2006 Archery Elk Hunt — Cramps and Near Hypothermia

DIY Archery Elk Hunting Adrenaline SX 2006
I set the camera on my day pack to take this photo. The photo was taken the morning after near hypothermia and I was rested up and back out looking for elk.

2006 proved to be a memorable archery elk hunting adventure for me. I changed hunting locations this year and other than using Google Earth and topo maps to learn the area it was my first time hunting the area. I had accompanied my father hunting this area as a young boy and I had a few childhood memories of the experience and area.

I planned a four to five day backpacking trip into the area. On the third day I moved my base camp in a couple of more miles and up a pretty substantial amount of vertical elevation. Shortly after dropping my pack, where I wanted to camp, it started to rain. The weather forecast before I left said that there might be a few sprinkles so I had not packed any full waterproof rain gear.

That evening I dropped down a beautiful canyon to look for elk while rain fell lightly all that evening. I had spotted a bull from above, way down in a steep dark canyon so I slowly worked my way through the timber cow calling every few minutes when all of the sudden I heard a stampede of hoof beats coming right at me from behind. I knew what it had to be so I quickly drew my bow and whirled around in one quick smooth motion. Just at I did, two rag horn bulls came sliding to a stop. They were about 15 yards from me but in heavy dead fall and under growth. I still remember one of the bulls lowering his head down near the ground to look through an opening at me, as I moved my sight pin from his nose to other small openings trying to find a way to slide an arrow through the timber. Then just a quickly as they came in they bolted out.

By the time I got back to my base camp I was totally soaked and physically drained. I setup a tent like bivy out of a couple of tarps, took off my wet clothing and crawled into my sleeping bag. It was at this time that my hamstrings in my legs went into full blown cramps that just hurt like no other. Now on top of that my body started to shake uncontrollably all the while I was desperately trying to get my legs straightened and the muscles to unlock from their horrific lock down cramping.

I distinctly remember thinking to myself, "so this is what it feels like as you are starting to get hypothermia." So I just kept trying to straighten my legs and stop shaking while I kept saying to myself  "stay calm, just stay calm." I was in my warm sleeping bag and out of the rain, so I just kept as calm as possible and after several minutes I was able to get the cramps and shaking to subside.

It was an eye opening experience for me and I have worked hard to be more prepared on my hunting adventures since that day by getting more technical clothing and other lightweight technical gear.

 

 Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Electrolyte Replacement Supplement 120 capsule bottle of Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Electrolyte Replacement Supplement
This is a sample packet and a 120 capsule bottle of Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Electrolyte Replacement Supplement.

One product that I have started using since that hunt has been Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Electrolyte Replacement Supplement. A friend who had been competing in triathlons suggested and offered me some trail packets of the Endurolytes. These pills have been amazing for me on my hunting adventures. Whenever I am about to make a serious hike I take one of the pills and if I am still hiking after three or so hours I'll take another pill. When using these pills my legs really feel like they have more strength and endurance. I also have never had any cramps in my legs when I have taken these pills during or after a prolonged hike.

I often take extended backpacking trips that require that I pump water while I am on the mountain. These Endurolytes Electrolyte Replacement Supplement pills work perfect for my style of hunting. I don't have to mess with mixing powder into my water or carry additional weight with bars and jell and the like. I just carry a handful of these capsules in my pack and take one or more when needed for a hike.

Another product that I set my sights on getting because of this hunting experience was a set of Browning Dry-Lite camo lightweight hunting jacket and pants. They are basically just the waterproof, taped outside layer from the insulated XPO hunting clothing Browning offers. I like the Dry-Lite pant and jacket because they are not as noisy as your traditional rain gear and all together they only weigh about a pound. So I can hunt in my camo cotton or fleece pants, shirts and jackets. If it starts to rain I can pull out the Dry-Lite and I'm going to stay warm and dry.

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