Jason Phelps Archery Moose Hunting Kit

Backpacking elk hunting is about as gear intensive as it gets. You need what you need to hunt well and stay comfortable on the ground at night, but you also need to be careful not to overdo it. While you might not need to sweat out every single ounce as much as you would for a sheep hunt, you might end up wishing you had. Most anything that comes with you has to come out, maybe in the same load as an 80-pound elk hindquarter.

While we don’t have space to go over the details of everything I conducted on my New Mexico elk hunt with Steve Rinella on MeatEater Season 10, Part 2, out now on Netflix, I would like to discuss some of my most valuable and essential pieces of equipment.

Phelps Metal Bugle Tube
As you can see in this episode, my style of elk calling leans pretty heavily on the bugle when the conditions are right. I trumpet to locate the bulls and lure them in for a fight once we are close. Both situations are facilitated by loud noise. That’s why I created and patented the first commercially available metal bugle tube, because I wanted one.

Not only is this horn louder and crisper than previous offerings, it is available with a flared mouthpiece for use with a diaphragm call or with our new EZ Bugler mouthpiece. This recent version is easier to use and more comfortable for beginners than a diaphragm in the mouth, but it also gets very loud and produces convincing, nuanced squeals and growls.

First Lite Corrugate Foundry Pants
I’m not the first to say this, but the Corrugate Foundry is the best all-around hunting pant ever. The ergonomic fit and bombproof design hit all the spots I’m looking for to cover my lower half. For an early season backcountry hunt like this, I want to stay warm at night and on cool mornings, but cool off in the heat of the day. Above all, I don’t want to wear more than pants on my legs. With the sturdy fabric and well-placed side zippers, the Corrugate Foundry Pants allow me to accomplish all of these items on a week-long strenuous hike in the woods.

MeatEater X Argali Large Game MOB Pack Game Bags
Meat bags might be one of the things that big game hunters overlook or overlook the most. Sure, the four-pack of $14 cheesecloth pillowcases will wrap your quarters and suspend them off the floor, but they’ll shred at the sight of even a stickerbush.

Argali game bags are a revelation for anyone who has suffered from inferior products in the past. The Large Game MOB (meat on bone) pack is big and serious enough to hold a whole quartered elk or similar sized game, hook it up in the trees and get it to the truck. Made of durable, breathable fabric with paracord drawcord closures and webbing loops for hanging, these bags set a new standard in meat-carrying capacity.

Want to see everything we used on this hunt? You can view the full list of equipment here. And if you haven’t seen the episode yet, head over to Netflix now.

Earnest A. Martinez