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The BEST way to kill Elk

 
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  #43  
Old 11-09-2011, 07:43 PM
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Re: The BEST way to kill Elk

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Originally Posted by HAMMERHAND View Post
An average small bull elk or a cow should be yielding you about 160 pounds of boneless trimmed meat for what you'd expect to pay a butcher to do it. An old 10 or 11 age bull almost 200 pounds. You can cut 15 more pounds off of this figure in intermuscle sheen, silver sheen, arteries, and other garbage that I trim out of my meat when I butcher it. I use the cabelas meat lugs, and filled nearly to the top they weigh 10 pounds each filled with trimmed meat ready for the grinder. I get between 2 and 3 (20 and 30 pounds) of trim meat (NO fat, silver sheen, tendon, muscle sheen, etc.) off of the front quarters of an elk (without the brisket, plate, and skirt) There is no butcher man in the world that will take the time to treat this meat the way that I can because it would be too time consuming. I also don't mess with the meat below the knee joint on any animal. It is just too sinewy, too hard on the grinder, and too terrible to eat after it is frozen. Every butcher man I know bones that out and throws it right into the burger or sausage pile.
So: Anybody that bones out below the knee joint will be getting about 8 more pounds of meat (sounds like what you're getting from your recollection).

The picture shown back a few posts ago is exactly what happens when you use a bullet that is not designed for bone to shoot through bone. All of that meat is garbage...I wouldn't soak or grind any of it, I would cut it out. It is full of bone and lead chunks. Also it is not a shoulder shot, it is a leg shot. I will say it again. HIGH on the animal is the shoulder. Specifically the shoulder blade where it meets the spine. No animal on earth takes a step after you shoot THROUGH that. Again, right at that spot you have the tip of a blade roast which is sinewy connective tissue, which is cut out anyway. You may bruise a few ounces of loin meat with a barnes, but I would say the over all meat wastage is less than 1 pound total with an instant kill.

I do stew meat and grind on all the front shoulder meat, some cuts of neck meat, meat between the ribs, brisket, and plate meat. After I finish stripping the silverskin off the meat with an ulu or fillet knife there aren't any steaks there. The rear quarter provides me with all the steaks & roasts, and about another 20 pounds of grind meat. I have an LEM 3/4 horse grinder which goes slow enough that I can stuff sausage casings with it, but goes fast enough to make quick work of an elk. I don't grind too much of the elk meat because its too delicious to just burger up.

All arguments aside meat loss or no meat loss....my method kills them instantly doing the best for the animal IMO.
Good little write up!! Your right I take everything and let the grinder take care of it, my grinder is a little puny so I'll take out a few of the large tendons and I take out all the glands which quite a few people miss. One thing you don't see but should be in the large meat shops, is what's called a bone plate on the grinder, I used them when I ran a custom cutting shop, you can adjust the back pressure on the tube so it takes out anything like bone, cartilage, tendons or silver skin. If you have meat done at a shop that is one thing I would ask about any way.

Very good point on shoulder vs leg bone, I wish I know the exact name of it cause most people see leg and think second joint down. Some people think shoulder shot and think point of the shoulder some think scapula others think some where in the front end. There is a large difference in what I would shoot at each area or whether I would take the shot at all!!

I used to have a large data base of all the numbers but when I sold the store I let all that go with it but a lot of the numbers are still in the little grey cells and just need to jog my memory sometimes to pull up the numbers
Average elk in MT is 250lbs on the rail, which tends to be a large cow or spike from that you'll average 115 lbs of trim meat and 65 lbs of steak, roast and chops. Those numbers are an average of 14 yrs elk cutting in a data base, I only cut for 5 years and cut around 1800-2000 head of elk. The shop only cut wild game and to extremely high standards, spot inspections and customer walk through at anytime!!
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Last edited by bigngreen; 11-09-2011 at 07:47 PM.
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  #44  
Old 11-09-2011, 08:25 PM
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Re: The BEST way to kill Elk

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Originally Posted by bigngreen View Post
Good little write up!! Your right I take everything and let the grinder take care of it, my grinder is a little puny so I'll take out a few of the large tendons and I take out all the glands which quite a few people miss. One thing you don't see but should be in the large meat shops, is what's called a bone plate on the grinder, I used them when I ran a custom cutting shop, you can adjust the back pressure on the tube so it takes out anything like bone, cartilage, tendons or silver skin. If you have meat done at a shop that is one thing I would ask about any way.

Very good point on shoulder vs leg bone, I wish I know the exact name of it cause most people see leg and think second joint down. Some people think shoulder shot and think point of the shoulder some think scapula others think some where in the front end. There is a large difference in what I would shoot at each area or whether I would take the shot at all!!

I used to have a large data base of all the numbers but when I sold the store I let all that go with it but a lot of the numbers are still in the little grey cells and just need to jog my memory sometimes to pull up the numbers
Average elk in MT is 250lbs on the rail, which tends to be a large cow or spike from that you'll average 115 lbs of trim meat and 65 lbs of steak, roast and chops. Those numbers are an average of 14 yrs elk cutting in a data base, I only cut for 5 years and cut around 1800-2000 head of elk. The shop only cut wild game and to extremely high standards, spot inspections and customer walk through at anytime!!
I wish the meat cutters in my neck of the woods had the same high standards, but they don't meet my standards.....sounds like you ran a top notch outfit!! I'll have to check out this bone plate and see what difference it will make. I know that If I run chunks of that fore-leg through my 3/4 horse LEM, it takes less than a minute to completely bind up the blade and plate with sinew, where I can grind over 80 pounds of my hand-cut trim and never have to clean the grinder once. It might take me 30 minutes to grind up both fore-legs for 4-6 pounds of the crappiest burger you'd ever want to choke down but to be fair the meat guys mix it all together with beef fat and the rest of the meat so MOST people can't tell what they're eating, but I can taste the difference between buddies meat from the butcher and my own for sure night and day flavor difference. I also don't grind fat into my burger meat because fat freezer burns first...if I add fat, I do so fresh before cooking, or often not at all unless I need a binder. So I'm nice to the scavengers and let them chew on those fore-legs for the winter, which seems to bring me good karma every year. Either way, its all my family eats (duck, goose, dove, pheasant, elk, deer, antelope, and fish)....livin' the good life off of the land!!!
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  #45  
Old 11-11-2011, 07:35 AM
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Re: The BEST way to kill Elk

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Originally Posted by brentc View Post
I often times base my aiming point to hit the opposite shoulder.

If that means that the facing shoulder is forward
it's a behind the shoulder shot on the facing side, and the bullet travels through vitals to hit the opposite shoulder. This, along with a quartering away shot is my favorite position for a shot because it fully exposes the vitals and bone structure on the opposite shoulder. It also provides an effective bullet path as the bullet travels through the animal.

If the facing shoulder is straight down, it usually means the opposite shoulder is straight down and in this case I will put a bullet straight through the point of the facing shoulder.

If the facing shoulder is back, I will aim slightly forward of the shoulder point to angle the shot towards the opposite shoulder.

The opposite shoulder is a technique that has always worked for me.
+1 BTW I've found elk to be the toughest to kill, particularly because they are very alert and adrenaline charged. I once saw a bull (not my elk) that flew on all four from a 30/378 Wby and landed on its back, only to get up and dazed for almost a minute before it was shot again.
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  #46  
Old 11-11-2011, 04:36 PM
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Re: The BEST way to kill Elk

Great post wildrose!! I have always aimed just behind the shoulder until i hit a deer too far back and had him bedded for hours till I could finish him off. Animals shouldn't suffer IMHO. If I had aimed where you pointed out he would of toppled right there without any unnecessary suffering. From now on is right above the shoulder for me on just about any and all North American game!!

Well Done
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  #47  
Old 11-11-2011, 10:42 PM
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Location: SW Montana
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Re: The BEST way to kill Elk

For me the best way to kill an elk is to put a bullet through both lungs and the heavy blood vessels above the heart, shooting mid way up right at the crease behind the shoulder. Animal standing broadside or quartering away or if I'm sneaky I put one just under their ear while they are napping
In the area I usually hunt knocking them down where they stand isn't needed, they just do the wobble a few yards and fall over, if they go 50 yards no big deal in my ground they are just getting closer to where I would drag them out any way, I'm an above average tracker and usually shoot in snow if any tracking is needed. I usually shoot elk on the edges of timber clearings and seeing them go down is typical.
I like to shoot a bullet that will expand trash the insides but has enough sectional density to make it to the other side, I used to shoot 100% mono metal bullets but after learning some lessons about bullet deflection on bone and I changed to a softer copper and lead bullet.

I've shot my fair share of elk through the shoulder blade and it dumps them like a sack of potatoes but the issue lies in the size of the target, hitting a shoulder blade will not kill an elk or disable him, only hitting the spine within a few inches will do the trick 100%. Hit a little low and you may knock him out and give him a bad wing which they can revive from as people find out every year. Also hit him high taking the top of the vertebra of and if your lucky it will spine him.
I've cut a pile or two of elk and it is not uncommon to find front shoulders broken up and healed I've also seen it a few times where the are missing the top of a couple vertebra. There has been several cases of animals getting blown through the shoulders but trying to make of after watching it drop. I've had two cases my self with a mono metal bullet from a 300 WBY did not penetrate the lower shoulder bone, the first one was not an issue because it knocked it down but did not knock it out so I knew I needed to put one more in it. The second time it happened could have bit me bad and I would have had one of those stories "shot them in the shoulder but the tough SOB got a way".
That bullet hit the same place and turned out the front of her chest, fortunately I shot when she put her head down to eat and the bullet re entered her neck and cut her jugular. At the shot her legs came up and she bounced of the ground DRT, I watched for a second then moved on and helped with getting an other one killed, when we went out to gather dead elk she had her head up and was trying to get up. This was not cool at all, I do not like having to dispatch animals so after that was done I set out to figure out what happened so I would not repeat it. The issue was to hard of a bullet on to hard of bone with to small a chambering.
I've taken a good number of guys out to kill elk and your average guy will screw up a shoulder shot more times than not, last one was a 300 WSM with a 180 Accubond on the point of the shoulder at 75yrds. That elk took 3 days to kill out of a large herd.
If I shoot one with a 338 Ultra with 300 gr bullets or something like Roys 375 AM elk slayer then it a none issue, put it on the point of the shoulder and be done with it but a .30 cal bullet can most certainly fail from the bottom of the shoulder blade down an but elk with two holes through the lungs/heart is 100% dead and recoverable every time and that is the primary goal.
A little perspective to kill an elk out right with a high shoulder shot you have to break the spine, how big is the spine? About the size of a head shot but everyone freaks out at the thought of that. Out of all the elk that come down on the ranch I work for I've never seen a failed head shot but every year a dozen or so elk die out there from failed shoulder shot and a couple from gut shots while they are coming down from the mountains. Taking that small sample the shoulder shot has the highest chance of wounding elk.

Anyway that's my two cents
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  #48  
Old 11-12-2011, 07:47 PM
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Re: The BEST way to kill Elk

I thought I would share this article I came across about a moose shot trough the lungs that managed to live 4 1/2 hours until someone dispatched it.
I never lost an animal until..... - Refuge Forums

Any animal will still run as long as its got blood pumping. Seen more than my fair share of elk do the same thing as this guys moose did with gaping holes blown through both lungs.

I've also seen some jaws hangin from poor head shots, and lots of gut shots, and poor shoulder shots. Bottom line is you gotta know your limitations, and if you can't make the shot you want, then best not to shoot. Sadly, most people shoot and think about those consequences later on though.
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  #49  
Old 11-12-2011, 10:44 PM
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Location: NW MT
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Re: The BEST way to kill Elk

Bigngreen, I echo your post, I have been in on 100's of elk kills archery 1/2 and riflle. This post is making them seem almost immortal, but I have seen my hunting buddy put an arrow through a unaware bull and it took 3 steps and fell over. I started as a youngster hunting elk w/243 and my Dad told me to head shoot them. I was on our local rifle team and I lost zero. I have shot elk at every angle, and you have to know your skills.Taken elk @ 3 yrds w/bow to 800 + rifle. I had my bull this year @ 840 and didnt have time for the shot, so I hiked up and shot it @ 60 yrd. in the timber, its head was behind a tree and I had obscured shot so I took it mid body, top 3rd. When I followed blood trail I new it was not going to last long as alot of blood like a archery shot on trees, no snow.It had a fist sized hole under the back strap and was a hurting unit, went off a 20' cliff as a grand finale. Been shooting 338 slugs through elk for 20+
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