In September of 2018 the Kniestedt Foundation along with Circle S Outfitters in Jackson, WY organized their first archery Elk Hunt for two U.S. Army Special Forces Veterans. One of the Veterans that attended this event constructed a check-list for future Veterans attending this trip. After reading through his list, we felt we would share with the public. While his list is designed specifically for the Circle S Outfitters trip, he does include a ton of valuable tips for anyone heading out west for an archery hunt-specifically elk. If nothing else, it can be a great starting point for questions you may have for your outfitter. Enjoy and best of luck in woods.

Archery Checklist

-Shoot your bow when you get to camp. Confirm it is still on. Do this for all your pins. Airlines play “how far can you toss the cases?”

-Be able to accurately shoot out to 50yds.

-Be able to hold at full draw for 1 min and still shoot accurately.

-Be prepared to shoot from your knees. Standing at the last minute will cost you.

-Be prepared for steep angle shots. Angle compensating rangefinder is nice.

-Be able to make final range estimation at full draw as elk may have moved or spooked.

-Listen to your guide(s). Don’t try to guide the guide. Ask them questions if you don’t understand something. They want you to kill an elk more than you want to kill an elk.

-Bring extra arrows, field points, and broadheads.

-Wax string and cables before you arrive, shoot them in.

-Unless you are comfortable with single pin sights, stick with a simple multi pin sight with 3 to 5 pins.

-Bring all necessary tools for bow tuning and equip maintenance (Allen wrenches, multi tool, extra nocks, glue, wax, extra string loop, extra release)

-Bring binos and rangefinder. Spotting scope not needed.

-Headlamp is nice to have early and late. No big flashlights needed for night tracking as the Grizzlies/ Wolves can be thick and ever present.

-Make sure you have clothing for every condition.

-Bring rain top and bottom. Be prepared for temp/ wx extremes.

-Waterproof hiking boots are nice. At least have good ankle support for the steep terrain.

-Have a way to carry your bow while on the horse. Protect you sight/ sight pins while on the horse. Shorter stabilizers (below 10″) are easier to store/maneuver on the horse.

-Try to keep bow low while on the horse as you will be ducking under branches.


-Draw your bow a couple of times when you get off the horse to warm up the muscles as you may have been riding for a couple of hours.

-Be ready to get off the horses and have elk right on top of you. Horses sound like elk in the timber. You will ride the horses through the slash and blowdowns to get to the elk.

-Check your setup and shoot everyday while in camp. Check all screws and brackets for tightness. Use blue Loctite or string wax on threads to keep them from loosening up.

-Air pillow and a good sleeping bag help. They have mattresses and heated wall tents.

-Alarm clock is nice but not necessary.

-Bring Tylenol PM, Benadryl, Melatonin or whatever you might need to help you sleep if you are not used to the altitude. Drink water!

-Bring meds for headaches associated with dehydration and altitude. Drink water!

-Bring a video or still camera. Take plenty of pics/ vids, just don’t let it cost you an elk. Be ready to document anyone else’s success. Enjoy and document the entire experience!

-Help out in camp whenever you can. Your help may not be needed, but is much appreciated.

-Don’t be afraid to share your experiences with everyone in camp, they love to hear about our world because it is so foreign to most everyone else in the world.

-Be sure to meet, if possible, and thank the wonderful people who donated the tags. Go out of your way to show your gratitude.

-Bring a towel, washcloth, scent free soap and deodorant to clean up. Power and hot water available by generator and propane.

-Have a plan to get your meat and horns back home. I chose to drive back with full load of meat, horns, and gear.

This September the Kniestedt Foundation will again be sending two U.S. Army Special Forces Veterans to hunt with Circle S Outfitters. To stay up to date on their journey please give us a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

For information on Kniestedt Foundation events contact Project Manager Joe Rhodes or (573)225-2155.