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Are Elk Really That Tough?

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September 03, 2013

Are Elk Really That Tough?

By David E. Petzal

I read in one of my “Ask Petzal” answers that elk are big, tough animals. Since I don’t believe anything anymore, no matter who says it, I wondered: Are they?

Let’s do big first. As ungulates go, Cervus canadensis is what you can call big. A good-sized typical bull weighs 600 to 800 pounds, and in North America, of the hoofed animals, only moose and bison are bigger. Six to 800 pounds is also bigger than any of the African antelope except the eland. So yes, they’re big, and when you try to field-dress one by yourself and then pack it out, you’ll discover just how big.

Are they tough? Well, let’s define tough. I think it means hit fatally, but still able to run far enough that it can’t be tracked down. Elk have massive muscles, big bones, big hearts and lungs, and thick hides that shift over bullet holes and prevent blood trails.

Although it’s hardly scientific evidence, the number of hit-but-lost elk episodes I know of beats that of any other species by something like 10 to one. Deer, if fatally shot, feel obliged to dash 100 yards or so before they accept the inevitable, which means that if you keep looking you’ll find them. Elk, on the other hand, sometimes decide that the game is not up (as it were) even if their heart and lungs have been turned to soup. Then they’ll go a lot farther than 100 yards and unless there’s snow on the ground you won’t find them. I’ve seen this in person more than once.

It’s not a question of caliber. One of the two or three biggest elk I’ve ever laid eyes on, a veritable monster so heavy that it was all Wayne Van Zwoll and I could do to move it, went down in its tracks with one shot from a .280—simply collapsed in place. On the other hand, I once shot a bull that was nearly as big smack in the chest with a 250-grain Nosler Partition from a .340 Weatherby—which is the surest elk medicine I know of—and it plodded slowly, painfully away for a half-mile before it succumbed to that shot and a couple of follow-up hits.

Odd as it sounds, it seems to be a matter of temperament. Moose give up easily. Nilgai do not. If you breathe some bad breath on a kudu it will die, but roan or sable, which are roughly the same size, can take all manner of punishment and run away from you. Or toward you.

Caliber, in an elk rifle, is not nearly so important as bullet construction. You want a tough bullet that’s designed to penetrate. A .270 with a strong slug is a lot better than a .338 than a squishy slug. And do not, I pray you, consider your job done when you hit a bull in the boiler room. If you possibly can, get off a fast second and third shot. An elk is too fine a trophy to lose because you were preening about what you thought was your one-shot kill. Send a couple more slugs. It shows you care.

Comments (69)

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

Come on back WAM. Kindest Regards

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I feel I have killed a lot of elk with all kinds of calibers over sixty five years. I cannot recall losing an animal, but I am really careful with my shots. Know my limitations. They are such grand trophies and fine meat. Have tracked a few for other hunters and it did take some time, but none got away.
Have indicated before, elk are one of the worlds grandest trophy animals

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

David,
Mentioning large animals like Nilgai, Roan, and Sable, do not forget Oryx. As much as I love hunting our Elk and respect them , the other four are really tough animals to bring down.

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from idduckhntr wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I claim to no expert on elk, having killed only two myself. One with my 7mm WBY and 160 Accubonds the other with my 375 H&H with 235 Barnes the 7mm took two rounds the 375 only one. distance was about the same at 285 yrds. I have seen them drop from one shot with a 6mm Rem as if pole axed out to 300 yrds.

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from Tim Platt wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I have turned a lot of deer's lungs and hearts to soup and watched them run 100 yards or more. Not much more. And it does seem to be the will to live or temperament of the animal that gives it up. I am not a fan of straight on chest shots, all of them I have seen resulted in the animal running a very long way.

I have killed one elk in my lifetime. It was with a 30-06 and 200 grain Swift A Frames and he fell in his tracks. He was all of 80 yards away standing broadside. Not a lot of experience here. I've never seen another one shot.

This post makes me think if I lived out west I would own a .375 H&H Magnum.

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from Tim Platt wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

Okay post script time. I was checking out the web last week for an O'Connor quote I wanted to post on this site, and I found someone who said that Jack and Eleanor left a trail of wounded game behind them in Africa with their beloved .270. Could be BS most everything you read is.

Even Roy Weatherby came back from Africa with his .257 between his legs and declared that shot placement is everything in big game hunting.

I still believe bigger is better but some things just refuse to die. I shot one deer at least four times in the chest and he was still looking at me when I walked up to him two hours later. I hit him as he was walking fast and he fell down 100 yards away. I could see him through my scope. I waited 15 minutes and started towards him and he got up and I shot him again, he ran at least another 100 yards. My friends showed up and we waited 15 or 20 minutes and went to go get him. He saw us about halfway there and disappeared. An hour later we found him and as he barely could stand up he was shot twice again. Right behind his front leg every time and he still just kneeled down and kept looking at us. I am still amazed whenever I think of that day, and sad at the same time.

It is what doctors tell us all the time, if you want to beat cancer you have to have the will to live. If you want to make it to the end of the Trail of Tears you have to have the will to live. It is everything.

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from davidpetzal wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

To Happy: You're quite correct. The gemsbok is among the very toughest. If you wound one of them you're got a real chase on your hands.

To Tim Platt: When you see something on the internet that so- and so- is a lousy shot, ask yourself: "How does he know? Was he there?" First, Eleanor didn't use a .270 in Africa. Her rifle, which she used almost exclusively, was a 7x57. Second, I knew the late John Kingsley-Heath, who was O'Connor's PH on most of his safaris, and while Kingsley-Heath was not much impressed with O'Connor's human qualities, he found nothing at all wrong with his shooting.

A friend of mine, who had the good fortune to hunt in Kenya during the 50s and 60s, took just about everything there with a .270, including lion, and it worked just fine.

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from Koldkut wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I have witnessed a bull go over a mile with a blood trail and just kept on trucking once the blood stopped. We did not recover that animal, it was shot with a 7mm Mag. I've dropped two of them with a 30.06, man I love that round.

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from Mark-1 wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I've seen so many weird elk situations I dare not spout any hard & fast rules except dead elk gain 400-lbs weight when it comes to packing the *quarters* out.

...Dead moose gain more weight.

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from laker wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

A little off topic, but the first deer I ever killed took it's last breath while I stood over it. I shot at about 50 yards, it dropped in its tracks. I stood and watched for about five minutes. Convinced it was dead I approached. No lie, when I got to within 5 feet or so, it opened its eyes and let out a long last breath as it closed them for the last time. It brought to my mind the feeling of a deep sigh of resignation. It made me think about things.

To this day, every kill brings a bit of melancholy along with satisfaction. Every Winter meal of venison, or grouse, or the sunfish filets we've packed away in the freezer is an event. I always pause to think about the source of our sustenance. Sure, we could eschew hunting and fishing altogether, and enjoy the sterile plastic wrapped fare from the local butcher or mega-mart. But, where would be the honesty in that?

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from laker wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Oh Mark-1, the converse of the big game weight rule must be the the Walleye. In MN, they seem to lose a pound or two between landing in the live well and hitting the cutting board.

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from huntslow wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I am sure many people have much more elk experience than I but I have killed or seen shot more than 25 elk. Most of the time my experience has been they are not easy to kill. Hunting with Outfitter Jack Wemple and guide Allen Kitts in Montana, they wanted hunters to shoot for the shoulder to break it and make tracking easier is needed. They had numerous experiences with elk that were well hit but refused to go down. My elk went down with the first shot but got 2 more because he did not want to stay down. The "fastest/deadest" elk I saw shot with a .22/250. This was by an Apache Indian who was not required to shoot anything bigger. He only took "easy" shots (his term for close and with a rest), and hit it in the head. He had killed more than 10 deer with that same rifle and bullet placement. He had lots of time to hunt and was willing to pass up any shot that did not meet his "easy" standard

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I have shot one Elk with little fanfare. It was with my .45/70 at a tad over 90 yards. Now I have seen elk in game parks and zoos like most people have, but when actually taking one in the field you get a better idea of there size! Personally, I have always preferred heavy for caliber bullets, and do believe the .270 should be the minimum caliber used for them. Although I do think elk meat is tasty,I prefer to eat moose meat if on the menu!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Hi Happy Myles,
I realize I left the F&S blog in a huff. My patience and tolerance have been at all time lows and I have probably said everything that needs said with a modicum of intelligence and decorum. I will leave it to you guys to educate the bloggers. I've pissed and moaned about mouse gunners and Democrats until now and will observe from the back seat quietly for the most part. I am busy getting ready to travel to Colorado to new hunting grounds and trying to wrap up many loose ends to retire soon, so I won't be posting much.

I just wanted to respond to your message old friend out of the great respect I have for you. Maybe I'll make it to SCI or SoCal this year!

Best regards,
WAM

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from Ol Krusty wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Ive helped pack two elk out of the forest with my friends, and both times they were down in a hole where we had to hike up at least a 1/2 mile from any road. Also the damn things both gave up the ghost in a patch of thorns. Its like they thought "well you might have gotten me, but I get the last laugh you SOB"!

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from jay wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Dave - How bout a review of the Mauser M12??

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from Amflyer wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Well, knock down a big Wapiti, will you Mtnhunter?

Furthermore, the Tide looks like, well, the Tide, and Nebraska looks like it needs a defensive lesson from Les Miles.

Good luck with all endeavors!

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from Amflyer wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I would add Blue Wildebeest and Zebra to the tough critter list.

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from O Garcia wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Add to that the fact that most people who encounter mature bull elk for the first time have a kind of extra special buck fever they've never had before, and flub the shot.

Craig often wrote, especially during his 'magnum years' at Petersen's, about the difference in caliber choices between a resident hunter who can always hunt next season (like the late Bob Milek who took many of his with a .25-06, and rarely went bigger than the .30-06), and a non-resident one who spent his life savings on that one hunt, and who may not get another chance, and therefore brings a more powerful gun as insurance.

But whether it's .25-06 or .338-378, it's placement that counts.

And of course, there's luck, whether self-made or from above. There's that article or blog on this magazine/website (I think by J. Barsness) several years back about a hunter who took elk every year wearing plaid shirts (no camo), smoked cigarettes and made a racket while stalking, used the same K4 Weaver scope on his well-worn pre-64 Model 70 in .270 Winchester and used normal cup-and-core bullets because "why bother with breaking shoulder when it's so much easier to hit them in the ribs?"

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from ejunk wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

"Send a couple more slugs. It shows you care." quote of the week, hahaha

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from kudukid wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Always pack your animal downhill - much easier.

Packing out the carcass reminds me of the time a buddy and I struggled and sweated to drag a spike blacktail up a steep hill a couple of hundred yards to his WWII jeep.

Told the story back at camp and the landowner (the most unforgettable character I've ever met) asked, "Why didn't you take it downhill a hundred yards to the farm road below?" (It couldn't be seen from where we were.)

Oh well...

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from ALJoe wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Elk can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. I think this is what can make an elk so hard to recover. I have been fortunate enough to recover the elk I have shot. I have hunted with others who were not. I too believe in shoot and shoot again and again.

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from 268bull wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

If ever there was such a poll, elk would be my selection as the worlds greatest athlete! Seems when jumped or shot , they cover 3 ridge tops and the canyon's in between before they stop. Not to catch their breath, but to see if your keeping up with them! Once walked up on one that was lying in a tree well and exhaled his last breath.So I thought! Inside of 30 ft. away he suddenly stood up and stared angrily down his nose at me. Boy, that made the hair stand up! Until they're upside down, 4 legs pointing upwards, keep putting the lead into them. Even when your sure they're dangerous. Watch moving the head and rack around. I have a scar in my eyebrow to prove it!

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I have shot quite a few elk and some real whoppers. They can take punishment but I really don't think any more so than most other ungulates. Moose ARE NOT wimps! They may be less inclined to run as far as elk simply because they usually don't run from much of anything. But they sure as hell walk extremely fast! Pronghorn antelope are the true wimps of North American game. If hit in the foot they will only hobble to the nearest low spot and stand. I'm sorry but no animal whose heart has been "turned to soup" is going to run 100 yards unless it falls off a cliff in the process. I can always tell when a deer/elk/moose has been hit in the heart. They run like absolute hell for twenty to thirty yards until they pile up, usually face-planting into a tree. A lung shot has a definite sound to it and the animal does the hunch up as it stumbles off. I have heard of elk surviving after being shot through the back end of both lungs but frankly I would have had to see it to believe it. It's usually not the "thick hide" that slides over a wound and keeps it from bleeding but rather a chunk of fat from the insides. When that happens it invariably tells me the animal has been hit in the guts, not the lungs/heart. Which usually tells me it was a bad shot (usually taken at extraordinary distances).

I shot thirteen elk in as many years. A couple were almost lost. I hit a spike once through the achilles tendon and I still managed to track it down and get him. Was helped immensely by the terrain though (and the animal's inexperience). Still, that was an incredible job of tracking ... without the assistance of snow on the ground! Anyway, I used 180 grain 30-06 most of my career and it killed deer about as well as it killed elk and moose. I always felt that a reasonably heavy bullet moving at a reasonable speed was much more efficient at killing than something moving at warp ten. Yeah, it won't reach out there four hundred yards but no one should be shooting that distance anyway and I don't give a damn how much time they spend fiddling at the range. Shows no respect for the animal.

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from FirstBubba wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Couple of years ago, a neighbor gave me a hog to slaughter. I offered to share it with a fellow church member.
At the pig pen, I grabbed my Ruger Single Six and entered the pen. He kept turning his butt to me until he finally backed into a corner.
Draw an imaginary line from right ear to left eye and right eye to left ear. Where those lines intersect is your target. When the .22 went off, the hog hit the ground! (about 240/250 lbs)
On the way home with the pig, my friend exclaimed, "I guess those other guys lied to me. They tell me that you've got to have a "magnum" to kill a hog."
Okay, I've never killed an elk, but I have taken many, many whitetails, a couple of antelope(one with a 6" S&W M19!) and a mule deer.
My take is that animal size, bore diameter, powder charge, bullet weight/diameter/ construction are contributing factors! No factor is more important than where the projectile enters the target and the damage inflicted enroute to it's final destination! Ergo: Bullet Placement!
Mitch shot a so-so sized buck at about 40 yards with a .50 cal Knight inline and "Shockwave"® bullets.
The deer was standing dead still, broadside.
How in heavens name it happened, I'll never know, but I saw the deer and helped dress it out!The bullet entered behind the shoulder and a touch (1" or so!) high.
The bullet EXITED THE SAME SIDE! It came out about 6" below it's entry point....and yes, the deer required another round before expiring.
I don't care how big or how tough an animal is, disconnect or damage major arteries from vital organs and you'll fill your tag.
From time to time, oil Murphy steps in. All bets are off then!

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Amflyer,
All subspecies of wildebeest are hard to drop in their tracks, think maybe they are too goofy to know they are hurt.

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from azduane wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

All elk are tough but sometimes you get lucky and they decide to just drop for you. Fortunately, I've not had to trail any I've shot very far. Show respect for the animal and try to find it and then show more respect when you do. It gave its life for you and deserves to be treated respectfully.

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from CoBowHunter wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Two of the bull elk I shot very cleanly with my bow went about 200 yards before piling up. After 100 yards the blood trail ended completely. Could it be that their hearts actually stoped pumping blood but they are able to keep moving. I found both, fortunately, in very heavy and dark spruce/pine timber under a tree.

I have also heard stories from hunters of elk that had bullet wounds and arrowheads stuck in them from an older injury that had healed over.

They are tough animals indeed.

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from elkslayer wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Yeah, elk are tough.

My first cow took 3 shots to the chest without flinching, then she casually walked 50 yards and fell over.

My first bull took the first shot to the chest that blew up its heart without flinching and then ran 90 yards before piling up.

Another bull was visably shaken by the first hit but took two more to put down.

As long as the elk is still on its feet and I can see it, I will keep shooting until it goes down.

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

An elk story. My largest elk trophy stepped into a ten foot opening at 80 yards broadside and bugled , I squatted and squeezed off a shot at the point of his shoulder. He did not flinch and with one step was out of sight could not believe I could have missed. By the time I could chamber another round he stepped back into the same opening, facing the other direction , bugled once and collapsed. His picture is in my profile

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from sib wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I shot a bull elk with a bow in the lungs (so it appeared on entry) and never found it. We tracked a blood trail that would have amounted to what seemed like gallons of red over ~1/4 mile. Never found it. It rained that afternoon and night and washed all trails away. It really makes you sick, I mean real nausea, to loose an elk. Tough.

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from fballfan wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Good article David. I especially, agree with your thoughts regarding the temperament of the animal when shot. That's been proven to me over and over again through the years.

Having said that, I also always go afield with a cartridge and proper bullet, leaving nothing to question. If the biggest trophy of my lifetime suddenly presents itself, and leaves me with only a front quartering shot, I want to have a rifle in my hands that is chambered with something that'll do the job without question. I believe this is where some hunters get themselves into trouble when they select a cartridge that is a little on the lighter side for a given species. I also prefer to use a cartridge that will generally give me a complete pass though shot, so that I have a larger exit hole to aid in blood trailing. As hunters, we owe it to the game we pursue, and the to the reputation of our sport.

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from fballfan wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Good article David. I especially, agree with your thoughts regarding the temperament of an animal when shot. That's been proven to me over and over again through the years.

Having said that, I also always go afield with a cartridge and proper bullet, leaving nothing to question. If the biggest trophy of my lifetime suddenly presents itself, and leaves me with only a front quartering shot, I want to have a rifle in my hands that is chambered with something that'll do the job without question. I believe this is where some hunters get themselves into trouble when they select a cartridge that is a little on the lighter side for a given species. I also prefer to use a cartridge that will generally give me a complete pass though shot, so that I have a larger exit hole to aid in blood trailing. As hunters, we owe it to the game we pursue, and the to the reputation of our sport.

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from Brian Maguire wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

Roosevelt elk can go to 1100 lbs (granted that is a big bull) but a mature roosie cow is all as big as a vary large rocky bull. How does that figure into the equation? I once smacked a large rossie bull at 15 yards with a 180 gr 30-06 shot through both lungs and a heart nick. He then proceeded to run 20 yards completley, then jump and easily clear old growth dead fall over 8' in height and another 150 yards through the thickest Oregon rhodie hell as one could imagine. It was 444 lbs of boned meat at the butcher - do the math, that is no 800 lb bull. I estimate it was 1000+ in the field, as big as most of the horses I have ever seen, the bud draft horses are bigger. he died on all fours, much like the sphinx, and his back was up to my belly button. I am 6'1".

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from Amflyer wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

Happy, I assumed as much, but have no other experience with others outside of the Blue. Mine stopped two of three 375 slugs. Other than the "insurance" shot as he departed the area, that was a quartering away and a mite too far back, I recovered both slugs under the opposite skin. Perfectly mushroomed Barnes slugs.

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from Bruce Christensen wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

I have had the opportunity to go elk hunting when one of my friends drew a tag and yes they are some tough critters. My friend made the mistake of not sighting in his 30-06 right before we went hunting and apparently knocked his sights off. He shot a cow elk in the back knee at about 200 yards and it ran about 400 yards and jumped a fence like nothing was wrong. It took 2 more shots, one at 5 yards, to put her down for good. I have also had plenty of experience deer hunting in the last 3 years and they can be the same way. The first year I hunted the property I still hunt on, I had no problem dropping does like they got hit with a hammer at 300 yards. The year after that, I had not 1 but 2 does paint over a 100 yard path through a cornfield like you walked through it with 2 cans of spray paint. I used the same box of bullets for both years with almost identical shot placement and got drastically different results from my 270.

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from MICHMAN wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

I should of tried the bad breath approach when hunting the Greater Kudu in Africa. I placed an arrow through the lungs of one of these magnificent animals and after a two hour track the following morning I had to shoot it a second time to put it down for good. Even the African PH was shocked. I found the African's to be very blunt people and they stated "Perfect shot my friend, perfect shot." I asked then "what happened?" It was just a strong-willed animal, he did not want to die!

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from mike55 wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

A friend and I bow hunted Colorado in '74 after graduating highschool. My buddy shot a bull elk out of a tree stand almost directly below him. He hit a rib about 4 in. off the spine. The arrow didn't go completely through the bull, so it's thick coat soaked up all the blood. We looked for a blood trail with our flashlights for an hour or two and couldn't find any blood, so he walked in the direction it ran just panning the flashlight back and forth. He saw it's eyes in the light beam in just a little while. I was surprised it only went 130 yards. That rib bent and broke his Bear razorhead right up to the ferrule! We were using some of the first compound bows that Jennings came out with, I wonder if a recurve bow of the same weight might not of had enough energy to drive that arrow into both lungs after having the whole front of the broadhead broken off. In that case we might not of ever found it. I'm still amazed that an arrow can take down a large animal as fast or in some cases faster than a well placed bullet!

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from Proverbs wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

Mark Twain said, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog" that matters. My own experience has found that to be true of several large game species, and not any more so in elk.

Out of some 20 elk harvested, I have had only one do something truly remarkable. I clearly remember my first few elk. The very first, two decades ago, was a cow that I took with a .44 Rem Mag using factory Winchester 240-grain hunting slugs that removed both lungs. She staggered a moment, then fell down and stayed that way. The second, a mature bull, was taken with the same .44 Super Redhawk, this time with Hornady Custom 300-grain pills, with considerable whomp. Upon the advice I read in a pistol hunting article, I aimed at the shoulder of this bull, which went down like a rock at the impact. I slowly approached from 40 yards away. He sure seemed dead. This took place at dusk and a heavy snow was falling. As I approached him the second time, this time with rope in hand to tie his leg over to the nearest tree to facilitate field dressing, this bull jumped up and ran off. I searched for a while when I realized I needed to get out of there before I became stuck in what turned out to be quite a blizzard. Two days later I returned with helpers. We were barely able to get in the canyon through the two feet of snow that had fallen. We found this bull within 75 yards of where he had fallen. Predators/scavengers had eaten all his innards and were making impressive headway on the rest of him, so I could not ascertain what damage had been done to his organs. But his shoulder and formerly attached bones were absolutely destroyed where the Hornady hit. The leg must of stayed attached only via the thick hide.

Since then I took a petite young lady on an elk hunt. She cleanly harvested a huge cow with a .223 loaded with Jack Carter Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullets.

Most of my elk have been taken with 150-gr. bullets from a .270 Win. None of those moved much after being hit. The reason I mostly use .270 is because that is what my very sweet-shooting mountain rifle (6.4 lbs w/scope) is chambered in, and most of my elk hunting takes place between 9,000 and 11,000 feet.

But this post made me realize something. Although I've taken several deer and other large game with my .44 since that bull jumped up and ran, I have not taken it on another elk hunt.

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from T.W. Davidson wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

I've not seen any elk taken since I was a teenager several decades ago. Back then, I went with my stepfather while he hunted. He was an experienced outdoorsman, an excellent shot, a great tracker, and he knew how elk think and move and live. He died a few years ago, a veteran of Normandy and the Allied cause to free occupied Europe, having taken seven 7-point bull elk during his hunting years, along with many lesser bulls and "meat cows" (his term).

His favorite rifle of hunting in general, including elk?

A .270 handloaded with Nosler 150-grain Partitions.

However I also saw him use a 300 H&H (handloaded to warm ballistics) with 180-grain Partitions, as well as a 30-06 loaded with the same bullets.

I once saw him take a good-size cow elk (about five hundred pounds) with a .257 Roberts handloaded with a 120-grain (you guessed it) Partition. The elk ran seventy yards (if memory serves) and dropped.

My stepfather was fanatical about shot placement and good aim. He had no mercy or kindness for a sloppy shooter--which meant that for some years he little mercy or kindness for me (at least when we hunted). He had no respect for most long range shooters--"bullet throwers," he snarled--although I saw him take several 400-yard shots and always make clean kills. He usually took heart/lung shots, but I also saw him make shoulder shots in conditions where the terrain was so awful that if the elk had run far, recovering it out of a canyon or deep ravine would have been extremely difficult or perhaps impossible. (This from a man whose mule pack strings could and did climb like goats.) His shoulder shots would either drop the elk or severely cripple and slow them down long enough for him to finish them off before they went too far.

Every time I ever saw my stepfather take aim at an elk, once the trigger was pulled, he threw the bolt, rechambered and fired again at lightning speed. He didn't stop shooting until the elk was down and not moving at all, even if his first shot dropped the elk hard (which I saw him do on a big bull with his .270). He could aim, fire, throw the bolt, rechamber, take aim and accurately fire again--several times--as fast as most people can shoot a semi-auto. He preferred the lighter caliber rifles--less recoil, faster recovery time--for this reason. I never knew him to hit an elk and not be able to find it, although he did admit to me that in his younger years he had lost two elk in dry conditions even though he was sure he had made fatal hits on them.

My stepfather both loved and respected the elk he hunted. He always said, "You earn your elk, or you don't get one. Their rules." I have yet to take one. It's a future plan.

One comment about heart/lungs turned to soup--

In the last several years I've taken about fifteen wild pigs here in NE TX ranging from one hundred to three hundred pounds in hoof weight. I prefer one of my .257 Ackleys because I had the rifle custom-made for me and I know exactly what I can do with it, however I've also used a 7x57 in a Model 70 Featherweight to great success. I typically use Nosler Partitions or Barnes TTSX or TSX bullets in healthy handloads.

I have made perfect heart/lung hits with both the above-mentioned bullets in both calibers at ranges under a hundred yards, have seen the pigs get knocked completely off their feet, have heard the WHOMP sound of the impact, only to have seen the pigs somehow get to their feet and take off like rockets. I've always found them (sometimes after searching for hours) within fifty yards, sometimes much less. In every one of those shots, the heart/lungs were completely evisorated. Nothing left but soup and goo. Nothing functional left at all. With the Barnes bullets in particular, one could gain the impression that a hand grenade had gone off in the chest cavity of the pig.

The other day, in the morning around dawn, I saw a herd of about ten big pigs rooting on the edge of a beaver pond while I was out on a hike with my dog. Excited, I ran half a mile back to my vehicle (as if I were in high school again running track, except my own heart and lungs did not agree with this theory) and grabbed the old Savage Model 99 I had just re-zeroed the previous evening, a rifle I had spent a year and some money returning to a thing of beauty and grace. I had never previously taken anything but paper with it.

I ran back to the pond, threw the lever and chambered a round (.308, 150-grain Hornady Interlock factory ammo), and took aim at the nearest pig. The crosshairs leapt and jerked as I were suffering from epilepsy or a seizure. I finally got my pulse and breathing under control and fired an offhand heart/lung shot at about 130 yards. (The rifle was zeroed at 225 yards with the 150-grain Interlocks.)

Just like nearly all the shots I'd taken on pigs in previous years with the .257 AI and the 7x57 Mauser, this pig was also knocked off its feet (I saw dust fly and heard the WHOMP impact), also got to its feet, and also ran about forty yards and disappeared. I found it within minutes.

And just like all the other pigs, the heart and lungs in this pig were also soup and goo, nothing functional at all, a liquid soppy mess.

So my theory is this: Some animals don't know they're dead even though they are. For a few seconds after the instantly fatal shot, something other than heart and lungs propels the pig forward until all systems go to final whiteout.

It seems impossible, and it's definitely an odd thing, but there it is.

Good luck, good aim, good shooting, to all.

TWD

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from Gunny Bob wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

As DEP brought up fabled PH John Kingsley-Heath, I was the editor for his remarkable book, "Hunting the Dangerous Game of Africa." Between editing that tome, spending many days at John and his wife Sue's home in Cornwall going over all his files and the manuscript, and being on safari with him in Africa, I can attest that he was very big on three things: bullet placement, proper cartridge selection and putting in fast, accurate follow-on shots if the beast did not drop straight away. Sound priorities for so many situations in life.

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

T.W,
Where you been? Good to hear from you.

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from O Garcia wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

reminds me of that gem from the late Finn Aagard:

"no amount of power manageable in a shoulder-fired weapon can make up one bit for poor shooting"

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from shortordercook wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

I have killed over 25 elk in my twenty five years living in Western Colorado, four of them nice bulls. I shoot a .270 and have found that the Remington Cor-lokt in 130 or 150 grain are very effective. Yes, elk are tough and can go a long way if bone is not broken in a shoulder or hit in the spine, i.e, Texas heart shot (butt). If paralyzed they stay put. My motto, though, is to shoot until they stop moving. The flat shooting .270 in 130 grain has more energy if you do have to take a long shot. Bigger caliber isn't always better.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

The drop them in there tracks is caused by Hydrostatic Shock, commonly known in the Medical World as Remote Wounding.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock

_______________________________________________________

ken.mcloud said it best! “So, I think that the superior killing power of larger rounds is largely in our heads.(likely testosterone induced) A flat-shooting round that you can accurately place will produce as many if not more "bang-flop" kills as a heavy caliber round.”

On the other hand

"We have not heard from Ken McCloud in ages hope he was not carrying a fast stepping small caliber rifle and ran into a testosterone laden elephant that could not spell hydrostatic shock. Just teasing Clay. Kindest Regards"
-Happy Myles

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from Clay Cooper wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

A myth is an assertion which has either been disproven by careful experiment or for which there is no historical or scientific evidence in cases where it is reasonably expected. Belief in remote effects of penetrating projectiles may have originated with hunters and soldiers, but their reality is now well established in a broad body of scientific literature...

— Neurosurgery

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

The other reason I opt for a reasonable weight bullet at reasonable velocity as opposed to warp speed is the difference one encounters on the butcher table. Again, we do the animals a disservice if we blow them to pieces on purpose. It's an ethical balancing act, that's for sure, but never leave wastage out of the factors to be considered. Seems most people do these days. But then again it seems most people these days are factoring nothing but getting antlers.

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from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 32 weeks 1 day ago

All my elk have been taken with either 30-06 or 308. Both are plenty when the elk is hit properly. I have become a big believer in premium bullets for elk; I liked Nosler Partitions for a long time but have had even better results with Barnes. Trouble with elk are their shoulders - which can stop a soft bullet — and their legs, which are so long that can cover a lot of ground quickly, even when one leg is out of order. Plus they live in rugged terrain, making pursuit difficult. But they are not supernatural.

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from Smallbore wrote 32 weeks 23 hours ago

The elk in my profile pic I hit three times at 80 yards with a 7mm mag. Ruger #1. It was about 80 + or - yards with 175 gr. ballistic tips. It didn't even flinch at any of the shots. I just couldn't accept that I had missed. That rifle would put five rounds within 1.5 inches at 200 yards. Shot him broadside left. Shot him broadside right.. same hole different side. The hit him in the neck about halfway up and high (only shot I had). Went over the small ridge where he went and thought he went to the right. Walked 400 yards around the bowl and heard a yelp. Looked back where I came over the hill and there he was laying 20 feet to the OTHER (left) side. I could have sworn at the time that I didn't hit him as I said "he didn't even flinch" My first and only elk in my life..so far. I'm 63 and hope to get more! Oh, I did hit him ALL 3 shots. :-)

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from buckhunter wrote 32 weeks 22 hours ago

Greetings from Colorado,

Have been chasing a 6x7 for the last 4 days playing cat and mouse with the big critter. Twice his cows have saved him from my arrow. I'll let you all know how far he goes after I deflate both lungs. Which I suspect will not be very far.

Just dropped into town for a few beers and college football and I see you are talking elk.

The best burgers in Colorado are in Rico...

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 22 hours ago

Buckhunter,
Good luck keep us posted. Like your confidence. When you get him I wii pay for the beer.....up to a point. All the best of luck

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 8 hours ago

Yes, good luck Buckhunter. Is he responding to bugle? Going to be tough unless some other big boy kicks him off those cows. How warm is it? I suspect you'll need to quarter and de-hide that guy ASAP. Maybe even bone it out. Don't do the "I'll wait till morning to look for him" or there won't be anything to find but dog food. If you take a shot at dusk make absolutely sure it's a killer. Hell ... I don't have to tell you that. Get him! Wish I was there to help haul him out.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 32 weeks 7 hours ago

buckhunter,
Hang in there and stick him!
Best, WAM

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from Tim Platt wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

Nice to have you back WAM, go get him buckhunter!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

Smallbore

While up in Alaska running the Base Range, many hunters lost more game or had to follow up on a shot or two and they all where short range mainly well under 75 yards.

The reason for this, upon impact, the bullet didn't have adequate distance to stabilize immediately tumbled reducing penetration. I always recommend shots on heavy game to be between 175 and 250 yards within the shooters "MOP" limits.

7mm with 175's are very prone to this.

Reference: Hatcher's Notebook

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from Amflyer wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

Clay,

Respectfully: Horseapples!

Yours,

Amflyer

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

Is it just me, or do most of these stories of the Elk could easily discribe DEER hunting as well? Seems to me proper bullet construction, and placement of that bullet, are the key factors in putting successful odds in one's favor for taking big game. The BIGGER the CALIBER my only argument would be against Bears, as such, due to the real threat of a FIGHT VS FLIGHT outcome! Due any here agree?

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

Is it just me, or do most of these stories of the Elk could easily discribe DEER hunting as well? Seems to me proper bullet construction, and placement of that bullet, are the key factors in putting successful odds in one's favor for taking big game. The BIGGER the CALIBER my only argument would be against Bears, as such, due to the real threat of a FIGHT VS FLIGHT outcome! Due any here agree?

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from O Garcia wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

Ralph,
agreed. same applies to Africa where you might encounter a lion while going after antelope.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

In some places when elk hunting I carried a couple of 220 grain silvertips in my pocket in case I wandered into country popular for the G-bears. And, on occasion, I was compelled to put them in the gun.

Bullets have changed a lot in recent years and I'm sure there are better combinations available today but back then 180 grain spitzer Hornady was good for elk and deer in heavy cover. I never knew which I would encounter so it was an appropriate load. Sometimes it barely did the job on elk and moose but usually that was due to operator error.

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from Del in KS wrote 31 weeks 4 days ago

WAM, nice to see you back. Here I sit in Houston and the Kansas ML season opens in a few days. Did have some fun taking a kid dove hunting Sep 1st.
Buckhunter, hope you get that bull. You will remember him a long time after all that work. I know your broadheads are sharp.
Guys I would never pack anything but the meat, horns and cape. I packed a boned out bull caribou 5 miles to a small gravel strip near Wood River Wilderness area Alaska and that was a chore. I was young and fit then too.
Happy, nice to see you here also did you get that Forrest Sitatunga yet?
My 210 gr Barnes TTSX bullet from a 338-06 passed through a raghorn Colorado bull that bled like the proverbial stuck hog. Tracked him well into the next day, blood ran out then he joined other elk and we lost the trail. Yes, I feel they are very tough animals.

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from Del in KS wrote 31 weeks 4 days ago

Happy Myles I went to look at your bull and found out you did get that Forrest Sitatunga. Congrats on that one sir. That is a very rare trophy.

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from Happy Myles wrote 31 weeks 4 days ago

Del,
Thank you very much regarding the Sitatunga. By the way, all elk bulls pictured easily would make the books, but I have never entered trophies, if I ever get a world record, I would enter it. Never felt like sharing tenth place with several others. Kindest Regards.
Will be in the office on Thursday, and will take care of the matter I Emailed about.. If you happened to see the Brown Bear mount in my pictures , forty years ago it came close to being a champion. Again Best Regards

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from Del in KS wrote 31 weeks 4 days ago

Happy, Thanks again for all you have done for kids. I saw the huge bear, tried to thumbs up but the stupid thing wouldn't work. No rush I am in Houston the next few days.

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from brownsquirle wrote 31 weeks 3 days ago

I've always found it funny how some people think the 30-06 is the ultimate white tail gun and anything smaller is inhumane.I live in muley counrty and have never even seen white tail but I've bagged a few muleys never been fortunate enough to draw an antler tag just does and one shot to head with my 223 tipps them over. Theres no tracking involved if you shoot them in the head and no waisted meat. Head shots work on elk two tipped a cow with a 308. I guess if you want a trophy don't complain about them running off and don't pretend you care about the animal or the meat.

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from pcspecht wrote 31 weeks 2 days ago

The Blog and some of he comments say it all this is indeed. Tough animal and will take itself away from you if you don't respect it!

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from pcspecht wrote 31 weeks 2 days ago

I am an Alaskan, I hunt almost exclusively with either a .338 WBM or a .300 WBM. the common point between the two is the Barns X cartridges in either 165 or 185 grn balistic tip or HP, BT's haven't found a North American species and a number of Southern Hemisphere species that can't be harvested by one or the other. I don't care how Good a shot you are, if you have pulled he trigger on the first you better be racking in he second round and taking the shot! Don't fire once and wait or pat yourself on the back! Don't disrespect the animal, the hunt or Fair Chase. You have pulled the trigger so the fun part of the hunt is over and its time to go to work. Make it as easy on yourself as possible! Don't take the chancy shot either. Most likely you'll either miss or wound and that will not make the end of the day a good one!

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from pcspecht wrote 31 weeks 2 days ago

Brown squirrel,
I think you and I come from the same school system of hunting skills! I was taught to shoot the neck (spine) or head when ever possible to preserve as much meat as possible. Have had an occasion or two to drop a Moose with my .223 and wih an "in your ear" shot both times, Shots were under a 100 meters but most Moose shots are. Both folded up like oragamie! Good huntin to you!

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from pcspecht wrote 31 weeks 2 days ago

Hey Del in KS!
Are you talking about Wood-Tikchik State Park in Alaska just a ways from Dillingham? This is one of our back up areas that we hunt when our others don't produce. We fly into lake Chauekuktuli and hunt the ridge between it and lake Noyakuk to the south. Its a good meat producing area! Anyway, was just wondering as you mentioned the Wood River. You should come up again always room for an old hand in camp.

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from laker wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

A little off topic, but the first deer I ever killed took it's last breath while I stood over it. I shot at about 50 yards, it dropped in its tracks. I stood and watched for about five minutes. Convinced it was dead I approached. No lie, when I got to within 5 feet or so, it opened its eyes and let out a long last breath as it closed them for the last time. It brought to my mind the feeling of a deep sigh of resignation. It made me think about things.

To this day, every kill brings a bit of melancholy along with satisfaction. Every Winter meal of venison, or grouse, or the sunfish filets we've packed away in the freezer is an event. I always pause to think about the source of our sustenance. Sure, we could eschew hunting and fishing altogether, and enjoy the sterile plastic wrapped fare from the local butcher or mega-mart. But, where would be the honesty in that?

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from davidpetzal wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

To Happy: You're quite correct. The gemsbok is among the very toughest. If you wound one of them you're got a real chase on your hands.

To Tim Platt: When you see something on the internet that so- and so- is a lousy shot, ask yourself: "How does he know? Was he there?" First, Eleanor didn't use a .270 in Africa. Her rifle, which she used almost exclusively, was a 7x57. Second, I knew the late John Kingsley-Heath, who was O'Connor's PH on most of his safaris, and while Kingsley-Heath was not much impressed with O'Connor's human qualities, he found nothing at all wrong with his shooting.

A friend of mine, who had the good fortune to hunt in Kenya during the 50s and 60s, took just about everything there with a .270, including lion, and it worked just fine.

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from ejunk wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

"Send a couple more slugs. It shows you care." quote of the week, hahaha

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from Proverbs wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

Mark Twain said, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog" that matters. My own experience has found that to be true of several large game species, and not any more so in elk.

Out of some 20 elk harvested, I have had only one do something truly remarkable. I clearly remember my first few elk. The very first, two decades ago, was a cow that I took with a .44 Rem Mag using factory Winchester 240-grain hunting slugs that removed both lungs. She staggered a moment, then fell down and stayed that way. The second, a mature bull, was taken with the same .44 Super Redhawk, this time with Hornady Custom 300-grain pills, with considerable whomp. Upon the advice I read in a pistol hunting article, I aimed at the shoulder of this bull, which went down like a rock at the impact. I slowly approached from 40 yards away. He sure seemed dead. This took place at dusk and a heavy snow was falling. As I approached him the second time, this time with rope in hand to tie his leg over to the nearest tree to facilitate field dressing, this bull jumped up and ran off. I searched for a while when I realized I needed to get out of there before I became stuck in what turned out to be quite a blizzard. Two days later I returned with helpers. We were barely able to get in the canyon through the two feet of snow that had fallen. We found this bull within 75 yards of where he had fallen. Predators/scavengers had eaten all his innards and were making impressive headway on the rest of him, so I could not ascertain what damage had been done to his organs. But his shoulder and formerly attached bones were absolutely destroyed where the Hornady hit. The leg must of stayed attached only via the thick hide.

Since then I took a petite young lady on an elk hunt. She cleanly harvested a huge cow with a .223 loaded with Jack Carter Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullets.

Most of my elk have been taken with 150-gr. bullets from a .270 Win. None of those moved much after being hit. The reason I mostly use .270 is because that is what my very sweet-shooting mountain rifle (6.4 lbs w/scope) is chambered in, and most of my elk hunting takes place between 9,000 and 11,000 feet.

But this post made me realize something. Although I've taken several deer and other large game with my .44 since that bull jumped up and ran, I have not taken it on another elk hunt.

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from Amflyer wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

Clay,

Respectfully: Horseapples!

Yours,

Amflyer

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I feel I have killed a lot of elk with all kinds of calibers over sixty five years. I cannot recall losing an animal, but I am really careful with my shots. Know my limitations. They are such grand trophies and fine meat. Have tracked a few for other hunters and it did take some time, but none got away.
Have indicated before, elk are one of the worlds grandest trophy animals

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from Tim Platt wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

Okay post script time. I was checking out the web last week for an O'Connor quote I wanted to post on this site, and I found someone who said that Jack and Eleanor left a trail of wounded game behind them in Africa with their beloved .270. Could be BS most everything you read is.

Even Roy Weatherby came back from Africa with his .257 between his legs and declared that shot placement is everything in big game hunting.

I still believe bigger is better but some things just refuse to die. I shot one deer at least four times in the chest and he was still looking at me when I walked up to him two hours later. I hit him as he was walking fast and he fell down 100 yards away. I could see him through my scope. I waited 15 minutes and started towards him and he got up and I shot him again, he ran at least another 100 yards. My friends showed up and we waited 15 or 20 minutes and went to go get him. He saw us about halfway there and disappeared. An hour later we found him and as he barely could stand up he was shot twice again. Right behind his front leg every time and he still just kneeled down and kept looking at us. I am still amazed whenever I think of that day, and sad at the same time.

It is what doctors tell us all the time, if you want to beat cancer you have to have the will to live. If you want to make it to the end of the Trail of Tears you have to have the will to live. It is everything.

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from Mark-1 wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I've seen so many weird elk situations I dare not spout any hard & fast rules except dead elk gain 400-lbs weight when it comes to packing the *quarters* out.

...Dead moose gain more weight.

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from laker wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Oh Mark-1, the converse of the big game weight rule must be the the Walleye. In MN, they seem to lose a pound or two between landing in the live well and hitting the cutting board.

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Amflyer,
All subspecies of wildebeest are hard to drop in their tracks, think maybe they are too goofy to know they are hurt.

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from buckhunter wrote 32 weeks 22 hours ago

Greetings from Colorado,

Have been chasing a 6x7 for the last 4 days playing cat and mouse with the big critter. Twice his cows have saved him from my arrow. I'll let you all know how far he goes after I deflate both lungs. Which I suspect will not be very far.

Just dropped into town for a few beers and college football and I see you are talking elk.

The best burgers in Colorado are in Rico...

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

David,
Mentioning large animals like Nilgai, Roan, and Sable, do not forget Oryx. As much as I love hunting our Elk and respect them , the other four are really tough animals to bring down.

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from huntslow wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I am sure many people have much more elk experience than I but I have killed or seen shot more than 25 elk. Most of the time my experience has been they are not easy to kill. Hunting with Outfitter Jack Wemple and guide Allen Kitts in Montana, they wanted hunters to shoot for the shoulder to break it and make tracking easier is needed. They had numerous experiences with elk that were well hit but refused to go down. My elk went down with the first shot but got 2 more because he did not want to stay down. The "fastest/deadest" elk I saw shot with a .22/250. This was by an Apache Indian who was not required to shoot anything bigger. He only took "easy" shots (his term for close and with a rest), and hit it in the head. He had killed more than 10 deer with that same rifle and bullet placement. He had lots of time to hunt and was willing to pass up any shot that did not meet his "easy" standard

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from FirstBubba wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Couple of years ago, a neighbor gave me a hog to slaughter. I offered to share it with a fellow church member.
At the pig pen, I grabbed my Ruger Single Six and entered the pen. He kept turning his butt to me until he finally backed into a corner.
Draw an imaginary line from right ear to left eye and right eye to left ear. Where those lines intersect is your target. When the .22 went off, the hog hit the ground! (about 240/250 lbs)
On the way home with the pig, my friend exclaimed, "I guess those other guys lied to me. They tell me that you've got to have a "magnum" to kill a hog."
Okay, I've never killed an elk, but I have taken many, many whitetails, a couple of antelope(one with a 6" S&W M19!) and a mule deer.
My take is that animal size, bore diameter, powder charge, bullet weight/diameter/ construction are contributing factors! No factor is more important than where the projectile enters the target and the damage inflicted enroute to it's final destination! Ergo: Bullet Placement!
Mitch shot a so-so sized buck at about 40 yards with a .50 cal Knight inline and "Shockwave"® bullets.
The deer was standing dead still, broadside.
How in heavens name it happened, I'll never know, but I saw the deer and helped dress it out!The bullet entered behind the shoulder and a touch (1" or so!) high.
The bullet EXITED THE SAME SIDE! It came out about 6" below it's entry point....and yes, the deer required another round before expiring.
I don't care how big or how tough an animal is, disconnect or damage major arteries from vital organs and you'll fill your tag.
From time to time, oil Murphy steps in. All bets are off then!

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from azduane wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

All elk are tough but sometimes you get lucky and they decide to just drop for you. Fortunately, I've not had to trail any I've shot very far. Show respect for the animal and try to find it and then show more respect when you do. It gave its life for you and deserves to be treated respectfully.

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

An elk story. My largest elk trophy stepped into a ten foot opening at 80 yards broadside and bugled , I squatted and squeezed off a shot at the point of his shoulder. He did not flinch and with one step was out of sight could not believe I could have missed. By the time I could chamber another round he stepped back into the same opening, facing the other direction , bugled once and collapsed. His picture is in my profile

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from fballfan wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Good article David. I especially, agree with your thoughts regarding the temperament of the animal when shot. That's been proven to me over and over again through the years.

Having said that, I also always go afield with a cartridge and proper bullet, leaving nothing to question. If the biggest trophy of my lifetime suddenly presents itself, and leaves me with only a front quartering shot, I want to have a rifle in my hands that is chambered with something that'll do the job without question. I believe this is where some hunters get themselves into trouble when they select a cartridge that is a little on the lighter side for a given species. I also prefer to use a cartridge that will generally give me a complete pass though shot, so that I have a larger exit hole to aid in blood trailing. As hunters, we owe it to the game we pursue, and the to the reputation of our sport.

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from MICHMAN wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

I should of tried the bad breath approach when hunting the Greater Kudu in Africa. I placed an arrow through the lungs of one of these magnificent animals and after a two hour track the following morning I had to shoot it a second time to put it down for good. Even the African PH was shocked. I found the African's to be very blunt people and they stated "Perfect shot my friend, perfect shot." I asked then "what happened?" It was just a strong-willed animal, he did not want to die!

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from T.W. Davidson wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

I've not seen any elk taken since I was a teenager several decades ago. Back then, I went with my stepfather while he hunted. He was an experienced outdoorsman, an excellent shot, a great tracker, and he knew how elk think and move and live. He died a few years ago, a veteran of Normandy and the Allied cause to free occupied Europe, having taken seven 7-point bull elk during his hunting years, along with many lesser bulls and "meat cows" (his term).

His favorite rifle of hunting in general, including elk?

A .270 handloaded with Nosler 150-grain Partitions.

However I also saw him use a 300 H&H (handloaded to warm ballistics) with 180-grain Partitions, as well as a 30-06 loaded with the same bullets.

I once saw him take a good-size cow elk (about five hundred pounds) with a .257 Roberts handloaded with a 120-grain (you guessed it) Partition. The elk ran seventy yards (if memory serves) and dropped.

My stepfather was fanatical about shot placement and good aim. He had no mercy or kindness for a sloppy shooter--which meant that for some years he little mercy or kindness for me (at least when we hunted). He had no respect for most long range shooters--"bullet throwers," he snarled--although I saw him take several 400-yard shots and always make clean kills. He usually took heart/lung shots, but I also saw him make shoulder shots in conditions where the terrain was so awful that if the elk had run far, recovering it out of a canyon or deep ravine would have been extremely difficult or perhaps impossible. (This from a man whose mule pack strings could and did climb like goats.) His shoulder shots would either drop the elk or severely cripple and slow them down long enough for him to finish them off before they went too far.

Every time I ever saw my stepfather take aim at an elk, once the trigger was pulled, he threw the bolt, rechambered and fired again at lightning speed. He didn't stop shooting until the elk was down and not moving at all, even if his first shot dropped the elk hard (which I saw him do on a big bull with his .270). He could aim, fire, throw the bolt, rechamber, take aim and accurately fire again--several times--as fast as most people can shoot a semi-auto. He preferred the lighter caliber rifles--less recoil, faster recovery time--for this reason. I never knew him to hit an elk and not be able to find it, although he did admit to me that in his younger years he had lost two elk in dry conditions even though he was sure he had made fatal hits on them.

My stepfather both loved and respected the elk he hunted. He always said, "You earn your elk, or you don't get one. Their rules." I have yet to take one. It's a future plan.

One comment about heart/lungs turned to soup--

In the last several years I've taken about fifteen wild pigs here in NE TX ranging from one hundred to three hundred pounds in hoof weight. I prefer one of my .257 Ackleys because I had the rifle custom-made for me and I know exactly what I can do with it, however I've also used a 7x57 in a Model 70 Featherweight to great success. I typically use Nosler Partitions or Barnes TTSX or TSX bullets in healthy handloads.

I have made perfect heart/lung hits with both the above-mentioned bullets in both calibers at ranges under a hundred yards, have seen the pigs get knocked completely off their feet, have heard the WHOMP sound of the impact, only to have seen the pigs somehow get to their feet and take off like rockets. I've always found them (sometimes after searching for hours) within fifty yards, sometimes much less. In every one of those shots, the heart/lungs were completely evisorated. Nothing left but soup and goo. Nothing functional left at all. With the Barnes bullets in particular, one could gain the impression that a hand grenade had gone off in the chest cavity of the pig.

The other day, in the morning around dawn, I saw a herd of about ten big pigs rooting on the edge of a beaver pond while I was out on a hike with my dog. Excited, I ran half a mile back to my vehicle (as if I were in high school again running track, except my own heart and lungs did not agree with this theory) and grabbed the old Savage Model 99 I had just re-zeroed the previous evening, a rifle I had spent a year and some money returning to a thing of beauty and grace. I had never previously taken anything but paper with it.

I ran back to the pond, threw the lever and chambered a round (.308, 150-grain Hornady Interlock factory ammo), and took aim at the nearest pig. The crosshairs leapt and jerked as I were suffering from epilepsy or a seizure. I finally got my pulse and breathing under control and fired an offhand heart/lung shot at about 130 yards. (The rifle was zeroed at 225 yards with the 150-grain Interlocks.)

Just like nearly all the shots I'd taken on pigs in previous years with the .257 AI and the 7x57 Mauser, this pig was also knocked off its feet (I saw dust fly and heard the WHOMP impact), also got to its feet, and also ran about forty yards and disappeared. I found it within minutes.

And just like all the other pigs, the heart and lungs in this pig were also soup and goo, nothing functional at all, a liquid soppy mess.

So my theory is this: Some animals don't know they're dead even though they are. For a few seconds after the instantly fatal shot, something other than heart and lungs propels the pig forward until all systems go to final whiteout.

It seems impossible, and it's definitely an odd thing, but there it is.

Good luck, good aim, good shooting, to all.

TWD

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from Gunny Bob wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

As DEP brought up fabled PH John Kingsley-Heath, I was the editor for his remarkable book, "Hunting the Dangerous Game of Africa." Between editing that tome, spending many days at John and his wife Sue's home in Cornwall going over all his files and the manuscript, and being on safari with him in Africa, I can attest that he was very big on three things: bullet placement, proper cartridge selection and putting in fast, accurate follow-on shots if the beast did not drop straight away. Sound priorities for so many situations in life.

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

T.W,
Where you been? Good to hear from you.

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

Come on back WAM. Kindest Regards

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from idduckhntr wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I claim to no expert on elk, having killed only two myself. One with my 7mm WBY and 160 Accubonds the other with my 375 H&H with 235 Barnes the 7mm took two rounds the 375 only one. distance was about the same at 285 yrds. I have seen them drop from one shot with a 6mm Rem as if pole axed out to 300 yrds.

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from Tim Platt wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I have turned a lot of deer's lungs and hearts to soup and watched them run 100 yards or more. Not much more. And it does seem to be the will to live or temperament of the animal that gives it up. I am not a fan of straight on chest shots, all of them I have seen resulted in the animal running a very long way.

I have killed one elk in my lifetime. It was with a 30-06 and 200 grain Swift A Frames and he fell in his tracks. He was all of 80 yards away standing broadside. Not a lot of experience here. I've never seen another one shot.

This post makes me think if I lived out west I would own a .375 H&H Magnum.

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from Koldkut wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I have witnessed a bull go over a mile with a blood trail and just kept on trucking once the blood stopped. We did not recover that animal, it was shot with a 7mm Mag. I've dropped two of them with a 30.06, man I love that round.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Hi Happy Myles,
I realize I left the F&S blog in a huff. My patience and tolerance have been at all time lows and I have probably said everything that needs said with a modicum of intelligence and decorum. I will leave it to you guys to educate the bloggers. I've pissed and moaned about mouse gunners and Democrats until now and will observe from the back seat quietly for the most part. I am busy getting ready to travel to Colorado to new hunting grounds and trying to wrap up many loose ends to retire soon, so I won't be posting much.

I just wanted to respond to your message old friend out of the great respect I have for you. Maybe I'll make it to SCI or SoCal this year!

Best regards,
WAM

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from O Garcia wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Add to that the fact that most people who encounter mature bull elk for the first time have a kind of extra special buck fever they've never had before, and flub the shot.

Craig often wrote, especially during his 'magnum years' at Petersen's, about the difference in caliber choices between a resident hunter who can always hunt next season (like the late Bob Milek who took many of his with a .25-06, and rarely went bigger than the .30-06), and a non-resident one who spent his life savings on that one hunt, and who may not get another chance, and therefore brings a more powerful gun as insurance.

But whether it's .25-06 or .338-378, it's placement that counts.

And of course, there's luck, whether self-made or from above. There's that article or blog on this magazine/website (I think by J. Barsness) several years back about a hunter who took elk every year wearing plaid shirts (no camo), smoked cigarettes and made a racket while stalking, used the same K4 Weaver scope on his well-worn pre-64 Model 70 in .270 Winchester and used normal cup-and-core bullets because "why bother with breaking shoulder when it's so much easier to hit them in the ribs?"

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from kudukid wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Always pack your animal downhill - much easier.

Packing out the carcass reminds me of the time a buddy and I struggled and sweated to drag a spike blacktail up a steep hill a couple of hundred yards to his WWII jeep.

Told the story back at camp and the landowner (the most unforgettable character I've ever met) asked, "Why didn't you take it downhill a hundred yards to the farm road below?" (It couldn't be seen from where we were.)

Oh well...

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from ALJoe wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Elk can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. I think this is what can make an elk so hard to recover. I have been fortunate enough to recover the elk I have shot. I have hunted with others who were not. I too believe in shoot and shoot again and again.

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from elkslayer wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Yeah, elk are tough.

My first cow took 3 shots to the chest without flinching, then she casually walked 50 yards and fell over.

My first bull took the first shot to the chest that blew up its heart without flinching and then ran 90 yards before piling up.

Another bull was visably shaken by the first hit but took two more to put down.

As long as the elk is still on its feet and I can see it, I will keep shooting until it goes down.

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from Brian Maguire wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

Roosevelt elk can go to 1100 lbs (granted that is a big bull) but a mature roosie cow is all as big as a vary large rocky bull. How does that figure into the equation? I once smacked a large rossie bull at 15 yards with a 180 gr 30-06 shot through both lungs and a heart nick. He then proceeded to run 20 yards completley, then jump and easily clear old growth dead fall over 8' in height and another 150 yards through the thickest Oregon rhodie hell as one could imagine. It was 444 lbs of boned meat at the butcher - do the math, that is no 800 lb bull. I estimate it was 1000+ in the field, as big as most of the horses I have ever seen, the bud draft horses are bigger. he died on all fours, much like the sphinx, and his back was up to my belly button. I am 6'1".

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from Amflyer wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

Happy, I assumed as much, but have no other experience with others outside of the Blue. Mine stopped two of three 375 slugs. Other than the "insurance" shot as he departed the area, that was a quartering away and a mite too far back, I recovered both slugs under the opposite skin. Perfectly mushroomed Barnes slugs.

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from O Garcia wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

reminds me of that gem from the late Finn Aagard:

"no amount of power manageable in a shoulder-fired weapon can make up one bit for poor shooting"

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from shortordercook wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

I have killed over 25 elk in my twenty five years living in Western Colorado, four of them nice bulls. I shoot a .270 and have found that the Remington Cor-lokt in 130 or 150 grain are very effective. Yes, elk are tough and can go a long way if bone is not broken in a shoulder or hit in the spine, i.e, Texas heart shot (butt). If paralyzed they stay put. My motto, though, is to shoot until they stop moving. The flat shooting .270 in 130 grain has more energy if you do have to take a long shot. Bigger caliber isn't always better.

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from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 32 weeks 1 day ago

All my elk have been taken with either 30-06 or 308. Both are plenty when the elk is hit properly. I have become a big believer in premium bullets for elk; I liked Nosler Partitions for a long time but have had even better results with Barnes. Trouble with elk are their shoulders - which can stop a soft bullet — and their legs, which are so long that can cover a lot of ground quickly, even when one leg is out of order. Plus they live in rugged terrain, making pursuit difficult. But they are not supernatural.

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from Smallbore wrote 32 weeks 23 hours ago

The elk in my profile pic I hit three times at 80 yards with a 7mm mag. Ruger #1. It was about 80 + or - yards with 175 gr. ballistic tips. It didn't even flinch at any of the shots. I just couldn't accept that I had missed. That rifle would put five rounds within 1.5 inches at 200 yards. Shot him broadside left. Shot him broadside right.. same hole different side. The hit him in the neck about halfway up and high (only shot I had). Went over the small ridge where he went and thought he went to the right. Walked 400 yards around the bowl and heard a yelp. Looked back where I came over the hill and there he was laying 20 feet to the OTHER (left) side. I could have sworn at the time that I didn't hit him as I said "he didn't even flinch" My first and only elk in my life..so far. I'm 63 and hope to get more! Oh, I did hit him ALL 3 shots. :-)

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 32 weeks 7 hours ago

buckhunter,
Hang in there and stick him!
Best, WAM

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

Is it just me, or do most of these stories of the Elk could easily discribe DEER hunting as well? Seems to me proper bullet construction, and placement of that bullet, are the key factors in putting successful odds in one's favor for taking big game. The BIGGER the CALIBER my only argument would be against Bears, as such, due to the real threat of a FIGHT VS FLIGHT outcome! Due any here agree?

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

Is it just me, or do most of these stories of the Elk could easily discribe DEER hunting as well? Seems to me proper bullet construction, and placement of that bullet, are the key factors in putting successful odds in one's favor for taking big game. The BIGGER the CALIBER my only argument would be against Bears, as such, due to the real threat of a FIGHT VS FLIGHT outcome! Due any here agree?

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I have shot one Elk with little fanfare. It was with my .45/70 at a tad over 90 yards. Now I have seen elk in game parks and zoos like most people have, but when actually taking one in the field you get a better idea of there size! Personally, I have always preferred heavy for caliber bullets, and do believe the .270 should be the minimum caliber used for them. Although I do think elk meat is tasty,I prefer to eat moose meat if on the menu!

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from Ol Krusty wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Ive helped pack two elk out of the forest with my friends, and both times they were down in a hole where we had to hike up at least a 1/2 mile from any road. Also the damn things both gave up the ghost in a patch of thorns. Its like they thought "well you might have gotten me, but I get the last laugh you SOB"!

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from jay wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Dave - How bout a review of the Mauser M12??

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from Amflyer wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Well, knock down a big Wapiti, will you Mtnhunter?

Furthermore, the Tide looks like, well, the Tide, and Nebraska looks like it needs a defensive lesson from Les Miles.

Good luck with all endeavors!

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from Amflyer wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I would add Blue Wildebeest and Zebra to the tough critter list.

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from 268bull wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

If ever there was such a poll, elk would be my selection as the worlds greatest athlete! Seems when jumped or shot , they cover 3 ridge tops and the canyon's in between before they stop. Not to catch their breath, but to see if your keeping up with them! Once walked up on one that was lying in a tree well and exhaled his last breath.So I thought! Inside of 30 ft. away he suddenly stood up and stared angrily down his nose at me. Boy, that made the hair stand up! Until they're upside down, 4 legs pointing upwards, keep putting the lead into them. Even when your sure they're dangerous. Watch moving the head and rack around. I have a scar in my eyebrow to prove it!

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I have shot quite a few elk and some real whoppers. They can take punishment but I really don't think any more so than most other ungulates. Moose ARE NOT wimps! They may be less inclined to run as far as elk simply because they usually don't run from much of anything. But they sure as hell walk extremely fast! Pronghorn antelope are the true wimps of North American game. If hit in the foot they will only hobble to the nearest low spot and stand. I'm sorry but no animal whose heart has been "turned to soup" is going to run 100 yards unless it falls off a cliff in the process. I can always tell when a deer/elk/moose has been hit in the heart. They run like absolute hell for twenty to thirty yards until they pile up, usually face-planting into a tree. A lung shot has a definite sound to it and the animal does the hunch up as it stumbles off. I have heard of elk surviving after being shot through the back end of both lungs but frankly I would have had to see it to believe it. It's usually not the "thick hide" that slides over a wound and keeps it from bleeding but rather a chunk of fat from the insides. When that happens it invariably tells me the animal has been hit in the guts, not the lungs/heart. Which usually tells me it was a bad shot (usually taken at extraordinary distances).

I shot thirteen elk in as many years. A couple were almost lost. I hit a spike once through the achilles tendon and I still managed to track it down and get him. Was helped immensely by the terrain though (and the animal's inexperience). Still, that was an incredible job of tracking ... without the assistance of snow on the ground! Anyway, I used 180 grain 30-06 most of my career and it killed deer about as well as it killed elk and moose. I always felt that a reasonably heavy bullet moving at a reasonable speed was much more efficient at killing than something moving at warp ten. Yeah, it won't reach out there four hundred yards but no one should be shooting that distance anyway and I don't give a damn how much time they spend fiddling at the range. Shows no respect for the animal.

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from CoBowHunter wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Two of the bull elk I shot very cleanly with my bow went about 200 yards before piling up. After 100 yards the blood trail ended completely. Could it be that their hearts actually stoped pumping blood but they are able to keep moving. I found both, fortunately, in very heavy and dark spruce/pine timber under a tree.

I have also heard stories from hunters of elk that had bullet wounds and arrowheads stuck in them from an older injury that had healed over.

They are tough animals indeed.

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from sib wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

I shot a bull elk with a bow in the lungs (so it appeared on entry) and never found it. We tracked a blood trail that would have amounted to what seemed like gallons of red over ~1/4 mile. Never found it. It rained that afternoon and night and washed all trails away. It really makes you sick, I mean real nausea, to loose an elk. Tough.

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from fballfan wrote 32 weeks 4 days ago

Good article David. I especially, agree with your thoughts regarding the temperament of an animal when shot. That's been proven to me over and over again through the years.

Having said that, I also always go afield with a cartridge and proper bullet, leaving nothing to question. If the biggest trophy of my lifetime suddenly presents itself, and leaves me with only a front quartering shot, I want to have a rifle in my hands that is chambered with something that'll do the job without question. I believe this is where some hunters get themselves into trouble when they select a cartridge that is a little on the lighter side for a given species. I also prefer to use a cartridge that will generally give me a complete pass though shot, so that I have a larger exit hole to aid in blood trailing. As hunters, we owe it to the game we pursue, and the to the reputation of our sport.

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from Bruce Christensen wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

I have had the opportunity to go elk hunting when one of my friends drew a tag and yes they are some tough critters. My friend made the mistake of not sighting in his 30-06 right before we went hunting and apparently knocked his sights off. He shot a cow elk in the back knee at about 200 yards and it ran about 400 yards and jumped a fence like nothing was wrong. It took 2 more shots, one at 5 yards, to put her down for good. I have also had plenty of experience deer hunting in the last 3 years and they can be the same way. The first year I hunted the property I still hunt on, I had no problem dropping does like they got hit with a hammer at 300 yards. The year after that, I had not 1 but 2 does paint over a 100 yard path through a cornfield like you walked through it with 2 cans of spray paint. I used the same box of bullets for both years with almost identical shot placement and got drastically different results from my 270.

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from mike55 wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

A friend and I bow hunted Colorado in '74 after graduating highschool. My buddy shot a bull elk out of a tree stand almost directly below him. He hit a rib about 4 in. off the spine. The arrow didn't go completely through the bull, so it's thick coat soaked up all the blood. We looked for a blood trail with our flashlights for an hour or two and couldn't find any blood, so he walked in the direction it ran just panning the flashlight back and forth. He saw it's eyes in the light beam in just a little while. I was surprised it only went 130 yards. That rib bent and broke his Bear razorhead right up to the ferrule! We were using some of the first compound bows that Jennings came out with, I wonder if a recurve bow of the same weight might not of had enough energy to drive that arrow into both lungs after having the whole front of the broadhead broken off. In that case we might not of ever found it. I'm still amazed that an arrow can take down a large animal as fast or in some cases faster than a well placed bullet!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

The drop them in there tracks is caused by Hydrostatic Shock, commonly known in the Medical World as Remote Wounding.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock

_______________________________________________________

ken.mcloud said it best! “So, I think that the superior killing power of larger rounds is largely in our heads.(likely testosterone induced) A flat-shooting round that you can accurately place will produce as many if not more "bang-flop" kills as a heavy caliber round.”

On the other hand

"We have not heard from Ken McCloud in ages hope he was not carrying a fast stepping small caliber rifle and ran into a testosterone laden elephant that could not spell hydrostatic shock. Just teasing Clay. Kindest Regards"
-Happy Myles

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from Clay Cooper wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

A myth is an assertion which has either been disproven by careful experiment or for which there is no historical or scientific evidence in cases where it is reasonably expected. Belief in remote effects of penetrating projectiles may have originated with hunters and soldiers, but their reality is now well established in a broad body of scientific literature...

— Neurosurgery

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

The other reason I opt for a reasonable weight bullet at reasonable velocity as opposed to warp speed is the difference one encounters on the butcher table. Again, we do the animals a disservice if we blow them to pieces on purpose. It's an ethical balancing act, that's for sure, but never leave wastage out of the factors to be considered. Seems most people do these days. But then again it seems most people these days are factoring nothing but getting antlers.

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from Happy Myles wrote 32 weeks 22 hours ago

Buckhunter,
Good luck keep us posted. Like your confidence. When you get him I wii pay for the beer.....up to a point. All the best of luck

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 32 weeks 8 hours ago

Yes, good luck Buckhunter. Is he responding to bugle? Going to be tough unless some other big boy kicks him off those cows. How warm is it? I suspect you'll need to quarter and de-hide that guy ASAP. Maybe even bone it out. Don't do the "I'll wait till morning to look for him" or there won't be anything to find but dog food. If you take a shot at dusk make absolutely sure it's a killer. Hell ... I don't have to tell you that. Get him! Wish I was there to help haul him out.

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from Tim Platt wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

Nice to have you back WAM, go get him buckhunter!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

Smallbore

While up in Alaska running the Base Range, many hunters lost more game or had to follow up on a shot or two and they all where short range mainly well under 75 yards.

The reason for this, upon impact, the bullet didn't have adequate distance to stabilize immediately tumbled reducing penetration. I always recommend shots on heavy game to be between 175 and 250 yards within the shooters "MOP" limits.

7mm with 175's are very prone to this.

Reference: Hatcher's Notebook

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from O Garcia wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

Ralph,
agreed. same applies to Africa where you might encounter a lion while going after antelope.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 31 weeks 5 days ago

In some places when elk hunting I carried a couple of 220 grain silvertips in my pocket in case I wandered into country popular for the G-bears. And, on occasion, I was compelled to put them in the gun.

Bullets have changed a lot in recent years and I'm sure there are better combinations available today but back then 180 grain spitzer Hornady was good for elk and deer in heavy cover. I never knew which I would encounter so it was an appropriate load. Sometimes it barely did the job on elk and moose but usually that was due to operator error.

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from Del in KS wrote 31 weeks 4 days ago

WAM, nice to see you back. Here I sit in Houston and the Kansas ML season opens in a few days. Did have some fun taking a kid dove hunting Sep 1st.
Buckhunter, hope you get that bull. You will remember him a long time after all that work. I know your broadheads are sharp.
Guys I would never pack anything but the meat, horns and cape. I packed a boned out bull caribou 5 miles to a small gravel strip near Wood River Wilderness area Alaska and that was a chore. I was young and fit then too.
Happy, nice to see you here also did you get that Forrest Sitatunga yet?
My 210 gr Barnes TTSX bullet from a 338-06 passed through a raghorn Colorado bull that bled like the proverbial stuck hog. Tracked him well into the next day, blood ran out then he joined other elk and we lost the trail. Yes, I feel they are very tough animals.

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from Del in KS wrote 31 weeks 4 days ago

Happy Myles I went to look at your bull and found out you did get that Forrest Sitatunga. Congrats on that one sir. That is a very rare trophy.

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from Happy Myles wrote 31 weeks 4 days ago

Del,
Thank you very much regarding the Sitatunga. By the way, all elk bulls pictured easily would make the books, but I have never entered trophies, if I ever get a world record, I would enter it. Never felt like sharing tenth place with several others. Kindest Regards.
Will be in the office on Thursday, and will take care of the matter I Emailed about.. If you happened to see the Brown Bear mount in my pictures , forty years ago it came close to being a champion. Again Best Regards

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from Del in KS wrote 31 weeks 4 days ago

Happy, Thanks again for all you have done for kids. I saw the huge bear, tried to thumbs up but the stupid thing wouldn't work. No rush I am in Houston the next few days.

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from pcspecht wrote 31 weeks 2 days ago

The Blog and some of he comments say it all this is indeed. Tough animal and will take itself away from you if you don't respect it!

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from pcspecht wrote 31 weeks 2 days ago

I am an Alaskan, I hunt almost exclusively with either a .338 WBM or a .300 WBM. the common point between the two is the Barns X cartridges in either 165 or 185 grn balistic tip or HP, BT's haven't found a North American species and a number of Southern Hemisphere species that can't be harvested by one or the other. I don't care how Good a shot you are, if you have pulled he trigger on the first you better be racking in he second round and taking the shot! Don't fire once and wait or pat yourself on the back! Don't disrespect the animal, the hunt or Fair Chase. You have pulled the trigger so the fun part of the hunt is over and its time to go to work. Make it as easy on yourself as possible! Don't take the chancy shot either. Most likely you'll either miss or wound and that will not make the end of the day a good one!

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from pcspecht wrote 31 weeks 2 days ago

Brown squirrel,
I think you and I come from the same school system of hunting skills! I was taught to shoot the neck (spine) or head when ever possible to preserve as much meat as possible. Have had an occasion or two to drop a Moose with my .223 and wih an "in your ear" shot both times, Shots were under a 100 meters but most Moose shots are. Both folded up like oragamie! Good huntin to you!

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from pcspecht wrote 31 weeks 2 days ago

Hey Del in KS!
Are you talking about Wood-Tikchik State Park in Alaska just a ways from Dillingham? This is one of our back up areas that we hunt when our others don't produce. We fly into lake Chauekuktuli and hunt the ridge between it and lake Noyakuk to the south. Its a good meat producing area! Anyway, was just wondering as you mentioned the Wood River. You should come up again always room for an old hand in camp.

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from brownsquirle wrote 31 weeks 3 days ago

I've always found it funny how some people think the 30-06 is the ultimate white tail gun and anything smaller is inhumane.I live in muley counrty and have never even seen white tail but I've bagged a few muleys never been fortunate enough to draw an antler tag just does and one shot to head with my 223 tipps them over. Theres no tracking involved if you shoot them in the head and no waisted meat. Head shots work on elk two tipped a cow with a 308. I guess if you want a trophy don't complain about them running off and don't pretend you care about the animal or the meat.

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