is a great hunt to kill a whopper! By about the 10th of October the bull will have there cows and although he will still respond to your calls he will most likely not leave his ladies for you. You can however use this to your advantage and slip in while there busy talking to each other.

Mountain Caribou I have found are a hard animal to predict they travel for no reason running from one mountain to another then back , really for no reason at all. They are a spot and stock species for sure. The best time is the end of September when the bulls are collecting there cows for the rut. At this time if they even see you , most of the time they will run over to check you out giving you time for a shot.  I have a few bow hunters take advantage of this exact situation

There is nothing like hunting Elk in the full rut. September is for sure the best time to hunt bugling bulls. If you want to hunt strictly Elk book in September but if your doing mixed bag even mid August - mid October you should have a great hunt.

Mule deer are mostly hunted as spot and stock  and in my opinion mid November till about the 10th of December is the best this is there rut and if you find a heard of does then most likely there will be a big buck near by. Rattling can also be very affective at this time.

Bison are a spot and stock or tree stand type hunt. I prefer stalking them in the snow myself but the weather can be cold.  In the October hunts there is little to no snow and warmer conditions. On these hunts you might have to walk a bit more but they are both extremely successful. If you like to sit in a tree stand thatís an option at either time. Here we place your stand on a well used trail or near a lick and then you wait for the trophy of your choice to stroll by.

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How far of a shot can I expect to have?

Bow hunters and rifle hunters should practice a bit farther than they hope to shoot. Typically a bow hunter will kill between 20 and 40 yards. However you should be able to shoot out to 50 or 60 yards, consistently grouping.  And a Rifle hunter should be efficient out to at least 300 yards. I have had a hunter kill moose at 3 yards with his bow and sheep at 65, so be prepared for it all.

If you have never hunted with your bow I suggest you shoot every day you can.  I have seen it many times where you have your animal at 20 yards or closer and they miss. Its a lot different with a 2000 lb Moose grunting in your face than a foam target. Practice a lot, as much as you can cause you never know when or how far the animal of a life time will step out. Its better to be prepared when your opportunity arises.

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If I donít get one can I return at a reduced rate? (Hunt option depending)

At Backcountry it is our goal to have every hunter go home with his trophy. I will give 110% into that, however,  It is hunting , there are no canned hunts in the country we will be hunting.  Many things that come into play with this.  The physical Shape of the hunter, His personal attitude, and quality of the hunt, ie. If there were opportunity to harvest a legal animal. With this in mind, I will definitely try to make sure he has another hunt and will continue to until he has a successful one. The cost of any extra hunt will depend on the hunt option made at time of booking. If you are worried about this you may want to look into our Guaranteed option.  I will ďDo What It Takes.Ē for every hunter.

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What is the policy on wounded game?

This is a very hard subject, but one that has to be brought forward before the hunt so everyone is on the same page.  When an animal is wounded no one wins , the guide has to make the call if itís fatally hit, the hunter isnít going to be happy with the hunt and the animal especially loses. If an animal is hit its up to the guide to make the call. If he thinks it will die then the hunt is over for that species. If the guide thinks its just a flesh wound , then you may continue to hunt ,however if you continue to take poor percentage shots and wound another  then you will be finished. Its only fair the the animals. Any shots in the guts will be considered to have killed the animal. Itís the guides job to get you in your range but ultimately its your call when to take the shot. Only shoot when you feel confident you can kill the animal. Remember, Its only your fault if you miss of wound. Any wounded animal must be looked for, at least one day before hunting that species again.

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Is there time to take more than one species on a 10 day hunt?

If you wish to take another species at some time , and it is open during your hunt, in my opinion you should purchase a tag .  You may not hunt a species if you donít have a tag in your pocket. Many of the hunts there are lots of game to be seen. On sheep hunts I tell all hunters to focus on the task at hand but lots of the time we will have early success.  Moose/Goat or Grizzly hunts are a great hunt to have a few tags. If you donít have a tag and a whopper walks out you will be wishing you did. Many hunters have killed multiple animals on a hunt with us and some have even taken three.

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Is It better to drive up?

If you wish to take a lot of meat home then driving is the answer, the air lines will allow you to bring meat on the planes but it is expensive after the first 50 lbs. If your on a sheep hunt, flying will save you time and you will be able to get horns and capes on with you along with some of the meat if you wish. Keep in mind some hunts can be done quickly if you wish to leave early then you should book open tickets for your return trip.

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How do I book my flights?

When booking your flight I suggest you come the day before and leave the day after. On your return trip I would leave your ticket open for changing the date with no cost. Some hunts may be done early and some might get weathered in. It might cost a bit more but will save you lots if you have early success or miss your flight due to a delay.

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How far will we have to walk each day?

This all depends on many things. The type and species of the hunt and the time of the year along with weather and of course what is seen.

Sheep and Goat hunts typically require more hiking but the also require a lot of sitting a glassing.  Its up to the guide when he feels its time to move down the valley or to another area. Most cases you will walk about 2 -5 miles a day plus or minus over 10 hours spending a lot of the day looking, the more you move the more you miss. We try to look at everything over and again until we know nothing is past by then we move to another  vantage point. Our job as a guide is to find you an animal to hunt but with this in mind we also need you to be able you go when the opportunity arises.  If we hike you into the ground before then itís a lost cause. We will not over work you beyond your ability but sometime you will need to dig deep and give it your all. This is why the better shape you are in the better your chances of success.  There is no rush, were not trying to win a race, just pace yourself and you will be amazed how much ground you will have seen by the end.

Just so you donít get to relaxed be prepared any of my backpack hunts will kick your ass!

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Is there a 2 on 1 hunt and whats the pros and cons?

2 on 1 hunts are definitely an option. I think they are great for everyone. There are pros and cons to it. The pros are.  The hunter has someone to share the hunt with , he has someone to help him pack it out , he can split some of the cost with them and if the right partner, if picked it can allow him to be a bit more picky with his choice in size. If you know what I mean!

There are some cons but with some work they to can be overcome.  Theres the question , can we both get one in the time we have and who get the first one if itís a whopper. Well In my opinion theres a few hunts where its probably better to just have one shooter on the hunt like Bighorn Sheep. With most of the other ones, I think there is plenty of time to get two animals on the ground. If you work hard and have fun a 2 on 1  hunt can be very rewarding. Dall Sheep ,Goat and Archery Moose and Bison are great hunts for this. 

If you ask that question about who shoots first, many guys do things like have a shoot off in camp or draw straws or if you spot it you got it. When I do a hunt with a friend I like to let them shoot first cause you never know whats next!  A hunt will cost less if you do it 2 on 1 and sharing your hunt with your Father, Son, Daughter, Wife or best friend can make that hunt that much better.

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What are your recommendations for type of boots and packs for a backpack hunt?

There are many different possibilities when it comes to both boots and packs. Ill give you my opinion.

With boots I have only one choice the , Kenetrek Mountain extreme 400. I have worn many types of boots and so far there the best I have tried. I ware them in all hunting situations except the winter Bison .  I have used them in Mexico on desert sheep and in BC on late Goat hunts in November. If you want one pair of boots for all situations there the ones. If you are hunting mostly hot weather you might want to go with the non-insulated but from my experience the 400s are the way to go. They are well built and will last you along time, I put over 500 miles on a pair.  The one nice thing is there is almost no break in time ,they feel good the moment you put them on and go. I donít recommend you buy them the day before the hunt but if you had to , there the only ones your feet will have a chance with.

Packs are kind of a personal preference, some like the external frame like the Kelty or the Cabelas Alaskan Guide pack. I have used them both and they work just fine if you have medium weight packs. We all use an internal frame. The Nice Frame System from Mystery Ranch with the Behemoth Bag is my favorite.  This pack is by far the best pack I have see for extreme type backpack hunt.  My opinion compared to a external frame pack it will carry about 30lbs more the same way. The design  is flawless,  it has awesome pockets and will do everything you need from a pack including being very comfortable with a load on. If you go with the Mystery Ranch you wont be disappointed!

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