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Gun Nut Challenge #4: The Elk at 8,000 Feet


Photo by Andrew Hetherington

Since you’re replicating a hunt taking place high up a mountain, let’s assume that you would have had the good sense to let a horse take you there. So, we’ll start with the assumption that you have to get your rifle out of a saddle scabbard, which can be represented by an actual saddle scabbard or by a rifle case. You need an elk target, which someone will set up for you at a range between 150 and 300 yards, either uphill or downhill from your shooting point, not level with it. You don’t know the actual range. Any rifle will do as long as it’s .270 or bigger, and any scope. You can shoot from any position.

The Challenge
As with the big buck, there are complications. You have to shoot within a half hour of sunrise or a half hour before sunset, because that’s when the bulls come out of the black timber. And you have to run again.

Step one: Run 100 yards to where your rifle is stowed, magazine loaded but chamber empty, yank it out, then run 100 yards with the rifle, chamber still empty, to your firing point.

Step two:
You have 15 seconds to get into position, crank a round into the chamber, and get off your first shot. Then you have to take two more shots, for which you have an additional 10 seconds each. All three must be in a vital zone for any of them to count. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition, based on the fact that it’s smart to shoot elk repeatedly as long as they’re standing. I’ve seen too many of them take a hit, decide that it’s not fatal, and run a couple of miles. You need to make all three shots within the time limits.

Advanced Challenge
A common mistake is leaving your rifle in the scabbard when you dismount, only to have the nag bolt when you need it. have a friend run away with your scabbarded, unloaded rifle. He gets a 50-yard head start and cannot run more than 200 yards. you cannot hit him.

Good Gun

The Ruger Guide Gun: a compact powerhouse that’s ideal for carrying through the peckerpole pines. For a scope, I would get something that goes up into the 8X–10X range.

 

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