It took a few years, struggling and exhausted, in the dawn and dusk of elk bowhunting season to develop the Bivvy (bivouac) Style. Instead of hiking to and from a predetermined camp daily, I began carrying in a small backpack everything I’d need—and nothing superfluous—for two or three days. Small sleeping pad, sleeping bag, tarp-shelter, extra sweater and socks, game bags and knife, and a fat-dense food sack stuffed on top. Camp for the night is wherever dark and the pursuit of elk lead me. Morning, I’m in the thick of it, hopefully close to the ever-wary animals, ready to go. There is no stove, pots, or hot meals in this kit. The cornerstone to the whole program is the Bowhunting Sandwich.
Oh, there are some power bars, chocolate covered espresso beans, venison jerky, and energy-drink mix packets on the menu, but it is this sandwich that satisfies twice a day under extreme physical output chasing elk at 9,000—12,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains:
Bowhunting season is a focused time, and culinary flourishes are left by the wayside in preference for performance. And yet, in addition to heavy-hitting calories, this sandwich is absolutely delicious. It has all the major flavors stuffed into a dense package: doughy, meaty, salty (umami?), fatty, cheesy, nutty, sweet, and chocolatey.
It never gets old, especially when you can mix up the chocolate bar flavors (Peppermint! Raspberry! Salted Toffee!). And I’ve been known to go through twenty or more sandwiches in the course of chasing elk in September. Six to ten of these puppies can be made ahead of time at home (keep hunting clothes out of the kitchen when frying that bacon to reduce offensive “human” smells), bagged up, and ready to go—a batch kept in a cooler in the truck at the trailhead for a second two- to three-day bivvy session or to fuel a long pack-out if you get lucky.
If you have gained and lost thousands of feet in elevation after glassing the rutting elk herd at first light, waited patiently at the wallow during the mid-day hours, and hiked hard after the bugling bulls again until dark, you will never mind crunching down on this superior meal while hunkered in your sleeping bag, alone on a small ledge in the deep wilderness as darkness falls around you. An added benefit to this concoction is also the amount of water needed to wash it all down—keep your Camelbak handy!
Happy chewing and good luck hunting!
Cinnamon-raisin bagel, slightly toasted
Two strips of bacon
¼ slab of cheese, cheddar or gouda
Thick layer of almond butter
½ chocolate bar, 70%+ cacao preferable
Approximately 1,055 calories
Actual weight: 9.6 ounces