I had the pleasure of helping old bear bag and tag an elk today. He drew a late season cow elk tag for central Utah and time was running out. Not only was the season winding down, but old bear has to go in for surgery tomorrow morning so it was do or die today.
As his name implies, old bear is 73 years old and running up and down the mountains is pretty much out of the question for him. So we wanted to get him an elk by driving within range, setting up the bench, getting him comfortable, and letting him dump one from his truck. So that's what we did.
We drove up the snow packed road first thing in the morning and I quickly located a huge herd of elk on the opposing mountain side in the pre-dawn light. We then turned off the headlights and drove to the end of the road. Then we quietly got the bench out and set up the rifle and spotting scope and video camera. The elk had no idea we were even there and started feeding and milling around.
The most seperated part of the elk herd contained 5 elk down below the rest. I got the rifle set up so it was pointing at the cow I wanted him to shoot and took a range on her with the Swaro rangefinder. It beamed back 1203 so I got out the old PDA and did the calculations. We then dialed the Leupold 6.5-20 LR up the appropriate minutes and I got back on the spotter. BOOOOMM!! A little over a second later, the 225 grain Accubond arrived at the elk and delivered a fatal blow. She tucked up the landing gear, landed on her belly and then rolled over and slid legs up down the mountain to the left! The other elk saw her slide down the mountain below them and the took off like a herd of mad cattle. It was a good thing he connected on the first shot because the elk immediately put another 300 yards between them and us and acted like they weren't coming back down for anything.
So after some backslaps and high fives, old bear's neighbor and I set up the mountain to retrieve the elk.
After about an hour and a half, we got to the saddle we last saw her slide behind. We quickly picked up the slide marks and followed it down to the elk. Upon inspection, we could see that the bullet entered in behind the ear and had exited out the other side in fine fashion. A head clocked elk at 1203 and not one bit of ruined meat!! What a bonus!
We got it boned out and put the meat in a sled and pointed it downhill and held on. Once on the valley floor, it was a good jaunt through shin-deep snow over to the truck to an eagerly waiting old bear. I will never forget the look on his face. What a great experience.
So, we then threw on some tire chains and drove out to the black top. I wish you guys could see what a 73 year old hunter looks like laying down in the snow under a truck putting chains on! He does fine for an old guy! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
Anyhow, I'm sure old bear wants to see the pics so here we go:
Old bear at the bench with his beautifully handwriten sign. Somebody has great penmanship!
Another view with the canon and the white-bearded guy:
This is a pic of our view from the bench up to the killsite marked by the crosshair. The red line is where she slid to.
This is the pic I took while standing exactly where the cow was when the bullet killed her looking back at the two trucks. Believe it or not, there is a Toyota Tacoma, a Dodge Dakota, and the bench in the blue circle. It's a "fuurr piece".
This is how the elk was found at the bottom of the slide. Thank goodness for those scrub oak that stopped her from going down the wrong canyon!
And here is a fixed up (PG version) of the head wound.
Congrats again old bear for the great shot. Thanks for letting us help you fill your freezer. Remember, I want to be invited to dinner when you bar-b up those backstraps!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]