Well, hunting season is winding up and I have finally found a free evening to post the results of my New Mexico elk hunt from back in Oct.
I have been hunting and guiding elk hunts
in southern NM for 6 years. A friend of mine leases a ranch about 50 miles from Truth or Consequences NM and I help him out each year and sometimes hunt, sometimes just guide or spot.
This year I had both guide duties and a bull tag for myself. I was guiding two buddies from TN, Robby and Jason, one had a bull tag the other was along for the fun but was carrying a cow tag.
Opening morning found us glassing across a canyon watching some small bulls and a bunch of cows. The largest bull a nice 5X5 went over the top into the next canyon where some other hunters from our group were hunting. They shot him and the cows came accross the canyon bottom toward us at a dead run. I told Jason now would be a good time to fill his cow tag! He took off to cut the cows off on the other side, and a few moments later two shots........mission accomplished.
That evening Robby, Jason and I went to find Robby a bull. Jason spotted an nice bull about a mile from us and walking away. We ran down the mountain and finaly caught up with the bull as he was walking accross a canyon bottom. From our vantage up on the ridge above we looked him over and I called him about a 300" bull, and Robby decided he would take him. I ranged him at 360 yards and walking slowly directly away from us. Robby got set and I yelled at the bull to get him to stop. He turned and gave us a perfect quartering shot. The 200grn SMK from the 300 wby hit the bull and he trotted a few yards and stopped. I ranged him at 399, called the range to Robby he let another go and the bull went down. Second mission accomplished!
I drew blanks for the next two days looking for a good bull. The next morning I was out with another usual from our camp "Mike". Late in the morning we spotted a nice bull accross a canyon from us. He was walking slowly and feeding in and out of the cedars and pinons. I got set up and ranged him at 732 yards, I had a hard crosswind from 3 o'clock at 12 mph. I punched in the data in Xbal, dialed in my elevation and wind on the NF scope. (I'm shooting a Kirby built 338 Kahn, 250grn SMKs @3150fps.) When the bull walked out in the open I got settled and fired. Mike yells, you missed shoot again! I cranked in another round and shot again, this time I saw dirt kick up high. Mike (who is not into long range shooting by the way) is yelling at me to hurry and shoot again! I get ready to shoot again, and this time I hold a little lower, boom, too high. Shoot again, too high.......at this stage I have lost it and I am just shooting....and missing. At one point I shoot two consecutive shots and one hits high and the other hits low just between the bulls legs.
Finally the bull walks into a large clump of trees and I have time to regroup and think things over. We move downslope a little for better vantage when he comes out of the timber. Now I realize I have 1 bullet left! I have shot 9 of the 10 rounds I carry with me. The bull walks out, I range him at 653 yards, dial in the elevation, boom......high. I am now out of shells, and bull is still walking around on the other mountain, I did not even manage to spook him.
That evening with my last 10 rounds of ammo, Mike and I along with Robby go back into the same area to look for the bull again. After a couple of hours of hiking and glassing we spot the same bull heading up the side of the mountain accross the canyon from us. We sit down and I get my rifle ready, Robby calls out the range 459 yards. I dial in 11 clicks. We have an 8 mph wind directly in our face. As I settle into the rifle I get worried about shooting over him since I kept shooting over him that morning. I held low on his body just behind the shoulder and shot. With my ear plugs in I was not certain, but I thought I heard the bullet hit. Mike yells, you missed shoot again! Robby said, no I think you hit him. The bull is just standing still. I feed in another round (the Kahn is a single shot) and just as I close the bolt Robby yells, he is down!
After the hike over to him we find my shot was a perfect heart shot, just exactly where my crosshairs were. So much for being able to claim my scope was off for all those other misses. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
When I got back I e-mailed Kirby and related my story to him, still rather upset at the 10 misses. Kirby speculated that because I was shooting across the head of a canyon, the 12 mph crosswind was also creating a severe updraft. Kirby is much too nice to also say that it could have just been lousy shooting on my part. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
I learned some important lessons that day:
1) 12 mph is too much wind to be shooting 700+ yards in the mountains. (for me anyway)
2) Carry more bullets!
3) Bring along a buddy who also shoots long range, rather than one who simply yells "hurry, shoot again, he's getting away, Shoot, shoot, shoot shoot"!!!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]