Elk 101.com Prostaff member, Mark Skousen’s Elk Hunting Gear Profile
Editor: We caught up with Elk101 Pro-staff member Mark Skousen to see what he’s going to be headed into elk country with this season. Here’s his latest list of gear, top to bottom, from clothing to optics to his bow set up. If you’ve got follow up questions for Mark, post it on the Elk101 Forum in the Hunting Gear section. Here’s Mark’s list of elk hunting gear:
Headwear: KUIU – ULTRA Merino 145 Beanie – One size fits all. I throw it on when the temperature drops to retain heat. Very light weight and comfortable. Great accessory for sleeping on cool September nights.
Base Layer – KUIU – ULTRA Merino 145 LS Crew – Size M. I like any base layer that has Merino wool in it. Merino wool or a Merino blend wicks moisture really well and eliminates odor. I can wear the same base layer for multiple days because of its odor neutralizing properties.
Shirt – KUIU Tiberon Zip – T – Size M. The Dot Air Technology in the Tiberon shirt is perfect to wear on a really warm late August or early September days. I use a layering system which means I will wear a base layer with this shirt in the early morning or late in the day, but will shed layers as the day heats up. September temps can range from near freezing at night to 70 degrees in the heat of the day so layering is critical to staying comfortable.
I have listed 3 pants I use regularly and the weather will determine which one I go with. The Attack Pant is very lightweight and durable. This is my go to pant for most hunts. If I think I will encounter nasty weather then the Chinook Pant is hard to beat. The Tiberon is my go to early season, warm weather pant.
The KUIU Chinook Jacket is my outer layer in my layering system. Very durable and will withstand abuse. The Kenai Jacket is a synthetic insulation layer. I typically wear this under my Chinook Jacket.
Vest – Patagonia Nano Puff Vest – Size M. Incredible warmth to weight ratio. I use this piece as an insulation layer.
Insulation – Mont Bell puffy jacket – Size M. This is my favorite clothing item. I use this as an insulation layer and makes those long afternoons laying in the shade comfortable. Weighs only 9 ounces and is very compressible.
Gators – KUIU – A must have on really wet dewy mornings. Also protects my boots and pants from brush and rocks.
Rain Gear – KUIU – Chugach – Size M pant and Jacket. I have tried a lot of raingear over the years and this raingear is light enough to pack and durable enough to hunt in. Most importantly, it keeps the water out and is fairly quiet compared to other high end rain gear.
Gloves – KUIU Guide Gloves – Size L. Provides good dexterity and takes the edge off those cold September mornings.
Pack(s) – KUIU Icon Pro 1850 & Icon Pro 5200. I use the 1850 as a light day pack and the 5200 as my backcountry bivy pack. Both packs are compatible with the carbon fiber frame and hip belt. The key to a great pack is versatility. I need to be able to have it light enough to hunt all day, but stout enough to pack an elk quarter. This pack does both well.
Binos – Swarovski 10×42 SLC– w KUIU bino harness. I am going on almost 10 years with these binos and they are as clear today as the day I bought them. For me, good optics are key to locating game therefore they are top on my gear priority list.
Spotting Scope – Swarovski 25x60x65mm ATX. The new ATX system is a modular system that allows me the option of switching out the eye piece as well as the objective lens. The type of hunt I am going on will dictate whether I pack the extra weight of a spotting scope.
Rangefinder – Leupold RX1000i TBR. This rangefinder has worked really well the last couple years. Bright red display and has built in angle compensation. Long battery life.
Tripod – Manfrotto 190CX3 Carbon Legs with 700RC2 Panhead
Boots – Han Wag – Alaska GTX – Size 9.5 US / Eur 44. I own three pairs of Han Wag boots. My go to boot in their line up is the Alaska GTX. Beyond comfortable out of the box and has enough support to handle a heavy load. Can’t say enough good about this boot.
Sleeping Bag – Marmot Helium 15 degree bag – Used with Cabelas XPG Bivy Sac when temperatures drop into the single digits. Weight of this bag is 2 lbs 6 oz.
Cooking Setup – Jetboil Zip – Titanium GSI Outdoors cup with Spork. My main food source in the backcountry is rehydrated Mountain House meals. So all I need is a stove to boil water, a lightweight bowl/cup and a spork.
Communication – Motorola BPR40 hand held radios
GPS – Garmin 62s GPS – Top gear item loaded up with Hunt Maps. Won’t go into the woods without it.
GPS Hunt Maps– Great tool for keeping track of unit boundaries as well as private and public lands.
Sleeping Pad – Thermarest XTherm Neo Air. New sleeping pad that I am starting to test.
Headlamp – Black Diamond Spot 130 Lumens or Storm 160 lumens
Solar – Goal Zero Sherpa 100 battery pack w/ Nomad 20 solar panel. Convenient way to keep electronic devices charged in the back country. I use rechargeable batteries for my headlamps, GPS, and video equipment.
Dry Bags – Sea to Summit and KUIU. I pack food in these bags to hang in a tree in bear country. Also used to protect pack when loading a bloody elk quarter.
Water purification – Sawyer and Katadyn Hiker Pro. I use the Sawyer water purification system as a very light weight water filtration system when bivy hunting and I use the Hiker Pro at base camp.
Bugle tube – Bully Bull Grunt Tube Elk Bugle by bugling bull game calls
Diaphragm – Raging Bull – (Brown)
Knife – Outdoor Edge Razor-Blaze (RB-20)
Game Bags – Alaska Game Bags 4pk – 48 inch quarter bags
Tent – GoLite Shangri-La 3 Tent & MSR Mutha Hubba 3 person.
Bow – Hoyt Carbon Spyder Turbo – 28.5” draw. I had reservations about going to a carbon riser bow because I’ve always shot aluminum. This bow is fast, forgiving, absolutely dead in the hand, and quiet. I absolutely love how this bow is balanced and holds on my intended target.
Bow sight – Spot Hogg – Tommy Hogg 4 pin slider
Quiver – Tightspot – 5 Arrow. Slim profile quiver that is adjustable, durable and light.
Rest – QAD/Hoyt – Ultra Rest. Durable rest that has full arrow containment.
Arrow – Gold Tip Kinetic Kaos – 485 Grains. This is a new arrow in the Gold Tip lineup. I like this arrow because it has a brass collar on the front end of the arrow that increases front of center (FOC) and strengthens the front end of the arrow. I am shooting my arrow 283 fps and generating 86.5 ft-lbs of kinetic energy out of the above mentioned bow.
Broadhead – G5 Striker 125 & Slick Trick Viper Trick 125
Release – Spott Hogg – The Wise Guy