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The Ten Commandments of Elk Hunting

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September 26, 2011

The Ten Commandments of Elk Hunting

By David E. Petzal

I went on my first elk hunt, to Montana, in November, 1971. I did not get an elk. This year, four decades later, I hunted in Utah and did get one, which you can see here. He’s a 6x6, 8 ½ years old, and about 800 pounds. The handsome devil on the right is my guide Amos Ames, which is the finest name I’ve heard for an outdoorsman since Ted Trueblood. Amos has guided for elk for over 30 years, and is a forest-fire fighter, a rodeo clown, a cowboy-boot maker, and a general hard-case geezer.

An elk hunt is about the finest experience you can have standing up, and since I’m in a benevolent mood, I thought I’d pass along what I’ve learned from four decades of chasing the crazy bastards up and down mountains. Forsooth:

I. Thou shalt be in shape, for elk dwelleth not in the flatlands, nor where there is oxygen.

II. If thine ass resembleth 20 pounds of chewed bubble gum, bitter shall be thy lot.


III.
Thou shalt not whine that the pace is too swift, or that thou cannot get thy breath, or that thou seeest stars, for thy guide shall care not, and mercy shall not be yours.*

IV. Thou shalt not stuff thy pack with all manner of goods. Thou needst it not, and it shall do naught but rob thee of thy breath and turn thy knees to Jello.

V. Thou shalt not slam truck doors, nor speak above a whisper, nor tramp through the forests like the hosts of Gilead, for thou art in the backyard of thy foe the elk, and sharp are his senses, and he shall flee from thee.

VI. Thou shalt practice thy offhand shooting, for that may be the only shot that thou receivest.**

VII. Thou shalt learn to shoot as swiftly as the hawk flieth, and thou shalt not fiddle-f*** with thy gear, nor adjust thy scope, nor set up thy bipod, for thou hast not time.

VIII. While the elk yet moveth, thou must shoot, for blessed is he who endeth the life quickly, and accursed is he who letteth an animal suffer for the sake of a one-shot kill.***

IX. Strong must be thy bullet; all else is but the dung of horses.****

X. The worst day thou shalt have hunting elk is better than the best day of whatever else thou doest.

*As you can see, being in shape is right at the top of the list. There will be more on this.

** I had to shoot this one offhand, at 160 yards, then at 270.

*** After the first shot, which was in the shoulder and would have killed him by itself, he ran just over 100 yards and stopped, weaving on his legs. I shot him twice more, of which Amos approved highly. There are few worse experiences than tracking a wounded elk. For all concerned.

**** As Amos said, “The caliber doesn’t matter. All you need is a bullet that can reach the heart and the lungs. If you shoot them there they’ll die. You can show up with a .243 and I won’t like it, but if it’s what you can shoot that’s fine as long as the bullet can get it done.”

Comments (86)

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from duckcreekdick wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Pay heed to Commandment VII, all you gadget-laden high tech nimrods. There's wisdom in them words.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave your writing doest to my heart wondrous things. I whilst fall to my knees and prayeth for more.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Hemingway said, "write one true thing."

Dave, you just wrote 10 (and change)!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Amen, Brother David!

Blasphemy to even mention .243 and elk in the same sentence.....

I believe we have a few witnesses to these truths on here. I await their 'Amens' and humble confessions....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from auburn_hunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Though I have yet to hunt the magnificent creature, these truly sound like tenets to abide by. I cannot wait until my opportunity to get up in the mountains and try my luck (for we all know that skill only gets you so far). Dave - are we going to get any more details on this hunt?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Beautiful animal Dave.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Where in Utah? I have taken some big bulls scattered around that state.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chad Beck wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

An addendum: Do not go afield with cheap gear. You will discover their faults post haste.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JCB wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Blessed are the words of experience and truth.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Amen Brother Dave! I cast myself before you as a witness and confess my failings in standing steadfast to several thy comandments thus set forth.

Especially the Arse and Bubble Gum thing...

I got my first taste last year and I am ready to go back for more! I can assure all those who have not been there and done that that you do not exagerate in the least when speaking of truly wild Elk.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Elk hunts are rarely similiar although they always possess certain unchanging factors that are best not ignored. Dave what is the green score or guesstimate?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Brother David,

After 6 months of knee rehab, Commandments I & II are biting my old arse and lungs due to my couch dwelling those months.

Commandment III is the reason I don't use a guide!

Commandment VII is my 3 to 5 second rule. That's usually all you get except on TV.

Commandment VIII: I humbly confess that the only elk I ever lost was one I hit with a shoulder shot (too high according to witness) and stood there with head firmly planted in arse waiting for him to fall over.

Commandment X: WTH else could possibly be more important than elk hunting?

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from Blue Ox wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Amen!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Happy Myles: It was northern Utah. Beyond that I am not at liberty to say.

To Ishawooa: His adjusted gross B and C score is 306. This is far short of the book, but then as a story that ran years ago in F&S said, "Any elk is a good elk."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lee Woiteshek wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave, I'm waiting for the gun gack. What did you use, optics, bullets, handload or factory?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Beautiful!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jason Hart wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal...

Thanks for a great read this afternoon. While I have never hunted Elk, I appreciate the candor and truth in your post today. Great job and glad to see that you are still at this after 40 years! I assume that the rifle used is your 6.5x284 Norma that you spoke of in a previous post.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pmariman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

David, Wonderful Animal! What was the rile used to harvest the Elk?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

As someone who's guided elk hunters, I've been entertained by clients who show up and tell me how they've trained for the hunt, have all the latest gear, studied and are totally ready for it....all their fantasies of what it was going to be like go right out the window after the first day on the ground in the Rockies....

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wayne van Zwoll, who has probably harvested more elk than anyone on these boards, had by 1998 taken 11 elk with the .243.

It's all about the bullet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jeffo52284 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

excellent list haha. but I do have to disagree with using a .243 on elk unless you are close and a dang good shot. I've heard to many stories of injured monster bulls from experienced shooters to even consider using a small caliber. Its not worth it. get the right equipment or dont go

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

nor set up thy bipod

WORDS OF WISDOM!

NO TIME FOR DINKING & CLINKING AROUND WITH ALL THAT TV SHOW CRAP BY'GOLLY!

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from gotdiesel wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

So far I have been unsuccessful in the draw. But, the desire to try my hand at this fabled beast consumes my every waking moment and thought.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nice elk dave! and ANY tagged animal is a good animal!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What is the plan for enormous amounts of meat like that? I don't know enough people with fridge space for that!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To All: Handloads, Nosler 140-grain Partition, Nosler Model 48 rifle, Minox 2X-10X scope.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Congrats on a great Elk, Dave!! My favorite commandment was VIII, even though I've never hunted elk, it should be followed for any game in my opinion.

Hope to hear a "full story" of the hunt on the blog or in an upcoming issue of F&S.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Proverbs,

What is your source for that claim.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jonnycanuck wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A little sacrilegious...but still very good advice!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

One of my old elk hunting buddies owns only one rifle which is a Rem M-700 in .243 with a Leupold 4x. He has killed a semi-truck load of bulls and cows with it. He can easily outdistance me on foot in the mountains but then he is ten years younger. When I catch up with him he often is leaning against a tree or boulder and always smoking a Marlboro, go figure.
Yep Dave "any bull is a good bull". Regardless I quit shooting anything less than a 6 x 6 or 300 class as I figure the wolves are giving the little guys hell enough.
I also subscribe to the theory of "if it moves shoot it again". It's not fun tracking a wounded bull in the grizzly woods at any time and especially after sunset.

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from hengst wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Outstanding bull congrats! and thanks for the great read.

When it comes to elk fire and work the bolt keep firing till the animal drops.

II saw this fellar shoot one on tv. The elk was standing in a meadow waiting to get shot, will that happen on my hunt?? lol:)

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from shane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well, the 6.5 elk experiment is over. That first shot didn't seem very convincing to him. Back to a .338 now? "Can kill an elk" and "will kill an elk swiftly" are two different things.

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well done Sir David. Maybe some day a bull will be in the crosshairs of my Vanguard 2 in 300 WBY.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I agree with all the commandments. You forgot an important one though: "Thou shalt not hunt elk in places where it is unlikely that thou will be able to get it out."

Note I said "hunt" not shoot. Don't go down in that gawdawful hole in the first place and you won't be tempted to do something you shouldn't. For those that might be tempted to be foolish let me add another commandment: "Thou shalt always take the meat out first and the horns out last."

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well done David, nice Elk.
Sound advise on Elk hunting as well, and I must admit with every story you share with us I get envious as hell of you. You, Mr. Petzal, have been one lucky SOB.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Congratulations! Nice animal, and great post Dave. Thanks!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

"IV. Thou shalt not stuff thy pack with all manner of goods. Thou needst it not, and it shall do naught but rob thee of thy breath and turn thy knees to Jello."

Machetes fall under this commandment. I have no business hunting where one would be useful.

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from MaxPower wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A late welcome to Utah Mr. Petzal. No grizzlies, few wolves and lots of gorgeous elk. My guess for location is Deseret Land and Livestock.

Love commandments VI and IX. I've killed 13 elk, all with partitions and all off hand. Elk are like young kids, they don't hold still.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Honker, well put regarding the meat and horns. However on all guided hunts that I am aware of this is the responsibility of the outfitter and his staff. For somewhat solitary hunters like me, and probably you, the work is just beginning when the bull falls.

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from wp wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A guide I know has another good "commandment". "Cotton clothing is fine in the Rockies... if you are partial to hypothermia and don't want to make it home."

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Regarding the caliber thing, I have seen bulls take a good hit or two from .300s or .338s and then proceed to run off. No way around it except to put a well constructed bullet in the right place and the bull will probably drop. The 6.5 x .284 will do no more than a .270 Winchester, at least it was like that back in the seventies when I had one.

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from MissMuley wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Great post Dave! We can relate to many of those creeds.. XI was the most valuable lesson I learned, though. Had plenty of offhand shots my first season but didn't take due to lack of confidence. But what a year of practice and determination will do! Connected on my first elk offhand, then devoutly followed Commandment XIII until he dropped. As a guide himself, my boyfriend will avidly attest to all of the above gospel, which he has preached to me since the day we met!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

XI - Thou shallt not tell your hunting partner or guide how to hunt, unless thou hast 10 times the hunts under your girds than dost he in that land.

XII - Good elk gear comes not from Wally World.

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from Tom-Tom wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What did you do, Dave, to overcome the first commandment? What training program did you use, when did you start,...and how much weight did you lose prior to your trip? I thought that I was in pretty good shape before I made my first trip above 9,000 ft. in search of an elk. What a surprise I had.

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

WA Mtnhunter

The local wally world here in Ohio has Cobra,and a couple other brands of bow sights for less than the local Gander Mountain,or archery shops,and sometimes great deals on other archery gear.Anything else they sell in the way of gear is pretty much junk-learned that from buying a daypack at wally world-didn't even last through an Ohio deer hunt on mostly flat land.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I always presume all gear from Walmart is junk with the notable exception of Valvoline motor oil and Prestone windshield washer fluid....

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

"IV. Thou shalt not stuff thy pack with all manner of goods. Thou needst it not, and it shall do naught but rob thee of thy breath and turn thy knees to Jello."

This one is really important I learned it way back when I was young,and could climb after elk and mule deer in the Rockies all day.

One of the guys I hunt with,a former Army Ranger,who has humped gear up and down the mountains in Afghanistan puts it this way-if you don't have multiple uses for an item-don't put it in your pack,and don't forget the TP and extra socks.

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from blackhawkbill wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I really like this guy as he knoweth that of which he speaks.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Tom-Tom: When I went on my first elk hunt I was 30 years old and in the worst shape I've ever been in--30 pounds overweight and with the consistency of a Cinnabon. I've never gotten over the experience. What I did was lose all the weight and climb stairs, both up and down. Running is useless for elk hunting. Stairs are pure gold, but the stair machine at the gym is useless because it only goes up. I have a nice, hilly stretch of road that runs about 3 miles, and I walk it as fast as I possibly can. If I do that three times a week or so, I can go where the elk are.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Miss Muley: Good to hear from a woman. Check in again.

To WP: Amen to that. When I went through basic training in December and January, the cadre would check us before we made a march, and whoever had a cotton T-shirt on would be doing pots and pans in the messhall that night. It was your issue wool longjohn shirt or God help you.

To Ralph: I am one lucky SoB, but don't let it blind you to my many great human qualities.

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from hummer5563 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal, What caliber and make of rifle did you use on this monster?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 8Crow wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Spot on, Mr. Petzal. I got my first taste last fall, and had I lived by #'s II and IV, I would have had a much more enjoyable hunt (it was still amazing despite my stupidity) and had I adhered to # VII I'm nearly certain I'd still be finishing off my elk roasts right now. Although in my experience, it wasn't so much a matter of fiddling with gear as it was waiting for the planets to align and give me a textbook shot. The fact of the matter is, I had *ENOUGH* opportunity...not ample opportunity, but enough, and I failed to take it. Given the nature of chasing elk, I think this is what will be the most difficult for me to overcome. Whitetails from a stand have rarely required me to make a split-second decision and make good on it in the same breath.

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wam - Wayne van Zwoll. 1998 issue of Bugle.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Excerpts from WVZ article on RMEF Website

"For this reason, the .24s are not ideal for elk hunting. In open country at moderate ranges with good presentations, strong 6mm bullets can be deadly. But in the catch-as-catch-can of elk hunting in elk cover, they fail. You need never cripple an elk, no matter what cartridge you use, if you limit your shots to those sure to kill. The trouble with the 6mms is that they require you to pass up shots you could easily make with heavier bullets.

Thinking back on the last ten big game animals I've shot, including four elk, I'd have fired a .243 or 6mm or .240 Weatherby at only seven. Now, killing is not always necessary, but passing would have come hard on the six-point bull shoulder-shot in heavy cover with a .338 or the big mule deer buck anchored, going away, with a .35 Whelen.

If you are willing to forego the thickets and the long-range shots where bullet expansion is either too violent or inadequate, if you're willing to shoot only when you can shoot precisely and at elk standing the way you want them, the 6mms will work."

Doesn't sound too positive to me...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Good stuff. Ranger Dan and I hunted elk in S. Colorado 5 years ago. He lost 15 lbs on a week and i lost 7. Hard work, and we thought we were ready. Kicked our A$$.

Earlier in the week, I passed up a gut shot on a cow with a 180g on my 30.06 solids and took a lot of heat. But I was right. Can't see gut shooting anything.

Later, a "professional" guide told me, I should have broken her hip, and then tracker her down. Not my idea of a hunt.

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from Scott Kittinger wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

The people heard the words and there was much rejoicing...

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

8Crow,
As for caliber I'm thinking .270,.280 or 6.5-.284. The short looking barrel confuses me though, maybe a .260 with a heavy for caliber bullet. Just a guess so I guess I'll make the .260 guess official.

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from lyndonavery wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave, you always have a way of putting things that I find amusing and enlightening. I enjoy listening to you on the show and reading your columns.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dr. Petzal;
Great words of wisdom.

To all: I don't hate Wal-Mart, but they are big enough, and buy large enough lots of product that a manufacturer can re-tool their product line for the week or two they spend building "Acme-Widgets" for Wally.
Even if the Realtree "Acme-Widget" looks the same and has the same model number, it may be an otherwise inferior product to one from the same manufacturer you would buy somewhere else.
Wal-Mart is such a huge contract to score, it's tough to make any profit on the margins they afford. Look closely at 10-22's and Remington 700's often times they are not the same gun.
Just my two-cents.
AKX

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dear Mr. Petzal,
let me congratulate you for a fine trophy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What a helluva Bull, picked up some 243 Superformance GMX, and for those of you that haven't been paying attention a copper projectile traveling 3425 fps is bad through the bone.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

AJMcClure,

off topic, but any chance Hornady will roll out a Superformance 5.56x45 load for the troops that will kick out a 90-grain .224 bullet at 2,900-3,000 fps? That should cure some headaches while we wait for the next battle cartridge...

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I think it's a .280 Ackley Improved. Remember it's a Nosler Model 48 rifle, which comes in very select chamberings.

DP, any elk is a good-"tasting" elk?

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from huntslow wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Great list! I too am a user of Nosler Partitions. 140 or 150's in my .284 Winchester and 175's in a 7mm Rem Mag. I still like them best and have had better results than some of the newer "wonder bullets". Use 100's in a 6mm Rem for much of my deer hunting.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To WAMTN Hunter: Wayne VanZwoll, with whom I have had the privilege of hunting elk, is a true expert, and I'd take what he has to say as gospel. Amos Ames was not recommending the .243; he was saying that if it's the only thing you can shoot, so be it, but you better use a strong bullet.

I myself would not have picked the 6.5/284 as my first choice, but one of the rules of this job is, you can't shoot every single species in the world with a .338, which would have been my first choice.

To O Garcia: I've seen some elk that was rank and tough; usually one that had been shot badly and chased, and was full of adrenalin before it died.

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from hummer5563 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I know I am the one that asked the question, but I think that rifle is actually the Jarrett Signature in .300 Win that Mr. Petzal reviewed on this blog in late July 2011. The only change is that the muzzlebrake is temporarily taken off. Fine choice from the looks of it, I will just stick to my .300 Win 70 Ftwt until I can afford a Jarrett of my own. I do NEED one.

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from hummer5563 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Maybe I should read the last post before I add my own commentary. LOL.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Herr Petzal,

I have met Mr. Van Zwoll at a few seminars and have read his many musings on cartridges in 'Bugle' magazine over the past 20+ years and will give an "amen" to most anything he says. An expert marksman and hunter like Wayne could take elk with a blowgun, I'm sure. But the masses should shy away from a .243/6mm for elk, just as the quote posted above. His words not mine. I was sickened last year after watching a couple of slob hunters shoot a nice bull 5 times with a .243 on adjacent public land while talking to the landowner's agent on the road. Talk about ruining some meat!

They later commented to him that "those elk must be made of iron. This .243 doesn't seem to be enough gun". Well that is a blinding glimpse of the obvious there, Sunshine!

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from Hankster wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

After lugging around a 7mm magnum for many years chasing and killing elk, I now pack a .270 wsm and shoot Barnes tsx bullets, practice enough to be proficient and know the ballistics so that when an opportunity arises, I have the confidence to make the shot. The elk I shot last year at 200 yards thru both lungs took about ten steps and fell over, dead.

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

With the apparent apprehension on this board about the .243, I almost hesitate to confess that my spouse anchored a 500-pound cow elk with one .223 round loaded with Jack Carter's Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullet. It was a perfect heart-lung shot.

If disclaimers must be announced each time someone uses a cartridge that someone else has deemed insufficient, every hunting blog would probably contain one.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well Proverbs, I hope it wasn't in one of the many states where .22 centerfires are not legal for big game....

I saw a huge water buffalo dropped with 2 hits from an M-16 once, but I would not want to try it myself.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Proverbs

Here's one for ya'

17:28 - Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. (KJV)

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from Longhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I knew of a ranchers daughter who always shot an elk for the freezer at the end of the season. By the last count she had shot 19 of them with 20 shots from her .243. She did shoot them within 100 yards and was precise with her shot placement but the bullets did not bounce off of them like you would have believed after reading these comments.

As far as the 6.5 being ineffective for elk, they use that cartridge in Finland where they shoot moose (they call them elk over there) by the thousands. Jim Carmichael shot a mule deer 2 times with a .338 before it expired. Can you honestly say that the .338 is not adequate for them? I also, read an article where some sport saw a bison shot with a 45/70 and since it did not fall on the spot deemed it inadequate. That is despite the fact that millions of them expired from the same cartridge.

What I am trying to say is that bullets are better than they have ever been and shot placement is still the key to bringing down any animal. Much better to be familar with your rifle, the distance in which you accurately shoot, and where you place the bullet in ANY calibre.

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I did get my first elk (and only) in Montana in 1963. All that David sayeth applies in spades. I was in fine shape as a young forester running up & down the mountains of the Flathead NF near the Bob Marshall Wildeness Area. But carrying that thing out in quarters through snow, bogs and uphill dam* near killed me! I didn't have the pleasure of a guide and pack animals to cart it out. David only covered the first half (fun part) of the hunt.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Mousegunners Unite!

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A big-game hunter in Italy once told me that their European red deer herds had become contaminated with the blood of the Wapiti, our native elk. The two species are cousins, and readily interbreed, and the resulting offspring are much larger than the pure red deer.
For us to have a similar complaint, our elk would have to interbreed with the extinct Irish Elk. We would need the Budweiser horses to pack one of those things out.

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wam, as the jury on this board, you should know it was in Arizona. I hope you can rest easy now.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Proverbs, I have one of Clay's crow recipes in hand.

My research of states restricting big game calibers to .23 and above was surprising. More than half of the elk states don't restrict. Montana and AZ among them. WA, CO, and WY plus Manitoba and Saskatchewan require .23 centerfire or larger. However, I will continue my crusade against mouseguns for big game at every opportunity.

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from RS08 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

dave, not all elk hunts are strenuous.that little picture to the left here is the elk i shot 2 years ago on the jobsite wearing shorts and sunglasses.bugled him down the hill and got him @ 20 yds w/my bow.loaded him whole into the truck.its interesting everyones opinion on calibers. me, i've shot elk w/ a 7mag that dropped on the spot and whitetails that ran off 70 yds before dropping w/ same bullet placement. its all about placement and bullet construction.(and maybe animal attidude) a gut shot elk is still gut shot whether w/ a 243 or 458 lott.like clint said, "mans got to know his limitations."btw it wasn't to long ago sir petzal wrote an article on .22 calibers for deer.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

XI. Thou shalt read David Petzal's magnum opus on horses, and learn every bit of wisdom it teaches thee, because thou shalt be needing a horse when you finally slay thy elk.

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from Ranger 89 wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I used to hunt heavy timber with a 30-30 Winchester with open sights, the gun I used since I was 12. When the other hunters with their big cannons showed up and eyeballed my gun and started complaining I would tally up for them the number of bulls I had taken in the previous 3 years since I started hunting elk, which was 3. They couldn't say the same. Then I started hunting more open country and switched to a used 30-06 with a 4 power scope and the success continued, although it took more practice to hit at 300 yards.
The point being, it aint the gun, it's the shooter/hunter(which aint always the same thing). Learn to shoot, then learn to hunt.

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from WyDave wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Here's hoping Dave's elk hunt in Northern Utah will push them down out of the high country and across the Wyoming border where I have my tags and the weather has been too pleasant up high for them to want to move down this way. Or, maybe, this weekend's snow storm will do it.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

If you want to look at nice bull recently taken with a 6.5 x .284 unguided and on public land, check out Cody Brown's elk at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Best-of-the-West/103315107012284

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from David W. Rowell wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Excellent "commandments"! For more elk hunting tips, check out www.elk-hunting-tips.net.

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from billyjo bondurant wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

the words of knowledge are true and funny.

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from DRage wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

One thing missing is that any responsible hunter when hunting for elk or any other game must make sure to practice straight and true shot placement.

Elk Shot Placement: www.elk-hunting.org/articles/elk-shot-placement

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from duckcreekdick wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Pay heed to Commandment VII, all you gadget-laden high tech nimrods. There's wisdom in them words.

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from HogBlog wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Hemingway said, "write one true thing."

Dave, you just wrote 10 (and change)!

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Amen Brother Dave! I cast myself before you as a witness and confess my failings in standing steadfast to several thy comandments thus set forth.

Especially the Arse and Bubble Gum thing...

I got my first taste last year and I am ready to go back for more! I can assure all those who have not been there and done that that you do not exagerate in the least when speaking of truly wild Elk.

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from idahooutdoors wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

As someone who's guided elk hunters, I've been entertained by clients who show up and tell me how they've trained for the hunt, have all the latest gear, studied and are totally ready for it....all their fantasies of what it was going to be like go right out the window after the first day on the ground in the Rockies....

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

One of my old elk hunting buddies owns only one rifle which is a Rem M-700 in .243 with a Leupold 4x. He has killed a semi-truck load of bulls and cows with it. He can easily outdistance me on foot in the mountains but then he is ten years younger. When I catch up with him he often is leaning against a tree or boulder and always smoking a Marlboro, go figure.
Yep Dave "any bull is a good bull". Regardless I quit shooting anything less than a 6 x 6 or 300 class as I figure the wolves are giving the little guys hell enough.
I also subscribe to the theory of "if it moves shoot it again". It's not fun tracking a wounded bull in the grizzly woods at any time and especially after sunset.

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from auburn_hunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Though I have yet to hunt the magnificent creature, these truly sound like tenets to abide by. I cannot wait until my opportunity to get up in the mountains and try my luck (for we all know that skill only gets you so far). Dave - are we going to get any more details on this hunt?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I agree with all the commandments. You forgot an important one though: "Thou shalt not hunt elk in places where it is unlikely that thou will be able to get it out."

Note I said "hunt" not shoot. Don't go down in that gawdawful hole in the first place and you won't be tempted to do something you shouldn't. For those that might be tempted to be foolish let me add another commandment: "Thou shalt always take the meat out first and the horns out last."

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Tom-Tom: When I went on my first elk hunt I was 30 years old and in the worst shape I've ever been in--30 pounds overweight and with the consistency of a Cinnabon. I've never gotten over the experience. What I did was lose all the weight and climb stairs, both up and down. Running is useless for elk hunting. Stairs are pure gold, but the stair machine at the gym is useless because it only goes up. I have a nice, hilly stretch of road that runs about 3 miles, and I walk it as fast as I possibly can. If I do that three times a week or so, I can go where the elk are.

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from Longhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I knew of a ranchers daughter who always shot an elk for the freezer at the end of the season. By the last count she had shot 19 of them with 20 shots from her .243. She did shoot them within 100 yards and was precise with her shot placement but the bullets did not bounce off of them like you would have believed after reading these comments.

As far as the 6.5 being ineffective for elk, they use that cartridge in Finland where they shoot moose (they call them elk over there) by the thousands. Jim Carmichael shot a mule deer 2 times with a .338 before it expired. Can you honestly say that the .338 is not adequate for them? I also, read an article where some sport saw a bison shot with a 45/70 and since it did not fall on the spot deemed it inadequate. That is despite the fact that millions of them expired from the same cartridge.

What I am trying to say is that bullets are better than they have ever been and shot placement is still the key to bringing down any animal. Much better to be familar with your rifle, the distance in which you accurately shoot, and where you place the bullet in ANY calibre.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave your writing doest to my heart wondrous things. I whilst fall to my knees and prayeth for more.

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from JCB wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Blessed are the words of experience and truth.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Brother David,

After 6 months of knee rehab, Commandments I & II are biting my old arse and lungs due to my couch dwelling those months.

Commandment III is the reason I don't use a guide!

Commandment VII is my 3 to 5 second rule. That's usually all you get except on TV.

Commandment VIII: I humbly confess that the only elk I ever lost was one I hit with a shoulder shot (too high according to witness) and stood there with head firmly planted in arse waiting for him to fall over.

Commandment X: WTH else could possibly be more important than elk hunting?

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Happy Myles: It was northern Utah. Beyond that I am not at liberty to say.

To Ishawooa: His adjusted gross B and C score is 306. This is far short of the book, but then as a story that ran years ago in F&S said, "Any elk is a good elk."

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from jeffo52284 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

excellent list haha. but I do have to disagree with using a .243 on elk unless you are close and a dang good shot. I've heard to many stories of injured monster bulls from experienced shooters to even consider using a small caliber. Its not worth it. get the right equipment or dont go

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Proverbs,

What is your source for that claim.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

XI - Thou shallt not tell your hunting partner or guide how to hunt, unless thou hast 10 times the hunts under your girds than dost he in that land.

XII - Good elk gear comes not from Wally World.

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from 8Crow wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Spot on, Mr. Petzal. I got my first taste last fall, and had I lived by #'s II and IV, I would have had a much more enjoyable hunt (it was still amazing despite my stupidity) and had I adhered to # VII I'm nearly certain I'd still be finishing off my elk roasts right now. Although in my experience, it wasn't so much a matter of fiddling with gear as it was waiting for the planets to align and give me a textbook shot. The fact of the matter is, I had *ENOUGH* opportunity...not ample opportunity, but enough, and I failed to take it. Given the nature of chasing elk, I think this is what will be the most difficult for me to overcome. Whitetails from a stand have rarely required me to make a split-second decision and make good on it in the same breath.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Good stuff. Ranger Dan and I hunted elk in S. Colorado 5 years ago. He lost 15 lbs on a week and i lost 7. Hard work, and we thought we were ready. Kicked our A$$.

Earlier in the week, I passed up a gut shot on a cow with a 180g on my 30.06 solids and took a lot of heat. But I was right. Can't see gut shooting anything.

Later, a "professional" guide told me, I should have broken her hip, and then tracker her down. Not my idea of a hunt.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Herr Petzal,

I have met Mr. Van Zwoll at a few seminars and have read his many musings on cartridges in 'Bugle' magazine over the past 20+ years and will give an "amen" to most anything he says. An expert marksman and hunter like Wayne could take elk with a blowgun, I'm sure. But the masses should shy away from a .243/6mm for elk, just as the quote posted above. His words not mine. I was sickened last year after watching a couple of slob hunters shoot a nice bull 5 times with a .243 on adjacent public land while talking to the landowner's agent on the road. Talk about ruining some meat!

They later commented to him that "those elk must be made of iron. This .243 doesn't seem to be enough gun". Well that is a blinding glimpse of the obvious there, Sunshine!

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from Hankster wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

After lugging around a 7mm magnum for many years chasing and killing elk, I now pack a .270 wsm and shoot Barnes tsx bullets, practice enough to be proficient and know the ballistics so that when an opportunity arises, I have the confidence to make the shot. The elk I shot last year at 200 yards thru both lungs took about ten steps and fell over, dead.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Proverbs

Here's one for ya'

17:28 - Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. (KJV)

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Amen, Brother David!

Blasphemy to even mention .243 and elk in the same sentence.....

I believe we have a few witnesses to these truths on here. I await their 'Amens' and humble confessions....

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Beautiful animal Dave.

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Where in Utah? I have taken some big bulls scattered around that state.

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from Chad Beck wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

An addendum: Do not go afield with cheap gear. You will discover their faults post haste.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Elk hunts are rarely similiar although they always possess certain unchanging factors that are best not ignored. Dave what is the green score or guesstimate?

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from Blue Ox wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Amen!!!

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from Lee Woiteshek wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave, I'm waiting for the gun gack. What did you use, optics, bullets, handload or factory?

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from Steward wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Beautiful!

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from Jason Hart wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal...

Thanks for a great read this afternoon. While I have never hunted Elk, I appreciate the candor and truth in your post today. Great job and glad to see that you are still at this after 40 years! I assume that the rifle used is your 6.5x284 Norma that you spoke of in a previous post.

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from pmariman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

David, Wonderful Animal! What was the rile used to harvest the Elk?

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

nor set up thy bipod

WORDS OF WISDOM!

NO TIME FOR DINKING & CLINKING AROUND WITH ALL THAT TV SHOW CRAP BY'GOLLY!

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from gotdiesel wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

So far I have been unsuccessful in the draw. But, the desire to try my hand at this fabled beast consumes my every waking moment and thought.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nice elk dave! and ANY tagged animal is a good animal!

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To All: Handloads, Nosler 140-grain Partition, Nosler Model 48 rifle, Minox 2X-10X scope.

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from jonnycanuck wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A little sacrilegious...but still very good advice!

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well done David, nice Elk.
Sound advise on Elk hunting as well, and I must admit with every story you share with us I get envious as hell of you. You, Mr. Petzal, have been one lucky SOB.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

"IV. Thou shalt not stuff thy pack with all manner of goods. Thou needst it not, and it shall do naught but rob thee of thy breath and turn thy knees to Jello."

Machetes fall under this commandment. I have no business hunting where one would be useful.

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from MaxPower wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A late welcome to Utah Mr. Petzal. No grizzlies, few wolves and lots of gorgeous elk. My guess for location is Deseret Land and Livestock.

Love commandments VI and IX. I've killed 13 elk, all with partitions and all off hand. Elk are like young kids, they don't hold still.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Honker, well put regarding the meat and horns. However on all guided hunts that I am aware of this is the responsibility of the outfitter and his staff. For somewhat solitary hunters like me, and probably you, the work is just beginning when the bull falls.

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from wp wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A guide I know has another good "commandment". "Cotton clothing is fine in the Rockies... if you are partial to hypothermia and don't want to make it home."

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Regarding the caliber thing, I have seen bulls take a good hit or two from .300s or .338s and then proceed to run off. No way around it except to put a well constructed bullet in the right place and the bull will probably drop. The 6.5 x .284 will do no more than a .270 Winchester, at least it was like that back in the seventies when I had one.

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from MissMuley wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Great post Dave! We can relate to many of those creeds.. XI was the most valuable lesson I learned, though. Had plenty of offhand shots my first season but didn't take due to lack of confidence. But what a year of practice and determination will do! Connected on my first elk offhand, then devoutly followed Commandment XIII until he dropped. As a guide himself, my boyfriend will avidly attest to all of the above gospel, which he has preached to me since the day we met!

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from Tom-Tom wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What did you do, Dave, to overcome the first commandment? What training program did you use, when did you start,...and how much weight did you lose prior to your trip? I thought that I was in pretty good shape before I made my first trip above 9,000 ft. in search of an elk. What a surprise I had.

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

WA Mtnhunter

The local wally world here in Ohio has Cobra,and a couple other brands of bow sights for less than the local Gander Mountain,or archery shops,and sometimes great deals on other archery gear.Anything else they sell in the way of gear is pretty much junk-learned that from buying a daypack at wally world-didn't even last through an Ohio deer hunt on mostly flat land.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I always presume all gear from Walmart is junk with the notable exception of Valvoline motor oil and Prestone windshield washer fluid....

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

"IV. Thou shalt not stuff thy pack with all manner of goods. Thou needst it not, and it shall do naught but rob thee of thy breath and turn thy knees to Jello."

This one is really important I learned it way back when I was young,and could climb after elk and mule deer in the Rockies all day.

One of the guys I hunt with,a former Army Ranger,who has humped gear up and down the mountains in Afghanistan puts it this way-if you don't have multiple uses for an item-don't put it in your pack,and don't forget the TP and extra socks.

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from blackhawkbill wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I really like this guy as he knoweth that of which he speaks.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Miss Muley: Good to hear from a woman. Check in again.

To WP: Amen to that. When I went through basic training in December and January, the cadre would check us before we made a march, and whoever had a cotton T-shirt on would be doing pots and pans in the messhall that night. It was your issue wool longjohn shirt or God help you.

To Ralph: I am one lucky SoB, but don't let it blind you to my many great human qualities.

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from hummer5563 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal, What caliber and make of rifle did you use on this monster?

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wam - Wayne van Zwoll. 1998 issue of Bugle.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Excerpts from WVZ article on RMEF Website

"For this reason, the .24s are not ideal for elk hunting. In open country at moderate ranges with good presentations, strong 6mm bullets can be deadly. But in the catch-as-catch-can of elk hunting in elk cover, they fail. You need never cripple an elk, no matter what cartridge you use, if you limit your shots to those sure to kill. The trouble with the 6mms is that they require you to pass up shots you could easily make with heavier bullets.

Thinking back on the last ten big game animals I've shot, including four elk, I'd have fired a .243 or 6mm or .240 Weatherby at only seven. Now, killing is not always necessary, but passing would have come hard on the six-point bull shoulder-shot in heavy cover with a .338 or the big mule deer buck anchored, going away, with a .35 Whelen.

If you are willing to forego the thickets and the long-range shots where bullet expansion is either too violent or inadequate, if you're willing to shoot only when you can shoot precisely and at elk standing the way you want them, the 6mms will work."

Doesn't sound too positive to me...

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from Scott Kittinger wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

The people heard the words and there was much rejoicing...

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

8Crow,
As for caliber I'm thinking .270,.280 or 6.5-.284. The short looking barrel confuses me though, maybe a .260 with a heavy for caliber bullet. Just a guess so I guess I'll make the .260 guess official.

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from lyndonavery wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave, you always have a way of putting things that I find amusing and enlightening. I enjoy listening to you on the show and reading your columns.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dr. Petzal;
Great words of wisdom.

To all: I don't hate Wal-Mart, but they are big enough, and buy large enough lots of product that a manufacturer can re-tool their product line for the week or two they spend building "Acme-Widgets" for Wally.
Even if the Realtree "Acme-Widget" looks the same and has the same model number, it may be an otherwise inferior product to one from the same manufacturer you would buy somewhere else.
Wal-Mart is such a huge contract to score, it's tough to make any profit on the margins they afford. Look closely at 10-22's and Remington 700's often times they are not the same gun.
Just my two-cents.
AKX

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dear Mr. Petzal,
let me congratulate you for a fine trophy.

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from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What a helluva Bull, picked up some 243 Superformance GMX, and for those of you that haven't been paying attention a copper projectile traveling 3425 fps is bad through the bone.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

AJMcClure,

off topic, but any chance Hornady will roll out a Superformance 5.56x45 load for the troops that will kick out a 90-grain .224 bullet at 2,900-3,000 fps? That should cure some headaches while we wait for the next battle cartridge...

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I think it's a .280 Ackley Improved. Remember it's a Nosler Model 48 rifle, which comes in very select chamberings.

DP, any elk is a good-"tasting" elk?

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from huntslow wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Great list! I too am a user of Nosler Partitions. 140 or 150's in my .284 Winchester and 175's in a 7mm Rem Mag. I still like them best and have had better results than some of the newer "wonder bullets". Use 100's in a 6mm Rem for much of my deer hunting.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To WAMTN Hunter: Wayne VanZwoll, with whom I have had the privilege of hunting elk, is a true expert, and I'd take what he has to say as gospel. Amos Ames was not recommending the .243; he was saying that if it's the only thing you can shoot, so be it, but you better use a strong bullet.

I myself would not have picked the 6.5/284 as my first choice, but one of the rules of this job is, you can't shoot every single species in the world with a .338, which would have been my first choice.

To O Garcia: I've seen some elk that was rank and tough; usually one that had been shot badly and chased, and was full of adrenalin before it died.

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from hummer5563 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I know I am the one that asked the question, but I think that rifle is actually the Jarrett Signature in .300 Win that Mr. Petzal reviewed on this blog in late July 2011. The only change is that the muzzlebrake is temporarily taken off. Fine choice from the looks of it, I will just stick to my .300 Win 70 Ftwt until I can afford a Jarrett of my own. I do NEED one.

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from hummer5563 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Maybe I should read the last post before I add my own commentary. LOL.

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

With the apparent apprehension on this board about the .243, I almost hesitate to confess that my spouse anchored a 500-pound cow elk with one .223 round loaded with Jack Carter's Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullet. It was a perfect heart-lung shot.

If disclaimers must be announced each time someone uses a cartridge that someone else has deemed insufficient, every hunting blog would probably contain one.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well Proverbs, I hope it wasn't in one of the many states where .22 centerfires are not legal for big game....

I saw a huge water buffalo dropped with 2 hits from an M-16 once, but I would not want to try it myself.

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from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I did get my first elk (and only) in Montana in 1963. All that David sayeth applies in spades. I was in fine shape as a young forester running up & down the mountains of the Flathead NF near the Bob Marshall Wildeness Area. But carrying that thing out in quarters through snow, bogs and uphill dam* near killed me! I didn't have the pleasure of a guide and pack animals to cart it out. David only covered the first half (fun part) of the hunt.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Proverbs, I have one of Clay's crow recipes in hand.

My research of states restricting big game calibers to .23 and above was surprising. More than half of the elk states don't restrict. Montana and AZ among them. WA, CO, and WY plus Manitoba and Saskatchewan require .23 centerfire or larger. However, I will continue my crusade against mouseguns for big game at every opportunity.

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from Ranger 89 wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I used to hunt heavy timber with a 30-30 Winchester with open sights, the gun I used since I was 12. When the other hunters with their big cannons showed up and eyeballed my gun and started complaining I would tally up for them the number of bulls I had taken in the previous 3 years since I started hunting elk, which was 3. They couldn't say the same. Then I started hunting more open country and switched to a used 30-06 with a 4 power scope and the success continued, although it took more practice to hit at 300 yards.
The point being, it aint the gun, it's the shooter/hunter(which aint always the same thing). Learn to shoot, then learn to hunt.

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wayne van Zwoll, who has probably harvested more elk than anyone on these boards, had by 1998 taken 11 elk with the .243.

It's all about the bullet.

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from jbird wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Congrats on a great Elk, Dave!! My favorite commandment was VIII, even though I've never hunted elk, it should be followed for any game in my opinion.

Hope to hear a "full story" of the hunt on the blog or in an upcoming issue of F&S.

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from hengst wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Outstanding bull congrats! and thanks for the great read.

When it comes to elk fire and work the bolt keep firing till the animal drops.

II saw this fellar shoot one on tv. The elk was standing in a meadow waiting to get shot, will that happen on my hunt?? lol:)

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from shane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well, the 6.5 elk experiment is over. That first shot didn't seem very convincing to him. Back to a .338 now? "Can kill an elk" and "will kill an elk swiftly" are two different things.

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Well done Sir David. Maybe some day a bull will be in the crosshairs of my Vanguard 2 in 300 WBY.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Congratulations! Nice animal, and great post Dave. Thanks!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Mousegunners Unite!

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

A big-game hunter in Italy once told me that their European red deer herds had become contaminated with the blood of the Wapiti, our native elk. The two species are cousins, and readily interbreed, and the resulting offspring are much larger than the pure red deer.
For us to have a similar complaint, our elk would have to interbreed with the extinct Irish Elk. We would need the Budweiser horses to pack one of those things out.

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wam, as the jury on this board, you should know it was in Arizona. I hope you can rest easy now.

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from RS08 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

dave, not all elk hunts are strenuous.that little picture to the left here is the elk i shot 2 years ago on the jobsite wearing shorts and sunglasses.bugled him down the hill and got him @ 20 yds w/my bow.loaded him whole into the truck.its interesting everyones opinion on calibers. me, i've shot elk w/ a 7mag that dropped on the spot and whitetails that ran off 70 yds before dropping w/ same bullet placement. its all about placement and bullet construction.(and maybe animal attidude) a gut shot elk is still gut shot whether w/ a 243 or 458 lott.like clint said, "mans got to know his limitations."btw it wasn't to long ago sir petzal wrote an article on .22 calibers for deer.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

XI. Thou shalt read David Petzal's magnum opus on horses, and learn every bit of wisdom it teaches thee, because thou shalt be needing a horse when you finally slay thy elk.

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from WyDave wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Here's hoping Dave's elk hunt in Northern Utah will push them down out of the high country and across the Wyoming border where I have my tags and the weather has been too pleasant up high for them to want to move down this way. Or, maybe, this weekend's snow storm will do it.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

If you want to look at nice bull recently taken with a 6.5 x .284 unguided and on public land, check out Cody Brown's elk at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Best-of-the-West/103315107012284

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from David W. Rowell wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Excellent "commandments"! For more elk hunting tips, check out www.elk-hunting-tips.net.

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from billyjo bondurant wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

the words of knowledge are true and funny.

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from DRage wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

One thing missing is that any responsible hunter when hunting for elk or any other game must make sure to practice straight and true shot placement.

Elk Shot Placement: www.elk-hunting.org/articles/elk-shot-placement

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What is the plan for enormous amounts of meat like that? I don't know enough people with fridge space for that!

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