Preparing for the backcountry can be a daunting task. If you live out West and are used to the thin air, steep mountains and miles of untouched wilderness, being prepared for the backcountry is easier for you than it is for eastern hunters who are heading West for the first time for an elk hunting trip. In both situations, hunting off the beaten path can test a person's physical strength, mental toughness and drive to succeed at filling their tag. Over the years, I have watched plenty of hunters get excited about hunting at the tree line, only to watch their enthusiasm fade on day two or three of the hunt after they've only had a few encounters with game, are running low on food and running out of strength. The backcountry is a tough place to hunt, no matter how strong you are.